Keep your long-distance relationship alive with these 10 tips

Technology has made long-distance relationships easier to navigate. Picture: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

Technology has made long-distance relationships easier to navigate. Picture: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

Published Jun 24, 2023


The world is a smaller place.

Not physically, of course, but abstractly, thanks to the evolution of technology.

Time zone differences are almost obsolete – again, in theory – as instant messaging keeps people in immediate contact and video calling apps allow people in different parts of the world to share real-time experiences.

And while the global business world is thriving with this level of connectivity, it has also created greater hope for the success of romantic relationships between loved ones separated by geographical location.

Long distance relationships (LDR) are by no means a new concept as lovers have, throughout history, kept their affection alive through sheer determination and handwritten letters. Today, however, one of the only major challenges to making a LDR relationship work is finding the money to afford plane tickets to visit one another. All the other difficulties, such as mistrust and poor communication, are also experienced between couples living in the same place, although perhaps just heightened.

So, if your heart is with someone in another continent or time zone, you have very little reason to not pursue it. Plus, here are some top tips for keeping love alive across borders:

1. Regular communication

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When you are living in the same place as your partner and are able to see them regularly, communication during the day may not be consistent, and that is okay. If you are in a LDR, however, it becomes more important to have regular communication, just so you can feel connected to one another.

To ensure this level of contact, you should set aside dedicated time to communicate as often as possible. Use various mediums like video calls, texting, or voice messages to stay connected.

It also helps to have certain expectations as to when you communicate – such as at certain times during the day or a particular number of times a day, so that you can also feel like you have a routine. This does not mean you cannot communicate outside of these times, but just helps you to feel like your relationship is a constant.

2. Plan visits

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This is probably one of the most important things to do when in a relationship with someone in another country, even if you only manage to make it once or twice a year.

Arrange visits to see each other in person whenever feasible as having something to look forward to can strengthen your bond and give you both something to anticipate. These visits should be booked in advance so that you can both have your eyes on the same prize. It will keep your connection exciting.

Obviously, if you are able to plan a surprise visit every now and then, that would be the cherry on the top.

3. Maintain trust

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Trust is crucial in any relationship, but it becomes even more vital in a LDR as you can never really be sure what the other person is doing or with whom. Be open, honest, and transparent with each other to build a solid foundation of trust and be prepared to ease any insecurities you may each have.

If you are in such a relationship you are aware how difficult it can sometimes be to feel completely secure, so you should both extend your levels of patience and understanding to help one another feel at peace.

4. Share activities

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Even though you live in different countries or regions, you can still take part in activities together. This is an important factor in a LDR but has been made easier with technology.

You can watch movies or TV shows simultaneously, play online games, or read the same book. A number of apps are available to assist with this.

You can plan movie nights where you discuss a movie to watch together on a particular day and at a particular time, and prepare for these as if they were real dates. Some LDR couples even plan dinner dates where they set aside a date and time to share a meal together. This can be the same meal or a different one. Couples can either decide to cook it together – and talk through the cooking activity via video call, or order meals for delivery. They then conduct video conferencing calls where they eat and engage together as they would in a normal restaurant or around the same table.

Sharing experiences creates a sense of togetherness.

5. Surprise gestures

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Surprising your partner with thoughtful gestures can really help keep the romance and love alive, and with very little effort. It also lets your partner know that you are thinking of them.

Send them surprise gifts, letters, or care packages. Small acts of kindness can go a long way in making your partner feel loved and appreciated.

6. Develop mutual goals

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Set common goals for your relationship and work towards them together. This could include planning for the future, such as discussing eventual relocation or long-term plans. It can also be planning your next trip.

Just as it is important to have mutual goals that you work on as a couple, you should also remember to support each other in achieving your individual goals. Just because you are living in different places does not mean that you need to think and plan about your futures in silos. Encourage and keep each other on track to reach your individual goals.

7. Be supportive

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Not being able to go home to your partner after a long day at work, or not being able to have a physical shoulder to cry on can be a major challenge in a long-distance relationship. So you need to be there for each other in every way other than physically.

Just as you would do in a normal relationship, offer emotional support, lend a listening ear, and be a source of encouragement. Knowing you have each other's back builds a strong bond.

When your partner is going through a particularly difficult time make sure that you show them you are there for them. Regularly remind your partner how much they mean to you through sweet messages, virtual hugs, or verbal affirmations.

8. Effective communication

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This should not be confused with regular communication as the quality of your engagement and contact is more important than the quantity. Understanding as much as possible about your partner, such as their concerns, insecurities, and the way they see and react to things, is crucial as you will then be able to respond to them in a way that they need you to.

When you are going through tough times in your relationship – as every couple does – make sure you each communicate your feelings in calm and respectful ways so that you can resolve any problems. You will need to do this intentionally if you hope to have a healthy and successful LDR.

9. Intimate contact

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Just because you cannot physically connect with each other sexually does not mean that you need to eradicate this aspect from your relationship.

Of course, how sexual or intimate you get depends on how comfortable you are both individually and as a couple.

10. Nifty gifts to keep you connected

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A number of unique and meaningful products have been created in recent years to help loved ones feel connected to each other through technology. Some of these include:

  • bracelets and rings that light up when your partner presses a button on them. If you want to let your partner know you are thinking about them you simply press a button and the other person will have their bracelet light up and vibrate.
  • touch lamps allow you to show your partner that you are thinking of them. By simply touching the lamp in your home, your partner’s matching lamp with change colour
  • heartbeat pillows allow you to hear your partner’s heartbeat through the use of wristbands that pick up real-time heartbeat
  • if you are both comfortable, you could also purchase remote-controlled vibrators that can be controlled by your partner

A number of apps designed specifically for LDR couples allow partners to send special messages to each other as well as create customised postcards, play games, swap secret messages, be reminded of special anniversaries, and create countdowns, among other things. Some will even allow you to shake your phone when you think of your partner and have their phone vibrate when you do.