Internships, summer sales and study abroad trips are notorious for stretching relationships across countries and oceans. However, you can make it work with the right attitude and a few tips from those who have made it out of the woods, no matter the distance.
Make a Game Plan
Have realistic expectations of how your time apart will go. Talk to your significant other about how often you want to communicate, if you will travel to see each other, what your goals for your relationship are and if you are going to see other people while apart. Talking about this early enough can help you determine if a long-distance relationship will be worth it for you. This way, when things start to get hard you can reevaluate instead of starting from scratch.
Make Time for Facetime
Nothing stagnates a relationship faster than ineffective communication. While texting and sending Snapchats can be a good way to stay connected throughout your day, nothing compares to talking face to face, or in this case, face to screen to face. Time differences and busy schedules can make this hard, but for any long-distance relationship to work it should be a priority.
Erin Dixon, a dance major from Maine dealt with a long-distance relationship spanning from Maine to Hawaii for four months. During that time, she really noticed the difference between just texting and having a face to face conversation.
“The problem with texts is that there is no emotion or voice inflection attached, so it can be hard to understand them on an emotional level,” she said. “When you Facetime, you can see the proof of their love on their face.”
Find a Hobby; Stay Busy
Too much time alone with your thoughts can be a bad thing. You don’t want to make yourself sick from missing your loved one or worrying about losing them. Staying busy can be a great way to grow yourself as a person. Even a happy relationship will often make partners forget about their friends, hobbies, and interests. Don’t forget that people like people who have interests. Take advantage of your time apart to get to know yourself, make new friends, and find new things you enjoy doing. This will give you plenty of things to talk about on your Facetime dates, keeping you from exhausting the same old topics.
Reassurance and Trust Are Key
It can be extremely difficult to stay calm and assured about your relationship when your partner is far away. Doubt and fear can easily come between you if they aren’t addressed. Remind your partner of your feelings for them often, and don’t be afraid to voice your own fears. Trust is important. Constant questioning and worrying can drive away romance and make your relationship not seem worth it. Your time separated will eventually end, and use the time apart to really get to know each other in a different way than you would if you were together.
Make a Gesture
Surprising your significant other with a visit can be great way to keep the romance alive, but simple gestures like sending a letter or a care package can have a similar effect. Show your appreciation for your partner, even if they are far away.
Make the Relationship Progress
You don’t want to see your partner at the end of your separation and realize you haven’t grown closer together. Don’t be afraid to address the hard topics just because of distance. Make an effort to support each other and try to avoid being overly critical. Katelyn Stiles, a news media major from Iowa, got married to her sweetheart after a three-month-long separation, while her partner was working on an internship.
“While you may be missing your cuddle time with your partner, take advantage of the time to learn how to really communicate and show your love in a way that isn’t physical,” she said.
A long-distance relationship can be a powerful tool of bringing people together if both parties put in the effort. Stay focused on why you decided long-distance was worth the effort, and not on what factors could potentially pull you apart. Before you know it, your loved one will be back, and your separation will fade and become nothing more than a cherished memory.
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