Long-distance relationships are tough, there's no way around that. A lot of people would tell you they never work, but we can speak to the contrary from personal experience.
Truthfully, the key to a solid long-distance relationship is the same as any other relationship, it has to be between the right people. That said, here are 10 tips to help your relationship last across state lines.
10. Don't resort to a single form of communication.
In the world of smartphones, it's really easy to fall into the habit of just texting with each other or primarily talking on the phone. Maybe you even talk mostly over social media or e-mail, so you can chat from the computer. It's important to be consistently communicating (more on that later), but it's even better to be able to talk to your significant other in as many different ways as possible. Texting, calling, FaceTime, Skype, social media -- they all have various pros and cons for keeping a relationship intact. Use a few of them together, and you're going to be a lot better off than resorting to solely Facebook messaging your significant other.
9. Do set aside time for each other.
It's really easy to get carried away with your own life when you're in a long-distance relationship. You can always text your partner while you're busy at work, but it's not the same as when you're actually focused on the conversation with your significant other. Whether it's a phone call before bed or a Skype session every Sunday, blocking off a specific chunk of time to make sure you have a regular chance for uninterrupted conversation can make all of the difference in the world.
8. Don't underestimate the importance of seeing each other in person.
A few months at a time might not seem like a terribly long time to go without seeing each other, but it'll feel like it after a couple weeks. Whether you're seeing each other every few weeks or every few months, don't pass up on an opportunity to spend time actually with your partner. Sure, contact via technology is cool, but spending time in the same room as someone is really where you'll find out if they're really the one to spend your life with or if you hate them after a few hours together.
7. Do lay down ground rules.
Different people have different expectations in a long-distance relationship. There's no way for you to know what your partner expects, and no way for your partner to know what you're looking for. The easiest way to handle it is to just set some basic rules toward the beginning of the relationship. If you're honest about what you want and don't want your partner doing, it's going to be that much easier for them to listen to you, and vice versa.
6. Don't take what you have for granted.
When your significant other is on the opposite side of the country, it's easy to forget how much they mean to you. If you're willing to date someone who you have to get on a plane to see, they're probably worth an awful lot to you. Don't let yourself throw away what you have because of something (or someone) stupid and fleeting. Sure, your partner might be willing to stick with you through thick and thin in a long-distance relationship, but that doesn't mean you should always assume they'll be there if you do enough dumb stuff.
5. Do meet the people your partner is spending time with.
If you know whom your significant other is hanging out with, you're likely going to be a lot more comfortable with them. Unless your partner is going out with people who they shouldn't be seeing, getting to know the people who they're spending their days with (at work, socially, etc.) will prevent your imagination from taking over and considering the worst case scenario every time you know they're going out.
4. Don't stop the conversation.
Regardless of how busy you may be, it's important to be in communication with your partner as much as possible. You don't have to talk to them for every minute of every day, but you should try to keep a steady stream of communication going whenever you can. If you're constantly in contact with the person, you won't have to wonder what they're up to, and if you can't keep a conversation going when you're far apart from each other, good luck finding things to talk about when you see your partner every day.
3. Do be honest.
Let's face it, you might think you're able to get away with doing something you're not supposed to do when you're in a long-distance relationship, but that's generally not the case. If you can't be honest with each other, you better be a politician-level liar if you're expecting to keep your relationship together without telling the truth. In our opinion, it simply makes everything easier if you're just open and honest with your partner. It's a lot easier to forgive a little slip up when it happens than six months later when your significant other finds out via social media.
2. Don't do things that upset your significant other.
This should kind of go without saying, but if you know that something specifically makes your partner unhappy, you probably shouldn't do it. If your partner doesn't want you hanging out with people of the opposite sex, you should take their feelings into consideration before going against their wishes. We're not saying you have to follow every rule and guideline your significant other desires, but you should at least consider how it'll make them feel before you do something you know they'd disagree with. And if you really aren't on board with what they want, then maybe it's not meant to be.
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1. Do trust your partner.
Even if you're completely honest with your significant other, it won't hold much water if they don't trust you. Long-distance relationships are based around trust. If you can't trust the person you're with, things are never going to work out. We're not saying you should put absolute faith in someone from the start, but if you're going to have a committed relationship from a distance with them, make sure you trust them enough to stick with it.