In this new era of connectivity, we have more opportunities than ever to contact loved ones whenever we want. Even though we can see and hear someone in real-time, nothing can replace sitting down one-on-one with a person, especially in a romantic relationship. So how do you make a long-distance relationship work when you’re both too busy with work to meet face-to-face?
Even if you live with your significant other, if you travel a lot for work and your schedules don’t line up, you may end up feeling more apart. This pattern of disconnect could lead to mutual feelings of neglect.
Here are some tips to making sure you make your relationship work long-term, even if you aren’t geographically close.
How to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work
Good Old-Fashioned Phone Call
If you only ever get the chance to text, you aren’t communicating in real-time. This makes it easy to feel a sense of disconnect. When you have a free five minutes, give them a call. Just connecting with them to chat about the mundane details of the day will make you feel closer together.
Chances are they won’t be able to pick up. That doesn’t mean you can’t leave a meaningful message for them to check their voicemail later. Hearing your partner’s voice should be an exciting and calming experience.
Wouldn’t you feel special if your partner took time out of their day to leave you a voice mail?
Keep Your Communication Logged
If you’re both busy, you might both drop the ball on communication. Before you know it, you haven’t heard from them in three days and then you’re fighting about a lack of communication. But it’s a two-way street. And you won’t be able to fault someone for a lack of effort if they didn’t know what your expectations of them were.
Keep a journal of communication to give yourself a more tangible reminder to reach out. Talk with your partner about your mutual communication goals. They might be fine with one phone call a week, but you might expect more. If they don’t know what you need emotionally, they can’t fulfill it.
Set dates and times for real-time communication and log in your journal whether or not the date and time were kept. Let your partner know before you start logging, otherwise, they might feel uncomfortable with you taking notes on the relationship.
Keep Date Night Alive
Long-distance couples fall prey to the same struggle that all long-term couples do.
They forget to prioritize date night. When you’ve been with someone for so long, you might forget the wooing you both prioritized in the dating relationship phase.
Just because you have a long-distance relationship doesn’t mean you can’t keep wooing each other!
Schedule more than just a video call. Plan out dinner and a movie. Promise to both get Thai food and use a video call service like Skype to screenshare a movie. It’s not snuggling up on the couch next to your partner under a blanket, but you’re staying connected in more ways than just conversation.
Communicate Shut-Down Times
One problem people in long-distance relationships experience is miscommunication. Someone could misinterpret a prolonged silence, and while they spiral into anger or fear that they’re receiving the silent treatment, the other partner was only taking a nap. They wake up to a battery of worried texts and calls, confused why the other person got upset.
When you’re in different parts of the world, especially those with different time zones, communicate when you’ll be away from your phone. Tell them good night so they know you won’t respond to their texts.
Spend time with your partner, and communicate when you won’t be available to talk so they won’t feel ignored or forgotten.
Communication Isn’t Just Key — It’s Everything
The most important part of the day to day success of a long-distance relationship is closing the physical distance with communication. Each partner needs to feel like a priority. No matter how much scheduling you do, if you keep putting work before date night or regular video calls, you send the message that they are something that can be put on hold.
If you really care about your partner, communicate your feelings through language and back up your language with action.
Author, Artist, Photographer.
Sarah Margaret is an artist who expresses her love for feminism, equality, and justice through a variety of mediums: photography, filmmaking, poetry, illustration, song, acting, and of course, writing.
She owns Still Poetry Photography, a company that showcases her passion for capturing poetic moments in time. Instead of poetry in motion, she captures visual poetry in fractions of a second, making cherished keepsakes of unforgettable moments.
She is the artist behind the Still Poetry Etsy shop, which houses her illustrations and bespoke, handmade items. She is the author of intricacies are just cracks in the wall, a narrative poetry anthology that follows a young woman discovering herself as she emerges from an abusive relationship.