How to Ace the Long-Distance Relationship Game

Alright, fellow aficionados of long-distance love, let’s cut to the chase. Long-distance relationships – they’re like maintaining a houseplant; you’ve got to give it some extra TLC, but when you see it thriving, it’s a thing of beauty. In a world where the only hugs are virtual and ‘goodnight’ means via text, keeping the flame alive can be as challenging as finding a needle in a haystack. Fear not, love warriors, because in this blog, we’re serving up a sassy guide on acing the long-distance game. So, get your Wi-Fi and your heart emojis ready, because we’re about to sprinkle some sass into this LDR magic

Surprise, Surprise

Who doesn’t love a good surprise? Long-distance relationships thrive on these unexpected moments. Snail mail a quirky package, schedule a surprise visit (if you can swing it), or plan a virtual movie night where you sync up your Netflix binges. These surprises keep the sparks flying and make the distance seem a little less daunting.

Go on a date

Just because you aren’t physically together doesn’t mean you should skip out on date night. There are plenty of ways you two can do this.

  1. Video dinner date – set up a time for you two to both have a conversation over a meal, even if it’s your lunch and your partner’s dinner. Turn off all other distractions and have this time set aside for you and your partner. Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype are all great platforms for video calls. 
  2. Movie Night – there are helpful apps and websites such as Gaze, where you and your partner connect via the website, and watch a movie at the same time as one another. Or, just agree on a movie you both have (whether a DVD or through Netflix) and press play at the same time.

Communicate like a pro

Let’s talk communication, shall we? In a long-distance relationship, your phone becomes your MVP. No, seriously, it’s your lifeline to that special someone. So, whether it’s sending good morning memes, having scheduled video calls, or leaving voice notes like you’re the lead singer of a long-distance band, effective communication is your secret weapon. Keep the conversation sassy, sprinkle in some inside jokes, and watch that bond grow stronger despite the miles.

You or your partner might need to travel to a different country where phone bills would just be outrageously high to keep texting and talking on the phone. Don’t worry there are plenty of apps to help with that – all you need is an internet connection.

  1. Couple/Skype/FaceBook Messenger – You can talk to each other (phone calls or text messages), send photos, and draw together. It’s easy to set aside ten minutes of your day to bond with your partner.
  2. Any “with friends” app! These apps are great ways to play games with your partner. Scrabble, chess, pictionary – they’re all now in app form. Playing games together keeps the playful and fun aspects of your bond alive.
  3. Create and keep up with common interests – whether that’s reading the same book, watching the same shows, or listening to similar bands. Find things that you both enjoy so you can talk about these interests and feel connected, even when you’re apart.

Keep the Intimacy Alive

Sometimes it might feel difficult to be intimate with distance between you.

  1. Plan out weekend visits – you get to physically be around each other, and it gives you both something to look forward to. During these visits, try to have an intimacy goal – whether that’s physical intimacy, getting to know your partner’s friends, seeing your partner’s favourite spots (fun spots, or where they go to unwind), or just spending the weekend doing your partner’s regular routine to get a deeper sense of who they are.

Getting to see each other is great, but there will be big gaps between these visits. In the meantime,you  keep your intimacy alive by:

  1. Sending photos as often as you can – of yourself, of what you’re doing. These are little glimpses into your every day life to help your partner feel connected to you.
  2. Send care packages. Big or small, sending each other little bits of your life and a handwritten note will make you feel more connected. You could send a new recipe you’ve tried out and loved, a small bottle of essential oil you’ve been using to help destress, a bottle of your new favorite beer, or a little vial of sand from your favorite beach.
  3. Make time for your sexual routine – whether that includes using your phone, webcam, photos, whatever you are comfortable with. Make sure you are keeping up with communication on the topic. Don’t push your partner to doing something they are not comfortable with.

Keep Up with Yourself

Yes, make time for your partner, but also use this as an opportunity to self-explore and be there for yourself. If this is a temporary trip – you may not get this opportunity again. Go sightseeing and take in everything you can about the place you are visiting. If you’ve moved to a new city without your partner (or you two have always lived apart) – make sure you get out and make friends. You don’t want your partner missing out on life because they are constantly just making time for you – just like when you are physically in the same city and have separate interests, keep that up when you are apart as well.

Don’t Let Other People’s Opinions of Your Relationship Get to You

Not everyone can do long distance – and plenty of people will tell you that they don’t see how it’s possible. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible for you.

On par with this, don’t suppress your emotions. At times, you will feel sad or frustrated about the distance. Don’t pretend those emotions aren’t there, recognize them and acknowledge them. Keep a journal for when these emotions hit, call up a supportive friend, go for a run, scream into your pillow – whatever it is you feel like will help you work through it. Sometimes your partner won’t be able to be available to comfort you, having something that reminds you of them (a t-shirt, keychain, socks, etc.) will help you feel comfort and connection during those times.

We’ve put together a list of apps to help you keep the intimacy alive and the relationship bond strong, check it out!

Article by Sarah O’Leary, AMFT#123449 (supervised by Jennine Estes, LMFT#47653)

Help! My Husband is Getting Deployed

Can your love go the distance with the distance in miles between you? This is a question surprisingly many couples are faced with in today’s society. With thousands of men and women in the military on their scheduled deployments, and spouses seeking jobs outside their county due to market declines, this is much more common now than ever. So we ask our self….. Can we make it? How do we make it? And the ever infamous question of, “will he stay faithful?” These questions can and will taunt an individual all the days of their lives if they do not have a good solid foundation in their relationship.

As a therapist I can confidently state that YES, you can make it, if you work hard at it. Just like anything else, staying focused on your partner or spouse and communicating with them, will allow both of you to feel as if the distance is merely a set back.

husband is getting deployedDeployments are not forever, but they sure can seem that way. So my suggestion during this time is too stay involved in the activities that surround the other military wives. It can start to feel much like a support group for those women who are in the same situation. Have coffee together, go on walks together, and talk. Openly discuss your thoughts and fears with these women, because if any one truly understands what you are going through, it is them. Some of them you may find have been through multiple deployments and seem to be a pro and handling their inner fears and thoughts. Regardless of this being a first event or one of many, the feelings never really change. And keeping yourself intertwined with women who have dealt with the same issues will allow you to understand how to cope with the distance.

While your spouse is away, start journaling or writing. If you have the time, try to write a letter a day or a letter a week, and send them
journaling off to him. Every time he receives a letter or care package from you, he will feel close to you. He will feel as if the bond is still there and ultimately he’ll know that you are constantly thinking of him. Emailing and sending pictures to him are also great ways to stay in contact. Just remember that while he is away his time on the computer and writing letters is very sporadic, so don’t get discouraged if
the responses are severely delayed. Women tend to let their minds wander to dark places and you have to be cognizant of the fact that he is working. Don’t always expect the worst in every situation. Stay positive and be patient. That email, letter, or phone call will come.

Dating Long Distance

Long distance love can be difficult, but it’s not necessarily a relationship death sentence. If you are really committed to someone, then there are ways to sustain your connection until you can live in the same city. Some couples maintain a long distance relationship for years, especially when professional opportunities don’t make it easy to get close. Here are some ways to stay connected to your loved one even when the miles keep you apart.

Use Technology

With Skype, FaceTime, and plenty of other ways to stay in touch – you should always have a way to see your partner’s face when you want to, even when you’re far away and dating long distance. Use all of the technology at your disposal to stay close. Talking on the phone is a good way to keep in touch, of course, but sometimes video chatting can help you feel better about your contact – nothing beats seeing a familiar smile at the end of a long day or seeing a look of empathy on your partner’s face. Best of all – programs like Skype are free.

Be Romantic

When you aren’t there to give daily affirmations in person, it becomes even more important to extend romantic gestures. Whether it’s a small romantic note sent through the mail, or ordering your sweetheart’s favorite lunch and having it delivered to her as a surprise, these gestures will help keep the romance alive. Sometimes a lack of physical touch or closeness can make it feel like you’re drifting apart, so sincere romantic gestures are a must when you can’t be in the same city all of the time.

Alternate Travel

When one partner is burdened with all of the travel, he or she is bound to get exhausted. Hours in the car or on a plane every week, or even every few weeks, can get tiring and make it hard to have energy once you’re finally together. If you can, alternate who travels, or agree to meet in the middle. Splitting the travel is fair and it shows your partner that you’re capable of compromise in the relationship.

Make the Small Things Count

Appreciate the small moments when you are together, and pay full attention to each other. When you’re dating long distance you can’t take the small things for granted, like the chance to get up early and go to breakfast together. It’s also important not to take small interference too seriously. Sometimes family emergencies will mean canceling a scheduled phone call, or travel plans will need to be changed because of an unexpected work event. Try to roll with the punches, so that you can enjoy each other when you eventually get together.

Dating long distance isn’t always easy, but it can work. Once your bond is more secure, you can consider moving to be with your partner — or asking him to move with you. While you are still getting to know each other, however, it often makes sense to date without uprooting your entire life. With these guidelines, you can strengthen your bond and show affection even when you’re not physically together.

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It’s been nearly 20 years since I first became interested in studying psychotherapy. I began practicing the scientific approaches to psychotherapy in 1997 and I was hooked from then on.

I earned my Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family psychotherapy in 2004 and I am currently licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist MFT (LMFT#47653) with the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS).

I focus my practice upon the empirically-based and proven research methods of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

I’ve seen these techniques consistently get results and I truly believe they are the most effective at creating positive, long-term change.

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