How to make a long distance relationship work: The three key rules to follow

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One of the drawbacks of online dating is that you might meet someone who lives many miles away, perhaps even halfway across the world. So what are you to do if you find yourself developing strong feelings for someone geologically out of reach? EliteSingles asked psychotherapist Hilda Burke for her tips on how to make a long distance relationship work.

We’ve all heard the saying: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” But whether you’re struggling to keep you’re separated by work or live in a rural area, if you’re struggling to keep a long distance relationship afloat, bear in mind these three rules to ensure your love blooms whilst you are apart.

Regular communication

It is important to prioritise the time you spend communicating with your partner because whilst you are physically apart, chatting on the phone or video calling may be the only way to maintain your long distance relationship. One advantage to this though, as Hilda points out, is that you’ll be forced to communicate on a whole new level. She says, “you can’t just flop in front of telly and zone out, you have to communicate properly with one another – you really need to make an effort to bridge that physical gap.”

Although some couples may choose to speak to one another every day, do not to stress over keeping in constant contact when you have other commitments. Hilda identifies that communication, “doesn’t need to be every day as that itself can become quite a pressure, particularly when you are located in different time zones.”

Your relationship should never be seen as a hardship, rather you should find time to talk when it is best for both of you.

However, if you struggle to talk as often as you’d like, one way to keep the romance alive could be to write love letters to one another. Hilda believes that letters are, “a wonderful way to foster intimacy, no matter how close or far from each other you are.”

Date night doesn’t only have to be whilst you’re physically together. Try setting aside some time to concurrently watch a film together. Hilda suggests using the app Letsgaze to make this easy.

Plan for the future

When you are spending time together plan your next trip to see one another, in that case, you’ll always have something to look forward to. Hilda thinks it is best to “Try and meet at least once every three months – any longer and it’s just too much time apart.” Additionally, if it is possible, try to spend longer than a weekend together because this will better reflect the reality of everyday life with your partner.

However, your planning shouldn’t just be for the next visit; it is important to talk about what your intentions are for the relationship in the long term. Are you thinking about marriage and children? Are you happy to stay in a long distance relationship for many years or would you like to have a limit to how long you live apart? Hilda thinks that, “in any relationship both parties should have roughly the same goal as to what they want the relationship to be…it’s good to have the comfort of a sense of a shared vision.” Planning for your future together is vital to strengthening and making your long distance relationship work.

But what if all this planning makes you feel as though all spontaneity in the relationship is lost? If you want to make a grand gesture of love, what could be more romantic than surprising your partner with an unplanned visit?

Read more from Hilda: How to stop comparing yourself to others and their relationships

Avoid feeling bitter whilst you’re apart

Don’t let the fact that you spend most of your time apart be a strain on your relationship. When you are together make sure that you show your partner what you get up to in your independent life. Introduce them to your friends and colleagues, and vice versa, as this can help to avoid any pangs of jealousy you may feel when you wonder what your partner is up to.

If you’re feeling frustrated that you cannot be with your loved one, Hilda recommends to, “Get perspective…You’re feeling irritated at the distance between you and sometimes there is a risk of taking that out on them. When you feel like this, take a breath – in fact, take several and notice how you’re projecting your feelings of frustration onto them and blaming them unfairly.”

She advises to, “Live your life as fully as you can where you are and try to be in the moment. Wishing the time away and putting your life on hold until you next see your beloved will only lead to resentment…When times get tough remember how wonderful it is to have someone you love and how the fact that you are missing them just goes to prove that.”

With these rules in mind, the physical distance between the two of you should prove no obstacle to building an enduring relationship. Remember the saying “if a relationship survives the distance, it can survive anything.”

If you’re ready to build a long distance relationship with someone special, join EliteSingles today.

About Hilda Burke

Hilda Burke is a West-London based integrative psychotherapist, who has been working with clients on a broad range of issues, including bereavement, infertility, addiction, abuse and depression for four years.

About the author: Esther Moriarty

Esther Moriarty is an editor for EliteSingles.

See more articles written by Esther Moriarty