How to maintain a long distance relationship

Lili Weinstein

Graphic by Samantha Huguely

So, I heard you met the love of your life. I also heard that they’re 300 miles away. Now, whether this relationship ends in five months, nine months or it never does (if only), here’s some advice you can follow to make it as fulfilling as it can be:


Be absolutely sure you and your partner want to do this. Long distance relationships are notably hard, and no one is blaming you for not wanting, or being able, to do it. You can’t have a long distance relationship without communication, and communicating a want (or will) to have one is the first step.


Make it clear the love is still there. One last point on communication (wow, this seems like a Really Big Deal). In long distance relationships, it can seem as if the love is fading because it might be harder to show it or you might forget because when you’re together you don’t necessarily have to go out of your way. Just let your partner know you’re thinking about them; whether through saying “I love you” all the time, sending them a picture of something you can’t wait to do with them on campus, or just saying “Hi, I’m super busy, but this happened and it made me think of you.”


Be understanding. This, again, ties into communication (gee, that seems like a theme, doesn’t it?). You two are now living completely separate lives and until they merge again (when you’re on break, if your partner comes to school at UNF, you join them at their school, they don’t go to school but you end up living together, they or you come back from serving in the armed forces, etc). You both have to understand that even though you want to be together, you can’t right now, and it would be unfair (and unhealthy) to force yourself or your partner to stay at home and do nothing just so you can spend time with them. Go out with your friends just like you normally would, but make it clear you’re not ignoring them.


Talk openly and honestly. Just to reiterate the point, communication is the foundation of all relationships, but especially long distance ones. It might seem easier, or even better, to ignore problems for the sake of the relationship, but as in any case, that is exactly what would make them fail. And don’t wait to bring it up next time you see each other, either.


Be willing to make time sacrifices. And if you can’t, be transparent and let your partner know why and what you’re doing. You don’t have to tell them when you’re pooping or eating, but make sure they know when you’re heading into a busy day at the office or with classes or if you have a project to finish that requires all of your attention and the attention of those in your group. Make time to Skype or Facetime and make sure your partner still feels like a part of your life, just as you should theirs. And make the time to visit too! Even if it’s just for two or three days, it can be the best two or three days — even if you guys never leave the house. Being together is what matters, not how you spend the time when you are.


Find something to do together. My last long distance boyfriend and I played a lot of Don’t Starve Together, a multiplayer survival game. And I mean a lot. We both like video games, so it was easy for us to find one we both enjoyed. If you and your partner aren’t into video games, though, you can watch a movie or start a show together (but one of you will inevitably watch ahead and that will cause strife and it’ll be awful BECAUSE YOU TRUSTED THEM). And if you’re both in college, do homework together on Skype! It might be hard at first because you keep distracting each other, but eventually it’ll be just like doing homework next to them.


Remember what it’s like to be together. Just because you’re an hour or three away doesn’t mean that you don’t remember what it’s like to be with them. Being in a relationship is special and intimate on a level that only the two people in the relationship understand, so it’s important to hold on to that. You’re still growing and learning together, about the world and about each other, even if you aren’t physically in the same place. Spring semester doesn’t lend itself very easily to three day weekends (there’s only one day off, hurricane season has come and gone, and though we can hope, there will probably never be a snow day in Florida). Spring break is all the way in March. With limited money or travel resources, being away for a long time can become taxing on both people. But if you remember how awesome it is to be together instead of being upset that you aren’t, you will both feel better.

Long distance relationships, as well as relationships in general, are only as hard as you make them. Relationships add joy to life, but shouldn’t burden it. All it takes is communication and love, and if you’re in a committed relationship, the love is already there.

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