Helping you get through tough times

Long-distance relationships

Long distance relationships, whether with friends, family or people you’re going out with, are getting more and more common these days.

The far-flung corners of the world aren’t so far-flung anymore. People often move away for college or work. It can obviously be hard to be far away from people, but there are ways to make it work.
Girl texting

Positive aspects

Space and independence – spending time apart from your partner or friend is an opportunity to explore your interests and make plans just for you.

Working on other relationships makes you less dependent on your long distance relationship for support. See what is independence for more.

Communication – talking on the phone or emailing someone on the other side of the world is so easy now.

It can actually end up being a really good way to get to know them better. You might discover things about each other that would never have come up face-to-face, especially at the beginning of a relationship.

Appreciating it – being away from someone can help you appreciate them a bit more, making you less likely to take them for granted or just focus on the physical side of things.

Stronger relationship – the challenges and extra level of commitment involved can make a long distance relationship stronger.

Challenges

Physical distance

Not having your partner or friend in reach when you need them can be tough. Ask for support from another friend or family member. It’s not the same, but it can be a good substitute.

Loneliness

There will be times when you feel alone and not involved in your partner or friend’s life. Give them a call and check in.

Hearing their voice might help you work through the loneliness and look forward to seeing them again.

Jealousy

It’s fairly normal to worry your friend no longer needs you or that your partner wants to break up with you/see someone else because you can’t be physically present in their life.

If you’re feeling this way, talk to your other friends about it for some perspective and talk to the person you’re missing.

Sustaining a long distance relationship is pretty challenging and needs commitment, trust and honesty to work. See relationship problems for more.

Suggestions for making it work

Stay in touch

Keeping in contact takes extra effort. That said, phone calls, Facebook, Whatsapp, Viber and Skype make it way easier now.

Letters can be great too, everyone loves getting stuff in the post.  Try to make a habit of using video calls, a lot are free and you get to see their face.

Talk about the relationship

Bring them up in conversation. Keep reminding yourself and others that this person is still an important part of your life even if they live miles away.

Trust

It’s really important that both of you know that the other is staying faithful and being honest.

Plan ahead

Organising visits to your partner or friend well ahead of time can give you something to look forward to.

If you’re spending a few years away from someone, breaking the time up with visits can stop it from feeling like such a long time.

It’s really good to have the next visit planned before you leave each other, even if it’s not for ages.

Tough times

There will be tough times in any long distance relationship. You’ll argue and feel distant and you’ll miss them.

It’s more difficult to patch things up when you’re so far away, so arguments can seem worse than they really are. This doesn’t have to be the end of the relationship.

Weigh up pros and cons

Ask yourself whether the relationship is worth the heartache, given the fact you won’t always be apart from each other.

If you think it is, keep the lines of communication open and give it some time. If you’re not sure, talk to your partner or friend about your worries.

They’ll know how you feel. Being honest with them can help you get over a rough patch.

If you end up wanting to leave a long distance relationship, talk to someone you trust first, and make sure it’s really what you want.

Never end the relationship by writing an email or sending a letter. You owe the other person the chance to have a conversation over the phone about the step you’re taking.

Long distance relationships work for some people and not for others. It’s a pretty personal thing. But, surviving being apart and still together can be really worth the effort.

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This article was last reviewed on 25 March 2017

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