Being in a relationship is hard. Being in a long-distance relationship is even harder. You can read all the tips and tricks you want, but I truly believe that it boils down to three simple but crucial things that, if done right by both partners, can create a beautiful love — no matter the distance. Here are three tips for how to make a long-distance relationship work.

Communication

When one part of the couple is thousands of miles away from the other, this one can be a little difficult. There is no way to sit down face to face and work things out or say what you need. However, it is the most crucial tip, especially when you’re in a long-distance relationship.

Communication comes in many forms: phone calls, letters, Skype, packages, cards, texts, etc. Make time to do these, and make them meaningful. Your partner is not there to physically see what is happening in your life, so it is your job to tell them. Let your partner know the details of what is happening to you on the daily and how you are feeling about it. Learn to be an open book, and be comfortable telling them the ins and outs of your day.

Along with that, communicate about the relationship itself. Your wants and needs are important, and so are theirs. It is essential to tell them when something is bothering you or when something they did made you happy. Again, they are not there to see how you are physically reacting to their actions, so it is important to tell them.

On that note, be a good listener. Communicating is not only about speaking but also listening to your partner’s wants, needs and feelings, too. Learn when to speak and when to listen.

Little Things Mean a Lot

Couples in long-distance relationships understand that the little things mean a lot. There is no room to take anything for granted. Remember those little things, and do them often. Remember at the beginning of the relationship when you sent all those cards and letters? Remember when you posted a photo on Facebook to publicly announce how amazing they are? And whatever happened to those spontaneous phone calls you used to make to your partner? Keep doing those things. And when your partner responds by doing the little things for you, appreciate the heck out of them! Use your good communication skills to make sure your partner knows that they are appreciated and their actions did not go unnoticed.

Be There … Without Actually Being There

The best advice I have ever been given about relationships in general is that you have to be best friends. Not only should that foundation be established at the beginning, but also it should also be nurtured throughout the relationship. The same applies to long-distance relationships.

A big part of being someone’s best friend is always being there for them. This is slightly challenging when you’re thousands of miles apart. When something goes wrong, there’s really no way to give your partner a hug or let them cry it out on your shoulder. Physically being there is nearly impossible. But don’t fret! There are other ways to be there without actually being there.

Recently, my boyfriend’s dog had to be put down, and I never really realized how difficult it would be to comfort him until I had to. It hurt to know that he was hurting and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I could not physically comfort him. So instead, I had to think outside the box for others way of comfort. I sent cards, ordered him a pizza (yes, you can do that from another state!), let him cry whenever he needed to and just listened.

Be your partner’s best friend, their ride or die. Always be there for them through their ups and downs, even if you aren’t able to physically be there with them.

I have come to find that these three tips are the foundation to a successful long-distance relationship. I always like to think of my long-distance relationship as just a regular relationship but on steroids. You always have to go the extra mile and think outside the box to accomplish things that are a piece of cake in a regular relationship. But that is the beautiful thing about this: Everything, including your feelings for each other, are magnified and even more intense just because of the nature of the relationship. Distance really does make the heart grow fonder.

Written by Breanne Somach
Breanne has been writing and snapping photos ever since she can remember. She is studying at Columbia College in Chicago to be a journalist and photographer. Her boyfriend, Taylor, is in the U.S. Navy. She writes about their long-distance relationship on her website, hisfirstmate.com.

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