4 tips to create a successful long distance relationship
Otto and I are going on 11 years now. For the last 5 years we have not lived together.
Early on things moved fast, we were living together in just the first month of our relationship in 2007. It just felt right.
We lived together every day for 6 more years until one day when I was offered the opportunity to work in Raleigh, NC. I desperately wanted to leave Tampa, where we both lived and grew up, but I knew Otto was not as enthused about leaving. So when he came home that day I knew that our conversation could only go 2 ways, we would have to break up, which neither of us wanted, or make it work.
To my surprise, he not only said yes but was almost enthused about the idea and agreed to the move.
Although he could not work in North Carolina (he works in the Union and North Carolina is a "right to work" state), me moving there offered him the opportunity to travel for work and have a home base wherever I was.
Since then we have moved again, to NYC, and still maintain this arrangement. For us being apart has 2 big personal benefits:
- New places: He can travel to new places that I then get to visit.
- More money: He makes better wages than he had in Florida and I can make more money being in cities that help me grow my skills and career.
That said, being long distance can be challenging, especially at first. So here are our top tips for not only making long distance work but creating an even stronger relationship despite the distance.
1) Manage expectations, set ground rules
So many times people have either asked me or full on assumed that because we are apart we must sleep with other people. This is not the case for us. However, I mention this because its critical you have this conversation with your partner at the very beginning of your new long distance relationship.
So you're in an open relationship then, right? - Guy at a party
Discuss what your wants and needs are and how it would make you feel if X happned.
If your communication (which we will get to in a second) is healthy this conversation should be easy. You may even think that you don't need to have it but DO have it. Its better to make sure that expectations are set ahead of time.
2) Communication communication communication
I think I could write an entire article just about this, however lemme give you the cliff notes.
Text every morning and every night. These little messages not only are nice to see but lets your partner know you are thinking about them. We do this every single day, it just feels natural.
Use emojis. Yep, I know you might not like using them all the time but Im telling you, an emoji can soften the tone of your text or relay a vibe that is enjoyable. I dont think we used emojis in our text messages on a regular basis up until about 2 years ago. Prior to that we had a lot of unclear or what seemed like "mad toned" messages. It creates tension in your relationship that is SO easily avoidable with an emoji.
Your success in your relationship, at least to me, entirely depends on how well you communicate. Be transparent, share wants/needs/desires no matter how embarrassing, and be empathetic and accepting of your partner.
Your success in your relationship depends on how well you communicate.
A huge turning point in our relationship came when we were communicating so poorly that we are unintentionally hurting each other. That is when I remembered an old book I read in college, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. This book, I think we both agree, not only saved our relationship but made us better partners to each other. I don't care who you are, a read of this book will change how you look at your partner and give you better understanding of how they think.
3) Sexting 🍆🍑
We are sexual beings. You probably already know that. But sex is also an emotional need.
Distance is no reason to not keep the fire alive.
Casual sexting with a tease or a photo is a way to keep things hot. It will keep you both feeling super close despite the distance and, not to mention, make things super exciting when you finally DO get to see each other.
4) Have an idea when you will see each other again
Having an idea when you are going to see each other again helps mentally break the distance between you. When you have a date in mind you can better visualize when you will be together again.
Otto and I will often plan to meet in a city a few weeks in the future or perhaps he will come home (to NYC) for a bit. We often will plan out the next time we will see each other on the last day we are together. Its a good way to mentally prep for the distance and look forward to our next randevu.
We try to meet up at least once a month but it really depends on whats going on. I think the longest we went was 3 months which is WAY too long for me. Your time arrangements will depend on the distance of your long distance relationship and finances.
But when you can meet, do it!
Being long distance isnt easy but we have made it work and have become a stronger couple year over year. Were not perfect by any means but we have become better people though being together and I know that will continue.
Anything I missed? Have a question?