Coping With a Long Distance Relationship

Written by on July 3, 2012 in Relationships - No comments | Print this page


It’s not for everyone.  Many relationships have been broken apart because of the distance.  This special type of relationship needs two willing participants who have magnificent skills of adapting to challenging situations.

The single best predictor of whether two people will get together is physical proximity, also known as the proximity effect (Brehm, 2002).  That might be true, but maintaining a long distance relationship is not impossible.  It might take a bit more work, so this isn’t for lazy people.  The driving force to want to maintain this relationship is having enough desire for the person to want to make it work and know that the wait is worth it in the end.  You have to have a strong drive and motivation to put in the work to keep someone this important in your life.

Here are some essentials to deal with the fact that your sweetie is hundreds or thousands of miles away:

  • Communicate You already knew this one.  Communication is essential for all relationships, including the proximal ones.  Take advantage of the fact that we live at a technologically advanced world and skype, text, e-mail, facetime (on iPhone), etc.  Texting him the most mundane parts of your day (like how you are on lunch break) helps couples feel intertwined with each other.

 There are no excuses.  Long distance relationships are typically the hardest for those who are not so adept at communicating.  Don’t deal with it if you have to practically beg him to show some interest in your life by telling him to call you.  There will be someone else more skilled at communicating AND who is willing to go the extra mile.

  • Do stuff together.  How is this possible, you ask?  If you really think about it, couples don’t spend every second talking in proximal relationships.  They watch tv together, eat together, and sleep in the same bed.  Perhaps it isn’t possible to sleep next to each other, but you can at least watch a movie together or play a game online.  Let the webcam run so that you can see your partner.  You won’t be satisfying your sense of touch, but you can make use of your other senses like sight.
  • Give a personal object of yours.  Besides having a photo of your significant other, you can give maybe a t-shirt of yours or a locket.  When they miss you, he/she can be comforted with the idea of having some form of your presence.
  • Be flexible.  One of you might become ultra-busy.  Let your partner know beforehand if that happens.  Communication is more important than ever and even one little text here and there as you walk to and from work or on lunch break will make a difference.  All relationships take compromise.  No matter how busy you are, if someone or something is really important to you, you will find the time.
  • Be positive.  Now is your chance to grow as individuals.  Couples often break up because they need to “find themselves.”  This won’t be as much of a problem for you.
  • Appreciate and put in the effort.  Plan a visitation schedule.  Every relationship takes effort.  Love is an action verb, so show it.  Appreciate the little amount of time that you do spend with him/her.  If you actually have the willingness to participate in this difficult type of relationship, that means you love him/her enough to want to put in the effort.

Long distance relationships are not for the faint of heart.  There will be many challenges and temptations.  Only you can tell if he/she is worth it.


About the Author

M. Yu

M. Yu is a single, working professional who lives in New York City. She has eclectic interests, ranging from cancer research (her day job) to traveling to writing for the Relationship Category on QLR. She has an active dating life and views every life experience as a learning lesson. View all posts about healthy relationships.