Advice: Long-Distance Dating

Distance: sometimes it makes the heart grow fonder, sometimes it causes the heart to wander.

Here are some tips for making long-distance dating work for you.

How far for how long?

Long-distance relationships fail when the distance is for an indeterminate period of time. Talk honestly about the distance: Is it temporary? Could one of you eventually move if the relationship got more serious?

If you know when the distance will end, it can help you persevere when the distance starts to get to you.

Then close the gap.

Close the gap (temporarily) as often as possible, then close it (permanently) as soon as possible.

Take turns visiting one another as often as your schedules and finances allow, even if that means meeting somewhere near the halfway mark. Prioritizing seeing each other in person when you can while you wait for the day when you can finally live in the same city.

Schedule dates.

You’re not going to casually run into each other or see each other when your social circles overlap, so you need to be even more intentional about dating one another. Schedule regular Skype and phone dates — not just ten minutes here or there.

Watch a movie together over Skype. Start a book club for two. Make the same recipe and compare notes while you eat “together.” Don’t let dates become an overthought just because you can’t physically go out for dinner together.

Mix it up.

Don’t limit your long-distance conversations to one medium. Write handwritten letters. Send long emails. Make a quick call just to say, “I love you.” (If you know how to send smoke signals, do that, too.) Let your partner know that you’re thinking of him/her — and that he/she is worth the time and effort to send a thoughtful care package in the mail.

Include your significant other in the details.

It’s easy to feel left out when you’re not part of someone’s day-to-day. Find ways to make your long-distant significant other feel like a greater part of your life far away. Maybe provide them with a cute flowchart of your work colleagues so he/she can follow your work stories better. Text your partner a hilarious review when you leave the movies with friends. Find a fly in your soup? Send him/her a photo with a fun caption.

Try to include your boyfriend/girlfriend in the details of your life. If you lived closer, these small things would be communicated more organically. When you’re dating long-distance, you need to be intentional about making your partner feel present when they’re not.