2 Years in a LDR: what you need to know to make it work!

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Anytime the topic of long distance dating comes up in conversation with strangers, so many people say, “Wow, I give you so much credit. I have no idea how you do it.” Or, “I wouldn’t last a month dating someone who I couldn’t see every week.”

Needless to say, I’ve learned so much about my relationship and about myself throughout my long distance relationship. Now, I’m here to share some of the tips I’ve learned over the years that will help you if you’re in a LDR, too.

Commit to communication:

This is more important than any other tip out there. A relationship doesn’t work without communicating. Talk often. Send messages during the day that you’re thinking of your partner. If you’re feeling old-school romantic, send a letter to surprise him or her. Whether you text, talk, FaceTime, etc, you need to be talking and checking in. It will help you keep your relationship going. It’s hard to have a relationship via technology, but thank goodness we have technology to keep communication alive with distance.

Plan visits in advanced:

Josh and I plan all of our visits months in advanced. In August, we planned every visit from August to April. Why? It solidifies your plans to see each other. Now, you can’t plan anything during that time. Even if something does come up, you have to make it work. This will keep your relationship strong because you’re making sure your time together is a priority. Josh and I are both very organized and busy, so planning visits in advanced is beneficial for both of us to make sure we have time for friends, work, and other commitments, too. It’s all about balance.

Keep a countdown:

To coincide with planning ahead, make a countdown in your planner for the next time you’ll see each other. Yes, it’s a little cheesy, but I promise once those double digits turn to single digits, you’ll be happier and happier each day. It’s a little reminder that you will see each once again, and that the distance is always temporary.

Make your phone dates meaningful:

Because the majority of your relationship is through a phone, you find yourself lost for words, and your phone conversations consist of listening to the other person breathing while you’re both working on separate things. It’s important to make sure you set aside time when you can focus on a conversation just like you would if you were on a date. You don’t want to sit there in silence. Talk about what’s happening in the world, or what happened during your day. You’ll find it easier to get the conversation going and you’ll end up talking for hours.

You need to give 100% Every. Single. Day:

I can’t stress this point enough. If you or your partner don’t make an effort, it will never work. You need to go into a LDR realizing that you will spend a good portion of your energy talking, scheduling time in your day to make sure you can talk, getting work done in advanced before a visit, etc. Your relationship will not work unless both of you work. It’s that simple. I feel like many people don’t take this into consideration, but having a long distance relationship is all consuming. It needs effort, time and love in order to flourish.

Be honest when you’re struggling:

Some days, you’re going to have a bad day, and you want to cry because there’s nothing more in the world you want than to cuddle up next to your partner and have them make you feel better. Some days, you’re going to be sad because you wish you were together. It’s completely normal. But you need to be honest and open about when you’re struggling, so you can work through it together. Strong relationships are built during the challenging moments, and you’ll come out of it stronger than ever.

Have a “date” in mind:

One of the things you should talk about early on in your LDR is your end date. By this, I mean when you plan on not being long distance anymore. For Josh and me, we planned from the very beginning that summer 2016 is our end date (depending on moving time, house hunting, etc.) This is important because you need an end goal. Without your end date, you don’t have that commitment to move forward together. And if you’re not moving forward, what is your plan?

(Misc. tip) Watch a show together:

This might seem lame, but I swear it brings a lot of happiness. Josh and I pick a show to watch on Netflix, but we can only watch it together. So, on a free evening before bed, we will FaceTime each other, get Netflix all ready, and hit “play” at the same time to watch the show. I love this because it makes us feel like a normal couple who lives together and watch TV. It gives you an activity to do when you’re not together. You’ll love having your show that’s only for you and your partner.

If you’re in a long distance relationship, I completely understand what you’re feeling. There are times where you feel confused, scared, sad and wondering what the future has in store for your relationship. Just remember that distance DOES make the heart grow fonder, and you will have a whole new appreciation for your partner during this experience.

Have you even been in a long distance relationship? What tips do you want to share? Make sure to leave a comment below!

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  • I like your tip on watching a show together!

    Mikayla | A Seersucker State of Mind.

  • Shona Harding

    I’ve been in a long distance relationship for nearly three years now with my boyfriend. He lives back at home while I’m at university. After this summer we will be back together forever which is going to be a huge change. We Skype almost every night to talk to each other and when we get to see one another in person we always make the most of the time we have. It’s been hard at times but knowing that we trust and care about each other enough to make it work is an amazing feeling.
    Shona x

    • That’s so great, Shona; and thanks so much for leaving a comment sharing your experiences as well! I can’t wait to move in with my boyfriend (hopefully this summer).

  • I love this! I totally agree with all of these tips. Communication is key. TRUST is huge (in this day and age, especially!) I love the idea of making phone dates more meaningful and watching shows together via Skype or FaceTime. I used to do that sort of things with friends, even. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks so much for your comment! I do the same with my friends from Texas as well. Thank goodness for technology!

  • I travel a lot for work, so while my boyfriend and I technically live together I’m always away during the weeks for work. Watching a show together is one of our go-to’s, we will Facetime during the show and it’s great bonding! Thanks for these tips! Another thing I do is try and prepare some food for him before I leave so he can heat up my cooking when I away during the week and we can “have dinner together” because I’ll cook the same meal in my corporate apartment (you could also just order a similar food and have dinner via skype). Good luck with your LDR!

    Laura | Laura Aime Vous

    • That dinner idea is incredible! I would have never thought of that. I’ll make sure on our next visit to bring some meals for him in advanced 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment and tip, Laura! Good luck with your LDR as well!

  • When I went to college, my boyfriend [now husband] was back at home. We were used to seeing each other on a regular basis, so it was very tough to adjust. However, we did as you would. We would find a show and watch it together. [This was before smart phones, so it was listening to each others reactions.] We didn’t always have much to say, but we were spending time together, that’s what mattered. We would see each other when I would come home, and sometimes he would take a day to come see me. It wasn’t easy, but as time told, it was worth every minute! LDRs can be done if you are committed! I’m proof of it! Best of luck with your LDR!

    • Thanks so much, Erin! I’m happy to know there are more examples of bloggers in the community who have gone through a successful LDR and they made it work!

  • Fred Hernandez

    I was in one for about a year. The hardest part is not knowing when it will end. I think thats the most important part of making it work. Having an end date… even if you know things might change.. having a date where you know you will reunite and never be apart again signifies comittment. // ▲ conundrumofcoitus.com ▲

    • I couldn’t agree with you more! When you set an end date, you have motivation to stay committed to that goal you both set for yourselves.

  • Such great tips! My husband is in the military, currently stationed overseas for 12 months. Today is only the halfway point lol it’s definitely challenging. We also have a 14 hour time difference so since I work for myself, I’ve become a bit of a night owl so that I’m awake during the times that he’s up. Like you said, it helps so much to have countdowns (although it costs WAY too much to do any sort of visit in the next 12 months) and it takes two people who are completely dedicated to making it work. I wish you the best!! 🙂

    • Thank you for your kind wishes for my relationship. Wishing all the best for you and your husband as well. Please thank him for his service when you have a chance to talk to him next! 🙂 Hope you both stay strong during this time!

  • i am currently in a LDR. He came to my country for work and then needed to go back after 9 months.
    i surprised him going there for his birthday with the help of his family and friends. and now he will come here for Christmas. We are totally planning our end date, and that is what keeps us going.
    One tip I would add: everytime you visit, try to spend some family time with him and their parents and close friends. At some point, these people will become your family too! and they are important for your partner, so they should be important for you too!

    • That’s an amazing surprise! And yes, you should definitely spend time with the person’s family, friends, coworkers, etc. The people who are essential in his.her life will eventually be part of your life, too.

  • Esdam

    In advance! Not advanced… So it’s one year later. Still going strong?