5 Sweet Ways To Nurture Long Distance Relationships

Do you want to nurture a long distance relationship? Whether it's familial, platonic, or romantic, these long distance relationship tips will help!
How do you nurture long-distance relationship? How do you keep a friendship or romantic relationship strong and supportive when you’re in different time zones? A few years ago, my best friend of 20 years moved in New Mexico (RUDE) and we’ve done our best to keep our relationship strong. We’ll take trips together, chat on the phone, and send each other memes and photos.
At the moment, allll of Ashe’s closest relationships – romantic, platonic, familial – are long distance. She’s telling us how she nurtures them and stays sane.

Long distance relationships are difficult to maintain, and it’s easy to let them fall by the wayside. As a naval brat, I’ve had many people come and go in my life… some friendships have lasted a lifetime, while others were fleeting.
While the internet and cell phones have made keeping in touch easier, as we meet new people it becomes easier to let those far away fall away. Most recently, I watched my best friend, lover, partner, and sometimes foe move from Bloomington to Denver. We don't stop caring about someone just because they moved to a new timezone. Click To Tweet

Keep track of the lovely and wonderful things you say to one another

This way you have written reminders of your affection for one another and can recall them any time you’re feeling alone or missing them. I keep mine in a moleskin that travels with me, and I write down and date the sweet text messages and phone messages that come my way!
Try and extend the same sentiments you would in person from afar– if your best friend breaks up with their partner, and you can’t be there to buy her drinks, hold her head while she cries, try sending her flowers to work or over night mailing a box of her favorite cookies.

Make plans together and keep to them. This goes beyond making plans to visit one another!

The fella and I, while separated by 1200 miles, regularly make plans with one another. We plan for movie and tv dates, adventures in-state and overseas, trips to visit with one another.
We’ve got a list of cities and countries we’re going to and budgets to help us get there. Making plans together ensures that you’re both thinking about the longevity of your relationships.

Creating intimacy is necessary when you’re so far away from one another

Whether it’s a regular phone date with your best girl pal to discuss work problems and your latest sex exploits or sharing dirty phone calls with your lover, you’ve got to push intimacy, even if it feels awkward and strange.
Think about what things of your relationships make you and the other parties intimate– is it your love of inside jokes, a way you greet one another, or a physical way you interact with each other, plot ways you can share that through the ether. I love to do this by sending one word texts like “Glomp!” or “Pounce!” to share an affectionate physical state with the fella.

Take your honesty, feelings, and openness up a notch

It’s easy for tone, sarcasm, and intent to get lost when you’re writing or even when talking over the phone. It’s easy to feel neglected, overlooked, or forgotten while you’re each moving along your separate ways. It’s also easy when you’re caught up in life to forget how long it’s been since you’ve talked with one another.
Make it a regular plan to email your friends every Monday or the first day of every month. Be certain to say to your partner, “we haven’t talked on the phone in two weeks!” Be clear about what you need to maintain the level of intimacy and closeness you have, and work both to provide what your loved ones need and what you need.

Say “I Love You” as often as you can

Whether close or far, it’s easy to forget how fragile human life can be. Remind those in your life that you love them as often as you can.
As we all bounce around our states, country, and the world, more long-distance relationships are happening. They’re challenging the way we interact with everyone. The great thing about them though is that it’s creating and spreading love around globally.

Have you ever had a long-distance relationship? How did you make it work? Tell us in the comments so we can benefit from your experience!

P.S. Nurturing your relationships is a habit you can develop, just like a muscle! This might help – and it’s free!

photos by Asaf R and Mike Wilson // cc

21 Comments

Leia

This was an excellent read! For most of the academic year, I live away from my parents. And for most of our relationship, I have lived away from my boyfriend. The main thing I have learned is that you must keep in touch every day, really – even if it's just a quick text or e-mail, or a chat on Skype if possible. 🙂

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Stefka

Totally agree with these tips! When I was 30, the guy I'd been dating for 9 months moved to Africa for the Peace Corps. We weren't initially going to stay together (more his choice than mine, as I was already in love…), but in the first week of separation (before he left the US) he realized he also wasn't ready to let go.

E-mail and phone were very sporadic. (This was 2000-2001, so communication options to rural Africa were a lot more limited.) So we wrote letters, LOTS of letters. And I learned how to take risks and be vulnerable like never before (and yes, that includes writing sex fantasies and tucking a risquee photo or two into a care package!) and how to deal with a LOT of uncertainty and frustration. We were usually out of sync chronologically. We talked by phone about once every month or two – I could spend hours trying to get through by phone and then have it turn out echo-y and impossible to talk anyway.

Also, from the beginning we made plans for me to visit him at the 1-year mark. While it was expensive for me, it was an essential commitment to the relationship and something we could look forward to. As things turned out, we came to a mutual understanding that the relationship wouldn't last past my visit (growing in different directions), but we just stayed in the moment and enjoyed the time together. After being long distance for so long it helped to have the closure and the confirmation that we were making the right decision. (And I got my personal photos back!)

I don't think long-distance relationships are something than all couples can make work, but I know that I have the ability, and wouldn't shy away from doing so again (especially with reliable phone/e-mail/skype access!!). I learned so much about myself during that year – including how to seek support from my friends, take care of myself, and process experiences through journaling and counseling.

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Evie

This post could not have come at a better time for me.

I am really struggling with my year old long distance relationship, really wondering if it's going to work and is making either of us happy. I hope next time I see him, if there is a next time, we can start again and I can approach it with this post in mind.

Cos Long Distance? It's hard.

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Jessika

I had a long distance relationship that lasted longer than was healthy for either of us. Albeit you can make for a good relationship over long distance is DOES require that you work at it. You no longer share your physical surroundings, and need to find a solid foundation to have the relationship rest on and have it be more solid and rest, in part, on what you'd "normally" not have to rely on.
After four years of comings and goings and neither of us being the person big enough to make a compromise, it ended. In the years since I have at times regretted I wasn't the one who compromised. I am now setting up house with my partner, another long distance relationship that actually landed on solid ground.

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Post-Modern Jen

Hi Sarah,

I married the man I had a long-distance relationship with! We talked on the phone pretty much every night and we would email eachother throughout the day (often on company time–shhh, don't tell!). We also flew out to visit eachother (he in WA, me in TX) every chance we could get, probably every 2 months, or so. This went on for about 8 months. Luckily, it worked out for me to move to relocate with him(to Hawaii!) We became engaged and two years later we married. It's been 2 kids and almost 5 years later. You can make long-distance work, for a while. But eventually I think you need to find a way to live in the same town to make it last. BTW, Stefka's comments about "taking risks" and "being vulnerable" are totally true!

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Erin

There's no two ways about it, long distance is DIFFICULT. I've been dating a guy for two years, and we go to schools in different states. I figured that I'm still young and shouldn't be tied down to someone who's not even there, so we agreed to take a break for a year.
Unfortunately (or fortunately I suppose) I didn't even make six months before I realized it wasn't worth it and that I missed him too much.
So skype/video chat has been a life saver, and we have date night every Sunday evening. I would like for him to come visit, but because my college is Catholic they don't allow girls to have guy guests. I guess I'm just going to have to figure out a way to get around that silly old fashioned rule before columbus day weekend…

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Ashe Mischief

Ladies, it's SO wonderful to hear your own tips and stories about long-distance relationships.

Mary, I absolutely agree that these are good even if you're sharing space–sometimes it's just as easy to forget these when you ARE together as when far apart.

Erin, like you, I think the fella and I are finding out that this long-distance isn't quite what we want (even though he's still not quite ready to settle down with me either…)

Jen and Jessika, I LOVE how your relationships worked out! It's amazing to hear a long-distance story that ended happily ever after 🙂 (Jessika, though I'm sorry the four year one just didn't work out)

Christa and Leia, good luck! It's so hard, especially when in school… but I think it can also be the best time to make it work.

Evie, good luck dear! I'm crossing my fingers for the best 🙂

Stefka, I admire your honesty and candidness, and especially your open heart about being able & willing to try it again. What an incredible story you have!

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Jaka Merriman

My now-husband and I were in a long-distance relationship for over a year before I moved to Canada to be with him. Thanks to the miracles of G-Chat and Skype, we managed to talk every day and feel connected, which I'm convinced is the foundation of our relationship. If we hadn't made the effort to talk (even if it was just about our boring day), the sense of intimacy would have been lost.

Also, during that time, I kept a journal of all of our conversations that were about something other than everyday crap. I pasted them all in two notebooks – one for me and one for him – so we could read them if we felt lonely.

Thanks for the post, Ashe! <3

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Ashe Mischief

Jaka, I love that you made a copy for him as well! That's so sweet–I mentioned to my fella I wrote down that he missed me, and he goes, "WHY?!" I was like, "So I can read it when I miss you!"

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Heidi Rose

My boyfriend and I are always saying "I love you". It's a little silly: we probably exchange them 10 times every time we get on the phone. At least. But I love it. It's something about our relationship, that we say it so often.

I never worry that he won't know.

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defining amy

such a great post. EVERYONE close to me is far away. thanks for the wonderful advice. it's much appreciated.

when i'd go on long trips, i'd leave the lover a letter and a surprise for every day i was gone.

he loved it. and when i went to africa, we couldn't talk on the phone much, but i knew my whole schedule ahead of time. i wrote letters to him, telling him what i'd be doing each day, with lots of "i love yous" of course. it kept us really close, when i was gone for over a month.

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kissesaredelicious

I love this. My soon-to-be-husband and I went through a year of long distance relationshippery, and while it could be rough, I really feel like it strengthened our relationship in the end… so it's worth it, if you can stick out the hard times! I particularly like the idea of keeping a record of all the sweet nothings you say to each other… not only would it be a nice comfort to have while you're apart, but what a precious memento to have once you finally get to be together!

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Ashe Mischief

Amy, I love your idea of leaving a surprise and note when you leave after a visit! What a sweet way to remind them you're thinking of them in the days after… (I'm also sorry to hear you're in a similar boat–being so far away from loved ones stinks!)

Kissesaredelicious, what a happy ending! I'm glad that you & your soon-to-be made it work out for the better!

Heidi Rose, it's SO important (for me at least!) that we let others know they ARE Loved!

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Nora Hussein Wissler

Long distance ain’t easy but it’s worth it for us. We met each other while working five years ago. He’s from HQ Germany often visited subsidiary office in Asia Singapore. Initially, he was just my Superior and we always communicate about work. As time goes by, we started liking each other and talked about personal things and voila we are into relationship. It has been five 5 years together and we got married 2 years ago. Since 5 years till now we take turn to visit each others every 2 months. My husband visits me more often as he is in charge of Asia Market and that’s allows him to do so. Everyday we talk or text despite time difference of 6 hours. Weekend , we will Skype longer. Being apart make our relationship stronger and in love over again. It’s possible if both are committed and trust each other. We are doing fine as we both like our space sometime. By the way, now my husband is boarding the plane and will be with me tomorrow evening. Next year March we will close the distance as he will settle with me in Singapore.

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juliet

Hi ladies thanks for the advices
Am in a eight month relationship and we have been close like really close and now he has to leave the country so I thinks i will really need this tips to make it work

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