Blogger | Teacher
Keeping up with a long-distance relationship – be it romantic, platonic, or familial – can seem like a difficult task. However, it doesn’t have to be as hard as it looks on paper. There are many ways to maintain a friendship or romantic relationship even with distance involved, so there’s no reason to be afraid of losing that relationship or drifting apart.
As someone who has spent the last two years in Japan, severely limiting the number of times I can see my friends and family in person, I learned a while ago about different ways to help keep up those long-distance friendships. Here are my tips for what you should do!
Communication is key
The most important aspect of any relationship is effective communication, and a long-distance relationship is no different! Communication is a must to make sure everyone is heard and able to have their needs met. If a problem arises – both in your individual lives and in your relationship – make sure to talk about it with your friend or partner. Even if it doesn’t directly concern them, communicating your problems will help them feel like an active participant in your life and allow them to better understand your needs.
Communicating is also a great chance to reaffirm that relationship. Sometimes distance and online conversations can leave room to question the relationship – is it as deep as it seems? The other person hasn’t messaged as much, are they upset? Did something happen? Having open and honest communication with your friend or partner allows them to tell you if they have any concerns with the relationship, and you are then able to affirm that you are still happy and nothing is wrong.
Plan online “dates”
Whether with friends or romantic partners, every long-distance relationship needs a little quality time. This isn’t just about making time to call and text – although you should definitely be doing that as well. It’s also planning activities that you can do together so that your friend or partner feels like you are putting in effort to maintain your relationship. There are lots of ways to still spend quality time with your loved ones even if there’s some distance between you.
The most obvious way is having movie dates! When I first started living away from my friends and family, I would plan regular times to call them and watch a TV show or movie together. TV shows are good for shorter but more frequent calls, and movies can be saved for when you can set aside longer periods of time to watch together. Video calling also makes it super easy to plan activities together – you could mutually cook and eat a meal together, or even take each other to see cool places in your area. There are so many options for online dates available, so there’s no reason that you can’t make the time to do something fun together!
Trust in your relationship
With any relationship – a long-distance relationship included – trust is essential. For the relationship to flourish and grow, you have to trust that your partner is as invested in your relationship as you are. You have to believe that they mean what they say, and also that they’ll communicate to you any problems they may have. You also have to trust that they’re listening to you and taking your needs to heart.
Relationships are built on faith in another person, so trust that the person you are trying to maintain the relationship with also wants to continue to see it grow. Make time to talk about your needs and worries, and don’t let miscommunication or anxiety keep you from trying to keep up with your loved one.
Keep them up-to-date on your life
One thing I found is often forgotten (but so important) when taking care of a long-distance relationship is keeping them informed and up-to-date about what is going on in your life. I tend to forget that people who aren’t in my direct bubble don’t actually know what’s happening in my day-to-day unless I tell them. And, sometimes, I convince myself that my general life is too boring for someone else to want to bother hearing about.
But through this journey, I have learned that that is simply not true! Your loved ones want to know what’s happening in your life – both the big and small events – and it’s your job to keep them informed. Each experience you have is a fun story that you can tell your friend or partner about later, and you may be surprised to discover how much they enjoy hearing about even the most basic of stories. Keeping your loved one up-to-date allows them to feel like they’re active in your life, and it will help maintain the trust and communication you need to take care of your relationship.
Have your own separate lives
Building off of the last point, another way to maintain a long-distance relationship is to make sure you have your own separate lives outside of each other. If the only person you ever talk to is your long-distance friend or partner, you might find yourself running out of new things to tell them. While it’s true that you should make time for each other regularly and keep them informed about your life, it’s also important that you have a life and experiences outside of your partner.
This is honestly true for any relationship (long-distance or otherwise). Becoming too codependent on your loved one might lead you to miss out on experiences or people that can add a lot of value to your life. Building memories that your partner or friend isn’t a part of doesn’t mean you are forgetting about them – it’s simply a chance to create new stories that you can tell them about later!
Listen and learn
While communication is key to any relationship, this also means that listening is imperative to helping a relationship grow, which is especially true for a long-distance relationship. Because you are not around your loved one, you may miss out on signs of anxiety, distress, or worry that might have been easy to catch before. However, if you actively listen to your partner and learn about their concerns and needs, you can still be a proactive friend or partner and take care of them when they need you.
There will be problems in any relationship, and the distance is sure to cause some issues that you may not have experienced before. Talk to your loved one frequently and listen when they speak, then use those conversations to learn and improve your relationship. By listening to your partner, you are showing that you support them and their needs, which will only help your relationship grow stronger and more stable in the long run.
Do you have more tips for maintaining a long-distance relationship? Tell us in the comments!
About Draven Jackson
Draven is an avid writer and reader who enjoys sharing her opinions on movies, books, and music with the rest of the world. She will soon be working as a teacher in Japan and hopes to use her experience to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. Draven spends most of her time at home with her family, her dogs, and her ferret.
To see more, view all posts by Draven Jackson here.