As someone who has been in two long-distance relationships (LDR), I know firsthand how difficult they can be! Describing them as “tough” would be an understatement. There are many obstacles to navigate through and challenges that await around every corner. Although distance can make the heart grow stronger, it can also kick it down a flight of steps if you are not careful. Are they impossible? Absolutely not! Below are a few quick tips on how to keep your long-distance relationship healthy and vibrant.
Your relationship is unique and should function that way. What works for you and your partner(s) may not work for others. Remember that when watching films and movies that depict LDR. Some challenges may be more apparent, like communication and intimacy, but both can be worked on to help maintain a healthy connection between you and your partner(s).
State of the Unions
A "state of the union" is a relationship activity where everyone involved sits down and discusses what is working in the relationship and areas where they want to see improvement. When we are in a LDR, this takes the form of virtual meetings either over the phone or internet. Make sure you are spending at least one hour a week checking in with each other. If you do not need the full hour, then spend it doing any of the other tips below.
Affection, arousal, and desire of a few of the main areas impacted in a LDR. Because of this, we want to make it a point to stay connected to our partner(s) in a variety of different ways. Whether you are lying in bed or on the couch, taking a break between meetings, or waiting in the drive-thru line, spend 5-15 minutes each day chatting with your partner(s) via text. This could involve flirting and dirty texting as well. Just make sure you are having fun with it when you can!
Video Date Nights!
The name says it all. While you and your partner(s) may not be together, that does not mean you can't spend time enjoying each other's company. Whether it be through watching a movie together or ordering similar meals and eating together, there are many ways of engaging in a virtual date night. I recommend making the dates last around the same length as if you were in person (i.e. 1-2 hours).
Make it a priority to show you appreciate and admire your partner(s) each and every day. All it takes is 5 minutes of gratitude and validation to not only make their day(s) brighter, but also yours as well.
"Good morning, babe!"
Now, this is a tip that is not just exclusive to LDR but really ALL relationships. Always, always, ALWAYS(!!!!) send a good morning text. This will display to your partner(s) that they are a priority in your life and you want them to be in it. Depending on time zones, a morning call or date with some coffee or tea can be a great activity as well.
"Good night, babe!"
Just like with morning texts, evening texts are crucial (see above for reasons why).
One of the ways we engage with sexual activity when we are in long-distance relationships is through our phones and internet. Why do you think the app "Snapchat" was created? At least once a week, spend time being sexually intimate with everyone involved. This could be through dirty texting, live video sessions, sending pre-recorded videos, phone sex, and everything else in between. This is a great time to incorporate sex toys as well. From a fleshlight to a vibrator, and even remote-controlled underwear, nothing is off-limits. Have fun with it and make sure you incorporate a little teasing to enhance arousal.
Your friends are awesome! But they may not be the best people to provide advice unless they have been in an LDR. A therapist, especially one trained in relationships, is there to provide you support and a non-biased opinion to help you work through whatever pitfalls you are having. While your partner (s) may be away, you do not need to be alone in your experiences.
Cleveland Sex Therapy is owned by Matt Lachman, a licensed mental health therapist who specializes in working with individuals, couples, and polyam individuals on their concerns relating to sexuality, intimacy, and overall sexual health. The goal of Cleveland Sex Therapy is to promote inclusivity and nurture sex positivity. For more information, feel free to contact him at Matt@ClevelandSexTherapy.com