8 Expert Tips On How To Make A Long Distance Relationship Work

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couples in a long distance relationship

I know what it's like to struggle with making a long distance relationship work. There's certainly no doubt that even the best long distance relationships can be so, so hard!

Do long distance relationships work?

Statistically speaking, there's no evidence that long distance relationships are any less likely to work out in the end than relationships between between people who live closer together. In fact, to the contrary, a 2018 survey conducted by KIIROO found the opposite may be true.

The study of 1000 Americans who've been in a long distance relationship with a minimum of 132 miles between partners found that long distance relationships have a 58% success rate.

That's a far better outlook than you might expect, especially when you consider that the divorce rate in the U.S. is currently hovering around 39%.

RELATED: How To Know If Your Long Distance Relationship Will Work

The study also pinpointed the top 8 challenges couples in long distance relationships face.

They are:

  • A lack of physical intimacy: 66%
  • Worrying one partner will meet someone else: 55%
  • Feeling lonely: 50%
  • Managing the expense of visiting each other: 45%
  • Growing apart: 43%
  • A lack of communication: 40%
  • Dealing with the time difference: 33%
  • Differences of opinion regarding how to communicate (calling vs. texting): 24%


There's nothing quite like missing the person you love terribly and desperately trying to keep your connection fresh when all you’re able to share is phone calls. For me, the hardest part of trying to make a long-distance relationship work has always been trying to keep things positive and fun while not losing hope that it will all fall apart anyway and turn out to be a total waste of time.

But now that you know statistics are on your side (or at least not working against you), you can relax and put some joyful effort into keeping your love alive across the miles by following my eight best tips.

8 Best Tips On How To Make A Long Distance Relationship Work

1. Be in communication with each other every single day.

Even if your communication isn’t long and drawn out, make sure to connect in some way on a daily basis. Little text messages, short emails, and quick Skype or FaceTime calls are all great ways to keep things fresh. When you do manage to have longer conversations, try not to allow them to become one-sided, monotonous, drawn-out rants where you drone on and on about the daily grind.

2. Schedule as many visits to spend time with each other as possible.

Spending time together in person is absolutely critical. Long-distance relationships can evolve intensely because there is so much communication, but they also run the risk of becoming lopsided when "communicating" is all there is to do. While I understand that you might not be able to do it right now, try to schedule visits frequently an in advance so you both have something to look forward to. If you're both down for it, you may want to sneak in some surprise visits when you can as well.

3. Do fun things together, even when you're apart.

Watch movies you start on Netflix at the same time, eating dinner together and Skyping or texting while you watch. Also make it a priority to include your partner in the little things during your day by doing things like sending photos of your new projects or talking on the phone as you both hike separate trails.

It might seem boring to have your partner on the line the whole time while you’re both staring at the TV, cooking, or walking, but sharing experiences other than phone calls is important. Being able to look back at the last three months and know that you didn’t spend the whole time on the phone is always a good thing, too.

4. Share hobbies, even if you do them separately.

The couple that plays together, stays together. Even if you have to do things apart right now, make sure that you nurture your shared hobbies and common interests. It’s exciting to hear about your partner doing things that you’re also interested in, even if you can’t do them together right now. This is a good time to set shared fitness goals and take courses on things you’re both interested in learning more about.


5. Enjoy the extra free time and space you have.

One nice thing about long-distance relationships is that they don’t require the same kind of time commitment as relationships between people who live close to one another do. Sure, there's the time that you spend communicating with your partner, but there is still a lot of time left over for you each to live your own lives and pursue your own favorite activities.

This is the time to enjoy not having to share anything, throwing your socks wherever you feel like, and putting whatever you want in your refrigerator without judgment. If you’re planning on moving in together eventually, enjoy this carefree phase while it lasts.

6. Use snail mail (yes, really).

Even when you’re communicating regularly, trying to do things together while separate and scheduling visits, there's nothing like receiving something in the mail from the person you, even (or maybe especially) if it’s a simple love letter. Remember that anything you can do to surprise your loved one is a bonus (unless of course, they have specifically told you they don't like surprises...).

7. Work things out after arguments as quickly as possibly.

All couples have arguments, and couples in long distance relationships are no exception to that rule. If you have an argument with your partner, resolve together to put it past you before a certain time period is up — say 24 hours, for example.

Setting a time limit gives both of you a cooling-off period while also ensuring one partner doesn't start panicking about whether the relationship is over. It’s nerve-wracking and scary to have your long distance partner disappear on you when they are upset. Make a pact to resolve all disagreements as promptly as you can.

8. Plan your future together.

Is the ultimate goal to be together? If it is, then make sure that you both discuss the end date of the long-distance part of your relationship. Studies have shown that more than 2/3 of long distance relationships end when the couple fails to plan for changes in the relationship, such as eventually living closer to one another.

It’s much easier to stay positive about the whole thing when both of you are on the same page about your future.

Of course, there is a time and a place for such conversations. If you just started dating, allow the relationship to grow before you start having heavy discussions about the future, just as you would if the relationship was playing itself out in person.

And you simply don't see a future together, you should probably think about why it is you’re putting yourself through this in the first place.

RELATED: 6 Signs Your Long-Distance Relationship Is In Major Trouble

Elizabeth Stone is a dating, relationship and personal development coach. Find out more by signing up for her free master class, 3 Innocent Mistakes Women Make With Men.