Updated: Sep 24, 2020
By Tucker Eastburn
“Distance means so little when someone means so much…” – Unknown.
When it comes to long-distance relationships, there is often a stigma that they cannot be successful and that most of them don’t work out. However, since 2005 according to this study, around 75 percent of couples who are in college have had a long-distance relationship. Also, according to the New York Post, a more recent 2018 study concluded that about 58% of long-distance relationships will stay together  (hereafter referred to as LDR). In the age of instant video and text communication over vast distances, more and more people in our culture today are engaging in LDRs than ever before. No matter how these couples may have met, they undoubtedly form a special bond between one another and connect on a deep level. This newfound connection can be an incredible and uniquely strong force that influences both people within the LDR want to continue on with the relationship. When you feel really comfortable with that person and could maybe even see the relationship going long-term, that’s the kind of relationship that you want to hold onto. We can speak from experience that LDRs can work and be a healthy, as well as extremely positive, experience.
Three Ways You Can Do to Make Your LDR Successful
Going in with the right mindset.
The first way, and possibly the most important way, that you and your partner can make an LDR successful is by having the right mindset. It is imperative that you and your partner, when you start your LDR, to have good communication between each other. For the two of you to be able to connect in a deep and meaningful way, there needs to be a good amount of times throughout the day where you at least message one another about how each of your days are going. It’s also important to use moments throughout the day asking each other “get-to-know” questions so you both can start to find out more about one another. Also, it’s a good idea to not read too much into things when you communicate with your partner in an LDR. For example, sometimes if it takes a while for one partner to respond to a text that is sent to them or it takes a bit for them to respond to a phone call they might have missed, the tendency is for the other partner to start thinking about crazy possibilities for why they haven’t sent something back. Instead of thinking that the relationship is ending, that they don’t want to talk, or worry if they are upset in some way, just take that as a sign that your partner is busy. Trust that they will respond to you when they are able to. You also want to make sure that you allow for some miscommunication to happen at different times and to have grace through those moments. Communicating over long-distance is harder than communicating in person as things have a tendency to get “lost in translation” and the meaning of different texts can brew up some miscommunication.
This is why we would really recommend for you to round-out the communication side of your LDR by having frequent times where you call each other over the phone in a couple different ways. You can call each other with a normal phone call or, if possible, we recommend using FaceTime or Facebook Video Call as this allows you to see the other person as well as talk to them at the same time. These moments of chatting with your partner, while being able to see and hear each other, allows the both of you to learn how each person truly communicate. You get a direct representation about how each person acts, speaks, and even how they react to things in real time. These video calling moments can also be really helpful in ironing out anything that hasn't been communicated correctly by giving both of you the opportunity to really talk about a whole gamut of topics. I know that for Alexis and me, our relationship has greatly benefited from the video calls we share and that we still video call each other on a regular basis to see and hear each other as well as to spend time with one another. It is up to you and your partner to really decide how frequent these video calls to be. One piece of advice that we would give you is for both you and your partner to be open to whatever works best for your relationship while taking your personal schedules into account. You want to make sure that you find a time that works for the both of you and that also allows you to still honor the other commitments that each of you may have in your lives.
2. Create Goals for your relationship
Secondly, you want to make sure that you create goals for your LDR that are attainable and that are relatively simple to be put in place. This means you want to have goals for when you move forward within the next stages of your relationship. Also, another goal that is important to have is to make sure you set up times that you will be together in person. These moments need to be as semi-regular as you can make them. You don’t want to go incredibly long periods of time without seeing one another as each time you see one another in person, the distance becomes harder and harder to deal with. These times when you meet in person together also prepare you for being with each other on a regular basis. The other main goal you want to have is to figure out a time when you will not be separated by distance anymore. No relationship can stay in that long-distance stage forever and so it is important to make sure you set up that time when you will be together every day with one another in the future. An important thing to remember when figuring this out is to make sure that you do not rush getting into that next phase of your relationship where you’re with that person every day. However, before you do that, you both need to make sure you are financially able to accomplish that goal, that you both feel like you’re at a place in the relationship where you want to take that next step, and that you have had a good amount of time spent together in person already before you decide to move forward into that next phase of your relationship.
3. Make sure you’re compatible
Last but not least, you want to make sure that you and your partner have a lot of the same views and goals in your lives. According to a study done by the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships in 2006, one-third of the LDRs that they observed terminated after just 3 months of being together in person regularly. This was mostly as a result of the goals and views of both people not lining up with one another. Regardless of if you are in an LDR or your relationship is in person, it is incredibly important that you and your partner have mostly the same views and goals in your lives. However, it is alright to have some differences in viewpoint or goals between the both of you, but your relationship may have a chance of not working out if there are more differences than similarities between the two of you. As you think about entering into an LDR with a special someone you have met, consider all of these options carefully. If you are able to implement these ideas effectively into your own LDR, your relationship has a lot better chance of succeeding in the end.
LDRs Can Work!
Often times people think of long-distance as something that could be a death sentence on a relationship you really care about. However, as listed above in numerous studies and from our own experience, this is not the case! We encourage you to not write off a relationship if you have to go through a period of long-distance as the time when you’re apart can actually strengthen your relationship. Lots of studies show that LDRs can have a myriad of benefits towards a relationship as well. Through these different methods, you can have a successful long-distance relationship. It takes work and patience but, in the end, it will have been priceless as you find something truly, uniquely special. Who knows? You may even find the person you want to spend the rest of your life with too! Alexis and I have found that, and you could find that with your partner too.