Wednesday, August 19, 2015

5 Ways to Improve Your Long-Distance Relationship

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For some of you, the title might be reminiscent of a post I did for Sorority Stylista last summer. I haven't written for them in a while, but there's still tons really fun college-related reads if you want to check it out. A lot of things have changed for me since that article was published, prompting a little update to one of my favorite topics: Long Distance Relationships (LDRs). My boyfriend, Bryan, lives in Mechanicsville, Virginia, and I live in Portland, Oregon. These two places are nearly 3,000 miles apart on a map and about the same distance apart when it comes to culture and lifestyle.

Bryan and I met in the middle of my freshman year and his sophomore year at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, and have been together ever since. I have spent all three summers at home in Portland while he has stayed in Mechanicsville. He has gone to England for a month, we have done most breaks apart, and we are approaching a several-month separation on top of this summer when I go to Salzburg for the fall semester of my senior year.

Each summer apart has been different. The first summer was okay because we were still figuring out our relationship, our jobs, and our roles at home with our families. The second summer was miserable on my end - I had an internship that I absolutely hated, and I struggled with finding happiness in my daily life. This third summer has been great. I have taken time for myself, paid attention to my body and my emotional needs, and found a summer job that I absolutely love - I nanny for two adorable families! Being happy and busy has made the summer fly by and minimized the fighting that had been more common in previous summers.

Facing some distance yourself? You're in the right place!

I've gathered some of my best tips for those of you working through a LDR.

1. Focus on your own happiness.  

If you are miserable, your partner will be too. If you are happy, it will be easier for your partner to be happy. It is very challenging to discuss emotions over the phone or FaceTime, and misunderstandings will happen. I guarantee it. So figure out what will make you feel good - a new workout class, a better job, or friends at home - and do that until you love your life and your routine. LDRs are an amazing opportunity to focus on personal growth. You probably have a lot of new time on your hands after saying "see you later" - so do something with it!

2. Accept change.

If your partner has picked up a new hobby or made new friends, it doesn't mean that they are replacing you. It means, most likely, that they are (like you should be) enriching their own lives and taking the time that you are spending apart to fill the void that you have left behind. Growth is good for relationships! You both will bring much more to the table if you are able to embrace individual change.

3. Let yourself struggle sometimes. 

Long distance relationships are hard, especially if you are used to spending every day and night with your significant other. There are going to be hard days, and that's okay. It's also okay if your partner is having a hard day or a tougher time in general - try to be as empathetic as possible, even if you're in a different place emotionally.

4. Figure out what kind of communication works for both of you.

This means you may have to compromise. It's not fair to blow up your partner's phone with snapchats and texts if that really isn't their preferred method of communication - or if they have spotty cell service and physically can't reciprocate. I learned this one the hard way. Try to create some type of schedule where you always text, call, or FaceTime at a certain time during the day or night, leaving the rest of the day open and without pressure to be in constant contact with one another.

5. Go the extra mile.

Send a care package, letter, post card, or even flirty texts. Bryan is not only my boyfriend, but also my best friend, and it's important that I am able to make sure that he can feel that from across the country. The most important thing, I think, is that your presence is felt from however far away you find yourselves. This needs to go both ways, too. If you need a little more, talk about it. Discuss your needs (emotional, physical, communication, etc.) before your separation and come up with ways that those can be met through effort from both parties. Nothing will work unless you're both making an effort!

If you're ever struggling with your LDR, drop me a line - maybe I can help! Best of luck!


  1. I'm in an LDR too! These are great tips! My boyfriend & I go to different colleges, but are from the same hometown! We did four months apart last fall while I was abroad, and it just made us stronger! Let me know if you ever want to talk about being long distance, I feel like there is a sense of humor that comes from being long distance!


  2. These are such great tips! My friend has a LDR and her and her husband have been doing great so far!

  3. Wonderful tips!
    I was only in an LDR with my current boyfriend for 3 months but it was definitely a little tough but made us appreciate each other more in the long run.

    xoxo, Jenny || Breakfast at Lillys

  4. such awesome tips! x, kenz

  5. I think these are great tips! I have been in long distance relationships and sadly none worked out probably because I wasn't concentrating on a lot of the things you mentioned (namely making myself happy).

    How 2 Wear It []

  6. Love these tips! I'm in a LDR now, I am living down in Florida while my boyfriend is back home in North Carolina through the end of the year and while we've always gone to separate schools, we went from being two hours away to twelve. I especially loved number 1, you have to be happy by yourself to be happy with some one else!

    Pick Your Beau

  7. WOW that's quite the distance. My husband and I were LDR up until the day before our wedding! We loved our Netflix movie dates! You are a strong lady and these are wonderful tips!

    Nicole // Chronicling Home

  8. I've been in long distance relationships before and I find them pretty hard to manage. I do agree with your tips though-focusing on staying busy and being happy makes a ldr much easier!

  9. #4 is SO true. These are all great tips! I was in a long distance relationship for about 6 months. We were about 3 hours away from each other, and even though that isn't considered long distance to some, it was really hard sometimes. We are used to living right down the road from each other when we aren't in school!

  10. Such a great post! I definitely definitely can agree on the last one- the more effort you put into this relationship, the better.

    As We Stumble Along

  11. Long distance relationships are SO tough. I did it for over a year and not sure I could ever do it again unless it's my future hubby!
    The Fashionista's Diary

  12. This was perfectly summed up! My two best friends are both in long distance relationships right now so I am definitely going to pass along some of your wise words :)

    Annie // Annie N Belle

  13. These are wonderful tips!! I have never been in an LDR myself yet, but I've had many close friends of mine be in them- some have lasted, some have failed, but the ones that have failed often weren't following everything that you mentioned here!

    Really enjoyed this post!

    xoxo A

  14. After being in a long distance relationship for almost half of our actual relationship, I can totally relate! I think the figuring out what type of communication worked best for both of us and when was a good time to sit down and actually talk was our biggest challenge. Being apart, we were living our separate lives, so it was always hard for us to find a schedule that worked for both of us and allowed us to focus on each other.

    xo Ashley

  15. Amen, girl! I'm notoriously horrible at long distance relationships, but I couldn't agree more with these tips! Awesome post.

    Diary of a Debutante

  16. My boyfriend and I live 30 minutes away from each other and work full time jobs so sometimes it seems like we are in a LDR! I love these tips!

  17. I've never been in a LDR before, but these seem like great tips! Will have to pass these on to some of my friends in that situation :)

    xo, Alicia | Alicia Tenise

  18. Such great tips these are!! I'm in long distance relationships and its going well!!

  19. I've never been in an LDR before, but I have friends who have basically followed the same tips and their relationships did well!
    xx, Mikkaela
    The Southwestern Prepster

  20. Great tips! They'll definitely come in handy soon as I'm preparing to move to another state and my bf is finishing up college.

  21. Yes, yes, and YES. figuring out mutually acceptable terms of communication is so key, and doing little extra somethings to go that extra mile make SUCH a difference! It really takes the little things to just show how much you care.

    Coming Up Roses

  22. I love your post. I especially like the part about going the extra mile. It's so important to do little things to show that you care.

  23. Me and the hubs were LDR for a little while when he was in basic training and tech school. There were some tough moments, but we were still able to fix them through lots of communication.

  24. My boyfriend is studying in another city. Just looking for something like this. Thanks for writing on this topic.

    Match finder

  25. Among several kind of relationship we have found multiple ways to protect a relationship; most probably people are suffering from long distance relationship due to lack of communication and physical presence long distance relationships are really suffer. So we need to improve our long distance relationship through professional instructions; I am really very glad to get some quality of instructions from here and hope while implementing these tips we are able to boost our long distance relationship.
    Relationship Coach