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10 Effective Tips to Make an LDR Last

Jenny is a girl who loves many things. She loves street foods, traveling, nature, music, cats, and dogs. She's crazy about purple & writing!

It's easy to be pessimistic about long-distance relationships, but you and your partner can make it work as long as you communicate effectively.

It's easy to be pessimistic about long-distance relationships, but you and your partner can make it work as long as you communicate effectively.

I had always been a pessimist when it came to long-distance relationships. I believed that absence makes the heart forget, not grow fonder. After my first failed relationship, I decided to take life slowly and enjoy it as much as I could. I started traveling with my friends and I tried to get over him.

In the five years afterward, I rebuilt my self-esteem and rediscovered myself. I tried to improve myself physically and mentally. I changed the way I dress, cut my hair, and styled it in a way I never had before.

As I was busy transforming myself into a better version of me, I met a guy who was also in the same situation. He was a very intelligent man. He is self-reliant, financially stable, well-mannered, honest, and well-traveled.

Though I usually get bored talking to people who are not as opinionated and open-minded as I am, I was very delighted to realize that this man is someone I would never get bored with. There was one problem though…

He lived across the ocean.

How to Improve a Long-Distance Relationship

When my partner first expressed his sincerity towards me, I couldn't believe it. I’ve always believed that long distance relationships don’t last long and are highly unsuccessful. I told him that very clearly. I thought that was the end of it, but the next thing I knew he had come to the Philippines and was standing right in front of me.

That was more than 3 years ago. Now, we live together in the Netherlands, and I would love to share that long distance relationships can also work as long as both parties are willing to make the relationship last.

So here are a few tips that can make long-distance relationships work:

1. Communicate Regularly

No matter what the distance or the time difference, each of you should try to communicate with each other as regularly as possible. It does not have to be a day-long chat or video call. One 30-minute relaxing talk a day can be enough to keep you closer to each other emotionally. Saying “Have a nice day!” each day also helps put the other person in a good mood. Try not to demand too much of each other's time because even as a couple, you have to understand that both of you still live individual lives. Give your partner sufficient time each day and avoid being too clingy.

2. Clear Any Misunderstandings With Your Partner

Long-distance relationships are prone to problems and misunderstanding. The intention of a written or typed statement may be misinterpreted by the person receiving the message. There are times that you might feel offended by what the other person wrote, so it is best to talk it out with your partner so that he/she can clarify what it means. Do not take everything literally. Let your partner know how you feel about the message so that they can explain it in a way that you understand.

Often, language barrier and cultural/social background also get in the way of communicating properly so make sure that whenever you feel misunderstood or when you misunderstand your partner's statement, you always discuss it together. Some remarks may offend you even though your partner did not really mean it that way. Speak up and don't just sulk and pout. Tell your partner why you were offended and hear his/her side as well so you can better understand where your partner is coming from.

Take the time to talk to each other each day.

Take the time to talk to each other each day.

3. Agree to Be Exclusive and Stick to It

Some long-distance relationships do not work because the couple failed to agree on their exclusivity. Knowing that you are officially exclusive gives a sort of assurance that you belong to each other. This lessens the likelihood of one getting involved with another.

When you agree to be exclusive, stick to it. It takes a lot of discipline and commitment to really follow through but if your partner is serious about you, he/she will not astray. Otherwise, let them go. If they cannot be trusted when you are both away, you cannot trust them when you are also physically together.

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4. Make Sure to See Each Other Once in a While

I know it is not always possible to see each other often, especially if you are both living in far away from each other. In our case, I was in the Philippines and my partner was stationed to work in Africa. However, since he was able to afford to travel across the ocean, he decided to visit me first. Since then, we tried to see each other once in a while when our schedules permitted before we finally decided to live together. Seeing and holding each other is a million times better than chatting through Skype and sending emails. Your emotional attachment becomes stronger with physical intimacy, which then helps strengthen your relationship.

5. Trust Each Other Completely

Long-distance relationships are very difficult and complicated. There are times when you feel that it will just not work out. If you choose to be in this kind of relationship, you have to learn to trust each other completely. Do not do anything that will jeopardize the relationship. Trust is the most important factor in making LDR's work.

If your partner constantly suspects that you are not loyal, let them feel reassured. It is difficult for some people to fully trust and they need to feel secure in the relationship. Show them your efforts. My partner once ordered a gift online for me. It was a necklace, nothing expensive but it was really sweet. Similarly, you need to make your partner feel special even if you are miles apart. But if your partner is demanding too much time from you, and wants you to ask permission for everything you are about to do, it is best to end the relationship as it is becoming toxic for you. An LDR without trust is dead.

6. Be Honest

If trust is the most important factor, honesty is the most important virtue. If you are honest with your partner, he or she will trust you completely. Be honest—not only in the monetary aspects of the relationship but more importantly, with your feelings. Speak what's on your mind in a way that will not offend your partner. If you don't like something, say it. If you want something, ask for it. If you feel misunderstood, clarify your point. If you misunderstand your partner, ask him/her to clarify it for you. Do not just walk out in the middle of the conversation and let your partner guess about what you feel and think. Honesty is everything.

7. Use Positive Scripting

I said before that I was a pessimist, and indeed I am. I always express myself in a negative way. In a long-distance relationship, negative words make problems worse because your words could be misinterpreted. If you talk over the phone, then at least your partner can hear your tone of voice—even if your words are a bit negative, the other person will not feel as offended. Choose your words wisely and say things in a positive way. For example, instead of saying “no” all the time, say “I would love to, but…”

True love can stand the test of distance and time.

True love can stand the test of distance and time.

8. Be Playful and Naughty Once in a While

As an exclusive couple, it does not hurt to indulge in naughty and erotic talks at times. It adds spice into the otherwise boring relationship arrangement that you have. Being playful also makes you long for each other. When you miss each other too much, then you may just want to jump on the next plane and see each other—or maybe, just maybe, you may feel the need to cross the ocean for good and live together. Playfulness and naughtiness makes you feel more comfortable with each other. If you like to tease your partner, don't be shy about it. He/she will go crazy for you in no time and that is important in an LDR.

9. Respect Each Other

Respect is necessary for all relationships to work, and an LDR is not an exception. It is very important, especially if you come from different races, religions, levels of education, political beliefs, social backgrounds, and family status. If you cannot learn to accept and respect these differences, then the relationship will soon be over. Learn to acknowledge these differences and it will be easier for you and your partner to handle any situation together. Stop judging and definitely avoid blaming each other for things. Pointing fingers are not a sign of a healthy relationship.

10. Love and Distance Make the Heart Grow Fonder

When you love the person, distance means nothing. In the end, couples in long-distance relationships will end up being together. When your love is strong enough to stand the test of time and distance, you will certainly end up in each others' arms. That's what happened to me and I hope it will also be your destiny to be together finally. It certainly needs a lot of work and dedication, but in the long run, successful LDR's end up triumphant over time and distance.

Questions & Answers

Question: What can I do to destroy my long distance relationship?

Answer: Why are you asking that kind of question? I am here to help to keep people together and not to break them apart. So, if you really want to break up with your long distance partner, the best and the only right way to break it is to call the person or to do a videocall and break up with him/her upfront. There's no other way to properly do it but that.

Question: What do I do when my partner doesn't trust and love me as much anymore in a long distance relationship?

Answer: Communication is the key. If you think your partner is starting to drift away slowly, you might need to address the situation as honestly as possible. Maybe, you have not done enough to make the relationship work? Do you always find time to talk with him and have you always been honest? Did you give your partner a reason not to trust you? You can find the answer from your partner, so it is best to talk it out with him. Maybe, he is no longer so into you? There are so many possible reasons, but you can only know for sure if you talk to him/her.

Question: I am dying to see my LDR boyfriend, and it has been a year now. What should I do to tell him if he doesn't come and see me, I will break up with him?

Answer: Why would you do that? Relationships work both ways. If you want to see him, you will exert an effort to be with him. It is not fair to demand him to come to you. You both need to meet half-way. Now if he is abroad and you cannot afford to go to him yourself, then maybe you can ask him nicely if it is possible for him to come to you. Ask him if he's got some plans for visiting you in your country. If not, then he is probably not completely honest with you and in that case, forget him and break-up with him.

Question: My LDR never works because my ex-boyfriend, who I met on a dating site, broke up with me because he thinks that I got sick because of him and mostly because of our time difference. I want to win him back but how am I going to do win back my ex-boyfriend? How will I convince my ex-boyfriend that our relationship will really work?

Answer: Talking to him would be the first step in showing your sincerity. LDR is really hard to maintain and you both need to constantly sacrifice your time for each other (but don't be too needy as to demand more time than each of you can manage). Even 30 minutes of quality chat is good enough. If you are both busy, an email or PM exchange should be good enough for a day. But of course, you would need to meet in person at some point otherwise, it cannot be a real relationship.

© 2016 Jennifer Gonzales

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