Can Long Distance Relationships Work? Some Advice From a 'Veteran'

When I say, 'veteran', I don't mean being in the armed services. What I mean is that I've been in a number of long-distance relationships. In fact, my current husband and I were in a long-distance relationship up until I moved to Georgia to be with him. The relationship before that was also long- distance, so I've come to learn a lot about how these things work. Hopefully I can use this experience to help others deal with the challenges long-distance couples face.

I'll start off by saying this: your relationship needs to be aiming for the two of you to eventually be at the same place. It is very hard for a relationship to build the kind of commitment and intimacy needed to work long-term if you don't have a goal in mind. It needs to be going somewhere, or else it's just going to stagnate and make both you and your partner miserable. I don't mean to be overdramatic; it's just that I have been in this position before I met my husband. Saying, 'I'll move there after XYZ is finished' when there's no clear plan for XYZ or just, “I'll move there eventually” isn't going to cut it. It might work fine for the short-term but, if you're trying to build or maintain a long-term relationship, there needs to be a plan for the future. You don't necessarily have to have your wedding planned out, but the two of you need to be on the same page so that one person doesn't feel like they are doing all the 'work'. Trust me on this one!

Also, you need to keep in regular contact. This probably goes without saying, but it is essential to keep the lines of communication open and to use them on a regular basis. I'd suggest at least four to five days a week, but you can work out what works best for you. Set aside a specific time-say, weeknights after Letterman-that the two of you will devote to talking/chatting to each other. If you have a more-or-less regular schedule, you'll be able to focus more and be sure you don't miss the calls. When you do talk to each other, be sure there is some quality to the conversations. You may not always have a whole lot to say, but make those phone calls count.

Be very upfront with each other about how you are feeling. Even with regular calls and visits, you can still get lonely at times. Loneliness can sometimes lead you to do things you otherwise wouldn't, so being honest about this is very helpful. Perhaps there is something you can both change to relieve the loneliness but, even if there isn't, being upfront can help you better deal with it. Keeping busy can help a lot in terms of giving you something to take your mind off of things.

I hope the advice I've given here can help you in your relationship. It definitely takes effort, but good ones are worth it.


  1. I tried the long distance relationship thing once. He was in the military and I was almost 1000 miles away. We would talk every day, sometimes several times a day. But that still wasn't enough.

    You are completely right, there needs to be a set goal in mind or else it will just get stale, and maybe end up turning to someone else.

  2. Yep. I have been in the position where I turned to someone else and, while I won't excuse it, you can't be in a serious relationship if the two of you aren't on the same page. This is true even if you are local, but it's especially true when you're away from the one you love for an extended period of time.