The need for relationships, love and companionship is universal, yet everyday life often makes it difficult for us to get close to our partners. Whether it’s geographical distance, cultural differences, career obligations or any other obstacle, “long-distance relationships” (LDRs) can be a challenge to manage. The physical gap doesn’t necessarily require romance to die out and there are strategies to make the passion remain alive. But before we get to that, let’s look at some common factors and prerequisites of managing a LDR.

Factors that Affect Long-Distance Relationships

A lot of factors will play a part in the functioning of a LDR, these include:

• The duration of the relationship: This is a huge factor, as the longer the two of you are apart the more strain it might take on daily routines and activities for both of you.

• The geographic distance: Distance doesn’t necessarily need to be huge, but even a few hundred kilometres will make each of you experience a different environment and setting.

• Disponibility: You both need to be able to allocate time, commitment and effort in order to make sure that your relationship flourishes not only in presence but also in absence.

• Communication: Both of you need to remain honest and open in terms of communication and in the disclosure of feelings. This is very important in order to avoid any potential misunderstandings that could arise over time due to the lack of face to face interaction.

• Frequency in time spent together: It is important to remember that LDRs need extra effort to keep both of you connected, as when you’re together, you will have to make the most of the time spent. Scheduling visits, meetups and projects are essential ways to ensure a healthy amount of time spent together.

• Knowing each other’s lifestyles and res day-to-day habits: Having a clear perception of how each other live day to day can help build up that feeling of presence.

Tips for Navigating a Long-Distance Relationship

In any relationship, there’s never one strategy that fits all. Just as with typical romances, it’s key to pay attention to what works for each couple. Here are some tried and tested tips to make LDRs last:

• Make time to talk: Video-calling and chatting are essential to stay connected and aware of each other’s lives.

• Celebrate miletone events together: Take photos of yourself and share them with your partner. Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and any other momentous occasion with gifts and by sending cards.

• Share hobbies: Whether it’s crosswords or evening strolls, find activities to do together, even if you’re hundreds of miles apart.

• Talk often: It doesn’t have to be long and involved. Texts, emails and quick phone calls throughout the day will make your partner’s day.

• Embrace technology: While We-chat, FaceTime, Skype and any other messaging app might not compare to person-to-person contact, using these tools can help bring an authentic connection.

• Establish rules and boundaries : Long-distance relationships might require extra attention and effort. Make sure to talk about goals you both have and to set boundaries.

• Do exciting things together: Play around with distance activities that you both can do together. Be creative while still challenging each other.

• Maintain your own self-care: Finding comfort and emotional support will result in a healthier relationship. Work on yourself and find happiness separately.

• Trust your partner: Nothing can nurture a relationship if there is a lack of trust for one another. Making sure to be honest with each other can help sustain a strong emotional connection.

• Make change of scenery visits: Give yourselves the opportunity for a fresh experience with mutual surroundings.

Benefits of Navigating a Long-Distance Relationship

Long-distance relationships are not just about feeling isolated and far from your partner. Being apart can also bring positive experiences that can be rewarding for both of you. Here are some of the advantages that LDRs bring:

• Both of you have the space to focus on personal interests: Being in a long-distance relationship provides time to make space and develop hobbies you wouldn’t have been able to do before.

• Having more time to work on yourself: You will be able to spend time on yourself, creating a healthier lifestyle and having better habits while developing life skills

• Appreciating time spent together more: When time together is scarce, it’s possible that the bond and connection grows. Each time you see each other will become more special.

• Opening new growth opportunities: apart from having more flexibility for solo adventures, the distance can be a great chance to discover new places and share experiences.

• Faster decision-making process: as decisions are taken at a distance, issues will be solved quicker and less emotional upheaval can occur.

Long-distance relationships are not always an easy thing, and the physical detachment might be taxing in the long run. Despite this, there are many strategies that can be applied to ensure communication and trust persists. Making sure to take the time to take care of yourself and not neglect the goals of your partner are important parts of keeping the love alive despite the distance. Patience and understanding can be a powerful force in maintaining a healthy LDR and ultimately, it’s all about finding what works best for the couple.