One way I have maintained some sense of mental health is by having the right support to help me through anything and everything. I met my current boyfriend, Micah, on a mission trip in Owensboro, Kentucky in 2015. We sent each other notes and exchanged numbers. What I thought would be a fleeting friendship turned into a meaningful long distance relationship.
Many people told me it wouldn’t work. That long distance wasn’t “worth it”. How could I possibly be satisfied with a relationship where I couldn’t even physically be with the person 90% of the time? The worst was when people assumed Micah and I met over the internet and had never even seen each other in real life.
Long distance is tough, and many people think it is impossible or not worth trying at all. I truly believe that my relationship would not be as strong without the distance we had to face. If you’re looking for reassurance or inspiration from someone who has been in a long distance relationship, you’re in the right place! There has not been one single day where I have regretted pursuing my relationship. Long distance can be an incredible opportunity for growth as an individual and as a couple. With that said, you need to put in the work to make long distance worthwhile.
After reflection, I have put together 4 components you need to maintain a healthy long distance relationship.
1. You need to talk almost every single day
No, it is not the easiest task on certain days. Couples fight sometimes, and when that happens drifting apart seems easiest. Although easy, a lack of communication is detrimental to a relationship! This is a common principal for any healthy relationship, but is even more important for long distance. There is no foundation to a long distance relationship without communication. Absolutely none. And if your relationship is healthy, it won’t be too difficult most of the time, you will look forward to talking to each other. Micah and I got in the habit of telling each other most everything we thought about and were doing, which kept us chatting daily.
Also as a pro tip: Use emojis. Texting will most likely be the primary channel of communication for you and your partner. Emojis add personality and tone to your messages which makes your conversations feel more personal.
2. Plan out times to video chat in advance
Ideally in my relationship, we wanted to video chat every day for at least an hour, but with our busy lives and schedules, that didn’t always work out. The best way to ensure we would see each other was to plan out a couple designated times a week to FaceTime – usually at night. It gave us both something to look forward to. Every time we would Facetime, we would make sure to mention when we would both be free to do it again.
3. Be flexible
I cannot stress enough how important flexibility can be for long distance. Micah and I lived 6 hours apart, so visiting each other in the midst of school and work was challenging. We had to be able to compromise and find something that worked for us both. Patience and an open mind can go far with long distance. Set aside times to discuss any kind of future interaction (video chat, phone call, physical visits, etc). Figuring out something that works for both you and your partner can have its challenges, but it is far less stressful if you are willing to compromise.
4. Trust each other
This can be a tough one. Jealousy can single handedly ruin a long distance relationship. Trusting your partner is important for any relationship, but long distance cannot thrive without it. Long distance will most definitely strengthen the trust in your relationship if you give it time and effort. The best advice I can offer with building trust is to communicate what you’re feeling, no matter what. If I felt off about something and felt that I couldn’t share it with Micah, it just ate at me until I burst and told him anyway – in an unhealthy manner. On the other end of that, make sure your partner feels safe to discuss their feelings with you.
It’s easy to “talk the talk” but much harder to “walk the walk” when it comes to long distance. There are some elements to having a healthy long distance relationship that you cannot control, such as compatibility. You both have to be equally dedicated to making it work. If you are not, things tend to get messy. With that said, if you are both willing to put in the effort and time to make it work, usually you can find a way to maintain a healthy long distance relationship. I hope my words aid your journey, and I wish good luck to anyone who decides to pursue long distance in the future!