Going The Distance: 5 Ways To Make Your LDR Work, Despite Stereotypes

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Long-distance relationships are not always easy.

Whether it’s different schools, towns, states or countries, your relationship can be more challenging than most. It’s hard, and it’s not for everyone.

We’ve all heard the horror stories or experienced firsthand the frustration of long-distance relationships.

Chances are, you can think of at least a handful of people who split up “because of the distance.” For this reason, there’s a negative stigma that seems to surround the concept.

I experienced these difficulties myself when I studied abroad in England for four months.

I left my hometown in August, unsure of how long-distance really worked; I was only aware of the undesirability associated with it.

Fast forward five months to December: I’m running through the airport and jumping into my boyfriend’s arms.

The time apart had been challenging, yes, but it also made us stronger and more appreciative for the time we had together.

The entire journey made me realize the stereotype of long-distance is simply that: a stereotype.

Though it’s not ideal at times, when long-distance relationships fail, it’s not just because of the miles between the people in them. It usually has to do with everything else happening in the relationship:

Maturity

Success in a long-distance relationship can be affected by how mature you are as individual people and as a couple.

It takes a certain maturity level to be able to cultivate and grow a relationship without being able to see your partner face to face.

A lot of this simply has to do with age; you will become more mature and ready to take on certain challenges as age graces you with experience.

As we get older, we start to realize what matters most and what’s worth fighting for, and love is definitely one of those things. A mature person knows great love is worth the separation.

Be with someone who knows how special you are.

Commitment

Being completely confident and invested in your relationship makes a world of difference. If you can’t trust the love you and your significant other share, it creates doubts in the relationship.

You may constantly wonder whether it will work and you may let those thoughts overshadow the entire relationship.

If go into it with the mindset that it will be impossible, you’re already succumbing to doubts. Those who go into the experience 110 percent committed will be able to relax and enjoy this new kind of relationship.

Bottom line: be with someone you can trust.

Communication

In any relationship, communication is key. It’s especially important when you’re not seeing someone face to face for weeks or months at a time.

Being open and honest about how you’re feeling or how you’re adjusting is an important part of keeping the relationship real.

Carving out specific times to talk on the phone or video chat can be helpful, and it will give you both something to look forward to.

Hearing your partner's voice or seeing your partner on camera also reminds you of the face behind the text messages.

Communication is about being open about the whole process and making a constant effort to keep that person as a priority in your life, even when it’s not face-to-face.

Be with someone you can talk to about anything, anytime.

Support

The right person or relationship won’t hold you back from your dreams. Whether it’s studying abroad, a great job in a new city or a college acceptance out of state, your significant other should be supportive of your decision and want you to do what’s best for you.

One of the perks of long-distance is when you sit down to talk to your partner, you can share a lot about what you’re experiencing, as well as listen to what’s happening in your partner's life.

Those who are too self-interested may not be able to appreciate the companionship or the give-and-take of a long-distance relationship.

You want to be with someone who dares you to dream your biggest dream and who is with you, even if it’s not physically, every step of the way.

Be with someone who wants what is best for you.

Connection

Lastly, long-distance relationships require a strong emotional connection. Since you aren’t able to physically be with that person, conversation will be the main tool you use to communicate how you feel and grow even closer together.

In the months I spent in England, I learned so much more about my significant other because of the long phone calls we had every Monday morning.

When you’re physically together all the time, you’re probably doing something else, too (eating at a restaurant, watching a movie, or some sort of activity).

Having only phone calls or video chats made everything revolve around only the conversation we were having, and it brought us even closer.

It doesn’t matter how mature, committed, communicative or supportive you are; if you don’t have a real connection with a person, it still won’t feel right. In this way, connection is what ties everything together.

Be with someone you have a genuine connection with.

So, if the thought of long-distance has always scared you, start to think of it differently.

If you are mature, committed, communicative, supportive and connected throughout the experience, there’s no reason why a few miles or even an ocean can break up a great love story.

If you find the right person, don’t let relationship stereotypes hold you back. Love fearlessly, and see where it takes you.