"Don't bother with a long-distance relationship," they say. "It'll never work," they say.
Well, I'm here as a real example to tell you that it CAN work, as long as you are both truly committed to the relationship.
I have been with my girlfriend for over six years, but the first four years of our relationship were spent hours apart.
Even in the first six months of the relationship, we were quite literally half a world away from each other (she was studying in Europe, while I was in the United States).
We were able to make it work, even as undergrad college students with the temptations that come with parties every weekend and lonely nights in.
Now, I feel like maintaining a long-distance relationship would be a breeze. Here's how my girlfriend and I made it work:
Establish that you are both committed to the relationship.
Before we physically separated, neither of us displayed apprehension about trying a long-distance relationship. We established that we both loved each other, and we were going to commit to one another.
When someone is unsure if the relationship is going to work, things start to get tense and trust tends to waver.
Have some sort of contact every day.
There are so many free options and apps available so you can be in constant contact with your significant other.
When my girlfriend was in Europe, we weren't able to stay in contact every minute of the day. (No thank you, international phone bill.) Instead, we relied on emails, Facebook Messenger and Skype to talk.
I would wake up, go on my computer and read her message about what was going on. Then, I'd reply with what was going on in my world.
If we were both online at the same time, we'd try to have a little Skype date to see each other while we talked.
If you or your partner "need a day to yourself" when you're already in a long-distance relationship, it's probably not going to last long.
You're already in a virtual relationship, so if you're feeling smothered without physically being with the person, you're probably not going to like it when you actually are together.
Plan regular visits to see each other, or go somewhere in between.
With a long-distance relationship, you have to accept that you won't be with the person very much. But you still need to physically be with each other occasionally to make it work.
When my girlfriend and I were actually in the same country, we made it a point to try and see each other in person at least once a month.
I drove five hours to her place. She drove five hours to my place. Sometimes, we met somewhere in the middle just to have a few hours with each other.
And seeing each other didn't mean we had to do something special. It was perfectly fine to sit around and talk (or sleep) all day, as long as we were together (totally cliche, I know).
Make an occasional surprise gesture.
It doesn't have to be extravagant, but occasionally doing something to show you care goes a long way, especially when you're in a long-distance relationship.
Whether it's a "just because" bouquet of flowers or a surprise visit, these gestures can go a long way when you can't be with someone all the time.
Reiterate your commitment every chance you get.
I can't stress this enough. There's nothing worse than not knowing how your partner feels. And if you can't see them to read their body language, knowing their feelings gets so much harder.
Doing something so simple as throwing a random "hey, I love you" into the conversation or "I can't wait to see you again" reassures your partner you are still committed to the relationship.