I would hardly call myself an expert on long-distance relationships — or even relationships in general, for that matter.
But I've been there before and am currently there now, so I've learned a thing or two.
My first long-distance relationship was with my college boyfriend. Looking back on it, it was actually quite pathetic. We were only an hour and a half drive from each other, yet things quickly crumbled.
Other factors were involved in the demise of this relationship, of course, but I took it as a learning opportunity.
My current boyfriend is a Naval Officer. We're in a committed relationship even though we're 300 miles apart.
He only comes home every two weeks, but we've found tricks to make the relationship work.
Here are three extremely important things to remember when keeping the love alive in your long-distance relationship:
Just because you have time set aside to have a conversation via phone or FaceTime doesn't mean it's always going to be smooth-sailing.
You're both continuing to live your lives. Just because it's time for your daily phone call doesn't mean you have to forget about your real-life problems. And you shouldn't expect your SO to do that, either.
When you do find the time to call, use this time to lean on your SO. That's part of the reason you have one, right?
They may be miles away, but if you've got a good one, they'll be willing to use the phone time they have to help with whatever you're going through.
Whatever the phone call or FaceTime will endure, communication is always key.
And here's a tip: Take advantage of all social media platforms.
My boyfriend and I are always texting, sending pictures via Instagram and Snapchatting throughout the day. Any little thing you send will let them know you're thinking of them.
2. Socializing is so, so important.
Listen, I know you haven't seen bae in two to three weeks and you don't want to share them with anyone else right now.
I really get the frustration. But doesn't that mean the minute you seem them you should want to do all of the couple-y things you've been waiting to do with them?
You don't have to hibernate the whole time you're together. Go out and make memories; it's vital to your relationship.
After all, isn't showing off your hot SO part of the fun of having one?
Take them to your favorite dinner spot, introduce them to your besties or even stay in and hang out with the roomie(s). Whatever you do, just don't become hermits.
3. Don't forget about their parents.
Find time to connect with their parents; they are a very important part of being in a relationship.
They'll become your second family, so you want to be close with them, even if your SO won't be there.
Luckily, my boyfriend is from the same town as me and his parents are only a 10-minute drive away. Even when he's not around, I make an effort to spend as much time as I can catching up with them.
I fully understand it won't be like this in most cases, so make use of phone calls!
Sure, they might be outdated, but any family member loves to get a phone call. It shows them you care about how they're doing.
Bonus tip: Take up a few of their hobbies while they're gone as a way to feel a little more connected to them.
All in all, every relationship is different, but they always all have one thing in common: They require hard work, compromise, dedication and love.