4 Tips For Making Long-Distance Relationships A Little Less Painful

Long-distance relationships are tricky business. While solid communication and trust are pillars in any relationship, LDRs demand these qualities. Yet, even the most communicative, trusting, and transparent couples are sure to struggle with the challenges of long-distance at some point (read: Jim and Pam). There's nothing worse than the feeling of not being able to wrap your arms around your boyfriend or girlfriend at the end of a long day, you know? But fret not, long-distance lovers! There are so many tricks and tips to make long-distance easier.

I would also argue that there's never been a better (dare I say easier?) time to be in an LDR with your partner. If you've got a cell phone and a mobile data plan, you can literally see their face at the touch of a button, or have a heart-shaped pizza delivered to their apartment that night. Bless Al Gore for inventing the internet. (FYI, he didn't, but he sort of claimed that he did. The more you know!)

Beyond the magic of FaceTime and food delivery, though, there are tons of ways to keep your long-distance relationship afloat — no matter how many oceans, time zones, or state borders might be sitting between you and your partner.

If you and your SO have recently decided to give long-distance a-go, or you're having a rough time bridging the gap in an ongoing LDR, here are are four ways to make it all a little less painful, and hopefully a whole lot easier to manage.

Plan Date Nights

It may sound silly, but taking time to carve out "date nights" — whether you two make dinner together over Skype, live-text while watching cult documentaries on Netflix (they're romantic, no?), or just spend a few hours FaceTiming and chatting about your weeks on a Friday night — is super important. So be sure to set that time aside, specifically for your SO.

"Date nights [in long-distance relationships] are similar to other date nights," licensed marriage and family therapist Nicole Richardson recently told Elite Daily. "It is important to protect the time you have together and minimize outside distractions."

Exchange Letters

As someone in the midst of several long-distance friendships myself (I live in London, while most of my BFFs are on the other side of the Atlantic), I've become a huge believer in sending handwritten letters, postcards, and even the occasional care package.

I 10/10 recommend you try this out with your partner, too.

Whether you scribble notes to them in the margins of your new, favorite novel and pop it in the mail, regularly send post cards from that cute, stationary shop around the corner, or send a heart-shaped pizza their way when they're having a rough week (seriously, they're a thing!), just make an effort to bring as much physicality to your long-distance as you can. You may not be able to be with them IRL, but stuffed crust is the next best thing.

Bonus: If you choose to send letters, you'll quickly feel like a Jane Austen-era protagonist. The dream!

Travel Together

Instead of flying back and forth between your city and your SO's, plan a few mini trips to visit new destinations together. Beyond looking forward to seeing your boyfriend or girlfriend's face, you'll also be looking forward to discovering an entirely new city or town with one another (and who doesn't need a little adventure every now and then?).

Plus, in the meantime, all of your searches for the greatest Airbnbs, museums, and cafes are sure to distract you from missing your SO too much.

Keep Up The Communication

As mentioned, communication is a key pillar in any healthy relationship — but it is imperative if you two are long-distance.

"I think setting up expectations around communication is similar with long distance as non-long distance," says Richardson. "Some people really enjoy texting and communicating all day, others really aren’t able to do that so it is helpful to talk about it and set the expectations in advance. It may also be necessary to revisit the communication rate and styles from time to time as the needs may change."

Maybe you two want to stay connected all day via teensy, tiny bluetooth headsets. Maybe you want to text 24/7. Maybe you want to make plans to catch up over the phone at the end of the day, or even week. Do what works best for you two, and make an effort to check in and verify that you're both happy with your level of communication every so often.

Oh, and don't forget to throw a little sext their way from time to time. Gotta keep the spark alive, amirite?