The heart wants what it wants, and sometimes that means it desires someone who lives far away. Long-distance relationships have their challenges, but if you know the person you're dating is the right one for you, then it can be totally worth the extra effort. Still, it never hurts to have a few extra communication tips for long-distance couples to help your connection stay strong and healthy until you can be together again.
How important is communication for long-distance couples? According to Susan Winter, relationship expert, love coach, and author of Breakup Triage: The Cure for Heartache, it's everything. "Communication is the non-physical glue that keeps a long-distance couple together. If they're unable to communicate their needs and articulate their relationship goals, the relationship is facing a serious uphill battle," she tells Elite Daily. "The physical distance is already a known issue, making LDRs a far more difficult love model to master. They require double the effort because of the inherent temptation factor and loss of momentum due to loss of physical contact." So yeah, the stakes for your long-distance relationship can be pretty high if you aren't communicating enough. Here's how the experts say you can take your conversations to the next level and keep your connection strong, no matter how far apart you are from one another.
1. Communicate Regularly And Often.
Healthy communication is all about putting in the effort, as Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent couples therapist in Los Angeles, tells Elite Daily. “Be intentional about your communications. Both of you must understand that communicating regularly, despite the distance, is important to the health of your relationship,” he explains. Granted, life gets busy, so it can sometimes be hard to spontaneously carve out time for a real heart-to-heart conversation. In this case, Dr. Brown says scheduling dates to talk can be a great way to create that time. “One very basic goal for long-distance partners is to set aside one or more specific times during each day when you're going to touch base during a phone call or video chat," he suggests. "This is in addition to texting, because just typing a few words, no matter how heartfelt, isn't a replacement for hearing your partner's voice, and is certainly not as desirable as actually being able to see them.”
2. Understand One Another’s Communication Needs.
A key element of healthy communication is simply understanding what the concept means to each of you, Dr. Brown explains. "One of you may be happy just talking now and then, while the other would like to communicate frequently, even daily. Make it a point to try and find a balance that works for each of you. If you're going to err, err more on the side of more than less, but not to the point where one partner feels invaded,” he says. It’s also important to put in the extra effort to understand what your partner's saying while you talk, by being an active listener. In other words, not just listening passively but concentrating on what they're saying. “Your partner will likely feel more appreciated and cared for if you give them a sense that you're actively listening to them and reflecting back to your partner what you hear them saying. This helps reduce miscommunications and improves understanding,” explains Dr. Brown.
3. Add Video Chat Into Your Regular Communication.
Talking on the phone and texting are great ways to communicate because they're convenient (especially texting). However, Diana Dorell, intuitive dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again says that, if you really want to feel connected, adding video chat into the equation is essential. “It's the closest thing to being there in real life, and visual images stay in the brain longer than a text will, so bust out FaceTime, Zoom, or, if you're on Android, try Google Duo,” she advises.
Dr. Brown agrees. “I'm a big fan of video chats, as you get the benefit of not only hearing your partner's voice but seeing their body language as well. This is a more intimate and complete experience as opposed to a phone call,” he shares.
4. When You Don’t Have Time To Talk, Send A Quick Message.
While it would be nice to have time to chat with your loved one all day long, that's unfortunately not feasible. Everyone gets busy and, in those moments, Cherlyn Chong, a dating and breakup recovery coach for professional women, tells Elite Daily your communication doesn’t have to suffer. Her advice is to send quick voice messages to let your partner know they're in your thoughts, even when things get busy. “Use the voice recording feature on Messenger, WhatsApp, or any other messaging app you share," she suggests. "We often tell each other that we're thinking of the other person, that we wish they were there, and reminiscing about fond memories that we can't wait to recreate when we see each other again. Even a simple ‘good night’ will work wonders for your relationship."
5. Keep it Fresh.
Scheduling times to chat and having a routine to keep the communication going is great, but just like in non-long-distance relationships, it's a good idea to try and avoid getting into a rut. Dorell advises keeping things fresh by switching things up from time to time. “Do you always send a morning text? Maybe send one mid-day when you're actually thinking about them! Surprises can be great to build that anticipation and keep the passion alive,” she says.
Great communication in any relationship, but particularly in long-distance ones, ultimately comes back to putting in the effort to be open and hear your partner. Sometimes it's easy and comes naturally, but other times it can be a bit more work to make it happen. When you're with the right person, though, it's totally worth it. And as Chong assures, your efforts will pay off. “Taking a little more time to text them or going out of your way to increasing communication will prove so fruitful for your happiness," she concludes. "It will help fortify the basis of your relationship for years to come.”
Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent couples therapist in Los Angeles
Cherlyn Chong, a dating and breakup recovery coach for professional women