How to have a healthy long-distance relationship

| July 22, 2022
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Long-distance romantic relationships are no easy feat, especially when there is nothing you want more than to be with the person (or persons) you love. Healthy relationships are key to your emotional and mental well-being, especially when there is time and space between you and your partner(s).

A long-distance relationship (LDR), like any other, requires the proper care and attention to thrive. Sometimes it’s easy to feel a bit hopeless, but being in a LDR can also bring out the best in partners, while establishing healthy habits that will benefit your relationship if and when you’re living in the same place. Check out these tips for creating and maintaining a healthy LDR and finding out what works best for you.

Communication is key.

Explain your communication strengths and preferences, and ask about your partner’s (or partners’) as well. This step ensures that everyone has the space to communicate what they’re feeling and can be understood when not together.

When talking about how you best communicate, you can also set expectations about how frequently you and your partner(s) will talk, whether that’s daily, weekly, or so on. How frequently you actually communicate may end up looking different from what your needs or expectations actually are (sometimes schedules just don’t line up), but it’s good to discuss your preferences.

Be open about how you’re feeling and vocalize what your wants and needs. It’s always good to practice communication behaviors, and doing so can make you and your partner(s) feel valued. It’s also worth talking about which communication channels you prefer. Does texting count as “talking” or not? Do you prefer having a dedicated time for talking with no distractions, or is it OK to multitask while you chat? Do you like voice-only calls or prefer a video chat? (There are no wrong answers here, just preferences!)

Prioritize yourself and enjoy this time. 

Because you’re in an LDR, you have more time to focus on yourself, your likes and dislikes, and your loved ones who are physically close to you. Take this time to live your own life and do what makes you happy. This opportunity is a good thing! You and your partner(s) should encourage each other to pursue your interests, in efforts to better yourselves as individuals; this step will translate into your relationship and demonstrate support and trust in one another. 

Find the fun and romance in being long-distance. 

Being in an LDR isn’t easy and it’s okay to be upset sometimes. But there are a million ways that you can have fun and connect with your partner(s), even if they aren’t physically nearby. Plan a date over FaceTime or Zoom, write letters, or watch a movie together; introduce them to something you love to do and vice versa. For example, if you love to draw or paint, plan a date where you can express your artistic side and send photos of what you made; if you like sports, help your partner(s) connect to local recreation leagues and be supportive in this process; if you love to read, send a list of your favorite books and have them read the first chapter to see if they liked it and what their thoughts are. By finding excitement and intimacy in your LDR, you can learn more about yourself and your partner(s) and find more to love about them.

Review your relationship and reflect on what your needs are

The time and space you have in an LDR can also provide the opportunity for you to reflect about the current status of your relationship as is. It’s easy to get lost in a relationship, but take this time to reassess what your expectations are of your partner(s) and what you want your relationship to look like. 

If your time together or apart is characterized by jealousy, controlling and/or manipulating behaviors, abuse, or other unhealthy habits exhibited by someone you love, reach out and use the resources available at Johns Hopkins to talk about what you’re experiencing in your relationship. A relationship should bring fun, happiness, and love into your life; if your relationship isn’t doing that, think about what’s best for you. 

By fostering healthy behaviors in your relationship and encouraging the growth of you and your partner(s) as a unit and as individuals, an LDR can be an incredible experience. Learn more about healthy dating with additional resources linked and resources related to gender-based violence at this webpage.