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How to Strengthen and Maintain a Long-Distance Relationship

Written by Malina Hapchina
maintain long-distance relationship

Missing your friends, family, or even a significant other? It’s tough to maintain any sort of long-distance relationship, but we have some ways to help.

It’s somewhat unusual to say that you’d met your soul sister at age seven. But I did, and I still feel that way.

My best friend and I were joined to the hip for a decade. Our friendship was my most prominent non-family relationship, one for which I’ve always expressed my utmost gratitude. But when we both of us went off to college, we had to detach.

It sucked. Well, kind of.

Post-secondary school often creates distance between people. We find ourselves hopelessly separated from family, friends, significant others, and (perhaps most alarmingly) family pets. It’s difficult to stray from good friendships—it’s one of the hardest parts of growing up, but it can be necessary when you’re testing the waters in your life. I needed my best friend to stand by me in the co-pilot position that she’d filled for most of my life. I didn’t know how I’d navigate without her, and I certainly didn’t want to see her in pixels all the time and find myself repeating, “I can’t hear you. Hello? Wait. Hello?

But I did. We did. We fired text messages like bullets, sent each other entire albums of photos, and ceaselessly shared our thoughts, achievements, worries, and emotions with one another. Being reunited was our reward for our perseverance and hard work during the school year, and it felt incredible to see her again after being apart for so long.

The point? I didn’t lose my best friend like I thought I would. Instead, I revelled in our ability to maintain our relationship despite the distance between us (checkmate, distance). I eventually learned that the whole long-distance relationship thing is honestly just a dumb test. It’s a test that you dread from the moment it’s assigned until the day you receive your mark. And when you find out you passed, it’s a major testament to your friendship or romantic relationship. You cultivated something so valuable that two people are willing to do anything to keep it alive. How amazing is that?

Keeping a long-distance relationship isn’t easy, but the ultimate key is to never give up. Ever. Say what you will about the woes of our technological age, but when many of us end up in different cities, countries, and continents during the pivotal stages of our growth, technology is what makes many a long-distance relationship work. I’m thankful that I can call my family or friends regardless of how far apart we are, even though I have to settle for saying “xoxo” instead of giving actual hugs and kisses. But when the other option is giving up the relationship altogether, the choice is easy.

There are many, many ways that my best friend and I made the whole ordeal tolerable; if you’re in the same position, these pointers are sure to help you out.

10 Tips for Maintaining a Long-Distance Relationship

  1. Think of the times you spend interacting with faraway loved ones as mini-vacations—tune out from everything else in your life and focus on nothing but them.
  2. Speak as though the other person is standing right next to you. Try to leave out details that could make them feel more disconnected from your life.
  3. Allocate certain days and times when you can both go on Skype.
  4. Update one another on weekly events, no matter how mundane they seem.
  5. Use WhatsApp, iMessage, WeChat, FaceTime, and other such mobile messengers to talk on the go.
  6. Just tell them about your day. Ask how theirs went. Repeat.
  7. Talk about each other’s future plans and aspirations.
  8. Do not settle for communicating once a month just to discuss the big things that may have happened. The little things can pull at the heartstrings, too.
  9. Express interest in their new friends, schoolmates, potential romantic interests, and so on. You know, like you usually would.
  10. Snapchat. A lot.

Ultimately, a great relationship lies in the ability to support one another unconditionally. Long-distance is a condition. You can overcome it. Treat the distance as though it’s nonexistent and you’ll get accustomed to the reality far sooner than you’d think—I know for a fact that you can do it!

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*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.