Worldwide border closures have kept a lot of people separated from family, partners, and friends. Many students have had to leave loved ones behind or are dating someone who lives interstate. If you are one of these students, you’re probably wondering, can long-distance relationships work?
The good news is that individuals in long-distance relationships are often not at a disadvantage and, sometimes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. We’ve put together some long-distance relationship advice, which hopefully helps you overcome the current geographical barriers and appreciate your significant other even more.
Spoiler alert! These long-distance relationship tips boil down to one word — effort.
Learn to respect each other’s schedules
Time zones can be tricky so be informative about your schedules and routines, and take turns accommodating each other’s availability to set up certain time windows to catch up. It’s also good to be flexible and understanding in case any events crop up, and to communicate changes in plans clearly. It’s also helpful to practice balance and moderation, focusing on the quality of the conversations rather than the frequency.
Ditch expectations and bias
If there’s something you have in mind, it’s best to speak up rather than forming assumptions or setting expectations. Disappointments can be averted if you choose to be honest and frank from the get-go. Avoid imposing all responsibilities on the other person. You are both in the relationship, hence the input has to be equal for it to work out. So, maintain an open dialogue consistently instead of pursuing the relationship through rose-tinted glasses.
Find creative ways to stay in touch
Maintaining contact with your loved one, beyond the mundane calls and texts, adds a spark to the relationship. There are many ways to share experiences with your loved one! You can stream movies and TV shows to watch together, play online games, sing karaoke, set exercise routines, or cook and dine together on a virtual date. Sometimes, it can also be worthwhile to play things by ear and bond over something unplanned.
Buy them gifts that remind them of you
Never underestimate the joy of giving and receiving gifts. A few ideas for long-distance relationship gifts that they can hold onto include hoodies/jumpers, mugs, or jewellery. Just remember that it doesn’t have to be big or expensive; something that is meaningful will be just as, if not more, appreciated. Our personal favourite is gifting care packages, which can include a collection of some of their favourite goodies (we recommend snacks, bath products, candles or games) to help them relax. Check out our guide if you’re wondering how much you should be spending on gifts.
Think outside the ‘tech’ box
As impractical as it may be, try not to rely solely on technology to maintain a connection with your loved one. As silly as it may sound, writing a heartfelt letter or greeting card can be one of the sweetest things you can do to bring a smile to your partner’s face. An alternative could be sending each other postcards from some of the best places you’ve visited as an international student.
Be there for them
Besides the long-distance relationship itself, there may be other things that make you feel deflated from time to time. Study or work can be challenging on some days so be sure to lend your loved one an ear and support them through their lows. Otherwise, if they prefer time and space to cope by themselves, give this to them generously and let them know you are there for them whenever they feel ready to share their feelings.
Celebrate each other
Despite the distance, there are so many things to celebrate about each other — whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, or personal and professional achievements. Focusing on the good that happens while being apart outweighs the challenges that may come with a long-distance situation. So, the next time you speak with your loved one, don’t forget to celebrate them for being in your life and appreciating them for all that they are.
Align your goals
This is admittedly one of the hardest tips of making a long-distance relationship work, but it may well be the most rewarding. It’s proven that uncertainty about the future is not as problematic when future possibilities are evaluated. Make sure to share your goals no matter how big or small so that, when the time is right, you can create a long-term plan together.