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It often seems like every person you meet has long-distance relationship advice to dole out. Some think it's totally feasible, while others are quick to say it will simply never work.
However, studies have shown long-distance relationships can be just as fulfilling as when your partner lives down the street. That's not to say it will be a cakewalk — what relationship is, really? — but when you have the right mindset, a few hundred (or thousand) miles apart won't stop a relationship from flourishing.
Here are some long-distance relationship tips to help you build an unbreakable bond.
What are the benefits of a long-distance relationship?
Believe it or not, there are actually benefits to living apart from your partner (beyond the fact that you don't have to pick up their dirty socks).
One study found that partners with some physical space between them tend to have higher-quality relationships and are more dedicated to each other. It makes sense, if you think about it — if you're living far away, you really have to be committed to making it work. These couples are also less likely to feel "trapped" in a relationship.
These aren't the only perks, either. Some other benefits include:
- Better communication. Research shows that long distance couples communicate more consistently and deeply, which often results in a deeper bond.
- Maintaining independence. We all know someone who's lost themselves in a relationship. When you're living apart, you're forced to keep your own hobbies, interests and social life.
- Exciting reunions. If you haven't seen each other in months, it makes it easier to fully appreciate the time you do get to spend together.
How to overcome common long distance challenges
While there are plenty of perks to long distance dating, there are obviously challenges as well. Some of the biggest problems that long distance couples face include:
- Loneliness or touch deprivation from a lack of physical contact
- Finding time to connect, especially if you're in different time zones or have conflicting schedules
- Pressure to "make the most" your limited time together
- Resolving conflict, including trust and jealousy issues, without seeing each other in person
But don't let this list scare you off. With a few simple long-distance relationship tips in mind, you can avoid potential pitfalls.
1. Set expectations
It might not feel sexy to set ground rules in your relationship, but experts insist it's key for long distance couples.
"It's extremely important to set realistic and healthy expectations," Jocelyn Charnas, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Manhattan, explains to Women's Health. She recommends discussing how often you'll communicate, when you'll see each other in person and whether you'll be open to dating other people.
2. Don't overcommunicate
There's such a thing as too much talking. One key piece of long-distance relationship advice is not to communicate with your partner 24/7.
Sure, you can send texts throughout the day, but save phone calls and video chats for when you actually have something to say. This will make for more meaningful and intimate conversations that will help strengthen your relationship.
3. Find a joint activity
It can strengthen your bond to find an activity to do "together," even if you're physically apart. Try playing a video game, watching a TV show together or reading the same book.
Will long distance work for you?
You can read all the long-distance relationship advice in the world, but at the end of the day, you know better than anyone if long distance love is realistic for you. It hinges on both of your personalities, circumstances and mutual commitment to making it work.
Romance doesn't have to be right next to you to be real. If you've found someone you care for, it's possible for your relationship to not just survive the distance, but thrive in it.
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