Have you ever felt worried or nervous that your long distance relationship wouldn’t work out? Have people ever made you feel like it wasn’t possible?
There were a few times in my life when people made me feel like I was a lunatic for believing in love across the sea. And I don’t really know why people do this to couples in long distance relationships. But I am here today as proof that long distance relationships do indeed work out. My fiancé and I have been in a long distance relationship for about 5 and a half years. And now we are finally in the same country and are no longer separated by the ocean. We made the long distance relationship work.
I want you to know that it’s possible too. If you are in a long distance relationship or know someone who is, these are the ABCs to making a long distance relationship work for you. I want you and your partner to thrive, not “just” survive.
The A-Z List To Make Your Long Distance Relationship Work
A. Attitude –
A lot of thriving in long distance relationships comes down to your attitude. How you speak to your loved one and also how you speak about him/or her when you aren’t talking to them.
How we kept a good attitude:
Every day in a long distance relationship it’s vital to stay positive with a good attitude. I’d try to look for the positive in the moment that I found myself in. Enjoy the moment you are in—here and now.
B. Believe –
You also need to believe in your relationship and what you two are working towards. Because there are plenty of people who will try to make you feel like what you are fighting for isn’t worth it. Believe in yourself and your relationship. Know that for certain.
How we believed:
Once I met this lady and she asked me why my boyfriend was in Australia. I kindly responded with, “He is finishing up school there.”
“Oh, was he just studying there?” She asked.
“No, he actually lives there.” I responded.
“Ohh….” She said, opening her eyes wide. A judgy look came across her face as she said, “Thank goodness my daughter didn’t fall in love with someone when she went abroad.”
You can imagine how comments like that sting. I mean here we are already struggling and fighting to make our relationship work and then a stranger comes and gives me the stink eye with some rude words. It’s crazy how those kinds of comments hurt, but I had to stay positive about my relationship… because If I didn’t who would?
I had to stay positive about my relationship… because If I didn’t who would?
If you aren’t in a long distance relationship, be sure to read this post on the different things that you should avoid saying to couples in long distance relationships.
C. Communication –
Set up a regular time to chat face to face. Johan (Yo-hun) and I spent many hours Skyping and Facetiming. Also, make sure that you give them the best of your time.
How we communicated:
A few months back, I was really busy with work and wedding planning. So much that I wasn’t able to chat until 10pm or even later. This wasn’t good because it made my fiancé feel like I didn’t care about giving him a good chunk of quality time.
We spoke about it and then decided how to fix things. It really helped.
Make sure you:
- Set up a time on your calendar where you both can come together to talk about your day.
- Don’t chat too early or too late. It’s so easy to have misunderstandings when you are tired, which we all know is an easy time where fights could enter.
D. Dream –
Dream about what your life will be like together. But, don’t just dream.
It’s super important that you figure out the end result. It’s not really ever the easiest conversation. If you don’t figure these things out you’ll feel like your never moving toward an ultimate goal where you’ll be together. Because that is the ultimate goal in a long distance relationship.
How we dreamt:
We sat down pretty early in our relationship to figure out how many years it would be till we’d be able to get married. We figured out that we’d wait till he finished school, which landed us in 2016.
Yes, at first that seemed like a long stretch goal, but we had to make it work.
So it’s important that you figure these things out:
- Are we going to get married?
- When will we finally be together?
- What do we have to go through in order to be together? (Example: visas)
- Who is going to move where?
E. Encouragement –
Kind words always make things work easier. Sometimes all you need is a hug, but that can be super difficult when your hugger isn’t nearby.
So make a habit of encouraging your partner. It’s like a verbal hug.
How we encouraged each other:
There were many times in our relationship when a hug would have really helped encourage each other. But, as you all know that isn’t really possible when it comes to long distance relationships.
Johan was finishing up university as an architect student. If you are or know an architecture student you know that it’s a stressful degree filled with a lot of hard work.
I encouraged him with words and also tried helping in any way that I could. In 2012, I was in Australia and helped Johan finish a project one night. I was helping him but felt like I wasn’t being too helpful.
Food for thought: Everyday ask yourself this question: “What can I encourage my partner in today?”
F. Fighting –
Make sure that when you have arguments or fights that you talk it out. Don’t wait too long to fix a blow-up.
Some people need time to think about arguments while others need to talk about it right away to feel better. Which ever you are, make sure that you respect your partner and get the problem figured out as fast as you can.
How we dealt with fights:
Fights and arguments are never fun. Ever.
But, sadly they happen. I found that most of ours happened when we were either tired, sleepy, or tuckered out. Guess those are all other words for being tired.
Number one rule: No fighting after 9pm.
G. Goals –
Make sure you set short term goals for when you can see each other. If you have things to look forward to, together then it won’t seem as long.
Some things you could plan for:
- What are some ways that we could meet up?
- Where could we meet up?
- What are some things that we could do together?
How we set goals: Johan and I spent a lot of our time together on small trips or doing fun activities. It’s really nice, because then when you are a part from each other you have memories to get you through the tougher times.
H. Help –
Get help from people around you who believe in you and your long distance relationship. It’s like setting up a safety network.
Who can I trust with these things?
Find someone who, after speaking with them, makes you feel good and like you could conquer the world with your partner.
How we found help:
My mom was super helpful in encouraging Johan and I in our relationship. We are so happy she was able to listen and inspire us to move forward.
I. Inspire –
Be your partner’s biggest inspiration. Encourage them in their dreams and goals. Tell them that they can do it. Give them ideas.
Share interest in the things that are interesting to them. They will love you more for it.
How we inspired each other:
As you all might know, I (Devin) am a writer and I love writing fictional stories. Johan once made me something from the book I’d written and gave it to me for my birthday. I remember crying huge tears. Good ones. He’s also created covers for my books to inspire me forward in my writing.
J. Jump –
Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith in a long distance relationship because you aren’t always going to have the answers for it.
How we jumped:
There are quite a few times that we had to jump. In the beginning of our relationship, we decided to try a long distance relationship out. There were also times where we didn’t know who was going to move where, but we tried staying positive amidst that knowing that we love each other and that something would work out sooner or later.
K. Kindness –
Speak with kindness to your partner. Try not to tell them everything that they need to fix. Share with them what they are doing right. There is a shortness in the world of kind words.
How we showed kindness:
Johan always sent me little text messages with pictures of beautiful flowers. Throughout the day it was just nice to receive little messages or pictures showing you that your love was thinking of you.
Also, Johan sent me flowers and chocolate. It really showed that he was thinking of me and it really surprised me.
L. Loyalty –
If you want your long distance relationship to work out you must stay loyal to your partner and not put it in a compromising situation.
How we stayed loyal:
Johan and I are both very loyal people and wouldn’t put ourselves in compromising situations.
If there was ever a moment where one of us felt like the other was treading in dangerous waters we’d bring it out to one another as kind requests.
M. Money –
It needs to be said. In a long distance relationship, you are going to need some money. There are times that you are going to have to go with little so that you can save up for travel tickets. That might mean not going to movies as much, because your ultimate goal is to go see your partner.
How we dealt with money –
There were times in our relationship across the ocean where one of us or both of us didn’t have a job. This is super hard especially when the only way you’ll get to see your partner is to buy a $1,000 ticket to fly across the world.
A few months ago, Johan signed up to work for Uber and he really enjoyed that. Plus, it really helped to make some extra cash to help us move toward our goals.
N. Notify –
Let your partner know if you are struggling with something or let them know if you are having a tough day.
How we notified:
Whenever I was having a tough day I’d chat with Johan and tell him about what was troubling me.
O. Optimism –
Stay optimistic in your relationship. It’s one of the major important factors that will keep the heart pumping in your relationship. Always look for the sunbeams in the sky. Give up on looking for the garbage in the ditch. Start looking for the flowers growing amidst the landfill.
How we stayed optimistic:
I really loved it when Johan sent me uplifting text messages with optimistic messages on them. It made me so happy knowing that someone really truly loved me and cared about my mind.
P. Present –
Enjoy where you are at the moment and what you are doing. There will never be a time like the present ever again. So enjoy and love the moments that you are in right now.
How we enjoyed the present:
There are many times when one of us would say to the other “I wish 3 months would have passed already so that we could be together.”
While that’s a nice gesture that you want to be together in 3 months time, it’s still not good to wish away your time.
We would then remind each other that we need to enjoy the moment we are in. That we need to enjoy the time with our parents and to work hard toward our goals.
Q. Quality –
When you guys get together, spend quality time together since now while you are apart there isn’t a quantity of time that you can spend together together.
How we spent quality time:
We’d take many road trips. Going out on the road to new places during the weekends. During the week, we’d go for walks in the morning and at night. Sometimes we’d even do some small little trips to the beach or movie theater.
R. Right –
Don’t always try to be “Right” in your relationship. Don’t say something just to say the last word. Instead have an open communication like adults.
How we worked on “right”:
Sometimes it’s been difficult to not have the last word, but one thing I’ve found out is, that it’s easier to brush it off your shoulder and to continue the conversation.
S. Surprise –
It’s important to surprise your partner. Surprises always make things interesting.
How we surprised each other:
Johan planned out a surprise visit with my parents. He flew over to America and surprised me at the airport. Then he also fit in a surprise proposal. Want our whole engagement story?
It was like a fairytale.
T. Trust –
You have to trust your partner especially if you are in a long distance relationship. If you can’t trust each other then you are going to have problems.
How we trusted each other:
We just sat back and trusted each other. I know that might sound crazy to some people. But honestly trust is having a reliability on someone else and that they won’t hurt you.
If you are worried about being hurt, sit down and have a discussion with your partner about it.
[Tweet “If you are worried about being hurt, sit down and talk to your partner.”
Yes, I actually wrote unicorn there. Unicorns are magical and unique happenings in your life. Look for things that sparkle and shine in your life as a couple.
How we spotted unicorns:
There were times that Johan sent me letters or packages. It brightened up my day whenever I got something in the snail mail from him.
One time I created a puzzle with a photograph of us on it. Then I sent him a multitude of letters with 2-5 puzzle pieces in them. (I’d written a message on the back of the puzzle as well so the only way he’d get to read the whole message was if he got all the pieces and put it together.
That was fun!
Celebrate the small and large victories. There are plenty of small victories.
How we celebrated the victories:
W. Win –
Don’t try to win arguments. Try to win your relationship. Every time you stop trying to win arguments you win your relationship.
How we won:
We are still together. :) And whenever we have fights we still try to win our relationship.
How you can win your relationship too:
The secret sauce to winning your relationship is to focus on each other. Don’t focus on being right all the time.
X. X Marks The Spot –
It was difficult to find a word for “X”. But X marks the spot reverts to treasure. Pirates always were looking for buried treasures.
Be a treasure seeker in your relationship. Look for the good things in your partner and tell them what those things are.
Y. Yolo –
You only live once. Every human being only has one life.
Live each day as though it were your last. Show your partner that you cherish them and do things to show them that you do.
How we yolo:
At the very beginning of our relationship, we decided to make a jump for the long distance relationship. We knew that we only have one life so why not make a jump toward each other over the sea. And it worked.
Z. Zazz –
Keep your relationship interesting. Do special things for each other to show how much you care and love your partner.
How we created zazz:
Once I wrote out a bunch hints on post-it notes and then went into the grocery store. I told Johan to come into the store when I texted him.
I texted Johan a message: “Come into the store. Find the _____ section for your next clue. You always warm my heart.”
Then in what ever aisle I wanted him to come to, I’d put a sticky note on the food item that he’d find. On that sticky note I had written a special message just for him to bring him to the next clue.
He really enjoyed this and has mentioned it countless times in the past.
You Now Know The A-Z List To Making Your Long Distance Relationship Work
All in all, long distance relationships can be difficult, but when they are given a little tender loving care, they have the ability to shine and sparkle giving joy and happiness to both people involved in the relationship. It also sets a lighthouse on full-brightness so that other people in long distance relationships can find healing and happiness. You become a role model to others in relationships when you make something like this workout.
Were there any letters that I left out? If so, share some that you have found helpful in the comments.