Long distance relationships: 5 Expert tips on making them work
Long distance relationships have always had the stigma that they don't work. Some relationships experts disagree. "Having a successful, long distance relationship is possible," says Paul A Falzone, CEO of The Right One and Together Dating, the largest brick-and-mortar dating service in the world. "It's important that you both understand what's involved and that you're dedicated to working at communicating."
Long distance relationships: Make 'em work!
If you're considering a long distance relationship or fall into one without much of a choice, don't worry -- there's help on the way. We turned to the experts for some tips on how to make your long distance relationship work. Here's what we uncovered:
Use the phone
Natasha Grach and her boyfriend have been together for seven years, and it was not easy at first. "We started our relationship apart for six months -- we were both college freshmen and he was in Russia studying abroad," she explains. "We kept things going by talking on the phone a lot -- sometimes as much as six to seven hours at a time!"
Tip: The good news that is even if your cell phone plan doesn't include unlimited national long distance -- or your love lives outside the country's borders -- you still have options.
To cut on the phone costs, she suggests using a service like VoxOx, a free Web application that combines Skype, Vonage, Google Voice and Digsby. That way, you can communicate with your beau without a financial hurdle.
And to make matters worse, talking on the phone for that long wasn't cheap. "Yes, there were calling cards, but that was such a hassle for us and they ran out really quickly with all those maintenance charges," she adds.
Grach advises not to let the logistics get in the way of talking on the phone with your partner everyday -- it's one of the most important things you can do to make a long distance relationship work.
Utilize other modes of communication
If you can't reach each another on the phone, then e-mail, IM and text messaging will do, says Falzone. "When you're stuck in a meeting halfway across the world, it's always heartwarming to receive a loving text message from your sweetheart," he points out. "Set aside a certain time, every day, to connect with each other."
With such busy lives and so many obligations pulling at you from all different directions, it's easy to neglect communicating in a long distance relationship. Using other modes of communication will keep you and your partner close even though you're technically far away from each other.
Keep the romance alive
You and your beau might not see each other every day, but it's important to keep the love going and present. "Give a little something -- mail a gift, write a love song, send a balloon-o-gram, order lunch and have it delivered to your honey -- just make it happen," says Falzone.
"You're not physically together all the time to enjoy those little extras that your sweetheart might do for you (like bringing you a latte made just the way you like it). Your sweetie will feel cherished knowing that you're thinking of him enough to send a special surprise." Plus, he will probably return the gesture and will make you feel super-special.
Partake in an even-trip exchange
Odds are you and your love will be visiting each other. It's important to make this even to avoid a disgruntled other-half. "Make sure that each person takes a turn visiting the other's city," says Debra Berndt, a dating and relationship expert, and author of the book, "Let Love In." "This way no one feels as though they are doing all the traveling, thus making all the effort in the relationship."
Don't take things (too) personally
Things will get in the way so be prepared. Since you and your partner live separately, odds are you'll maintain your lives in your own cities (as you probably should). It will help your relationship if you remain understanding and flexible.
"Changes in plans come up, work gets in the way and family emergencies emerge as a normal part of life. If your partner cancels a trip, do not take it personally and make a huge deal over the change (unless it becomes a regular pattern of behavior)," says Berndt. "Remember that you accepted the relationship as it is and must adjust to last minute cancellations as part of the deal."