Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Long Distance Dating Rules

long distance for dummies: long distance dating rules

1. Trust each other 

You're probably reading this, and thinking to yourself, duh. That's an obvious one for any relationship.

But for a long distance relationship to work, trust has to be a huge priority. Jealousy is going to play a role in any relationship. You need to both know, with certainty, that neither of you is going to do anything you wouldn't want your significant other to know about.

When you talk to each other, you will tell each other about people in your lives. And you need to know that just because one of you is spending time with someone that you could be attracted to that it is platonic and will not undermine your relationship.

I wish I had some good tips for building trust. It is difficult to do when you are not near each other. That's why it's a really hard one for long distance. You have to speak with both actions and words, and speak with sincerity.

The best advice that I can give is that you need to tell each other that you trust each other. Telling someone you trust them encourages them to live up to that trust, and to trust you as well. If you are suspicious of every action they do, they will start hiding things from you. It's easy to hide stuff if you want to when you don't live near each other. That's why you need to make a point to be open about what you do and about your trust for each other.

2. Have something to look forward to

Whether it's an upcoming visit, a phone call, a letter, or a Skype date, it is important to have something to look forward to. Something that you can count the days to each other until it happens. When you don't know the next time you are going to see each other, it is easy to feel down. So make something to look forward to.

Nothing feels as good as seeing the days in a countdown get lower. This will keep positivity in your relationship and make being away from each other seem like it lasts less time.

3. Talk about your life, even if it seems meaningless

We tell each other most of what is going on in our lives. Even the small stuff. When you think about it, it is often the small stuff that keeps a relationship going. Of course I will tell Lars if something bigger happens in my life, like getting a good grade on an assignment, but I also tell him lots and lots of little stuff, like the corny joke my professor says during class.

Keeping a connection to each other's lives is really difficult in a long distance relationship. That's why you should tell each other seemingly meaningless things, things that mean a lot to the person who can't see you when they want to. I love hearing about anything he's doing, whether it's deciding how to best exclude pomegranate seeds from a smoothie, or planning out his future career directions. The small stuff counts.

4. Send pictures

This is one of my favorite things that we do. Luckily, we have technology to help us through our long distance relationship. I like to send Lars pictures on days that I am feeling particularly cute, or sometimes to illustrate what I'm doing.

This helps us feel like we are participating more in each other's lives. Or if we miss each other a lot, we can ask each other to send pictures to picture ourselves being together.

We send each other pictures a lot. Lars at his desk at work. Me with a pile of books. Laying on your pillow at night. Trying on clothes. The first successful omelette I ever made (mine always turn into scrambled eggs).

long distance for dummies: send each other pictures

The title picture from this post is from pictures we have sent to each other. This is a great way to include each other in daily life without actually being together.

5. Make contact, even if only for a few minutes

You don't get to see each other often, so you have to make up for it. Lars works two jobs and is a busy guy. My schedule is more flexible, so we usually try to find time on his breaks. He calls me on his walk to work, or his lunch break. I use him as an excuse for study breaks. We have longer Skype sessions on the weekends when we are both free.

Take advantage of the little time you have (especially if you're in different time zones!!). The first time around, when I was still in Chicago and Lars was in Florida, he spent about a month working the night shift. It was really hard for us to find time to talk. That's why regular contact in little bits is so great.

6. Skype dates. Like, actual dates.

This might seem silly, but it is actually wonderful. It is great to video chat with each other no matter what, but I love when we set little dates. It's our way of having dates even though we aren't together.

Some examples:
  • Watch a movie at the same time. You can talk to each other and see each other's reactions. 
  • Cook a meal at the same time while you talk to each other. 
  • Get ready together in the morning.
  • Play a game together. 
We actually set times for these skype dates and plan ahead. Sometimes they are spontaneous, but it is another one of those things that you can have to look forward to. One of my favorites was when we both made popcorn and watched Harry Potter together. And ended up falling asleep with the video chat still going.

(check out our post on long distance gifts to see where you can make an amazing custom monopoly board to use on Skype dates!)

7. Express when you're having a hard time

It's no secret that long distance relationships are hard. And some times are harder than others. Don't try to keep this inside, thinking it will worry the other person. You're in this relationship together. Talk about when it's difficult for you. Explain why.

Keeping contact at these times is critical. It will help you build your confidence in trust in each other, and it will help you figure out how to get through the most difficult times. Together.

8. Make a point to visit each other, and budget your travel

Obviously this one will be different for everyone depending on how far apart you are and how much money you can spend. But we make a point to see each other. Our goal is to see each other once a month, alternating who visits.

This is easily justifiable for us. Just think about how much you would be spending on dates and such when you live near each other, and budget that much for travel. Once a month visits don't seem so expensive compared to weekly dates. And each of us pays for our own travel, but we help each other out too.

Sometimes it makes sense to take turns visiting each other, but sometimes it makes sense for one person to travel more often as well. In our situation, I'm away at school, but Lars is in Chicago near my family. So when I visit him, I am also visiting home. So it makes sense for me to visit him more often than he visits me because I would be visiting my family anyways.

9. Support each other 

Another "duh" one. But because you aren't together, you have to be especially clear about supporting each other. You can't give each other hugs to celebrate accomplishments. You have to use your words.

So tell each other what makes you proud of them. Tell each other congratulations for accomplishments, even if they're small (see rule 3). Don't get mad if one of you doesn't text back for hours because you were working, tell them how proud you are for their dedication. Support and trust go hand in hand, and you need to work especially hard at both for long distance relationships.

10. Always say goodnight

One of my favorite things that we do is always say goodnight to each other. Usually through text, sometimes on the phone or on a video call. It is a wonderful way to include each other in your routine. I can't go to bed without telling him goodnight (or putting on my eye cover).

It's also a great opportunity to send a sweet message for the one who goes to bed first to read when they wake up. There is nothing like waking up with a smile.

Having each other as part of your daily routine will make you feel closer. And knowing that you will get a goodnight text is one of the little things to look forward to.


  1. That's really good! There were few things that I havent recognized before, thank you for sharing :D

  2. Glad it was inspiring for you! That was the whole point of this thing to let others know that they aren't the only ones and that it IS possible to have a successful long-distance relationship.

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  5. I love this. My guy and I are pilots stationed several thousands of miles away from each other, and have many of these same traditions and guidelines in our relationship. It's hard being apart but so wonderful every time we get to say hello again. :)

  6. Jordan and I have been doing all of this for almost a year and a half(:

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