At this point in my life, I may just be an expert in long distance relationships. Some of my longest-lasting relationships were long distance. Ironically, they ended only after the distance was broken and we were seeing each other every day – on both occasions, I decided to break up with my partner shortly after “reuniting”. The relationships had a better dynamic when there was a distance of thousands of kilometers between us rather than none.

If you’re certain that your partner is the one, and it’s worth the difficulty of withstanding the distance, then there are a few ingredients that will help you make this relationship work.

Below are my personal tips on how to make long distance work for you.  Let me know if you have any other tips to add!

1) Communicate. Communicate A LOT.

How to make long distance work @homelifeabroad.com #longdistancerelationship #relationship

The key to making a long distance relationship work is to constantly be in touch. You guys should know what the other is up to; update each other on events, funny occurrences, get-togethers, rumors on mutual friends and whatever is on your mind. Keep it relatively short and sweet (say 30-60 minutes a day). Don’t overburden the other person by constantly chasing them.

My suggestion: use a combination of Skype video chat, phone calls, text messages (WhatsApp), and every so often an email is nice as well.

2) Trust is vital.

If there’s no trust for one another, there’s no way this can work out. How can you have a stable relationship if you’re constantly worried about the other person cheating on you or lying to you? You just can’t. If you don’t trust each other, give up on this whole relationship… you will cause yourself more heartache than enjoyment.

Instead, be honest with one another. Tell each other of concerns, updates, anything at all that could otherwise be misconstrued by the other person. Practice honesty and transparency, and leave no room for doubt. It’s the only way to build trust.

3) Thoughtful gifts go the distance

Sending a DIY card, pictures, or gifts that your partner will enjoy is a really nice gesture. At one point, I sent a package with a handwritten note, chocolate and a few other personalized goodies. The recipient was thrilled to receive it and it helped him feel like I was closer to him. It was also a complete surprise – I hadn’t told him I was sending it. Some other awesome ideas of gifts you can send or make are below:

Sources (left to right): 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

4) Visit each other, but be even about it.

What do I mean by even? I mean that flights, expenses, and trips shouldn’t be placed only on one partner’s shoulders.  I made that mistake in the past… whereas I spent thousands of dollars on flights and visits, the person I was dating didn’t do the same in return even once. It made me question his desire to maintain a strong relationship, and I was right to doubt it. You should both be making an effort to be in each other’s lives and see each other as much as possible, even if it means losing out on some way – be it financially, time wise, or salary wise.

5) Keep yourself busy

One of the positives to long distance relationship is the amount of time it gives you to –plain and simple- be you. Take the time for some genuine independent growth; keep yourself distracted, take classes, take up a new hobby or spend time with friends. It will keep you away from obsessing over what your partner is up to and allow you to have a good time meanwhile.

How about you – have you ever had a long distance relationship? What worked or didn’t work? Share your tips below!