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Can Long Distance Relationships Really Work?

Can long-distance relationships really work? This is a question that I receive often by clients who’ve just started dating someone or who want to date someone who lives far away, but they’re hesitant to do so for fear that it just won’t work out. So while long-distance relationships can work, they do require extra effort to address the distance and to maintain connection, intimacy, and trust.

This connection is one of the most important aspects for making long-distance relationships successful, along with honesty and good communication as well. Long-distance relationships require mutual respect, trust, and dedication to the relationship and making the relationship work because relationships are difficult as it is, but then to add distance and other barriers, it can make it more challenging to balance.  So having both partners put forth the effort to make a long-distance relationship work, is crucial.

Here are some tips to maintaining connection:

1: Daily chitchat: 

Be sure to talk on the phone often and be open about the day to day activities that you’re involved in. When someone is not near you, it can be hard to know exactly what’s going on with them. So describe your day and discuss the little things. They can get overlooked, but this can help couples feel connected to one another and as though they are right there next to the other one. Talk about everyday things to feel as though you are right there in each other’s lives.

2: Plan distant date nights: 

So just as though you were in person, you should continue and maintain courtship, you may just have to get a bit more creative with it. So plan some activities that you can do together on video. So perhaps you both pick up take-out from a favorite restaurant to where you are locally and then share dinner together while on FaceTime or Skype. You could order your partner a meal to be delivered or watch a movie together or separately and then talk about it while on video. Seeing each other through video can be helpful to maintain that “physical” connection since you can actually see the person versus talking over the phone.

3: Make sweet gestures: 

This means that you could send each other care packages that include some of your partner’s favorite things or send a sweet card or love letter. There is something very sweet and romantic about getting a handwritten card or letter that’s a surprise from your loved one. Also, random text messages to express your love and appreciation for your partner can keep that romance alive.

4: Spend time together: 

So for many, this will be impossible or very difficult to do or even afford, but if you can, be sure to spend some time together. Spending time in person is essential to beating the challenge of distance so plan trips to visit one another in your location or you could even plan to meet somewhere new. This can help boost the physical intimacy of the relationship and it gives both partners something to look forward to! 

5: Maintain sexual intimacy: 

Having physical contact is important in relationships. The research shows us that physical touch, like hugging, kissing, handholding and sex can boost neurotransmitters and hormones, such as oxytocin that boost our feelings of being in love. While it may be impossible to physically touch while you are at a distant, you have to come up with some creative ideas to keep that passion, romance, and sexual tension alive in your relationship. This may be romantic ideas over the phone or video or it could be discussing intimate ideas for your next visit in person together.

I hope you find these tips helpful to maintaining connection in your relationship.


If you’d like to read more on relationship topics and hear tips for couples, be sure to JOIN our free Facebook group called The Couples Collaborative. This is a free, but private and closed online support group that is listed under the Loving Roots Project Facebook page. The group is facilitated by Dr. Shelley Sommerfeldt, Clinical Psychologist and Relationship Coach and provides tips and inspirational material for couples and supportive discussions on challenging relationship-related issues.

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If you are interested in learning more about online couple’s or individual sessions, please see our contact page to speak directly to Dr. Shelley or you can simply book a session online on our scheduling page. These virtual sessions are available online for couples or individuals.

Blog written by: Dr. Shelley Sommerfeldt, Clinical Psychologist, Relationship Coach & Founder of the Loving Roots Project, an online wellness practice specializing in personal growth, mental wellness, & relationship betterment.

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