9 Ways to Make Your Long-Distance Relationship Work

05 December 2022 | 7 mins

As matchmakers for some of the world’s most exceptional singles, many who spend their lives traveling, we know long-distance dating is hard.

It’s been a long wait—and it’s taken several relationships that didn’t work out—but finally you’ve met The One.

They’re cute. They’re charming. They’re warm, smart, and oh-so-sexy. You’re happy together. You have a great time, and you can really see yourselves settling down.

Or at least, you could envision that future. Except… they’re far away. Really far away. We’re talking 10-hour-drive far-away. Even international-flight far-away.

Yet despite the odds, you’re both determined to make it work. You may even see your starcrossed situation as a serendipity in disguise, willing you to go the distance (pun intended) for this incredible love you’re lucky enough to have found.

But in your lonelier moments when the only thing that would make you feel better would be their touch, their warmth, their smile—you do wonder if it’s truly worth the heartache. And while you know that many long-distance relationships result in happy marriages, if you’re honest with yourself, you just can’t believe you could be one of them.

Listen—we get it. Seriously. As matchmakers for some of the world’s most exceptional singles, many of whom spend their lives traveling, we’re all too familiar with the strife caused by long-distance dating.

But it is possible—and if it’s meant to be, it will be. So today I’ve laid out 9 ways you can hold firm against the waves of doubt, disregard the naysayers, and make this thing work.

“Be there”—even when you can’t actually be there

In every successful relationship are partners who respond quickly and effectively to their partner’s distress. Because ultimately, at the core of every emotional call lies a simple question: ‘Are you there for me?’

In successful couples, the answer is Yes—even when they’re not physically together. They can’t be there to hold one another, or surprise each other, or take one another’s hand in a moment of angst—but that doesn’t mean they don’t show how much they care by “being there” in other ways—namely by being more intentional in how they respond to distress.

For example, if you’ve scheduled a time to catch up, that call must be a priority, just as you’d make sure you were on time for a doctor’s appointment or work meeting. Because a long-distance relationship requires even more maintenance than one in which you’re physically together. Or if your partner has a big day ahead, call or text to wish them luck, see how they’re feeling—then check in after to see how it went. And of course, you should expect the same level of care and interest from them.

By weaving your partner’s emotional needs into the tapestry of your day-to-day, you demonstrate to them time and again that you love them, want them, and truly care about how they’re doing—regardless of distance.

Communicate as much as you need to feel connected

Technology means we have an unprecedented—unlimited—amount of access to one another. For those in a long-distance relationship, this is a godsend—but only if they’re on the same page about how much contact is actually necessary.

Some couples want to connect every hour. Others find it tedious even to catch up every day. If you’re unsure, or feel the frequency is causing friction, be honest about how you feel, and seek a resolution together.

Support each other’s interests

You and your partner will continue to discover new pastimes and passions. It’s important not to stymie one another’s development, even if it means you sometimes feel their new interests have reduced the amount of focus on you. Having hobbies means your partner is growing as a person—and when you think about it, you want to be with someone who is a well-rounded individual with a life of their own. Right?

So rather than resent your partner’s newfound interest, encourage them, be enthusiastic, and cheer them on from the sidelines. Sure, their Friday night football practice might cut into your virtual date night—but your partner also needs passions to pursue of their own accord, and you need to respect and afford them that freedom. Just as they should for you.

Regularly remind them what you love about them and the relationship

Doubt, jealousy, and insecurity can run high in long-distance relationships, purely because you’re spending so much time away from one another. Verbal assurances are key, as they minimize negative feelings while clarifying where you both stand as a couple. So when you talk, no matter the context, make sure to throw in a heartfelt reminder of how much you love your partner, and how much they mean to you. Or—sometimes even better—send them a cute text to find next time they check their phone, expressing how much you miss them, that you appreciate them, or that you can’t wait to have them in your arms again.

Learn to address the important issues from afar

Whether you’re living under the same roof or an ocean apart, the pair of you need to develop healthy ways to discuss and resolve conflict. Little problems can bloat into major issues, especially if you don’t have the luxury of uninterrupted face-to-face contact. Learning to talk about tough topics take time and effort, but it’s absolutely essential to the health of your long-distance relationship.

Explore ways to “hang out”

Interdependent relationships have been widely proven as the healthiest. Simply put, interdependence simply means you and your partner bolster and complement one another’s lives while retaining your own lives and identities as individuals.

Of course, dating long-distance means you’re doing far more on your own than you’d like to be—but that’s why it’s important to find a few key activities you can do together, remotely. Shared experiences boost the cohesion of your relationship. Whether it’s reading the same book, streaming a show while video-calling, or listening to the same playlist while texting, get inventive, and tap into the things you like to do together in person.

Respect the reason you’re actually apart

No one’s saying long-distance dating is easy. And some days the problems really will feel utterly insurmountable. You might even be tempted to do something impulsive just to be with your love, like quit your job or drop out of school.

Don’t. It might seem like a grand gesture, but it probably signals to your partner only that you can’t bear to be without them—and that’s a lot of pressure to put on someone, especially if the relationship is relatively young. Try to keep in mind why you’re actually long-distance in the first place: Perhaps they had an unmissable career opportunity, or you had to return home to care for a sick relative. Whatever the reason, things need to play out organically before you’re together again. Don’t risk wasting months or even years of progress out of impatience. Your relationship will come out stronger if you let things take their natural course.

Remember the positives about long-distance

When you can’t change your circumstances, you can at least try to change your outlook. For example, perhaps you’re dating long-distance because one or both of you are pursuing a life-changing career opportunity, or finishing school with a view to securing that dream job. If so, rather than fretting over what you’re missing out on, think about how great it is that, for now, you can give one another your undivided attention when you’re together, while focusing on your professional, academic, or personal development when you’re apart.

Separation is frustrating, sometimes downright sad. We get it. But try to list the ways in which your long-distance relationship is actually benefiting you both. Perhaps you have more time to pursue your interests or be with friends and family, or you’ve got whole weekends stretching before you in which you can finally start to do up your apartment, or write that novel, or enjoy a pastime your partner has no interest in (but still supports you to pursue, of course).

When the time is right, create a long-term plan to merge your lives

No long-distance relationship goes without heartache. But if your love is true and it’s meant to be, ultimately that pain will only serve to strengthen and lend a whole new level of meaning to your life partnership. Although of course, if you do both envision a future in which your lives fully entwine, well—sooner or later you need to make a plan.

Whether that means changing job, relocating, or even getting engaged, the way your lives meld needs to work equally well for both of you. Otherwise you could end up resenting how things turned out, feeling you didn’t make the most of your time pursuing your own passions before settling down.

The hope that one day you’ll be together permanently can help you ride out the toughest days of being apart, and make your love seem not quite so far away. And if you happen to be single right now but you’re looking for the kind of wild and transcendent romance we’ve talked about today, we can help.

Maclynn is a boutique, multi-award-winning introductions agency with offices in New York, New Jersey, California, and London. We’re world-renowned for bringing together highly compatible singles within our vast network of attractive, intelligent professionals, and our matchmakers are relationship experts in their own right. Get in touch today!

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About the Author

Gina Yannotta

Gina Yannotta is Head Matchmaker & Chief Operating Officer at Maclynn International's New York office. Gina’s unyielding passion for the field, in combination with her extensive experience in matchmaking, has allowed her to orchestrate successful and everlasting relationships amongst her clients. Tasked with running the Manhattan office, Gina utilizes her interpersonal skills and relationship expertise to make a splash in the matchmaking pool, personally connecting her clients with their ultimate match while simultaneously taking advantage of the endless possibilities that NYC offers to its client-base.

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