It used to be that long distance relationships were basically the kiss of death to any partnership. Sure, you told your high school girlfriend that you would remain her one-and-only while away at college, but your first freshman kegger soon changed that. Or remember that cool woman you met at a conference who, unfortunately, lived on the other side of the country? You didn’t live in the time zone, so it just didn’t make any sense to continue with it.
But now, something’s changed. It seems that being in a long-distance relationship might be the best thing that’s ever happened to couples. A Queen’s University study recently found relationship-satisfaction levels for long-distance and “geographically close” couples are basically the same, including, yes, the sexual component. Another study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy found that living apart from a loved one provided greater levels of intimacy, communication and overall satisfaction.
Basically, what all this science means is, if you’re not in a long-distance relationship yet, you really ought to be because they sound awesome.
Of course, despite all the hard data, long-distance relationships, like any partnership worth its salt, require time and effort to make it work. Here are some tips to help your long-distance relationship go the, er, distance.
You should be talking to your boo every single day/night. Whether that means an extra-long texting session, hopping on Skype or FaceTime, or just a plain ol’ telephone call, communicating is essential for making up the distance between you. And, obviously, she’s worth the carpal-tunnel syndrome and lost hours of sleep, right?
Ignore Each Other . . . A Bit
Even though consistent communication is crucial between you two, your girlfriend has a life outside of your relationship just like you do. She’s got her job, her friends, her Pilates class, etc., meaning she’s not always going to be around to catch up. That’s a good thing. She should be busy, and so should you be—it makes you well-rounded, healthy people. During those times, heed Jennifer Lawrence’s advice (yep, J. Law’s got the DL for LD relationships, too): ignore each other. “When we’re busy, we agree to mutually ignore each other,” she said in the June issue of Marie Claire about her relationship with actor Nicholas Hoult. “Not completely, but neither of us gets mad when the other doesn’t text back or call. Life’s super-busy. Obviously you know what they’re doing, and you trust them . . . At least this way he’s in the same boat as I am: We can go out and have our own lives and know that we have each other.”
You Gotta Have Trust
Lawrence touches on the all-encompassing, super duper ingredient of relationships, but mostly long-distance ones (thanks to the whole ignorant and insensitive “out of sight, out of mind” deal): trust. It’s a must. It’s what Billy Joel was singing about. If you don’t have trust, then you have paranoia, doubt and drunken, hysterical phone calls, and no one wants that. Remember, “you can’t go the distance/with too much resistance.”
Get Excited About Something
Whether you plan to watch Mad Men “together” from a distance or enjoy the latest comic book action movie on the same day (but, you know, in a different theatre, obvs), having something to look forward to is vital in a LDR. It keeps the partnership exciting, as well as something to share. And speaking of exciting, sexting sessions are also de rigeur for long-distance lovers. You’ll be wearing out your iPhone 5 in no time.
Plan Regular Reunions
Visiting your honey, either in her city or yours, or planning a vacation together, is pretty much essential for your relationship’s well-being. Otherwise, you’re just naughty pen pals. It’s important to align your schedules for regular, rendez-vous with your boo for one-on-one time (real live sex!), and to assess where you both are at in terms of your relationship’s future. You might rack up a ton of frequent flyer miles, but seeing your lady in the flesh makes it all worthwhile. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, after all.
Brianne Hogan is a freelance writer based in Toronto, something of a humorist, and considers herself more Bridget Jones than Samantha Jones. Though she won’t reveal which parts, she will admit to liking emotionally unavailable men and drinking lots of wine. You can follow her on Twitter @briannehogan.