How To Maintain Long-Distance Relationships

Photographed by: Rockie Nolan.
Let's face it: Long-distance relationships can be rough.
If you've been there, you know it all too well. It's difficult to balance your friendships and your career with any romantic relationship, let alone one in which you don't get to see the other person whenever you want. Plus, while romantic relationships can be wonderfully fulfilling, they're work as it is. Factor in time differences, busy schedules, and miles apart, and you could really start feeling the strain.
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But, thanks to technology, maintaining a LDR these days is easier than ever. Though IRL face time is obviously the best way to keep a relationship going, the ease with which we can get face time on our phones (whether through Snapchat, Skype, or, you know, FaceTime) can certainly make that distance gap feel narrower. And not that you needed an excuse, but being miles apart can be great for your sext life and improve your phone sex skills.
Ahead, we talked to a few people about how they maintain their long-distance relationships, from digital Chipotle dates to sending snail mail.
1 of 11
"Besides sending each other unflattering selfies and GIFs of funny dogs, what really helped was having TV shows in common.

I was finally getting around to watching The Wire (one of his favorite shows), and, instead of sending him the same sad-girl 'hey uh miss you' text whenever the mood struck, I'd text him about where I was in the show or ask him about his favorite characters. Sure, we'd make time to have conversations about our real lives, too, but it was really helpful to have a go-to topic for whenever I was missing him.

...I also made him keep this shitty Han Solo action figure of mine to act as my spiritual placeholder in his apartment."
2 of 11
Illustrated by: Amrita Marino.
"My boyfriend and I have this tradition called 'Sci Fi Friday' where we order Indian, Chinese, or Thai and watch Sci Fi. It started back in 2007. When I went to grad school in the UK in 2010, we kept the tradition alive.

"On Friday night, I'd microwave a bowl of instant Saag Paneer (I was dirt poor in school) and he'd order Indian food. We'd get on a Google Hangout and queue up an episode of Doctor Who. Then we'd count down 'Three...Two...One!' and hit play at the exact same time, before muting our microphones. When something crazy happened in the show, I could see him react at the same time I did, and that made it feel like we were in the same place, even though we were 4,879 miles apart."

— Cara
3 of 11
Illustrated by: Amrita Marino.
"When we visited each other, we'd make plans to go see a concert, movie, attend some kind of event, have a beach day, just to feel like we could make memories together during the time we did share. We got into eating shabu shabu and would buy ingredients to make our favorite meals together when we visited each other."

— Kaitlin
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4 of 11
Illustrated by: Amrita Marino.
"I started dating my girlfriend (now of 2.5 years) when I was in the middle of moving from NYC to CA. We had a passionate couple of weeks before I packed all my things and headed to the west coast.

"Neither of us knew what to expect, but we kept in touch by texting, gchatting, FaceTiming, Google-Hangout-ing, letters, and sending packages — and finally a long, three-month-anticipated trip for her to visit me. Our packages included printed film photographs, custom sexy videos...thumb drives of photos and playlists, silly cute trinkets, favorite sweaters with my perfume sprayed all over to remind her of my scent, and lots of handwritten love letters."

— Nicole
5 of 11
Illustrated by: Amrita Marino.
"My (now ex) boyfriend [and I] used to do FaceTime dinner dates at Chipotle. We would literally order and sit and eat while we FaceTimed, so it was like we were together, scarfing down our burrito bowls."

— Serena
6 of 11
Illustrated by: Amrita Marino.
"Agree on an evening, find a new recipe for dinner that neither of you have tried, FaceTime/Skype while both cooking it, then eat it 'together'!"

— Adriana
7 of 11
Illustrated by: Amrita Marino.
"My boyfriend lives in L.A.

"We love doing things 'together' even when we're not together, and will watch a specific TV show, read the same book, or listen to the same podcast and then discuss.

"We're always planning the next adventure and [we] really maximize time when we're together. One Thanksgiving, we spent the holiday with his parents and then road-tripped to this mining ghost town I'd been obsessed with. In the car, we devoured all of Serial. So we had a lot of shared experiences in just a few days.

"We talk pretty much every day, too."

— Amanda
8 of 11
Illustrated by: Amrita Marino.
"My fiancé lives in D.C. We've been together six years, and almost two of the years have been long-distance.

"We do FaceTime, schedule trips to see each other at least twice a month, and send each other packages or gifts just because."

— Krystle
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9 of 11
Illustrated by: Amrita Marino.
"My BF (now fiancé) and I STARTED dating long-distance when he lured me in by making a bet that ended in him having to snail-mail me 10 hand-written compliments over the course of a few months. Some came on a postcard, some came with flowers, and my favorite ones came with little chocolate treats. I lived in Minnesota, and [he lived] in NYC at the time.

"After we officially started [dating], we ALWAYS took advantage of business trips and booked them strategically around the weekends so we could get one leg of the trip comped. Work perks?

"Netflix/HBO Go also worked as a good date solution — although we didn't actually FaceTime or phone...while watching the shows. We started watching a show I had never seen, together (The Sopranos...) [and] we watched the seasons 'together' and texted obsessively.

"After dating about a year, I made sure that, on one of my visits to NYC, I brought out my girlfriends to experience it with me and get to know him for more than just a dinner — all of his friends and my friends got to hang out and meet, and it was great to get us all together and feel 'normal.'"

— Kate
10 of 11
Illustrated by: Amrita Marino.
"I'm currently in a long-distance relationship and have been for a year. We send each other old-school letters pretty frequently, and care packages (for the bigger occasions). We also use Snapchat a lot; it's nice to see someone's face! I also think talking on the phone is key. The biggest one, to me, is planning out the next time you'll see each other; otherwise, there's no light at the end of the tunnel!"

— Kara
11 of 11
Illustrated by: Amrita Marino.
"FaceTime dates, care packages, and making sure we didn't go longer than a month without seeing each other in person. We were both on the east coast, so we thankfully didn't face the dreaded time zone challenge or anything like that.

We also made sure to put a time limit on how long we'd be long distance, so we had something to plan for."

— Lauren
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