Before moving to New York last June, Ryan and I dated long distance for over a year (from Philly to NYC). It’s not for the feint of heart, and although I may be biased now, it’s well worth it. We learned a lot during those bus rides back and forth and thought it would be fun to share our top five tips for long-distance dating!
1. Communication is key. Long distance dating relies so much on day to day communication because you aren’t with one another in person to develop the relationship. Words mean so much more because they’re all you have.
Rachel: “Be clear with how you’re feeling or if you feel like you may have misread something through text. Set up a daily time to talk if possible, so you both have it to look forward to and you know that you can dedicate a certain amount of time to your partner without being distracted by other things you have going on.”
Ryan: “Phone conversations and video chat is always better than texting. There are so many context clues you’ll miss from not seeing one another that it’s easy to have misunderstandings. Be patient and forgiving with one another while you work out the kinks.”
2. Make an effort. Just because you can’t be there in person every time your partner gets sick or has a bad day, doesn’t mean you can’t take care of them. With so many delivery services, send soup or their favorite treat. The gesture alone will help them feel better.
Rachel: “Ryan and I started dating at the time I was writing my book. I remember one day I felt so sick but had so much work to do and was just overwhelmed. He was able to send medicine to my door that just made me cry it was so thoughtful. Also one time he sent me flowers, but my upstairs neighbor kept them and only gave them to me when they had died. Still sweet though. I also made a point to hide a love note in his belongings whenever we were together.”
Ryan: “Small gestures can go a very long way. Whenever I was feeling stressed or having a bad day, I’d always call and vent to Rachel. Sure enough, about an hour later there would be a ring at my door and a delivery man with my favorite candy. Rachel not only was an amazing listener, but she always went the extra mile in showing her support and love.”
3. Find other ways to connect. Being apart means you’re going to miss out on relationship building experiences other couples get to enjoy just by being local. You’ll have to make the extra effort to connect beyond texting and the occasional call.
Rachel “This was always a bummer because there were so many times I wish we were able to be together and try a new restaurant or go to an event. Consider setting up a week day date night where you make the same recipe separately but eat together over video chat. Make it a priority to grow with one another.”
Ryan: “It shouldn’t just be about talking, it should also be about finding opportunities to have fun with one another. Apps and video games are easy ways to connect (we played and still play Trivia Crack with one another throughout the day). Build a collection of funny memes, dog pics, whatever will make the other person smile and send them spontaneously.”
4. Plan ahead. Because you only get to see each other on a limited basis, make sure you are maximizing your time with one another. This will also help other aspects of your life so you aren’t missing out and that one person isn’t always doing all of the traveling.
Ryan “Thankfully Philly and NYC aren’t that far apart (we were 4 hours door to door), so we got to see each other from Friday evening to Sunday early afternoon most weekends. Because of our limited time together, it meant we had to prioritize and maximize that time to the fullest. Time to explore and see friends was important, but also having time alone was key since we rarely had that opportunity.”
Rachel “Since I knew I’d only be home for two weekends a month (we rotated every other weekend as much as possible), I had to make it a point to schedule get togethers with my friends throughout the week or when Ryan was visiting. Thankfully they were supportive and understanding of our situation. I also had to be sure to get my work done beforehand so that I was able to disconnect and give my undivided attention to us.”
5. Have an end date in mind. It’s hard to be long distance when you don’t have a finish line in sight. Even if it’s 2 years away, think about when you want to close that gap.
Rachel “Be upfront with your needs and wants in the relationship. If you’d never live where your partner lives and vice versa, what is the potential outcome for the relationship? Eventually one or both of you will have to move.”
Ryan “Be prepared to take that leap of faith for your partner. I was willing to move to Philly (or anywhere for that matter) if it meant we’d be able to be together. In the end, New York made the most sense for both of us.”
So those are our tips! If you have any questions, leave them below and we’ll be sure to answer them!
Rachel + Ryan