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Do long distance relationships work?

Victoria Brown

Thu Jul 12 2012

Long Distance Relationships

LOVING someone from afar isn’t easy. Victoria Brown shares her experiences and tips for making it work when the one you’re with isn’t here. 

Most people are convinced long-distance relationships never work. Even if they’ve never been in one, they just seem to know, like it’s some sort of innate fact that you have to be in the same place as someone to have a happy and healthy relationship.

Every time I hear someone bemoan the likelihood of long distance relationships, my heart always sinks a little. I’m in long-distance relationship at the moment.

Long-distance relationships are relatively familiar to me after being in one a couple of years back then jumping back into another one after that.

Reflecting upon all the heartbreak and heartache long-distance relationships have caused me, I understand why some long-distance relationships just don’t work out. But not all are doomed to fail.

So as someone who has had her fair share of experiences, here are my tips for how you can keep the love flowing when your partner is far away.


Communication is the key and in today’s technological age, virtual face-to-face communication is made possible without having to pay a cent. Skype is a God-send for my fellow comrades in long-distance relationships. You are able to talk for hours and hours on end and are able to see that smile that you miss on your partner’s face, giving you hope that the relationship will work out despite being miles apart.

Exchanging letters via snail mail is also another way to create a bit of romance. There is nothing better than getting an unexpected letter from your loved one when all you went out the door to collect was bills. So get your pen and paper and let your inner-Shakespeare take over.

Manage your time well 

Time zones can be a problem as your day in the southern hemisphere is their night in the northern one, and it’s tempting to stay up till the wee hours just to chat with your partner. Good planning and the discipline to know when it’s time to sleep is important for maintaining the health of your relationship and general wellbeing, and studies. It’s important to remember why you crossed continents in the first place – in pursuit of a better education. If you’re planning on staying up, pick a Friday night, the weekend, or a day when you will be able to make up for lost sleep.

Learn to trust 

Trust is essential in maintaining a long distance relationship.

Paranoia and jealousy increases tenfold when you can’t see what your partner is doing and they can’t assure you of their love and affection in person – but don’t let these feelings get the best of you.

There is nothing more unsavoury than having your partner call you every hour of the day to find out where you are and what you’re doing. Trust your partner and convey any insecurities and worries you may have through an open and honest conversation.

Resist the urge to control

Also, avoid being too controlling. There’s nothing worse than having someone tell you what you can or cannot do or who you can or cannot hang out with.

It is important to acknowledge your partner as another autonomous person who can make his/her own decisions in life.

This is especially true in long distance relationships. It might be hard to accept that you’re living separate lives, but that’s the reality of it. Your partner can’t spend every minute with you and it’s not healthy for either of you to be sitting at home alone moping over your separation. You both need to get out and spend time with other people, so it’s a really bad idea to try to control each other’s social life. That will most likely only lead to resentment and the end of your relationship.

Give meaningful gifts

Give your partner something close to your heart, something that holds meaning for both of you, or will remind him/her of you when you’re away. It’s not the gift itself that matters, but what it represents that counts. Think of small items or trinkets that are used often and cherished, like key chains, jewellery, wallets, a nice pen, or a personalised iPhone case.

Spend time with friends and family

Do spend time with friends and family. It will help you take your mind off missing your partner so much and it will give you the chance to spend some time with others close to your heart.

Also, don’t be afraid to open up to them when things get tough, as they can offer you comfort and advice to pull you through your rough-patch.

There’s no denying that long distance relationships require some extra effort, but if the Relationship Gods are in your favour, it may all be worth it in the end.

With some creativity, you can still do things together despite being miles apart. Graphic: Wan Shing Lang

Do things together 

Even though you are continents apart, you can still come up with creative things to do together. Perhaps you can dress up and have dinner together via Skype, or rent the same DVD and organise to watch it at the same time.

Set a date and count down together

Having something to look forward to is the main driving force (for me at least) to get through a long-distance relationship. Set a date when you will be reunited with your other half because that, my friends, is what makes the whole thing worth it. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, I can vouch that that is indeed true.

Of course saying goodbye at the end of a reunion is always one of the hardest moments in a long-distance relationship. I cry my heart out and feel absolutely miserable for the first week after my boyfriend’s left, but at the end of it all, you have to remember that it’s not goodbye forever and you will see your loved one again soon.

Do you believe in long distance relationships? Share your stories and insights with us below.