It’s one thing if you and your boo are in different states for a summer or winter break during college or if you’re waiting it out as they finish an assignment across country, but it’s a whole other situation when there’s no expiration date on the long-distance status. As technology advances, more and more couples are meeting online and entering long-distance relationships (LDRs) with no end in sight to the separation, so knowing how to maintain a healthy relationship no matter how many miles apart you are is becoming increasingly important. Grant Langston, CEO of eHarmony, shares his expert tips for how to make indefinite long distance work.

Woman talking on smartphone

1. Schedule communication. Everyone who’s been in an LDR knows communication is key, but actually planning it out is crucial. However, the communication schedule should be loose rather than rigid, Langston explains. “There’s nothing more painful than watching someone call their partner because it is 7pm, and they talk every night at 7pm,” he says. “It’s so rote and forced.” Rather than talking all the time, which many couples mistake as necessary or healthy, Langston suggests talking every couple of days to keep the conversations interesting and enjoyable.

2. Talk about everything. No, asking them what they had for dinner is not off the table. According to Langston, long-distance couples often skip over conversations about menial things because they deem them unimportant, but those conversations are actually what can help normalize the relationship. “By talking about everything in your day, you are recreating a similar situation in which most geographically close couples would be in,” Langston states. “And you will be getting to know your partner more.”

3. Confront conflicts. Fighting from a flight’s distance away is daunting. Without the kiss-and-make-up option, LDR couples often refuse to argue altogether. Rather than shy away from a point of contention, set time aside to work through it either via a phone call or video chat. “Conflict can be good in that you get to know how your partner deals with stressful situations in their lives,” Langston says, “and you two can work on certain areas before reuniting permanently.”

4. Don’t idealize the person. When a couple is unable to create more in-person memories, they typically cling to those they already have, which can lead to what Langston refers to as idealization — or when one remembers a relationship as better than it actually is. When someone has a positively skewed perception of his or her long-distance partner, the reunion is likely to be a major letdown. “You can feel like you’re being reunited with a complete stranger rather than someone you really know and understand,” Langston says.

5. Visit each other. Langston emphasizes that face-to-face time should be a first priority, so when you have the option to see each other, take it. “Spending quality time together and interacting in person is the best way to get to know somebody and see the reality of your relationship status,” he says. Plus, in-person interaction decreases the chances of idealization. If visiting each other isn’t possible, Langston suggests Skype or FaceTime for some virtual face-to-face contact.

How do you and your long-distance partner pull it off? Let us know @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)