How to Make Your Long Distance Love Work

Distance makes the heart grow fonder.

“Right place, right time,” people always told me about my quest to find love.

I found out recently that’s only partly true; you can also find love at right swipe. Two years ago I met my boyfriend on the dating app, Tinder. We both “swiped right,” which meant we at least shared some superficial physical attraction. After texting for a few weeks, we realized on our first date that a colleague of his had tried to set us up years prior. Yet back then it wasn’t the right time or place for either of us.

After six months of dating in New York, we broke up and I moved to Los Angeles. Shortly thereafter, you guessed it — we got back together — and have been in a long-distance relationship ever since.

Though it hasn’t always been easy, we’ve made it work, and you can, too. The following tips will not only help make your long-distance relationship work, they’ll make it thrive:

1. Don’t listen to naysayers

People will tell you that long-distance relationships are everything from hard to impossible. More often than not, those folks were in long-distance relationships that did not work. Just because it didn’t work for them, doesn’t mean it isn’t going to work for you.

“People who spend too much time together get sick of each other. When you have that chemistry and connection, and something to look forward to, it keeps it alive, fresh, mysterious, it’s all good,” said Siggy Flicker, relationship expert and author of “Write Your Own Fairy Tale”.

Jason and the author, posing for a photo with fashion designer Betsey Johnson in Philadelphia (Photo: Frank Wong)

2. Focus on the mutual interests that bind you

When I’m not reporting the news, I work as a host for fashion events all over the country and Jason is a women’s apparel designer. So, you could say we both have a “passion for fashion.” Throughout the day, we send each other e-mails, texts and social media posts about fashion news.

Traveling is also important to both of us so we spend a lot of time daydreaming up our next adventures. Since I am the technology-savvy one in our relationship, I’ve created a private, shared document where we post pictures, links, and travel tips from friends.

On vacation in Tulum, Mexico at the Be Tulum Hotel. (Photo: Micah Jesse)

3. Use as much modern technology as possible

Do you remember the days when a letter used to take a week to deliver? Probably not. I’ll get to writing love letters later on, but between texts, emails, phone calls, FaceTime, Skype, Snapchat, and Instagram staying in constant contact with your loved one nowadays is a breeze. “Do things ‘together,’ like watching TV or folding laundry. Even if you’re not in the same room, it’ll bring you closer knowing you’re having a shared experience,” says Erika Ettin, JDate dating expert and founder of A Little Nudge.

5 Ways You Can Make a Long Distance Relationship Work

What comes to mind when you think about surviving a long-distance relationship?

Do you experience negative or positive emotions? Whether you have been in a long-distance relationship for a while, or recently started a long-distance relationship, it’s important for the both of you to be on the same page.

Being in a long-distance relationship is a challenge, but definitely worthwhile if you are committed to developing your relationship. A long-distance relationship can either bring the two of you closer together, or pull you further apart. I want to share with you the top 5 precedents that my husband and I used while we were in a long-distance relationship. I highly suggest that you share this article with your partner. There will be a “Take Action” exercise at the end of each precedent that I encourage the both of you to implement. This article is not really about just “surviving” a long-distance relationship, it’s about developing and growing your long-distance relationship.

Precedent #1: Be Committed

When you are in a long-distance relationship, it’s important for the both of you to know that you are equally committed to developing the relationship. Why bother being in a long-distance relationship when one or both of you are not committed? You might as well just have it be a fling and then find someone locally. So, the first precedent to surviving a long-distance relationship is to both be committed to maintaining and developing your relationship.

Take Action:

Spend some quality time talking with your partner about the commitment that you have in the relationship. It’s important that the both of you are on the same page when it comes to investing your time and energy into it. It’s all about effective communication and knowing that you are just as committed as your partner. Simply ask your partner, “Are you committed to developing our relationship?” The sooner you’re able to be on the same page, the sooner you’ll know if this relationship is worth your time and energy. Wouldn’t you rather know where your partner is at now instead of investing so much and possibly finding out later that they’re not as committed as you thought? Be open and make sure that you’re on the same page when it comes to the level of commitment in the relationship.

Precedent #2: Write it down

Surviving a long-distance relationship is definitely a challenge, but when you know what your partner plans on doing in developing your relationship, you will feel much more secure. It’s important for you and your partner to write down on a piece of paper the commitments that both of you plan on living out every single day in developing your relationship. My husband and I did this while we were in a long-distance relationship and eventually used these commitments for our vows on our wedding day. I’m not saying write down your future wedding vows, I’m sharing this with you because I want you to know the power of writing down your commitments to each other.

Take Action:

Use whatever kind of communication that the two of you have and take the time to write down your commitments to each other. I would suggest using either Skype or FaceTime when doing this exercise. It would be best to actually see your partner. Start off by writing, “My commitment to (your partner’s name)…” Then start writing down the commitments that you plan on following through with every single day. Some examples may be sending your partner a text message during your lunch break or calling your partner after you get home from work. You decide the commitments you plan on doing for your partner. Take some time to write down the commitments that you have for your partner and vice versa. Once you’ve finished writing them down, say them out loud to your partner. Once you’ve shared your commitments, make a copy of them and send the original to your partner and have them send their original to you. This way, your partner will have your commitments to them, and you will have their commitments to you. Have these commitments in a place where you see them daily. This will really help in staying connected with your partner.

Precedent #3: Take the time to visit

You may have a busy schedule with work, but when you are committed to developing your relationship, you will take the time to visit your partner. You may have to do some planning around your schedule, but when you make the effort to visit, your partner not only feels important but you are able to physically spend quality time together to develop your connection. And when you do visit your partner, make sure it’s quality time. It’s all about planning. When you visit your partner, spend time focusing on loving them. If you can help it, don’t be on any business phone calls or dealing with work while you’re there. The secret to taking the time to visit your partner is to spend 100% quality time with them.

Take Action:

Take a look at your schedule and plan on visiting your partner. Depending upon the distance, you may have to save up some money before visiting. But when you’re able to plan ahead and save as much money as you need, you’re showing your partner that you care and that you want to develop the relationship. When you continue to make excuses and don’t take the time to visit your partner, that’s a clear indication that you’re not committed to developing your relationship. You may want to add how many times you want to visit in your commitments to your partner.

Precedent #4: Think long-term

This goes back to precedent #1 of being committed. With commitment, you will need to also think long-term. Where do you see this relationship going in the long run? You will need to take some time to reflect on why you’re in this relationship? Some of us end up being in a relationship because we’re lonely or just want to say that we’re with someone. Make sure you are in your relationship for the right reasons.

Take Action:

What does the future look like with your current relationship? Do you see yourself being with this person for the long run? If you’re unsure, why? What are the key issues that need to be discussed with your partner? I want you to take the time to communicate these questions with your partner. Remember how I’ve shared with your the importance of being on the same page? Well, it’s important to be on the same page when it comes to long-term commitment. If you or your partner are experiencing certain issues like lack of trust or jealousy, it’s important for you to have an open discussion about these issues. If you feel stuck, I would suggest that the both of you seek counseling. It’s always helpful when you can have a third person who can look at your relationship without any attachments or emotions involved.

Precedent # 5: Be Real

When it comes to surviving a long-distance relationship and growing the connection with your partner, you need to always be real. It’s important to know who you are and express the real essence of you to your partner. We all know that during the beginning stages of dating, we experience that “Cloud Nine” feeling where we see our partner as being perfect. But we all have imperfections and eventually these will come out. There is nothing wrong with having imperfections, we’re only human. Make sure that you share with your partner all aspects of you, not just the good ones. Don’t play any games! This is a big NO-NO when it comes to being in a relationship. Being real and not playing any games will help you and your partner truly get to know each other. How can you possibly get to know your partner when they are playing games and not being their real selves?

Take Action:

Take some time to reflect upon who you are. Are you staying true to yourself? Are you expressing the real you or are you playing games and putting up a façade just so your partner likes you? It’s important for you to ask these questions because this is an important aspect of building the foundation in your relationship.

These are the top precedents that my husband and I set in our relationship from the very beginning and still use today. When you’re able to set good precedents in your relationship, you are building a solid foundation. When you don’t have any precedents in your relationship, the foundation is weak and will fall apart. Surviving a long-distance relationship is all about creating and maintaining a solid foundation!

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Making Long-Distance Relationships Work: How to Stay Connected When Your Love is Far Away

Finding love is tricky. Finding someone to love who lives nearby, or at least in a zip code not too far away, can be a challenge. But a long-distance relationship can present a unique opportunity to get close in other ways.

What if you connect with someone on every level, and you really like them a lot, but they are either moving away, or already live far away from you? What should you do? Keep dating them and get emotionally invested? What if it doesn’t work out? Should you continue seeing them, (gulp) long-distance? How does that even work? Can you get frequent-flyer miles for this sort of thing?

There are no guarantees that any relationship will work out in the long-run, so no one can give you a definite answer on that one. However, if you decide to go forward into a long-distance relationship with someone that you care about, there are certainly a few things you can do, to help your new love be as successful as possible.

Many years ago, back in 1998, to be exact, I was hanging out one night on my computer, in an AOL Music Trivia Chat Room. (they were all the rage back then) A man with the screenname “Wayabovepar” entered, and 5 hours later, we were still typing and chatting into the night.

He lived in Florida. I lived in NYC, and then New Jersey. We had a very happy (although challenging) long-distance relationship for almost 7 years, before he finally packed up his life and moved it to New Jersey, to start a new life with me.

We would marry in 2006, and live happily ever after, for 4 years and 9 months. He died at age 46, very suddenly, from a heart attack, and our time together was over. Would I do it all over again, knowing the ending? Of course. Love is always worth the risk. Every single time.

So, for those of you considering entering into a long-distance relationship, here are some ideas that should help you to navigate through it together, and to make it a successful love story.

Communication is key. You should do your best to start and end the day together.

Since you aren’t able to wake up in each other’s arms each morning, waking up to a good morning text or phone call is the next best thing for long-distance couples.

Know each other’s work schedules, at least generally, so that you can give your partner a nice greeting at the start of each day. “Good morning, sweetheart!”, is a lovely way to put a smile on your face, and begin the day with purpose. .

Create an outline or schedule that works for you both, a far as when you will talk each day. My late husband Don and I used to have a “nightly date” around 9pm each weeknight, where we would sit at our computers and talk on Instant Messenger. Then most nights, we would call each other for the last few minutes, to hear each other’s voices, and to say goodnight.

Set up something similar that works for the two of you, but make sure that communication is happening regularly.

Try to get as creative as possible, to make up for lack of physical time together.

It is really hard to not physically see the person you are in a relationship with, on a regular basis. However, there are several things you can do to help someone feel special, and to make up for the time you can’t be together in the same place.

My partner and I used to make care packages for each other. We would fill them with homemade cookies, goodies, magazine articles we thought the other might like to read, sexy or fun pictures (we didnt have cell phones yet, so we had to get pretty creative), and more.

We also used to make each other “mix tapes”, filled with songs we wanted the other person to hear. I used to mail him a few movies at a time that I owned, and he would watch them, and then give me his review. We would also send cards and love letters, quite often.

We would do these kinds of things spontaneously, in order to keep things fun and romantic, and to let the other person know they were being thought of.

These days, it’s easier than ever to find multiple ways to get creative. Talk to each other on Facetime or Skype. Play a board game or other game together this way. Watch a movie together on your laptops. Eat dinner together, or a nightly cup of coffee to talk about your day.

Make a short video for the other person, where you take them through a favorite neighborhood in your town, or where you just flirt with them for a few minutes and make them feel wanted. This kind of creativity is extremely important when you are miles and miles apart.

Cheerful young woman talking on phone

Have a plan in place for the future, and discuss your expectations.

This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many couples go into a long-distance relationship, without talking about their needs and wants for the future. If you are putting your time and energy into this person, you should at least begin discussing what your end goal is.

Will one of you be moving, eventually, to be closer to the other? If so, who? And when? Are you exclusive and committed to each other, even while this far away? How many times per month/year do you expect to see each other? Will you take turns traveling?

These are important things to know, because not everyone is capable of handling the same situation. Our long-distance relationship stretched over 7 years. I couldn’t have done it if I didn’t feel comfortable that we had a definite plan for him to relocate to where I lived.

Because he was leaving his life behind to come be with me, his expectation was that it was leading to marriage. He didn’t want to move his entire life somewhere new, unless this was the real thing. Both parties in the relationship need to be on the same page as to where this is going and when, in order for it to work.

Always keep each other in the loop when it comes to big life changes and events.

When you don’t see someone everyday, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks when it comes to information. If you’re having a bad day, or a hard week, or if you had a wonderful thing happen to you at work, or you have to attend a good friend’s funeral – your partner should know about all that.

The thing you want to avoid is your partner not knowing what is going on in your life, and you in theirs. Keep each other informed, and be there for each other, whenever and however you can. When you’re far away, it’s even more important that you feel like the person you are doing all this sacrificing for, has your back.

This is the part where I tell you to have phone sex or cyber sex together.

You knew it was coming.(Get it? “Coming?”) It’s vital that you make priority time for one another, to be intimate in whatever ways you can be together.

There are many ways to do this in today’s modern technology world, so find what works for the two of you, and go for it. Make sexy videos. Plan a hot phone call. Create fantasies together and then bring them to life. Talk about all the naughty things you want to do next time you see each other. You get the idea.

Bottom line: Sex is important, especially when you are in a long-distant relationship.

If visits are an option, do it as much as you can.

People are in long-distance relationships for all sorts of reasons, and sometimes visiting is not an option (such as a partner in active duty military). If you are lucky enough to have the option to make visits to one another, plan them as carefully and as often as you can, and make them a priority.

Each time you see each other again and spend more time together in person, you will discover new parts of this person, and you will learn more about them. This will help you to know what they might be like on a day to day basis, and may help you determine what will eventually come of the relationship.

If it’s with the right person, and you both work at it, long-distance relationships can be very happy and successful. If I hadn’t have been willing all those years ago, to be patient and date this person even though he lived far away, I wouldn’t have met and fell in love with, one of the most beautiful people I have ever known.

Love is always worth the risk. Every single time.

For more ways to make your relationship stronger, check out “Normal” Sex for a Long-Distance Couple5 Ways You Can Make a Long Distance Relationship Work, or Long Distance Relationships: Do They Make the Heart Grow Fonder?.

Everything I Learned About Relationships from 90 Day Fiancé


The surprisingly valuable lessons I learned from my guilty pleasure show.

I love watching TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé. It’s trashy, over-dramatized, and all-around great. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of watching this reality trainwreck gold, let me give you the 411:

The show follows Americans and their foreign-born fiancés as they unite in America. However, their special “fiancé visa” only gives the couple three months to get married before one of them is sent home.

Of course, the couple has to plan their wedding (and one of them has to adjust to life in a new country) in a jiffy. Plus, often, the couple has only met in person once or twice before, and they need to get to know each other before tying the knot. So, it’s a busy 90 days.

With cultural differences, language barriers, and the ever-looming threat of one person being sent back home, this show is dramatic, addicting, and…surprisingly educational.

That’s right. Whether I’m making a mental note to follow one couple’s strong example, or more often, learning from their mistakes, 90 Day Fiancé has taught me a lot about relationships.

Here are some of my favorite lessons from some of my favorite 90 Day Fiancé couples.

1. Don’t be afraid to take it slow


In one of 90 Day Fiancé’s spin-off shows, 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days, the American goes to visit their out-of-the-country lover before getting engaged. They do this because before applying for the fiancé visa, they have to have met in person. So this meeting is usually their first time seeing each other in person.

That might make you say: “They’ve never met and are already on a reality show about getting married? Wow. That’s moving pretty fast.”

Sure is.

And it seems like Darcey, an American designer, really did want to move quickly towards marriage. She went to Amsterdam to visit Jesse, and while she clearly hoped to get engaged on the trip, Jesse decided to take it slow. By the end of the season he gives her an “appreciation ring” and Darcey goes home without solid marriage plans.

While this may have been a disappointment to Darcey, and many viewers, I think that Jesse’s idea to wait is commendable. So many 90 Day Fiancé couples find themselves feeling rushed to get married because of the visa process, but jumping into marriage too quickly can mean trouble later on.

Darcey and Jesse’s story really struck a chord with me. I know how hard it is to wait to get married, but I also know how important it can be as well.

In my own relationship, my fiancé and I waited 9 years to get engaged. We were young when we met and we didn’t want to move too fast. When we finally got engaged, we were glad we waited. Now, we have such a great foundation to our relationship and are certain we’re ready for marriage.

Of course, not everyone is going to wait 9 years to get engaged. “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” But when it comes to taking big steps in your relationship, follow Jesse and Darcey’s example, and remember that it’s okay to take your time.

2. Make the extra effort for your in-laws


In season 3, Alexei moved from Israel to Florida to marry Loren. Despite some arguments surrounding her bachelorette party and insecurities about her tourettes syndrome, the couple seemed to have a strong relationship. One thing that stood out especially was Loren’s relationship with Alexei’s family.

At one point, Alexei’s mom came to visit them in Florida. She and Loren spent a lot of time together, going shopping and even making dinner. Lauren wanted to show Alexi’s mom a great time in the US, there’s just one problem: the two don’t speak the same language. They struggled to communicate but both mother and daughter-in-law made an effort to bond, and the segment was actually really sweet.

There are a few things I love about this. One, Loren wanted her in-laws to like Florida so that one day they might move closer to her. She knew how important Alexei’s family was to him and she wanted to make him happy, which is great in any relationship. Not many spouses encourage their in-laws to move closer. Second, she is making an effort to communicate with Alexi’s mom, even when there’s a language barrier, which showed how much bonding meant to her.

I know that sometimes it can be hard to communicate with your significant other’s family (even when you speak the same language). Sometimes being in different families or from different generations can make you feel worlds apart, but it’s so important to try to have a good relationship with your in-laws. It helps keep the peace and shows your partner that you care about his or her family, which might be really important to them.

3. Know that you’re not always going to get your way


Evelyn and David from season 5 definitely had their differences. They had a big age gap (she was 18, he was 27), different ideas about the wedding, and even conflicting thoughts on where to live.

Sharing a life with someone means compromising. Sometimes things will go the way you want, sometimes you’ll have to consider a different direction. When Evelyn welcomed fiancé David from Spain, it was clear that she expected him to go along with her plans. When he didn’t, it caused a lot of issues.

She spent most of the season arguing with David about everything from small details like what the bridal party would wear, to bigger issues like where they would live after the wedding. It was a rough way to start off a marriage.

Watching Evelyn and David helped remind me to be flexible. Living with someone means that you can’t get your way all the time, and for many people, that can be hard. I was an only child growing up so, in my early life, I didn’t have to compromise on a lot of things. When my fiancé and I started making decisions together, I had a hard time making room for his opinions. There was the issue of living room wall color and what groceries to buy, but eventually, we learned to work more as a team.

Evelyn and David remind us that opening your mind can make your relationship go a whole lot smoother.

4. Learn how to fight in a healthy way

Anfisa and Jorge 90 day fiance

Anfisa and Jorge spent much of season 4 in loud, angry fights. They brought a whole lot of drama to the season, but their arguments were often cringe-worthy. Name calling, door slamming, and even hitting were not uncommon for these two, and it cause many viewers to wish the couple would split up for good.

But their fights were a good reminder of what not to do. Those actions can be hurtful and abusive, and can be more harmful to the relationship than whatever the original fight was about.

Of course, you’re going to disagree with your significant other at some point, it’s unavoidable. The key is to strive for healthy, constructive arguments, and not to get too heated or angry.

It’s important that whenever you feel yourself getting mad, try to stay calm and take a deep breath. If possible, take a break from the fight, calm down, and come back to it later. It will give you time to think about your partner’s point of view and find a rational solution.

5. Tell the truth: lies and secrets will eventually come out


I hate lying and keeping secrets. Whenever I have a secret, no matter how small, I feel guilty and am constantly afraid that someone will figure it out.

When Pedro moved to the United States to marry Chantel in Season 4, Chantel knew her parents wouldn’t be thrilled with her engagement. She decided, instead, to tell her parents that they were only dating and that Pedro was in the country on a student visa. In the end, Chantel’s parents were very hurt that she hadn’t told them the truth from the beginning. It also put Pedro in a tough spot because he was caught in a lie he didn’t want to make.

Their story is a great reminder that a lie isn’t ever really worth it. Whether the lie is to your significant other, or about your relationship, it pays to just be honest up front. The truth is more than likely going to come out eventually, so you might as well save the drama.

6. Talk about what makes you uncomfortable and let your partner know your expectations for the relationship

Andrei and Elizabeth-90-day-fiance

We all have that line that we don’t want our partner to cross under any circumstance. Maybe your “line” is your partner talking to an ex, or maybe it’s tickling you in that spot you hate. Different things bother different people, and it’s important to know what’s okay (and what’s not) when it comes to your partner.

Season 5 couple Andrei and Elizabeth had some issues before their wedding. Elizabeth’s sisters were concerned that Andrei would discourage Elizabeth from going out and partying with them. It seemed like a non-issue to Elizabeth, but it brought up a really important point.

No one should be bossed around by their partner, but sometimes you might have to do something, or even abstain from doing something, in order to keep peace in the relationship.

In the show, Andrei told Elizabeth what he wasn’t comfortable with her bachelorette party plans. They had to find common ground between what she wanted to do and what he wanted her to do during the party, and there was some tension, but in the end they seemed to respect each other’s boundaries.

Of course, you can’t make a whole list of things your partner can’t do. And you certainly can’t let your partner make your choices for you, but being upfront and honest about what makes you uncomfortable can help build trust, especially in a new relationship.

7. Be conscious of what you’re saying


It’s important to encourage your partner to do better, but insulting them is not the way to do it. Azan, from Morocco, was critical of Nicole’s weight multiple times in the show. He said he was only pointing it out because he wanted her to be healthier and share his interest in exercise… but that’s definitely not how it came off. He called her lazy and his words were often hurtful.

Azan’s situation is a good reminder to be careful about what you say to your partner.

I know I sometimes say things that end up sounding pretty harsh, even if I said them with the best intentions. It happens to the best of us. Whether you’re telling your partner to eat healthier or to take out the trash, there are certain ways to say things so that it doesn’t sound like an insult. Try not to get too personal about your partner’s issue, and use kind words when being critical.

8. Be supportive of your partner’s job and hobbies

Russ and Paola 90 day fiance

Being supportive of your partner’s job and their dreams is always so important to a relationship… but it can sometimes be hard to muster up the support when it might not have been your first choice for them.

Russ and Paola went through some trouble when Paola began modeling professionally and Russ didn’t agree with her choices. He didn’t want her posing topless and didn’t like the idea of moving to Miami. To an extent, Russ had a point. His job was in Oklahoma, he owned a home in Oklahoma, and he came from a conservative background. At first, it was hard for him to get on board with her modeling and the move.

Still, just because your partner’s dreams aren’t easy for you to support, it doesn’t mean your partner can’t pursue them. In the end, Russ was supportive of Paola’s modeling, and it made her happy. He was able to support his wife, giving the rest of us a great example to follow.

Just because reality shows highlight the craziest and most dramatic things in a relationship, doesn’t mean there isn’t something to learn from these shows. These tips are valuable lessons that can help you, and your partner, foster a great, lasting relationship.

If you want to know some tips to find the love of your life check out 5 Hopeful Dating Tips, From A Woman Who Finally Found Love. Consider signing up for a LOVE TV Membership and you can get one-on-one help from love gurus and relationship experts.