Distance makes the heart grow fonder. (Photo: Beatrix Boros/Stocksy)
“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.
4. Plan a visit at least once a month
Getting time off from work and paying for travel can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. You just have to know about the best travel apps and choose the right airlines.
“Look towards an airline that is going to give you decent elite status,” said Brian Kelly, Founder and CEO of ThePointsGuy.com. “Look at the big picture. First, find the airline that flies the most between your two respective cities. Some airlines are better than others in terms of same-time flight changes. Delta and American Airlines wave that fee for their elite fliers.”
Flying Emirates Airlines from LAX to Milan to meet Jason for our friends Justin Etzin and Lana Zakocela’s lavish Tuscan wedding. (Photo: Micah Jesse)
5. Be open about your emotions
When naysayers say long-distance relationships are hard, they aren’t wrong. You will experience intense feelings of missing your partner. The key to getting past these “humps?” Be totally honest about your feelings and always make big relationship decisions in person.
Since you won’t always have the luxury of seeing your partner’s facial expressions, it makes sharing your emotions, especially verbally, that much more important. “You may not be able to give a tender kiss, but you can say, ‘I’m really missing you today’,” says JDate dating expert Erika Ettin.
6. Communicate daily with small tokens of love
On a daily basis, Jason and I send each other good morning text messages, Instagram pics throughout the day, and then we Skype/FaceTime at the end of the day. We realize that some days are busier than others for the both of us, so sometimes we just say something like, “thinking about you,” and that goes a long way.
“It’s important to make sure the other people feels like he or she is part of your life. Send pictures and texts, not to make your partner wish he or she is there, but rather to feel like he or she is part of the action,” says Ettin.
7. Write a handwritten letter every once in awhile
Most of us rely on technology, but nothing compares to a beautiful hand-written card (even a postcard) from your boyfriend or girlfriend. You can send snail mail for anniversaries, birthdays — or even just because! It will put the biggest smile on their face.
Jason couldn’t make it to our friends Aarin Schlossberg and David Spiegelman’s wedding at Rancho Dos Pueblos in Santa Barbara, Cali. — so I went solo! — and kept him updated throughout the night with texts and photos. (Photo: Julia Nugent)
8. Trust your partner
Trust is the foundation for any positive relationship. Distance between you and your boyfriend or girlfriend can intensify trust issues. JDate dating expert, Erika Ettin, suggests coming up with defined rules around what’s permissible and what’s not since you can’t watch each other 24/7 (nor should you have to). After that, she says, you just have to trust. “Part of someone trusting you, though, is taking the time to make the other person feel special. Most jealousy and anxiety comes from no feeling secure or validated in a relationship,” she says.
9. Live your own separate lives and keep busy!
What will you talk about if you don’t each have your own lives? Exactly! Whether you’re long-distance or live together, it’s important to make sure you remain two different people who “complement but don’t complete each other,” says JDate dating expert Erika Ettin.
Spend time with people who make you happy. Get active in group fitness, volunteering, or take a new class.
The happy couple. (Photo: Micah Jesse/Instagram)
10. Don’t give up.
If your love and trust your partner, no emotional distance should come between you. Rather than giving up when you’re feeling lonely shift your perspective to how excited you are for the next time you will see your partner because you know the wait will be worth it.
While Tinder does not keep record of the total number of success stories, they receive hundreds of stories each month from people who met on the app and are now engaged, married and more, according to Rosette Pambakian, VP, Communications and Branding for Tinder. You can search #SwipedRight to find many of these amazing stories.
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