Surviving a Long Distance Relationship

Get ready for a LONG post about long distance relationships. (How fitting, right? 😉 )

Before we dive right into the nitty gritty, we must properly fuel ourselves with lunch!

Wednesday Lunch

On the menu for today was a leftover sloppy joe sandwich paired with grape tomatoes and Greek yogurt with honey.

"Have Some More Slooooppy Joes! I Made 'Em Extra Sloppy For Ya!"

I also sipped on a tumbler full of Starucks VIA mocha-flavored coffee, which was only okay. I nabbed the packet from my parents’ pantry when I was home over the weekend, and must say I was a bit disappointed with the overall taste.

Viva la VIA

I think I was hoping for hot chocolate with a touch of coffee flavor, and unfortunately the chocolate flavor wasn’t very strong. Oddly enough, I liked it more as I continued to drink it. Maybe I just had to overcome the initial coffee shock?

Surviving a Long Distance Relationship

After seeing how many of you guys are currently in a long distance relationship when I mentioned ’em last Wednesday, I knew I had to dedicate an entire blog post to surviving a long distance relationship (LDR).

I found myself in a long distance relationship with my long-term high school boyfriend at  the beginning of college (we dated for 3+ years) and I know how hard it can be to go without seeing someone you love very much.

Though my LDR obviously didn’t work out (hello, Ryan! 😀 ), I do think that if two people are committed to making the relationship work and pour their hearts into it, a long distance relationship can thrive and be totally worth the heartache.

You guys had a ton of wonderful words of advice  ranging from the practical to the just plain adorable. Below is a summary of your most common words of wisdom. For additional advice, definitely check out the comments section of this post.

  • Utilize Skype to Video Chat and See Each Other Face-to-Face. Amanda and Melissa even planned Skype dates! Melissa said that she and her boyfriend would “pick out a recipe, buy the ingredients and then Skype while we cooked together. Then we could eat the same dinner and chat. Sometimes we would watch the same show or movie afterward, too.”
  • Create Habits Together. Create rituals and habits that you both do for each other every day, even if it’s simply calling each other when you first wake up or sending a lunchtime email to say “I love you.” Setting your alarm to the same alarm ringer may also remind you of each other. Blog reader Megan and her boyfriend even had their own book club!
  • Send Letters and Small Packages. There’s something so exciting about receiving a package from anyone, let alone a significant other. Sending packages to each other keeps you thinking about what the other person might like and helps them feel cared for and appreciated. Include their favorite baked cookies, a gift card to Starbucks, a picture of the two of you or silly items from the dollar store. My ex-boyfriend would spray his letters to me with his cologne, which I thought was really neat because smelling his smell made it feel like he was that much closer.
  • If Possible, Always Have a Trip on the Horizon. Knowing when you’ll see each other next allows you to have a countdown and an “end date” in sight which can make the time apart seem much more bearable.

Exploring Key West

  • Communicate. This is a BIG one. As if communicating in person isn’t hard enough, communicating over the phone can be trickier since your significant other can’t read your body language or see your facial expressions. Make sure to verbally express how you’re feeling, especially when an issue starts to arise. As blog reader Katie said, “Say how much you love each other often.” Also, when you’re on the phone, be on the phone. As Sarah said, “Don’t sit and play on Facebook or scan blogs when you’re on the phone with the other person.” It’s so obvious when someone isn’t giving you their full attention and that can be very hurtful.
  • Trust Each Other. Enough said.
  • Make the Reunion Special. Blog reader Sara says, “My biggest tip is to make the reunion special. My boyfriend always did something special… picking me up at the airport with flowers, stocking the fridge with my favorite foods, picking up a bottle of my favorite wine… anything to make our time together special. “
  • Stay Involved in Each Other’s Lives. It’s important to care about what’s going on in your loved one’s life when you’re not there. Sable says, “Know who their friends are, what they’re up to, how their hobbies are shifting, their goals, etc.”
  • Have Your Own Life. Just because your loved one isn’t there doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Use the time to yourself to really enjoy your friends and immerse yourself in your favorite activities and hobbies.

  • Set Expectations and Discuss the Future. Bethany says, “Set expectations. You should know how often you plan to see each other and how often/how long you’re going to talk over the phone/Skype. ” She also advises couples to talk about the future, saying, “A long distance relationship can’t go on forever. At some point, someone is going to have to move which can have a huge impact on other areas of your life such as your work and family.”
  • Don’t Put Pressure On Your Time Together. Try not to feel like everything needs to be totally perfect when you’re finally together again. Blog reader Casey says, “If you get all angsty about those weekends being perfect, then something is bound to go wrong and leave you feeling stressed and let down. There will be more times – just enjoy each for what it is and keep reasonable expectations!”
  • Send Texts and Picture Texts. Many people said that picture texts really help make them feel closer to their significant other. Seeing the face of your loved one when you’re really missing them can help brighten your day a bit.
  • Hide Surprises Before You Leave. Marisa says to leave little things to help your loved one remember you behind before you go. “I would leave little touches around his house before I left. Such as leaving a note in the bathroom drawer and a piece of jewelry on his nightstand. I know he loved it because he keeps a stash of my little notes to this day.”
  • Become Friends with Their Friends When You’re in Town. Blog reader Jordan says to get to know your partner’s friends. Though you may be tempted to live in a couple bubble when you’re together, make it a point to at least meet your loved one’s friends so you can get to know the people they really care about and they can get to know what an awesome person you are as well.

P.S. The Fashion page was updated this afternoon!


  1. says

    I am the survivor of a long distance relationship. It’s really hard, but having a strong foundation of trust is super important. I don’t think I would have survived without it. Also, making sure you are there for the person as much as you can be via the phone, emails, social networking, that is what will keep you together until you reunite! Great post!!


  2. says

    WOW JULIE!! you really spent some time on this post!!! although im not in a long distance relationship.. I may be in my future and will take all this advice with me!!


  3. says

    I really love this post, specially because my bf’s is moving away to a different country in a month! These are all great ideas, and I believe me and my love can’t make this distance thing pretty good :)


  4. says

    Such awesome tips!! I love hiding notes.

    I know this stemmed from your upcoming LDR with one of your close friends who is moving to NYC soon, which is similar to my experience!! My bff & I stay close through our blog together and mutual love for blogs. 😀 Guess it’s time to convince her to get one… 😉


  5. says

    This is great. My bf and I will be apart for about a year next year when he moves for his PhD and I’m finishing up my dietetic internship. I better start working on these tips now while we’ve still got a few months to go :)


  6. Holly @ The Runny Egg says

    This post is full of great advice!

    And to be honest, most of this advice is good for anyone with a relationship of any kind — it is good to set up dates, give each other gifts/notes, hang out with their friends, communicate, etc.


  7. says

    Great post! It almost made me wish I WAS in a LD relationship just to try out some of these tips! haha. (just kiddin, I love living with my lover ;))

    But I LOVED tip #1 especially, about buying the same ingredients and then cooking together over Skype! So awesome.


  8. says

    As an Army wife, I definitely second all of these!!

    Great advice :)

    Going the extra mile to include family members [sisters, brothers, parents] is sure to impress as well :)


  9. Cassie @ Tofu Meets Her Match says

    Oh man my boyfriend (now fiance) and I were long distance while I was in law school and it is not easy. It will break many relationships but I truly believe that if you’re meant to be together you can survive anything and it will only make your relationship stronger!


  10. says

    Great tips! I’m married and hope I’ll never need them!

    I have a fun fitness themed giveaway on my blog. You should check it out! (posted Monday, so scroll down a bit!)


  11. says

    When hubbs and I were long distance I would always leave a little note under his pillow for him to find when he went to sleep.
    And he would text me throughout the day with inside jokes or funny things that happened so I’d feel connected to his life.
    Our ldr worked out pretty well 😉


  12. says

    BLEGGGGGHHHH — Starbucks Via is so gross. Thankfully you didn’t pay anything for it! Haha. I’ve never been in an LDR (although my ex-boyfriend was left behind for 6 mo when I went to London for a semester, and that’s a whole other story…) so this was the only insight I could provide here, heh 😉


  13. says

    Great list of tips! Having been in a LDR with my boyfriend in college, I’m hoping we won’t have to do it ever again! I loved that you mentioned your ex’s cologne trick- I always had my BF spray his cologne on one of his sweatshirts and then I’d take it home with me to snuggle. :) You definitely appreciate the little things when you’re not together everyday!!


  14. Laura says

    I didnt comment on LDR because I have way too much to say lol….me and my husband have been long distance for 4 yrs and we have never lived together and have been married for 2 yrs. But if you are interested I have a blog about us….on it there is actually a timeline of when we have seen each other.

    You hit everything I would have hit but here is my blog anyways.


  15. says

    Thanks for sharing this great post! My boyfriend and I have been doing long distance for about 5 years now. (We are just 1hour apart now) It just simply works for us. We have careers in different towns, so until we are ready for the next step, we have to make the best of it. We take turns spending weekends in each others towns and it honestly always gives me something to look forward to!


    • Annie says

      It always makes me feel better to hear stories like this. My boyfriend and I started doing long distance two years ago, and quickly broke up because of the distance before deciding almost a year ago to get back together. The hardest part is that we don’t know when the end is–his career and life is in one city, while mine (for the next 6 years) is in another. We’re “only” six hours apart, which is a manageable drive for a long weekend, but the idea of doing 6 more years of long distance is rough, and people like to tell me “You can’t possibly do long distance for six more years!”. I definitely hope we won’t have to, but it’s easy to lose hope looking at the long road ahead (and having lots of people feel they have the right to butt into your business and tell you you can’t make it). Thanks for letting us know there are others out there that have done it!


      • Julia says

        I am in the same boat as you, Annie. My bf and I have been long distance for about 4 1/2 years now. We have been 3 hours away for all of those years and it is hard. It is even harder knowing there is no end in sight. I have my career in my city, and he has schooling in another. Now he is applying to Med school and who knows where he could be. It’s heartbreaking knowing I am stuck here and have no way of going with him. But if you love each other enough, are fully dedicated, and know that they are the one, it will work out.
        My family and others tells me the same thing about not being able to go another 5 more years. I always say back “I don’t want to do ___ more years of this, but he is completely worth it and I would do as many years as it takes knowing that he is in my life for all of them!”
        People LOVE to butt into your business and they always will. I always get “Your STILL not ENGAGED?!?!” That one is the best!
        Good luck with your years ahead and make the most of them! Your love will get you through!!


  16. says

    I’ll be going through the ultimate long distance relationship when my husband goes overseas with his army unit. We are definitely going to utilize Skype as much as possible. And we already have plans in place when he comes back for R&R in October. :-)

    Thanks for the great tips!


  17. says

    I had a long distance relationship for a long time and these tips are all 100% true…you do what you gotta do to make it work when you care! I always ha to learn that you her to assume the bet in the person you’re dating too…so often it’s easy to think maybe they don’t answer the phone on purpose or whatever, but by assuming the best you are saying you understand they care :)


  18. Holly says

    Do you buy grape tomatoes in bulk?? If so I need to find out where to buy them! I always end up eating at least half in one sitting they are so delicious!
    I’ve been in a LDR once but it was kinda an immature relationship but those seem like great tips!


  19. Whitney says

    My advice would be to always try and make your communication positive while in a LDR. It makes your partner miss you THAT much more.

    It’s not hard to miss someone who gets on your nerves more than they make you happy!! :)


  20. says

    I TOTALLY forgot to mention Marisa’s tip when I replied…whenever this was :) I used to hide little sticky notes with short sweet messages on them EVERYWHERE when the hubs and I were doing the long distance thing — underwear drawer, treadmill, laptop case, in the q-tipjar, etc. Almost three years later he still has them all — they’re in a drawer in our apartment now. :)

    And yes I too was sorely disappointed in the mocha flavor of Starbucks VIA….I was really bummed actually haha. BUT I found that putting unsweetened chocolate almond milk in it helps bring out the chocolate flavor a little more.


  21. says

    I know someone who had a long-distance relationship with her now-husband. They called each other a lot (at specific times), and the proposal story is epic. They planned a phone call (I think on a Friday?) where they would both be getting coffee at the same time on the phone. While they were on the phone, she figured out that he was outside, in the parking lot or the drivethrough! And he came inside and proposed. He drove like halfway across the country to propose!! I smile every time I think about it. :)


  22. says

    I love this post. Long distance relationships are definitely hard (I’m in one myself) but I feel like when you have the anticipation of seeing your significant other, it makes it that much more exciting. Julie, were you and Ryan ever in a long-distance relationship?


  23. says

    My fiance and I were long distance for four different years. Great advice overall–we used to run up all kinds of long distance bills. I would NEVER do long distance again though–I felt like I lost those years being “on hold”. So while all the suggestions you gave are nice, the best thing was the “end game” aka WHEN WILL THIS BE OVER AND WE CAN BE TOGETHER? Once we decided to never move again without one another, I’ve never been happier :)


  24. says

    Since my boyfriend is from Spain, yeah, I know how it is. I agree with the whole have a trip on the horizon thing. We sent lots of letters, emails, sometimes packages. We also kept journals to read when we were together. We took lots of pictures, sometimes holding signs with cheesy stuff on them. Cheese is the answer!


  25. says

    These are spot on! My fiance and I did long distance for 3 years during college and then an additional 6 months a year later when I moved to MA for my first job. But we made and are getting married this year, and you all can, too, if you’re willing to put in the hard work and effort to maintain the relationship.

    Nice post, Julie!


  26. says

    Kinda off subject, but this sloppy joe looks AMAZING! I’m going to have to try your recipe ASAP. Loving your blog! Can’t believe I just discovered it.


  27. says

    these are grrrreaaattt pieces of advice!! It’s not only for LDRs, but I think these are alll necessary components even for a non-LDR relationship. Of course, feelings are there and all, but I think that intentionality if very very important. Putting forth the effort and stuff. :)


  28. says

    This is a totally wonderful post! Thank you, thank you!! I can’t thank you enough! My bf and I skype/video almost every night, but I have never thought of having a skype date. What a sweet little idea. I am going to put some of these tips into action!


  29. Megan@Dirty Dishes Daily says

    My current boyfriend and I were in a long distance relantionship for 1 year. It was hard but we both new it was worth the effort. It was stressfull, time consuming, and expensive. But I think it made us such an awesome couple.


  30. Em says

    These are great advices Julie! My boyfriend is american and i am swedish. When we met 4 years ago he went to school in US and I in Sweden, but we couldn’t not be together. For three years we kept visiting each other, spending any possible money to go see one another. Living so far away from each other, there were usually several months between each time. Luckily, I got into a school in US and we are currently living in the same city only ten minutes apart. The two years was some of the hardest in my life, but we were dedicated to make the waiting worth it. There was times when I was thinking about giving up, but when we would eventually meet again all the doubt i’d had would just seem ridiculous. I’m so glad we fought and we now are so lucky to get to see each other every single day!


  31. says

    I just had to say, I love your blog and read it everyday! Second, I’m usually too lazy to comment on posts (shame, shame!) but I just had to comment on this one. I loved your Billy Madison quote on the sloppy joes. It’s probably one of my all-time favorite movies! :)


  32. Julia says

    Thank you for writing this post. I am in a 4 1/2 year long LDR and miss him more every day. Reading this post brought tears to my eyes as I thought about my man and how much I love and miss him. LDR’s are hard and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But they make you a MUCH stronger couple and the trust that you have in one another just shows how much you care. I wouldn’t trade my guy for anyone who lived 5 min from me. I love these tips from everyone and I can’t wait to put some into action! Thank you, Julie!


  33. says

    Majority I guess face trust issue. Which is always hard in LDR. It’s the toughest way to test on how strong the relationship is between two. There’s many lessons one can learn along the way as well :)


  34. says

    I’ve been in two seriously long distance relationships, swearing them off after the first one ended so badly. Surprisgly the one I’m in now isn’t that big of a deal..we make it work. They’re definitely not for everybody and even the best couples can be absolutely ruined by them..but once you find the right person, distance doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. :) Plus, it’s not permanent.


  35. says

    My current husband and I were in a LDR for three years while he was in law school in Virginia Beach and I was living in D.C. We saw each other almost every weekend since we only were three-and-a-half hours away from each other, but it definitely was a change. We had been together for just under two years while attending FSU before we both moved up north, and I think living in two different cities actually helped our relationship. We realized how much we wanted to be together and how much we valued each other. That won’t happen for everyone, but it did for us. We definitely had our ups and downs throughout the three years we were apart (we actually planned our wedding during this time, too!), but it all worked out in the end. :)


  36. Amy at the scene from me says

    Kohl’s has round toe nude pumps that aren’t sky high right now and they are so comfortable!!!


  37. Ashley says

    Billy Madison quote looove…haha.

    Thank you for this post! I read every bit of it and loved it…I also sent it to my BF (we are 6 hours apart) because sometimes I find it hard to let him know what I need from him, so thanks for getting some of my points across! :-)


  38. says

    Wonderful beat ! I would like to apprentice at the same time as you amend your
    website, how can i subscribe for a weblog site? The account aided me a appropriate deal.
    I have been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered vibrant clear idea


  39. says

    I’m gone to inform my little brother, that he should also pay a quick visit this web site on regular basis to take updated from hottest reports.


  40. says

    Exceptional post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic?
    I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Thanks!


  41. Emma says

    this is probably one of my favorite posts on your blog. so inspiring! ive been in an LDR for 2 1/2 years now, 16 hours apart! but an end is in sight!! finally…



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *