Given the choice, many of us would not choose to be in a long distance relationship (LDR). Being apart from the one you love certainly isn’t easy and in most cases, relationships like this fail.

They say distance makes the heart go fonder; but this may be considered hogwash for some. However, being in an LDR myself for three years now has given me hope. While LDRs often sink, it is possible for it to work if you ground yourself in the must-have aspects.

Read on for a list of what those must-haves may be!

  1. Communication skills

When you’re miles apart from each other, ensure you have honest communication because it is the best way for you to connect with one another. Back in our grandparents’ day, they had to eagerly wait for their letters to arrive. However, today, we have the privilege of being able to send and receive text messages in a matter of seconds. Also, just because you’re apart doesn’t mean you no longer have date nights. Using Skype, you can set up a day or night to play online games or share your screen for a movie.

If you aren’t a verbal person or if you find it difficult to communicate, take it as an opportunity to ‘up your game’. After all, there’s nothing to lose by having better communication skills.

2. Sharing and not losing yourself

Too often couples become overly dependent on each other to the point of toxicity. Which is why it is good to have time apart in order to remember that it takes two complete persons to work. There should not be a “I need you” or “I won’t be able to survive” mentality. When you have self-love and confidence in yourself, it flourishes your relationship in the sense that; you are more of an encouraging and loving person rather than a burden on your partner.

When you’re living in two different countries or towns, it can be easy to get absorbed into the hustle and bustle of life. Make sure you share your worlds with each other by sending pictures of yourself, scenery or food. It’s comforting for your partner to know that despite being apart, you’re still enjoying life independently.

3. Priority in the relationship

When you do get together, whether it be on Skype or in person, that limited window of time you have for each other is precious and vital in showing that you prioritise your partner. What I mean by this is – when you’re together, don’t get distracted by your phone. Take the time to connect with each other through conversation. Relationships require a lot of effort and appreciation for each other.

4. Commitment for the long-term

Sometimes jealousy bangs its fiery fist on our door when we look at other couples via social media. This is highly dangerous and toxic to your relationship. Everyone in relationships (especially LDRs), should be equally committed to developing their relationship. There should be no “I give so much more into this”, but rather, “Hey, how was your day? Let’s get through this together”.

Always make sure you’re both on the same page by using communication skills as mentioned earlier. This is to ensure that both of you are listening to each other and clearly stating your opinions or points of view.

5. Planning for now and the future

In any relationship, it will require planning creative ways to spend time with each other. For LDRs, we get to do that and plan for when we get to reunite again. This is to allow your relationship to move forward and not remain in a suspended state for too long. The feeling you get when you book your flight ticket and count down to the day you meet is simply – exhilarating.

Long distance relationships are certainly not for the faint of heart and require an abundance of effort, dedication, and so many other things for it to work. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but if you both have the will and strength to keep it going, it will work because you’ll make it work.

Keep it going and who knows? You’ll get to say your vows soon enough.