According to recent studies, about three million Americans live apart from their spouse at some point during their marriage and 75% of college students have been in a long-distance relationship. Currently, it’s estimated that about 16 million people in the US are in long-distance relationships with the average distance being 125 miles.

Most people think long-distance relationships “never work” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Research has shown that long distance couples actually have the same or more satisfaction in their relationships than couples who live together. The studies also show higher levels of dedication to their relationships, more feelings of freedom (being less trapped) and more intimacy.

Today you’re going to learn my top eight tips for making long-distance relationships great and my top seven “don’ts” to make sure you stay on track.

Do #1: You’ve Gotta Believe

If you’re focused on things working, guess what? You’ll find yourself seeing a lot more good than bad. Focus on what’s working, not what isn’t.

Don’t bring negativity and doubt in.

Do #2: Make a Schedule

If you were living together, you’d have some kind of schedule. While it’s not needed to know where the other person is every minute or to check in every time they leave somewhere, it IS good to have a schedule for when you’ll connect.

Don’t check up on your partner constantly.

You know when you’ll connect so go live your life in the meantime (and that’ll give you something to talk about on those calls).

Do #3: Set Some Ground Rules around Expectations:

You’ve got to be on the same page when it comes to the ground rules for the relationship.

Don’t make assumptions. Make everything crystal clear.

Do #4: Keep Your Eye on the Prize

The research shows that partners who aren’t clear about when they’re going to be living under the same roof end up with significantly more stress and were less happy than those who had an end date in mind.

Don’t be ambiguous or unclear with your partner.

Do #5: Be There Even When You’re Not

Not living together physically doesn’t mean you can’t be there. There are a number of great ways to do this including sending letters, watching a show together, sending gifts or video chatting while one of you shops or hikes.

Don’t think out of sight, out of mind.

Do #6: Quality over Quantity

It’s not how much you communicate, but the quality of that communication: this is a place where long-distance couples have the advantage because you know your time together is precious so you treat the communication differently.

Don’t try to connect out of insecurity.

Do #7: Meet in Person as Regularly as Possible

When you haven’t seen each other in awhile there can be a lot of pressure on “making the most of your time together.” This sets you up for lots of disappointment if things don’t go perfectly (which will definitely happen). Make sure you have some things to do, but mostly go with the flow and just “be” as much as possible. It doesn’t need to be an extravagant vacation every time.

Don’t put pressure on creating a weekend extravaganza when you’re physically together.

Do #8: Focus on love not fear

You can’t spend time being jealous or worried. You can’t have a love relationship based on fear. If you’re having these emotions, it means you’re disconnected, so work on the connection instead of working on snooping.

Don’t spy! Absolutely NO sneaky behavior or secret stalking of your partner’s life.

Focus on the dos and not on the don’ts and you can absolutely have an emotionally close, loving relationship that goes the distance (pun intended).

Resources and Links:

Dr. Abby Medcalf, The Real Reason Relationships Fail, TED Talk

Dr. Abby Medcalf, How to Focus on What’s Right INSTEAD of What’s Wrong in Your Relationship

 Ready to find out what goes on inside that crazy mind of Abby’s? 

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