10 Ways to Crush Long Distance Relationship Depression, Backed by Science - Lasting The Distance

10 Ways to Crush Long Distance Relationship Depression, Backed by Science

​Do you agree with this statement? 

A LDR can be one of the toughest journeys for a couple to experience. 

​There are many instances where you can go from feeling invincible to wanting to curl up into the fetal position. 

It is definitely an emotional roller coaster. 

Whether one of you has departed after an amazing visit, the length between visits is becoming unbearable or just not being able to express yourself physically and emotionally in the way that you want with your partner, and many other similar situations, can impact our mental health. 

long distance relationship depression

​It's perfectly ok to feel this way. We're all human and it gets tough when we know we can't have what we want!

But when the sadness becomes a daily companion and long distance relationship depression starts to set in, it is important to recognize it to have the best opportunity to deal with it.

This is an issue that is very important to us. So we have put a lot of time and effort into researching the best ways, backed by scientific evidence and studies where possible, to combat depression in a long distance relationship.

We truly hope what we've put together can act as the building blocks for you or your partner to getting back on the right track.​

NOTE: While this list can be considered ​general techniques for helping with depression. We've spent a lot of time going a step further to documented everything in a way that relates back to long distance relationships. Read on, you'll see what we mean 🙂

1. Talking About It

talking about ldr depression

It's sounds easy doesn't it? Just open your mouth and let it all come out. But in reality talking about depression is damn hard. We care a lot about what others think and no one likes to look vulnerable, which can prevent us from opening up when we really need to.

​You may think others will worry too much or that they may think it's an overreaction. But this train of thought needs to be broken! Depression isn't to be taken lightly and support from those around us plays a pivotal role in recovery.

​Remember you're not alone, there is no shortage of people you can turn to for help:

Your Partner

Friends & Family

Support Groups

Professionals

Your Partner

If there is one person that NEEDS to know how you feel it's your partner. Keeping things from them won't make things better. They love you, they want to be with you, so they will do whatever they can to make you happy.

If your partner is the one suffering from depression but are having a hard time opening up don't force the situation. Make sure they feel safe and confident enough to talk. Let them know you'll be there when they are ready and will support them in any way possible.

Friends & Family

Being in a LDR means our partners won't always be accessible when we need them. This is where friends and family are so valuable.

Although they might not know the struggles of depression in a long distance relationship, they truly care for you. More often than not they'll know you differently thank your partner does, which can be invaluable when it comes to knowing the best way 'for them' to help.

Support Groups

If you find it hard to open up to people you know, support groups, online or in-person, can be a great option. When there is a level of anonymity it can be easier to open up without the fear of ridicule. It can also be much more relatable atmosphere with others having the same issues.

Google is your best friend when it comes to finding online and local support groups. But some online groups we recommend are:

Professionals

If none of these solutions are helpful and you have the means to do so, find a therapist in your area. They can provide an unbiased opinion and sometimes it can be nice to talk to someone you don’t know very well but has a lot of experience in dealing with different issues.

2. Creating Routines

routine to help depression

When you’re feeling depressed and missing your partner, it can seem like each day melts into the next as all you can think about is being with them. 

Being fixated on this negative train of thought can suck the life out of you. Time stands still and the rut you're in keeps you withdrawn and unfocused from everyday life. 

Ian Cook MD, a psychiatrist and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA noted that depression can strip away structure from your life. Without structure you can't escape that rut. This is where setting up a routine is key.

Creating a schedule, and sticking to it, helps you to focus on the task at hand. As you do this your mind is occupied and keeping negative thoughts at bay.

Here are a couple of ​routines to get you on the right track:

Create a Morning Routine

​Morning routines are a great way to make sure you're taking care of yourself before the day gets ahead of you. This is something Britt Reints, authour of An Amateurs Guide to the Pursuit of Happiness, has been doing to take control of her situation.

Tip: Wake up a little bit earlier than usual and do something that calms or relaxes you. This is a great way to get started while setting the tone for the rest of the day. 

You can take this a step further like Malan Darras ​who set up a daily routine. Check out his article that shows just how crazy his routine was and how he turned it all around. His current routine is something to aspire to!

Scheduling Time With Your Partner

This is something that many of us take for granted. Setting up a schedule for when you chat on Skype or FaceTime can be a great way to build up a healthy routine for your relationship. It will also help mentally by reinforcing something positive to continually look forward to.

​Need help planning your routine? Take a look at WebMD's Daily Activity Planner for Depression Recovery. It's a great tool to keep you in control.

3. Setting Goals

set and achieve goals

Creating routines and setting goals go hand in hand. If we think of routines being the foundation for creating change then goals are the building blocks set upon that foundation.

​When starting out it's imperative to set goals you can achieve. Setting the wrong goals or unattainable goals can have the opposite impact.

In a 2013 study, researchers from the University of Liverpool found that depressed people tended to form more unattainable goals when compared to people unaffected by depression. This was in part due to the fact that depressed people's goals were less concrete and detailed, while their non-depressed counterparts created fairly specific detail orientated goals.

​So if we're going to create REAL and attainable goals we need to move away from generalizing the outcome we want to achieve and create a detailed plan of how we're going to actually do it!

​The team over at Resilient have a great article on setting goals when you're depressed. They talk about using a cool technique called SMART, which stands for:

  • Simple
  • Measureable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic, and
  • Time-Specific

Lets look at some goals we can set.

Short-term Goals

  • Read more
  • Stay away from negativity
  • Get to work on time
  • Eat breakfast every morning
  • Go to the dentist!

Long-term Goals

  • Learn a new skill
  • Lose X amount of weight
  • Create clear career objectives
  • ​Pay off debts
  • Flossing!

Personal Growth Goals

  • Volunteering your time
  • Finish your schooling
  • Working with a mentor
  • Visiting family more often
  • Stop procrastinating

Long Distance Relationship Goals

  • Communicate everyday
  • Schedule 'date nights'
  • Plan a visit
  • Plan for closing the distance
  • Interact with your partner's family & friends

​Remember setting goals is just the first step. We also need to do our best to achieve them! This is where we see real results when it comes to change.

4. Staying Involved 

stay involved to feel better

Staying socially active is really important when suffering from LDR depression.

We don't usually have the luxury of spending time with our partners and others at the some time so it can be very easy to become withdrawn when in a long distance relationship. Add depression into the mix and becoming recluse is a very real possibility.

Without wanting to sound like a 'Debbie Downer', this may be the only way to help someone get off their butt and do something about it, but if it gets to the stage of chronic loneliness the outlook can be grim.

​Research from the journal Mind, Mood & Memory suggests how physically and mentally harmful it can be:

  • Greater risk of cognitive impairment
  • Increased incidence of physical illness
  • Possibility of shortened lifespan

It may be challenging to develop a habit of actively structuring new social and learning activities, but it becomes easier with practice, and it's well worth the effort.

Joel Pava, PhD
Director of Psychotherapy Services at MGH's Depression Clinical & Research Program

​Possibility of shortened lifespan... are you kidding me? Of course it's worth the effort Joe! 🙂

But in all seriousness this is eye opening research. The potential issues people can face shouldn't be taken lightly. Let's take that first step to reconnecting.

​Don't just grab your phone or laptop to connect with someone... Further studies found that all types of socializing aren't created equal. Face to face interactions have far more impact when it comes to fighting depression when compared to phone calls and emails.

5. Physical Exercise

exercise

We know exercise can have an impact on our physical health and appearance, but what impact does it have on our wellbeing?

​When you exercise your body starts to react in different ways. It releases endorphins, which act like a painkiller and norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in your mood, is also boosted.

A study by Duke University's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences found that participants who were prescribed moderate aerobic exercise, was as effective at relieving symptoms of depression in the short term as antidepressant medication.

Participants in the study also had very low relapse rates when prescribed with exercise.

​Cool right? Staying active can not only make you happier, but it can make you feel better too.

And lets be honest, who doesn't want to look great the next time they see their partner? We definitely consider this a win-win situation.

It's one thing to accept exercise as a solution but we need to act on that acceptance to really make a difference. So here are some ways to get back into the groove.

Getting Back to Your Roots

As we get older recreational sports can fall to the side. When we were younger there was always something we were playing or was interested in trying. Why not use this time to get back into an old passion or a potential new one that we've always admired?

If you're getting back into a team sport ​you'll have increased social interactions, which we've mentioned the benefits of already!

Hit the Gym

Gyms are great because of the many options you have under one roof. You can get into aerobic training, hit the weights or even sign up to a heap of different classes. There's also a lot of other people around you working hard, which can be a great motivational tool.

It's also worth taking an appointment with the gym's personal trainer if you're not too sure what to do. They can help you through the process of figuring out your goals and how to obtain them.

If you find gyms to be a bit daunting you're in luck. There are a lot of amazing workout videos on YouTube, below is just one of the many effective workouts you can do at home.

What You Can Do Right Now

If you're keen to get started straight away there's nothing stopping you from taking a walk, going for a run or hopping on a bike! But don't just be happy with getting out there today, make a routine of it to see the real benefits.

Tip: ​Don't forget you're in this together! Whether it's you or your partner who is battling depression, when you've got the support of one another anything is achievable. So why not use our best friend, technology, to help get through it together. Check out Everymove.org's article 8 Fitness Apps That Use Your Friends for some ideas.

Now get out there! ​Well... once you've finished our article of course 🙂

6. Mental Exercise

mental exercise for depression

The physical body is not the only thing that needs to be exercised. The mind needs to be worked on just as much and meditation holds the key. 

Meditation

After analysing over 18,000 studies researchers at Johns Hopkins University found meditation to be beneficial for many mental disorders, especially depression.

Meditation impacts your brain on multiple levels:

  • Increases levels of serotonin AKA your "happiness molecule"
  • Increases gamma-aminobutyric acid AKA your "relaxing neurotransmitter"
  • Reduces levels of cortisol AKA the stress hormone that contributes to depression

​You may think this means that if you're to meditate you need to cross your legs, close your eyes and hum. But in reality you have many different options at choose from.

​Rather than listing all the different options we recommend you check out Giovanni from LiveandDare.com who wrote on great article overviewing 23 different meditation techniques.

Yoga does need special mention though. It's listed as a good meditation technique and while it might not look that hard, it can be quite taxing on the body. So it's a great option for working on physical and mental exercise at the same time!

Notable Mentions

While studies haven't given a definitive answer on their effectiveness, two other options that should be considered are brain training and reading. For more information check out these articles:

We wanted to mention both of these because they're something you can do together to fight LDR depression. You don't have to both be in the same location to read the same book or to even work together (or compete!) in brain training games. 

7. Healthy Eating

eating healthy food heaps with depression

Depression can lead to poor appetite, meal skipping, and an overwhelming desire for sugary foods, which can lead to a lack of important vitamins and minerals. ​

Research completed in 2009 that studied 3,400 people's dietary pattern and depressive symptoms over 20 years found those who ate healthier foods were less likely to be depressed. Those that ate more processed foods were more likely to suffer from depression.

So what are the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that can help, and inversely what are those that we should stay away from?

Read on!

INCREASE CONSUMPTION

Omega 3 Fatty Acids 

​Fish - Nuts - Seeds - Algae oil

​Why? Necessary 'building blocks' for brain development and function.

B-vitamins

​Meat - Eggs - Seafood - Green Leafy Veggies - Legumes - Whole Grains

Why? Studies show a deficiency in B vitamins can be linked to depression.​

Vitamin D

​Fortified Breakfast Cereals - Breads - Juices - Milk

Why? Required for brain development. 

Selenium

Cod - Brazil Nuts - Walnuts - Poultry

Why? Helps to create antioxidant balance in our cells. 

Tryptophan

Turkey - Beef - Eggs - Dairy Products - Leafy Greens

Why? Low tryptophan can trigger depressive symptoms.

REDUCE CONSUMPTION

Alcohol

​Why? Acts as a nervous system depressant. Also addictive.

Caffeine

Green tea is a healthy substitute that can reduce stress and increase dopamine.

​Why? Creates 'highs/lows'. May also trigger anxiety and insomnia.

Sugar

​Why? Can increase inflammation. Is an 'unhealthy' short term suppressant. 

Processed Foods

​Why? Can increase chances of becoming depressed by 60% 

This doesn't mean you can't enjoy certain food and drink every once and a while. Like anything, moderation is key.

Why not turn eating right into a date night?! If you can video chat or Skype your partner, try "cooking together” by using the same healthy recipe and try it out together. Bon Appetit Magazine has a great article on recipes high in Omega-3 fatty acids.

8. Getting Enough Sleep

getting enough sleep

Long distance relationships on their own can wreak havoc on your sleeping patterns.

Staying up all night chatting, lying in bed thinking about how much you miss them, or worrying about what they 'might' be doing while out with friends... there are so many scenarios that ultimately have you paying for it in the morning.

​This doesn't work well for couples already dealing with depression in a LDR as the ups and downs we all go through can further impact wellbeing.

​There have been many studies that link irregular sleeping patterns (too much and not enough) and insomnia to depression. So to break the cycle we need to have more control over when we rest.

Get in sync with your natural sleep cycle

  • Sleep and get up at the same time every day.
  • Avoid sleeping in (weekends also!)
  • Limit napping or try not to at all.
  • Fight off the after-dinner drowsiness.

Control your exposure to light

  • ​Expose yourself to bright morning sunlight.
  • Spend more time outside during daylight.
  • Steer clear of screens 1-2 hours before bed.
  • Make your bedroom as dark as possible.

Exercise, exercise, exercise

  • ​The more vigorous, the better!
  • But just 10min/day can improve sleep.
  • Finish at least 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Reduces insomnia and sleep apnea symptoms.

Be smart about what you consume

  • ​Limit caffeine and nicotine intake.
  • Avoid big meals at night.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages before bed.
  • Avoid drinking too many liquids in the evening.

Improve your sleeping environment

  • ​Reduce distracting noise to a minimum.
  • Keep your room cool (65° F / 18° C).
  • Make sure your bed is comfortable.
  • Limit your bed to anything other than sleep/sex.

Learn how to get back to sleep

  • ​Stay out of your head & focus on your body.
  • Make relaxation your goal over sleep.
  • Reduce stimulation with a quite activity.
  • Idea? Write it down for the morning.

9. Practice Gratitude

gratitude

Question: How many times have you caught yourself thinking negatively about being in a LDR.

Answer: Definitely more times than you can remember!

LDRs are not for the faint of heart. Most of us have these thoughts but they usually don't last long. For some these negative and self-absorbed outlooks don't go away and can spill into everyday life, which has been linked to depression.

Inversely studies have also found that practicing gratitude can help to foster social support and have a positive impact against stress and depression. But how?

Scientists say practicing gratitude shifts thinking from negative outcomes to positive ones and also boost 'feel-good' hormones such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin.

Psychologytoday.com has a great list of gratitude techniques ​that can help alleviate depression. We've slightly adapted the techniques to give them an LDR focus and so that couples can do them together:

Gratitude Visit

Write a letter or email saying why you're grateful for each other and thank them for something you appreciate about them or that they've done for you.

Three Good Things

Tell each other three good things that have happened in the past week and explain WHY they happened.

Three Funny Things

Tell each other three funny things that have happened in the past week.

Signature Strengths

In the next week, use one of your strengths to help your partner in some way.

Counting Kindness

Talk about the acts of kindness you offer and receive from others with your partner.

One Door Closes, Another Opens

Talk with your partner about negative moments that led to positive consequences.

Of course you don't have to implement all of these techniques. Pick the ones that will be the most helpful and make the most sense to you and your relationship. The main goal is that they're not just used once, but become a part of your routine to feeling better.

10. Professional Help

Please understand that we are not medical professionals and the data we have collected is for informational purposes only. Yes there is a lot of evidence in support of this information but please consult your doctor.

Professional medical help is highly recommended to get a concrete diagnosis. Working with someone that has vast experience in such a serious condition is important to find the right solution to getting back on track.

How Can You Help Someone? 

Have you or someone you know struggled from or are currently battling depression while in a long distance relationship?

Let us know in the comments below about dealing with this disease and the techniques being used towards getting better!

Lolo & Nate
 

Hi, we are Lolo (Canada) & Nate (Australia) a couple that had to go through all that a long distance relationship has to offer, just like you. With our experience and lessons learned we want to help you keep your long distance relationship as strong as ever and ultimately last the distance!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 46 comments
Livius Besski - January 13, 2017

Amazing article Nate & Lolo. You guys are doing a remarkable job with the quality of the content you provide on this site. Big thumbs up!

Reply
    Lolo & Nate - January 13, 2017

    Thanks Livius!

    Reply
    Maylou - March 29, 2018

    Thank you so much for sharing… My boyfriend and I have been in a LDR for over 3 years and he is suffering from depression. Our relationship has become the focal point of his depression and he asked to break up until I am finished with school next year. Then wants to pick back up and have me move from Colorado to Japan with him! He is in the military and leaves for Japan at the end of the summer. I took his wanting to break up till I can move with him as “it’s too hard and call me when it will be easier for me.” We are still trying to work things out but I am worried that our relationship on top of his depression will not work. I love him. He loves me. I am optimistic for our future. But he can not see the good in anything with the mind set he has right now… It helps to hear that other couples have made the distance work and were able to be together in the end. We are currently looking into counseling and trying to schedule more time together. Thank you again for sharing and listening. If you know of any other helpful resources or ideas on getting through the next year for us please let me know!
    Here’s to hoping for the best***Maylou

    Reply
      Lolo & Nate - April 10, 2018

      Hi Maylou!

      It’s really great to see how strongly you feel about each other and that you’re there to support him. Sometimes it can be really tough when you sit down and try to understand, what are the things that are making you feel a certain way and then trying to figure out what to do about it. Hard decisions sometimes need to be made, but it’s great to see that you’re looking at helpful options first. It shows you’re both committed and want to do what ever it will take to make it work.

      We think you would get a lot from our 7 Day LDR Challenge, it will definitely show you some great ideas for getting through the next year and strengthening your relationship.

      Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

      Good luck!

      Reply
Denny - April 5, 2017

Hey!

I could honestly not thank you enough for this article. I have been experiencing a debilitating depression episode since the end of our last visit. You have given so much valuable information, research backed, wonderfully presented, and with doable steps. I am so thankful I stumbled upon this! From the bottom of my heart, thank you, I finally feel on the right path of overcoming my depression!

Reply
    Lolo & Nate - April 5, 2017

    Hey Denny!

    Thanks for the kind words. We put a lot of time into it and we’re glad it’s having an impact. Let us know if we can help in any way!

    Reply
Lizbeth Mares - June 28, 2017

Hey guys,

I wanted to thank you for the time and effort you’ve put into this article. My boyfriend and I have been in this let for over a year and a half now. The last day of his visits are always the hardest to get through. It helps more than you know!

Thank you,

Liz

Reply
    Lolo & Nate - July 2, 2017

    Hey Liz,

    Thank you that means a lot!

    The final days of a visit can definitely be tough, especially when you know it’s going to be even tougher in the coming days/weeks once they’ve left. It’s great that you’ve noticed that there’s an issue and you guys are tackling it head on!

    More articles to come 😀

    Good luck with everything at let us know if we can help in any way!

    Reply
Miss Whit - July 23, 2017

My boyfriend and I tried living together with his parents and grandma.I brought my son from Colorado to Miami to try this living situation. Now keep in mind I have lived on my own for 12 years and he’s never moved out of his parents house. Also I had trouble finding a job and adjusting to the different lifestyle in Miami. Now I’m back in Colorado with my son and we are trying to figure out how we can all be together again. It’s a very difficult situation but I refuse to move their again and make a huge mistake twice. Any advice on how to plan closing the distance because right now it feels it will stay this way forever…

Reply
Jaime - August 19, 2017

Thank you for this article! I am Canadian and just said goodbye to my Norwegian boyfriend yesterday morning after a 3 week visit. We’ve been doing this for over a year now and I find myself falling into states of depression quite often. Being able to find examples like yours and articles to help cope make things much more manageable when the going gets tough. It’s great finding other examples to relate to, especially when you know that no matter how tough things can seem that other person is worth it.

Reply
Nela - November 6, 2017

Great article, life saving perhaps. Thank you for writting it.

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Tracey - January 27, 2018

I’ve been with this wonderful man for a year and a half. He is from where I used to live and we reconnectes on Facebook after i moved to California. On October 19, 2017, I brought up a recurring issue that should have not been a big deal but instead he told me he was done arguing about dumb shit, ignored me all night and text me the next day saying he didn’t want to deal with this at worm and than I never heard from him again. I’m not blocked but he just refuses to answer my calls or texts I even went back home for Christmas and still nothing. I showed up at his house ( he wasn’t home) his roommate told him I stopped by and the roommate than text me that he has nothing to say. This hurts so badly but since doing so much research on depression I don’t want to give up bc I know that him ignoring me is a mechanism of depression. I’ll still send him funny things through Facebook messenger which he reads pretty quickly after I send them. I just need advice, do I continue with the messenger and hold on to hope or do stop and move on? I really do love him very much

Reply
    Lolo & Nate - February 1, 2018

    Hi Tracey,

    Sorry to hear about your situation. It must be hard to process when you’re unable to communicate.

    From your side of the story it seems that he wants space.

    I know how hard that can be to give someone that you really care about and that isn’t responding, but it might be for the best in the short term.

    You know he’s seen your messages, so it may be worth one more letting him know just how much you care and that you’re going to give him space to let him reach out to you when he’s ready.

    While it might hurt in the beginning, he’ll know exactly how you feel about him and know what you’re willing to do for him.

    Reply
Lowri - February 8, 2018

Lolo and Nate, this article is so valuable and honest!
Thank you for taking the time to write it. I will definitely be sharing with my LDR partner.

Wishing you both all the best!

Reply
    Lolo & Nate - February 13, 2018

    Hi Lowri!

    Thanks for the kind words and also for sharing it with your partner!

    It did take some time to write so we’re glad LDR couples are very receptive of it 😀

    Good luck!

    Reply
Mel - February 24, 2018

Such an amazing article. Thanks a lot.

Reply
    Lolo & Nate - February 25, 2018

    Hi Mel,

    Thanks for the kind words!

    Reply
Susie - March 15, 2018

Thank you so much for your advice on LDR. I have an amazing soulful man in my life and my love for him is very deep. I have been feeling sad when we cant see each other. He is my soulmate! We are at the beginning stage of our relationship and this is the first time in my life that I love someone so much! We r meant to be together but at times it’s sooo hard being without him… I wasnt looking for love…it came unexpected and this is what it did to me…it comes and goes…most if the time I am ok but i have to keep myself busy…thank you for all the tips …you are so wonderful guys! Much love and kindness to you both!!!❤❤❤

Reply
    Lolo & Nate - March 17, 2018

    Thanks for the kind words Susie! We’re glad we can help.

    We continue the tips and conversation in our Facebook group! We’d love for you to join: LDR Support Group

    Hope to see you in there!

    Reply
Jen - April 21, 2018

My partner and I have just started the LDR. She’s struggling with depression. I’d like us to communicate more but when I’ve brought it up, it seems to cause more pressure. I feel I’m the cause and trying not to go there. Thank you for your article. I want to be there for my partner but feel cut off.

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Sara - June 30, 2018

Thank you so much for this article!

My boyfriend and I have been doing this for just under a year. The first time it was for about 6 months, and now even though it’s a shorter time period of only 3 months, this time is becoming a lot harder. I find myself more frequently than not worrying about the relationship, even when I talk to him and he adjusts to what I say I need. He’s a great guy, and listens to anything I say, but some of the beginning relationship “sweetness” has died off and now it’s like he communicates like we’re friends rather than as I’m his girlfriend.
I also find myself having trouble telling what’s the difference between a true relationship problem I need to bring up and what’s the distance really getting to me. The more that confusion gets into my head combined with the inability to handle these situations as you could in person, especially with a nine hour time difference, has me worrying if I’m even able to do it anymore or if I need to break up because he’s not putting in the effort that I am.
It’s just a whole confusing mess and I want to be independently happy, but the longer the distance goes the more and more insecure and clingy I get to the relationship.

Reply
    Lolo & Nate - June 30, 2018

    We’re glad you liked it Sara!

    Like all relationships the dynamic changes overtime. A better way to look at it, is that it GROWS. While you may think the ‘sweetness’ has died off, there are many parts of your relationship that are flourishing. As you mentioned he listens and is more and more attentive. We’re sure there are many other areas you’ve both grown together.

    Communicating as friends can seem like a negative but it couldn’t be farther from the truth! This shows the level of confidence and trust in each other, you’re able to be yourselves around one another without any feelings of anxiousness or even regret. This is huge! It may feel that it’s jumped off into the deep end but in reality it’s likely a small change that seems big.

    The distance getting to you is definitely a true relationship problem that needs to be addressed and good on you for speaking up about it. We go through a very hard period when apart and you have every right to express that. Otherwise, how are you going to work on it as a team? 🙂

    If you truly believe your partner is not putting in the effort that you are, you should have that discussion. It definitely is a hard one but for your sake and the relationship, it’s one you must have to be able to move forward together.

    Please get in touch if you want to talk.

    Good luck!

    Lolo & Nate

    Reply
Ruth - July 5, 2018

Hello Lolo & Nate. I feel very blessed to have read your article. My partner and I are in a LDR for 10 months now and we just spent the last month together. We went on a holiday and it was the most amazing month of my life. He was sweet, romantic, attentive and passionate about everything. He was more than I ever expected after over 9 months of just talking over skype, messenger and whatsapp. He’s been amazing. He made sure that I feel loved every single day that we were together. However, it’s been a week now since we’ve been apart again. We went back to our routine of calling on skype every night and texting on messenger everyday when we’re both working. Eventhough we both promised that things will never change even after we went back to the long distance relationship, I feel like he’s just slipping away from me. He calls at night but it’s usually just to say hi, and the usual ‘how’s your day’ questions. and then that’s it. we leave the videocall open while he does his thing and I go to sleep, as what we used to do before he came here. I just feel like he’s emotionally distant from me. I’ve been sharing things that happened to me during the day and he’s just listening but doesn’t share his. So now I don’t know whether this is just him trying to adjust to the distance again or I’m slowly losing him.The only thing that keeps me going now is the plan that we talked aboht before he went back to his country.We plan for me to go visit him in April but I have no idea if I can take this depressing feeling I have been having for days now.

Reply
    Lolo & Nate - July 6, 2018

    Hi Ruth!

    Thank you for your kind comments and telling us about your story.

    The period right after being together can be very complicated. There’s a lot of mixed emotions while you’re expected to hop straight back onto the daily grind. For some this can be harder to deal with, and that’s ok.

    Something that’s definitely not helping the situation is the guessing. You used “I feel like…” and “I don’t know whether…”, which means you’re playing a bit of a guessing game. What tends to happen in these situations, when we don’t truly know the answer, is that our assumptions can spiral out of control. Making ourselves feel bad in the process.

    Nip this in the bud. You need to talk to your partner to stop this spiral. It’s a tough conversation to have, but you need to be open and honest to get the answers you need to feel good about yourself and the relationship. More often than not it’s something much smaller than we anticipate and once we know, we’re able to work on it together to get through it.

    Good luck!

    Reply
Maria - July 9, 2018

Hi Lolo and Nate, thank you for your article!

I’ve recently gotten into a relationship with someone who began suffering from depression soon after we got together. He’s started changing in many different ways because of it- he’s a lot less social and more introverted, doesn’t like talking with his friends and I as much as he used to and has started sharing less and less about all that he’s going through. Fortunately I managed to convince him to see a psychologist which he is going to begin doing soon. But what’s worrying me is that in a month I’ll be leaving the country to study abroad while he will be staying here, thus entering a long-distance relationship wherein which I won’t be able to meet him for months on end and possibly even 1-2 years. He’s already become more and more reclusive and distant from me to the point where I can neither be there to support him emotionally, nor can I ask him to be there for me whenever I need any emotional support myself because of all that’s he’s facing already, and even arranging a single phone call together can take up to a week at a time to whenever he feels comfortable with talking. I know that he cares about me a lot and is invested in our relationship since we have talked about getting married a couple of times before, but I’m scared that once I leave it will become extremely difficult to maintain our relationship. On the flip side he also thinks that his depression will become a major issue in our relationship and that I shouldn’t have to stick around and wait until he becomes ‘normal’ again. I deeply care for him, I don’t want to leave him and want to be there for him as much as possible while I’m away without intruding on his personal space. Please do give any advice if possible!

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    Lolo & Nate - July 29, 2018

    Hi Maria!

    It’s good that your boyfriend was willing to see a professional. It shows that he wants to get better and is taking the right steps to do so.

    Knowing that a change is coming, and one that is quite drastic, can be hard to deal with. Sometimes people shut off not wanting to deal with the situation. The best thing you can do is give them time but also pushing them to open up and talk in a non-threatening way. Sometimes it helps to first express your own feelings about what’s happening and hopefully this will allow your boyfriend to see you both feel the same way about what’s happening and that it’s ok to feel that way.

    While you’re a part it’s going to get tough. But that’s why we’re here! It’s worth checking out our 7 Day LDR Challenge to help navigate the early days and setup a good base for what’s ahead.

    Good Luck!

    Reply
Regina - July 27, 2018

Hi Lolo and Nate!

My partner and I are in a long distance relationship. We live 12.500 km, 16 hours of flying away from eachother. He has a job in South Africa and I’m a student in the Netherlands. We’re both having a really hard time. It’s almost August now and we’re only going see eachother again in December for a few weeks. On top of that we can’t call, because the mobile network is too poor on his side. We just leave eachother voice messages throughout the day, and sometimes send videos. I’m suffering from LDR depression, and don’t really know what to do with myself. I was thinking of droppping out of university to be together, but I feel like that that would put a lot of pressure on our relationship. He also wouldn’t want me to drop out to be together. But for me it’s hard to focus on my studies when I’m suffering from heartache. I feel stuck. Do you have any advice?

Kind regards,

Regina

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    Lolo & Nate - July 29, 2018

    Hi Regina!

    You’re definitely far away from each other! The actual distance can definitely play a big part in how you feel. If you were 500km apart the time and cost of getting there would be much less and you would feel like you could go and be with each other at a moments notice. But unfortunately that’s not the case (which was similar for us).

    It’s great that you’re going to be seeing each other in December. What an awesome time it will be. Without thinking about it, you’re working together and setting plans/goals that you’re going to achieve together. That’s something to be really proud of.

    While some forms of communication might be tough. You need to make the most of a crummy situation and you’re doing that with the voice messages and videos. They’re a great way to express yourself and there are other options too!

    While you’re in the same time zone another cool option is actually the first day of our 7 Day LDR Challenge you should definitely check it out.

    If we can give one other piece of advice, it would be to stay in school. While in the short term you may be hurting, think about how good it will feel to be able to finish your studies and close the distance. You may be taking the harder road, but it will definitely pay off in the long run. The opportunities it will bring will likely for outweigh those you get without finishing school.

    Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

    Good luck!

    Reply
Shiori - July 31, 2018

Hi Lolo & Nate,

Thanks for your great article. My boyfriend and I have been dating for about 8 months now and even then, we were in a semi-LDR in the same country.

He just moved back to America for law school two weeks ago and I’ve been feeling depressed ever since. We’re planning to spend the Christmas holidays with his family in the states and I’m looking forward to that, but I don’t know if my mental state will last till then.

There’s a 13 hour time difference between us so it’s hard to text each other during the day, only good morning and goodnight texts. And I haven’t talked to him in person since he left because he’s busy.

I know that he loves me and I’m deeply in love with him, but it’s been hard to stay positive.

Any advice?

Thanks,
Shiori

Reply
    Lolo & Nate - August 19, 2018

    Hi Shiori!

    It’s great that your partner is going to law school. Good on him!

    The feeling of losing him is tough at the beginning but it will fade away over time. Not entirely but there are things you can do to help deal with it.

    Starting to plan your trip is a great step, you’ll be spending your time looking at flights, things to do, budgeting etc. All of these things will help your bond as you are striving towards a common goal. You’ll be proud when you achieve it.

    We had a similar time difference to you and can relate to the good morning and good night texts. We were able to change it up, which helped us a lot. This became the first day of our 7 Day LDR Challenge, you should definitely check it out!

    Good luck!

    Reply
Sean - August 5, 2018

Hi,
My name is Sean, Kelsey, and Ash. I am 16 with my boyfriend and we are two states apart (usa) I live in a small town and so doesn’t he,we live ten hours apart.I’m about to get my licence but I can’t go out of state by myself for another year and a half and we are both suffering that issue, we can’t figure out what to do.this article really helped us I’ve talked to my mom and dad multiple times about seeing him, they just hate on the fact of how young we are it just makes me mad on that part. Just k owing that I love someone and I can only see their face over the phone. It hurts a lot sometimes. I’m planning on a trip during the holidays to see him (a friend might be able to go). I’m just hoping me and him work out cause all I can think about is him and everything around us, cuddling, and kissing. I just want to see him. I know I’ve said that a lot but its true. I know what my relationship is it is true love.

Reply
    Lolo & Nate - August 19, 2018

    Hi Sean,

    Your parents only want the best for you and that’s why they it can sometimes seem like they are blocking you from what you want. They have a lot of experience in life, they understand what may or may not go wrong in certain situation and they also look at it from a different perspective. Know that they love you and this is why they react this way.

    The best thing you can do is to work with your parents on this. The longer you are together the more they will realise that what you have is real and will start to understand your side.

    While it is true that you’re both young. At this stage getting to know each other better via video chat is the best thing you can do.

    It’s great that you’re planning a trip. I hope that you’re keeping your parents involved as it is definitely better to be open and honest with them.

    Good luck!

    Reply
Pam - August 7, 2018

I love your article, and all your tips definitely help with the separation blues and filling the time.

I find myself in an LDR with children and a partner with children, and neither of us have a way to be together in any nearly foreseeable future due to ex-spouses and child care.

Fortunately we have spans of weekends we see each other, usually once month or once every other month, and longer spans in summer. But we live 7 driving hours apart and have families and responsibilities.

Any advice for this situation? Neither of us want to end it or be with anyone else, and agree we are ‘it’. Separation after togetherness always causes short term near paralysis for one and major sadness with the other. It seems hopeless.

Wondering if anyone has any solutions for people with kids.

Reply
    Lolo & Nate - August 19, 2018

    Hi Pam!

    Your story is inspirational! There are roadblocks and you’re doing everything in your power to break down the ones you can control.

    It’s a tough situation but you’re making the best of it. Good on you.

    In regards to the future, some hard decisions will need to be made between you, your partner and your ex-spouses. It will concern your happiness but more importantly it will concern your children’s happiness. This definitely isn’t going to be a quick conversation and will require a lot of communication from all parties.

    We have some members of our Facebook group that are in a similar situation that you might be able to benefit from their experiences.

    Please join us here and We’ll introduce you to the members that could help.

    Good luck!

    Reply
Jennifer - September 3, 2018

Being in a LDR is hard work . But im in it 100% So im so grateful to have found this site . Lots of great information , tips and advice . Thank you for sharing

Reply
    Lolo & Nate - September 3, 2018

    Thanks for the kind words Jennifer!

    We’re glad you’ve found us. If you’d like to continue the conversation, join us in our Facebook group: LDR Support Group

    Good luck!

    Reply
Charlotte - September 7, 2018

Thank you so much for this post. My boyfriend left just a week ago to go back to South Korea after we in the UK as he was an exchange student at my university. I thought I would be completely fine once he left, and I was for the first two days, but after that the reality of time difference and not being able to go out on dates together and spend time with him really hit me. I’ve been really struggling. This post honestly gave me so much hope and so many ideas of how I can make this period of time more bearable, but also to make sure that I’m not missing out on opportunities here just because my boyfriend is not with me.
Thank you so much again, I really appreciate it.

Charlotte xxxx

Reply
    Lolo & Nate - September 8, 2018

    Thanks for the kind words Charlotte!

    The first few days are usually ok as it hasn’t settled in yet. Once it does it can be a hard to shake those feelings.

    Well done for being proactive!

    Good luck!

    Reply
JT - September 11, 2018

Great article, thank you for the obvious thought put into it! I am currently in the beginning stages of my first long distance relationship and am battling depression. If I could share a tip it would be this, send at least a text or note every day to let your partner know you’re still there. My boyfriend and I didn’t feel the need to talk every day when he was in town and that was fine for me, I had the comfort of knowing he was close by. He’s carried that habit into the long distance and I feel so lonely. Without the routine of spending weekends and evenings together the time alone is difficult to fill and not fun! Just say hi, it will guarantee a bright spot in your partner’s day every day.

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    Lolo & Nate - September 12, 2018

    Thanks for the kind words JT and for the tip!

    Having contact everyday or as much as possible is definitely important. Some circumstances may mean that you can’t talk everyday but you need to find out what will work for both of you.

    Good luck!

    Reply
Paula - October 12, 2018

That’s good to know I’m not alone… it’s been 4 years I don’t see my boyfriend. We lived together before get in a ldr but I had to come back to my country once my program has finished. Since then i tried to visit him twice but both times I got my visa denied. He can’t come since he’s a refugee waiting for the citizenship process and is afraid to having problems stepping out of the country.
I was reading some comments here and suddenly I felt jealous for not be able to see him even for one day. I swear u one day would make me tremendously happy…
I’m really sad right now cause I see he tries to help me and cheer me up… I feel guilty for not be the same shiny and happy girl he first met.
I feel pressured cause I afraid he gets tired waiting and find another girl but lately I think maybe he finding a new girl would be better cause we both are suffering…
I don’t know… I simply see no solution for us and that breaks me cause we both love and care for each other and we are fighting so hard to make it work.
Please, send us some prayers.

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    Lolo & Nate - October 20, 2018

    Hi Paula,

    It’s true, you’re not alone!

    Four years is definitely a long time between visits. I hope this changes soon 🙂

    First of all you need to be proud for making it this far. Many other couples would have fallen apart trying to last this long. Sometimes it gets tough, and that’s the situation you’re in now. But as you continue to work on your relationship, it will get better.

    Our 7 Day LDR Challenge is definitely something that could help you both. Have a look and don’t hesitate to reach out if you need someone to talk to.

    Good luck!

    Reply
Rina - October 20, 2018

Hi Lolo and Nate,

Thank you for sharing this great article..
We’ve been three years in LDR status with an average of ten days each annual vacation..
He is in abroad to work and it’s been almost three years now and it still so hard for me to cope up. Most of the time I found myself crying in the middle of the night. I believe he has all the best intentions for our family. But I can’t help it, missing him while a lot of thoughts wandering in my mind..

I just misses him so badly.. And just always wanting him to finish his contract and work here instead.. But due to unstable job and economy here in our country he will renew his contract which is another three years…

I am contented whatever financial support he can provide for us as long as we are together, since I have stable job here as Financial Analyst.. But he has lots of plans, goals for our family..

Please help me to understand why sometimes I become paranoid or too sensitive whenever there are things that I expect from him but didn’t happen..

I truly understand him but I just can’t help myself missing him, seeking for an emotional support (women’s basic need) from him…

He is trustworthy and an action man, expressing his love in action and not in words (silent man, less talk type of person) . That is why it’s hard for me to sometimes feel being comforted.. Because he doesn’t talk that much while online though we have video calls everyday… But WE DON’T REALLY TALK (conversing things) often..

I pray that by God’s grace I can still cope another three years for this kind of situation..

Again, thank you knowing for sharing this and it is comforting to know that I am not the only one who is experiencing this..

God bless you all!

Reply
    Lolo & Nate - October 23, 2018

    Hi Rina,

    Thank you for the kind words!

    Sorry to hear about the unstable job/economy. It’s a tough decision to make but what looks to be the right one for right now.

    You should definitely look at the positive side. Look at what you’re boyfriend is willing to do for your family/relationship/future. It’s a big undertaking and one that not many people would be strong enough to complete. But you’ve both shown that you can make it three years. Of course there will be tough times but it’s all about doing the little things to make it seem like you’re closer.

    Take a look at our 7 Day LDR Challenge, I think you’ll get a lot out of it!

    Also if you’re looking for support our group on Facebook is a great place to start. Lots of like minded people going through the same things. We’re here for you!

    Although you say he is a ‘silent man’ you definitely need to try and get him to open up and support you. It might take some time, but take small steps. Start with small, lighter conversation and build up. It will help along the way.

    Good luck!

    Reply
Dani - November 8, 2018

Thanks so much for this article! I’m sending it to my boyfriend in the morning and I’ve bookmarked it for future referencing too!

My boyfriend and I are really struggling right now. He’s been fighting with himself about breaking up because the distance is so hard on him. I’ve done LDRs in the past so it’s hard but I can tough it out. We both have depression, though mine comes with a few other issues including anxiety and chronic pain, and I think that may be part of why he doesn’t want to share it with me when he’s down or struggling with something, he wants to spare me any extra stress or pain or whatever. I’ve tried explaining go him that it hurts more when he shuts me out but I don’t think he really gets it.
We have plans to see each other soon but I’m worried he’s getting so far into his own head that we may not make it that far. I try to get him to do meditations and breathing exercises but he just doesn’t seem interested or willing to take my help or advice in any form.

I’m at a loss here, and I love him so much and he says he loves me too, but recently he broke up with me and it shattered me. We got back together but I still don’t feel whole, like maybe the trust I had in him is gone right now. I feel like my safe place isn’t so safe anymore. My happy place when I was getting painful treatments from my doctor used to be imagining myself laying in bed with him and cuddling, but now my mind just goes blank.

How do I trust him again? And how do I show him that out of all the things that could be wrong with a relationship, the distance is the easiest thing to surmount so long as we stay honest and open with each other?

I think I’m going to ask him to join your ldr group on Facebook and I’ll stay out of it so he can feel safe saying absolutely anything he needs to without fear of me reading it. I just keep feeling like there’s something he’s not telling me, and he’s definitely been pulling away since before we split and got back together again. I really hope I can get through to him. Even though he’s hurt me, he still means everything to me and I decided a while ago that this was the one I was going to fight for.

Reply
    Lolo & Nate - November 13, 2018

    Hi Dani,

    Thanks for the kind words!

    I hope you and your boyfriend get a lot out of it. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

    The distance can be a struggle, even at the best of times. It’s definitely heightened if we keep it in, rather than opening up. When we open up it’s a sign that we’re wanting to deal with it. While he might try and shelter you from what’s going on, you could try to slowly work on getting him to talk about things that are bothering him. Small steps are key here as he’ll progressively become more comfortable in this situation. For many it can be a vulnerable position, so we need to do our best to make it a safe place.

    We’d love to have him join the the Long Distance Relationship Support Group. But be careful you don’t push too hard. You’re doing it for the right reasons and if he doesn’t want to, leave it there. You can join 🙂

    Thanks & Good luck!

    Reply

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