Knowing how to build trust in a long distance relationship will set you up for success in the short and long term.
But right now, I want you to forget about the physical distance for a second.
You can be miles away from someone and still feel secure and incredibly emotionally close to them. Having trust makes this possible.
If there’s no trust, you spend your time doubting and second-guessing everything instead of enjoying and investing in each other.
We think we can agree that building trust is necessary for a healthy LDR. So, here are some of the best ways you can do it!
Building Trust in a Long Distance Relationship
1. Keep a Healthy Level of Conversation Going
Most partners in a long distance relationship expect some form of daily contact or communication if their circumstances allow for it.
This doesn’t have to mean that you spend hours on the phone very day or send 100 text messages. (In fact, sending 100 text messages can make you come across as more annoying and needy than affectionate.) What a healthy level of conversation is will vary across couples. But, in general, it can mean responding when your partner reaches out to you and regularly having conversations about what you’re both doing, thinking, and feeling.
It will help you find your long distance rhythm if you talk together about when (and for how long) you can generally connect. What times of day suit you best to talk? How long do you generally like talking for? How do you like connecting? Is there a day or time during the week you’d like to have a longer “long distance date” conversation?
The more you both understand where each other is coming from in your communication preferences, the better you understand what is realistic and sustainable in your long distance communication. Knowing this will help you trust each other’s intentions more, and feel more secure and peaceful in your relationship.
2. Make each other a priority
It’s great to know each other’s schedules and preferences when it comes to communication. That can make connecting easier. It doesn’t, however, guarantee that it’s always going to be easy and convenient to talk or that you’ll both agree on what a “healthy level of communication” is. In fact, you may have to stretch and compromise to make your partner a priority.
What does this look like?
It can mean:
- Reliably checking in at times you’ve both agreed are convenient or setting aside for each other specifically.
- Responding as soon as reasonably possible when your partner reaches out to you.
- Staying in on a weekend night so that you can have a longer, unhurried date night.
Making each other a priority in your schedule goes a long way towards building the trust and commitment you both need to sustain a long distance relationship. That trust can also help carry you through bumps in the road—when there are some scheduled or unexpected gaps between messages and calls.
While apart, unexpected delays or interruptions to the routines you might have established can be particularly confusing or upsetting. If you have established trust in each other by making each other a priority and staying connected, this will help you feel less insecure and unsettled during these times.
3. Be Open and Honest With Each Other About Feelings
Couples often focus on sharing their best and happy feelings, but partners have to be prepared to support one another during less enjoyable or more stressful times, too.
If you are able to see each other often, you may learn to pick up on early warning signs when moods are shifting.
Although, just being in close proximity with your significant other doesn’t mean that you’ll both be good at being transparent and honest about your thoughts and feelings. Think about the last time you were in a terrible mood or not feeling well and someone asked you how you were. Did you smile and say “good?”
When you’re in a relationship with someone, you both have to choose to be open and honest even during the rough times.
Alerting your partner to the ups and downs of your day or week not only gives you an outlet you might really need, it helps them learn what to expect if you have a day like that again. It may be awkward to try and put complicated thoughts and feelings into words over the phone or in an email, but it’s a skill worth practicing.
When you are open and honest with someone, it encourages them to be open and honest with you and helps them understand and trust you more.
4. Send Special Surprises and Celebrate Milestones
Even though you might live apart, you can do things to remind each other that you care. Most people treasure reminders that someone is thinking of them while they’re away—they can be an incredibly meaningful boost. Sending a small gift or unique card in the mail can provide just what they need to trust they feel loved and cherished that day.
If your partner favors any particular holidays or holds any particular dates special for their own reasons. A message or a gift acknowledging that can help build trust by showing them you remember things that are important to them.
5. Share a Calendar or To-Do List
Can you share your daily calendar with them? Or keep a joint one? We definitely recommend Google Calendar!
Giving your partner access to your daily calendar and to-do lists helps build trust because you are showing you have nothing to hide.
Instead of only telling them about certain aspects of your day, you are putting everything out in the open. Your partner can easily see how many meetings you had or who your lunches were with, and this is important because keeping secrets (or simply omitting information) can cause friction in the future.
If you know the ins and outs of their schedule you can ask them more detailed questions about certain parts of their day.
6. Help Them Know Your Other Friends and Family
When you enter into a new relationship, you start building a connection with the person and (hopefully) other people in their network of relationships.
Introducing your partner to those around you will help solidify trust in the relationship and provide additional sources of input.
Relationship networks are like spider webs.
When your partner gets to know your friends and family they have other “reference points” of people who love and respect you. This helps build their trust in you and anchor them more securely in your life.
Signs That Indicate a Level of Trust in a Long Distance Relationship
We’ve spoken about what you can do. But what about some of the trust indicators that might already be a part of your relationship?
7. Your connection remains the same
The bond you share with your partner will be one of the many things needed for a long-distance relationship to work.
If they’re still the first person you want to speak to when you wake up and the last face you want to (virtually) see before you go to sleep, then your connection is still strong. If they are the person you want to share things with and take along on life’s adventures, and they feel the same, you can trust in the relationship.
Despite the distance, you guys still flirt with each other, find each other attractive and have fun together. If this sounds like you and your partner, then you can trust in the relationship.
It’s important to remember too that things aren’t always that simple. Long-distance relationships can suffer a lot of strain with different time zones, routines, and of course, not being able to see your partner.
So, your connection may be tested more often than you think.
But through good times and bad, if your partner is there for you and ready to support, guide and reassure you, that’s also proof that your connection is still strong.
8. They don’t get too jealous
Being away from your partner can feel like you aren’t a part of their life, which can lead to feelings of insecurity and anxiety.
While a little bit of jealousy is healthy and shows that your partner cares about you, anything that causes arguments or resentment in your relationship is a bad sign. It may mean that your partner doesn’t trust you, and can even turn the relationship into a controlling, limiting one.
You know you can trust your partner when there’s a healthy, innocent amount of jealousy, but nothing that causes big issues in the relationship. Pay attention to it if your partner does seem a little jealous, because it may mean that they’re feeling a little neglected.
Again, this is a sign that they care a lot about you and miss you, so are serious about you. If your partner was completely fine and self-sufficient without you, that’s when you would worry that they’re not invested in the relationship.
9. They speak about the future
When we fall in love, we have a tendency to plan our wedding and kids’ names in the warm, fuzzy haze of the honeymoon stage. While this usually fades, as the relationship develops and grows long-term, thinking about the future is a logical next step.
In a long-distance relationship, speaking about the future is one of the most obvious signs that you can trust the person you’re with.
Hopefully, the long-distance aspect of your relationship isn’t permanent, and one day you and your partner want to live close to, or with, each other. If your partner speaks about this and puts the wheels in motion for it to happen, you know for sure that you can trust them.
Their commitment to you and your relationship is clear if they want to make a huge move like that to be with you. That shows you that you are the person they want to be with, and if that’s not a sign you can trust them, we don’t know what is!
How Will You Build Trust With Your Long Distance Partner?
There are numerous ways you can build trust over distance, including some you’re probably already doing regularly.
But thinking through and understanding what these “trust-building-techniques” are, can help motivate you to continue investing in your relationship and enjoying the positive rewards of a trusting connection.
Knowing that the other person has your back and will support you—trusting that they care for you, that they will behave decently, and that they have your best interests at heart—builds a positive climate within a relationship.
On the other hand, when one or both parties don’t have much trust in each other, there will usually be a lot more negative emotions, conflict, suspicion, and tension in the air.
We know which scenario we’d wish for you!