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51 Practical Tips to Help Couples Make Long Distance Work

Lolo & Nate | Updated: October 31, 2023

If you want to know how to make a long distance relationship work. All you really need is:

  • Complete Trust
  • Effective Communication, and
  • Unwavering Dedication

We truly believe focusing our energy on these important areas were the reason it felt so easy to close the distance (after 18 months and +10,000 miles) and almost effortlessly transition into our new life together.

But this was the foundation. There were so many other small yet practical things we could do because of the foundation we created.

We like to call them…

successful tips on how to make a long distance relationship work pinterest image

“One percenters”.

They are the extra efforts you make.

If you do them consistently, overtime they compound, giving you a higher chance of success.

To help give you the keys to success, we’ve put together our actionable “one percenters” that couples can do to make long distance work.

How to Make a Long Distance Relationship Work in 2023: Step-by-Step

1. Ignore the haters: They have no idea how to make long distance work

A lot of people will say they never work.

Respectfully, they’re wrong 🙂

Maybe long distance couldn’t work for them, or maybe they just have no idea what they’re talking about. Don’t listen to them.

Plenty of LDRs work out in the long run, and many couples credit the time they spent in an LDR for teaching them invaluable relationship skills.

2. Get to know them well

The biggest benefit of being apart is that it forces you to communicate.

You may never again in the course of your relationship have this much focused time and energy to spend communicating with your partner. Make the most of it. If you get to know them deeply and well, that will pay off big-time in the long run.

3. Start slow, especially if you haven’t met

Don’t bare all too soon (literally or figuratively)!

When you meet long distance it can be easy to jump in the deep end and move too fast in your new relationship.

During the early days (the first couple of months, at least) don’t rush into vulnerability, set a pattern of talking for hours every day, or make serious commitments.

Also check out

Starting a Long Distance Relationship? You Need to Read This

4. Plan to meet in person as soon as possible

There are all sorts of things you can only learn about someone face to face, but the initial reason why it’s a good idea to meet in person ASAP is simple: You may have great chemistry on paper or over the phone, and absolutely none in person.

Also check out

Tips for Long Distance Couples Meeting for the First Time

5. Set up healthy communication patterns early

When you’re trying to figure out how to make a long distance relationship work, talk about how you talk.

Discuss some of your communication basics as a couple–how you generally prefer to connect (phone, text, video), what times, and for how long.

This can help set realistic expectations and avoid some miscommunications, frustration, and anxiety.

Also check out

Dealing With Different Time Zones In A Long Distance Relationship

6. Prioritize time with each other

It can take real effort to rearrange schedules and make time to talk, especially when things get busy or there is a time difference involved.

However, if you can’t consistently make talking with your partner a priority, reconsider whether you should be in the relationship.

Also check out

How to Stay Connected in a Long Distance Relationship

7. But don’t talk TOO much

Talking to your partner should be a priority, sure, but not your only priority. Do not overdose on talk-time. Don’t spend all your spare time talking or texting.

Also check out

Are You Talking Too Much in Your Long Distance Relationship?

8. Give each other some virtual space

Don’t rush to reply immediately to every text, email, or message that comes in.

But more importantly…

Don’t expect your partner to respond straight away to every text you send or message you leave.

9. Be open, honest, and “real”

While apart it’s easier to hide your weaknesses and put your best foot forward.

Unless you both value transparency and honesty more than making a good impression, you will have a much more difficult time figuring out whether you and your partner are a good fit for each other.

10. Learn to ask good questions and listen well

Communication is the bedrock of any relationship, but when you’re in a long distance relationship, talking is often all you have.

Learn to listen carefully to your partner and ask good questions. Those questions that make them think and help you understand them better.

Also check out

Deep & Meaningful Long Distance Relationship Questions

11. Find new things to talk about

Most long distance couples will go through periods where they struggle to find things to talk about apart from how their day was.

When these seasons hit, put a bit more effort into finding new and fresh things to discuss (or make it easy on yourself and check out the book below).

Also check out

Have nothing to Talk About? 6 Strategies for Long Distance Lovers

12. Don’t avoid the tough questions

Especially as your relationship deepens, don’t avoid topics and questions that could lead to uncomfortable conversations.

Practice asking questions that make you feel vulnerable. Be willing to be transparent. If you’re in a committed relationship you should be able to talk about everything.

Also check out

Feeling Disconnected in a Long Distance Relationship: Q&A

13. Read, listen to, or watch the same things

It’s easier to figure out how to make a long distance relationship work if you share some common interests.

So recommend books, articles, podcasts, music, movies, news items, etc to each other.

If you can read or listen to some of the same things, that will help you share experiences and give you new things to talk about.

Also check out

Great Books to Read If You Are in a Long Distance Relationship

14. Learn from other people’s stories

Lot’s of people out there have successfully closed the gap in their long distance relationship, or are making a long distance relationship work well for them now.

Read up on some of those stories and learn from those who have gone before.

Also check out

Closing The Distance: Insights For Long Distance Couples

15. Get creative about connecting

You can share new experiences and build memories together even while you’re far apart. Talking to each other is great, but make that extra effort sometimes to try something new or go on a long distance date.

Also check out

Creative Long Distance Relationship Activities For Couples

16. Physically write to each other

If you only ever talk to each other, try writing letters or long emails sometimes. When you write, you can think and express yourself differently than you do when you’re talking.

Writing gives you more time and space to reflect on tricky issues, and letters and emails can become treasured keepsakes (or maybe even a book) in the future.

Also check out

Tips For Writing Long Distance Love Letters

17. Discuss how you deal with pressure

Sometime when you’re not tired and stressed, talk about how each of you typically acts and reacts when you are stressed and tired.

Tell your partner how they can best help you during those times. Ask your partner to share these things with you, too.

Also check out

Helpful Questions to Help Deal With Stress in a Long Distance Relationship

18. Learn more about how you both approach conflict

Conflict is inevitable in relationships, but being in a long distance relationship makes managing conflict well even more difficult.

If you want to know how to make a long distance relationship work, learn some basic conflict-management strategies and discuss them with your partner before you find yourself mid-fight.

Also check out

Fast Ways to Resolve Long Distance Relationship Fights

19. Discuss your big disagreements in person

Never try to hash out relationship issues via text message – there’s too much room for misunderstanding.

If possible, save your serious disagreements for when you can talk them out in person (or at least on a video call).

20. Learn to recognize and control your own emotions

Long distance relationships often involve intense emotions and extreme ups and downs.

Learning to recognize, own, and manage your own emotions will pay off big time–now and in the future.

21. Learn to control jealousy

Feeling a little jealous now and again is not unusual in a long distance relationship. However, uncontrolled jealousy can lead to a destructive combination of suspicion, possessiveness, insecurity, anger, and shame.

If you’re feeling jealous, figure out how to control your jealousy before it starts to control you. It’s not easy, but it can be done.

Also check out

How to Stop Jealousy in Long Distance Relationships

22. Don’t stonewall (the silent treatment)

Stonewalling is using silence as a weapon or an escape. It is controlling the situation by simply refusing to engage.

Distance makes this particularly easy to do (hanging up or not answering or returning calls), and it can drive your long distance partner crazy with frustration, second-guessing, and self-doubt.

Also check out

Serious Long Distance Relationship Problems (And How To Fix Them)

23. Practice taking your partner’s perspective

Try to see things from their point of view, especially if you’re having a difference of opinions.

If you find yourself really stuck on something, you can even switch viewpoints and try to argue from the other person’s perspective!

24. Talk honestly about money

If finances are tight, money can become a major source of resentment–especially if finances are keeping you apart, traveling to see each other is expensive, and/or one partner has to spend a lot more money than the other to keep the relationship going.

Tackling this hot topic directly can help avoid assumptions and conflict.

Also check out

How To Talk About Money in a Long Distance Relationship

25. Learn and practice your love languages

People tend to “speak” and understand love best through their primary love language(s).

Also check out

Speaking Each Others Love Languages In A Long Distance Relationship

26. Build your love maps

Your love map is your mental network of information about your partner–their interests, stories, what makes them tick, and things you love and admire about them.

The more positive memories and associations you build into this love map, the stronger your relationship will be over time.

Also check out

The Sound Relationship House: Building Love Maps

27. Discuss your “ground rules”

Trust is a major issue for many LDR couples.

Discuss your “status” as a couple, expectations around how you act when you’re apart, and what constitutes “commitment” or “cheating”.

Talking about these things (and any growing feelings of jealousy or unease) can save you a lot of heartache and conflict in the long run.

Also check out

The Ground Rules That Helped Our Long Distance Relationship

28. Laugh together

It’s great to talk about the deep stuff, but make sure you keep it light sometimes, too.

Share things with each other that have made you laugh.

Also check out

Funny Long Distance Relationship Quotes To ROFL Over

29. Surprise your partner with something thoughtful

Everyone loves getting a present, a bunch of flowers, or a handwritten letter in the mail.

Every so often, go the extra mile and do something extra and special to help your partner feel loved and valued.

Bonus points if the gesture is uber-thoughtful.

Also check out

These Are The Best Gifts For Long Distance Couples

30. Keep your partner on your mind

We’ve all heard the saying:

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

But it’s also true that:

Absence can make the mind go wander.

Make sure you have some reminders of your partner around. Perhaps put their photo on your desktop or tape it to your mirror, drink out a coffee mug they gave you… the possibilities are endless.

31. Help your partner connect with friends and family

This is especially true if you met online.

The vital influences of family and friends are often missing for long distance couples.

Find a way to involve and connect your partner with some of the other important relationships in your life.

Also check out

Helping Your Family Get To Know Your Partner

32. Figure out what helps YOU cope

Everyone is different, and so is every relationship.

Everyone has different tips and tricks that help them cope better with the ups and downs that come with being in a long distance relationship.

Figure out what works for you, then do it.

33. Have other interests

Don’t spend all your spare time on Skype or your phone. Build a life where you are.

Do things that make you fitter, smarter, happier and interest you. Do these things alone, if need be.

Remember, investing in yourself is another way of investing in your most important relationship. Start now.

Also check out

How to be Happy in a Long Distance Relationship

34. Invest in other important relationships

If you focus all your free time and energy on your long distance love, your relationships with those close to you will suffer. In a nutshell: this is bad news.

You will be happier and healthier in life if you have a strong network of friends beyond your partner. To do that, you need to spend time connecting with them.

35. Avoid situations where you may be tempted to cheat


Bottom line?

Know yourself. Know your limits, and then stay a couple of steps away from those limits.

36. Visit often

Visit each other as often as you can without over-stretching your budgets and schedules.

Spending time together in person will help you learn new things about your partner and remind you of why being in the long distance relationship is worth it.

Also check out

Tips for Reunion Nerves in a Long Distance Relationship

37. Aim for “balanced” visits

I know it’s tempting, but when you DO get to see each other, don’t spend the whole visit cuddling on the couch (or in bed).

Make sure you get out and do something fun–hang with other friends, try a new restaurant, etc. Also try to mix in some normal life such as grocery shopping and cooking together.

Also check out

Fun Things To Do When You Visit For The First Time

38. Plan ahead for your next visit(s)

Try to keep a visit scheduled.

Even if it’s a couple of months away, knowing when you’ll next see each other and having a date to count down to will help.

39. Manage goodbyes in ways that minimize pain

Let’s be honest, goodbyes suck when you’re in a LDR. You can, however, learn to say goodbye in ways that work for you (or, at least, work better).

Also check out

Proven Ways to Make it Easier to Say Goodbye After a Visit

40. Treat yourself gently after farewells

Saying goodbye to the one you love when it’ll be weeks or months before you see them again is brutal. Plan ahead for how to best treat or support yourself during the first day or two after a visit ends.

41. Plan ahead for periodic separations

Many couples nowadays do periodic stints of long distance.

One way to reduce the stress of all that coming and going is to plan ahead together for ways to reduce the burden on the stay-at-home partner during your times apart. Spending some time on logistics before you leave will help them during your absence.

Also check out

Planning Ahead For Time Apart In Long Distance Relationships

42. Make a game plan for when you feel lonely or sad

Everyone has days when they feel extra-sad or lonely.

Plan ahead and know what might help you (and what definitely won’t help you) during those times.

It may not be very wise, for example, to go hang out with an attractive friend at a dance club on a night when you really really want to be holding your partner close.

Also check out

Ways to Crush Long Distance Relationship Depression

43. Actively practice trust

Being apart from the person you love makes everyone feel insecure at times. You can start to doubt everything from how your partner feels about you, to whether they are staying faithful. But unless your partner has given you reason not to trust them, take a deep breath and choose to trust!

Also check out

How to Build Trust in a Long Distance Relationship

44. When something doesn’t seem right, pay attention

Don’t embrace trust so wholeheartedly that you ignore or miss the signs that something is seriously wrong.

Being in a LDR can prolong a relationship that isn’t meant to be.

Distance also provides more opportunities for deception. Don’t ignore your instincts if you sense something just isn’t right.

Also check out

Subtle Signs Your Long Distance Lover Is Cheating

45. Set a “Closing the Distance” date

If you really want to know how to make a long distance relationship work–look beyond being long distance!

Research shows that LDRs have a better chance of working if there’s an end date in sight.

Don’t rush into discussions (or decisions) about moving. Before too long, however, do start talking about how and when you might be able to close the gap.

Also check out

Our Closing the Distance Date Calculator

46. Consider counselling

If you’re feeling stuck about whether or how your relationship has a future, having a good therapist ask questions and help you think things through can only help.

Counselling can also help you address and resolve issues related to jealousy, trust, insecurity, and some of the “blind spots” that can develop when you’re in a LDR

47. Regularly ask yourself if you still want to be in this relationship

Seriously consider ending your LDR if it’s becoming too hard, too unhealthy, just too… much.

Also check out

Clear Long Distance Relationship Break Up Signs to Notice

48. Think of moving as a major transition

Same-city living will usher in a whole new phase in your relationship.

Think and talk together about ways to ease the stress of this major transition.

Take it slow and recognize you may both need some extra time and space as you negotiate learning (or re-learning) how to share your space and lives up close and personal.

Also check out

Moving in a Long Distance Relationship (Ask 5 VITAL Questions)

49. Be prepared to learn new things when you’re finally together

You can learn so much about someone when you’re in a long distance relationship. In many ways, you can get to know someone more quickly and deeply when you’re communicating across distance.

However, there are certain things you just can’t learn about someone when you’re apart.

Be prepared to keep learning new things about your partner when you’re finally living together.

Also check out

Insights For Long Distance Couples That Are Closing The Distance

50. Continue learning and you’ll continue to grow

Our step-by-step course, LDRs TAHT WORK, is a great way to grow as a couple.

self help book for long distance relationships by lolo and nate

Learn how to solve the biggest problems causing long distance relationships to fail so you can create a strong, loving and fulfilling relationship from afar that leads to achieving the ultimate goal of closing the distance and living ‘happily ever after’.

You’ll get 11 in-depth lessons with 29 worksheets that will help you and your partner build the crucial habits needed for your long distance relationship to succeed.

What of Our Long Distance Relationship Advice Will You Put Into Action?

While doing all of these things is great in theory. It’s not going to be practical. We recommend sending this list to your partner and figuring out which options:

From there, take the best three to five option and work through them.

If you’re looking for more advice, We’ll give you our 51st Tip:

51. Join our Free LDR Support Group

You can chat with other couples that have had to navigate all the ups and downs a long distance relationship has to offer.

Our LDR Support Group is a safe and welcoming space. We hope to see you in there!


Lolo & Nate author image for bio
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!
Fall in love all over again with our FREE 7 day LDR challenge!

Unlock better date nights, deeper communication plus a stronger intimate & emotional connection.

Loved by over 50,000 long distance couples!

We respect your privacy & you can unsubscribe at any time.