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5 Tips for Reunion Nerves in a Long Distance Relationship

Lisa McKay | Updated: October 11, 2023

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been together or how many visits you’ve had. Reunion nerves in a long distance relationship never seem to go away!

  • Do they still love seeing me?
  • What if there’s no more chemistry?
  • What if they think I’ve changed?
  • Will they have changed?
  • Will the intimacy still be the same?

These uncertainties will likely never come to pass. But you need to acknowledge they are real thoughts so they don’t consume you.

To help, here are some effective ways to get reunion nerves under control.

what to do when you have reunion nerves in a long distance relationship pinterest image

How Reunion Nerves Impacted Our Long Distance Relationship

During the first few years of our relationship, Mike spent about half his time traveling to different countries for work. He was often away for a month at a time. Sometimes more.

Whenever he was due back, I always started getting nervous to see him a couple of days before arrival.

The combination of anxiety and excitement usually meant I didn’t sleep well the night before his flight. Driving to the airport to pick him up, my heart would beat faster than normal. While I was standing in the airport and waiting for him to come through the arrivals gate, time would slow down.

In those moments I used to think about stories and what was truly important in life. I felt overwhelmed by how fortunate I was. But, often, I also caught myself fretting and feeling anxious.

I’d find myself worrying that Mike would have changed. Would I:

Few of the worries I entertained during those nervous hours waiting for Mike to emerge in the airport ever came to pass. But I often continued to feel anxious before a long distance reunion long after we were married.

To calm those nerves I made it a ritual to work through the simple strategies below.

5 Tips To Calm Reunion Nerves in a Long Distance Relationship

1. Tell yourself you’re excited, not nervous

Remember that the way your body responds to excitement is pretty much the same way it responds to fear–with adrenaline.

That adrenaline causes your heart beats faster, your breathing speeds up, your palms get sweaty etc.

Because the reactions caused by excitement and fear are so similar, whether we feel exhilarated or afraid is often due to the way we are thinking about our situation and interpreting our body’s cues of arousal.

In this case, labels matter!

While you’re playing the waiting game, remind yourself that you’re excited, not afraid.

2. Take a deep breath

Once our heart rate exceeds a certain level (about 10% above our resting rate) we get flooded.

Adrenaline and other stress chemicals that pour into our system and make it difficult to think calmly and focus. The higher our heart rate, the more stressed and anxious we will feel.

Breathing deeply and slowly sends a calming message to our bodies and helps reverse the stress response.

3. Plan ahead and remove the uncertainty

If you’re afraid of awkward silences, think about a couple of questions you want to ask or things you want to discuss with your partner.

Plan what you’re going to do together that first night–maybe go out to a favorite restaurant or do something else fun and relaxing.

Having a plan in place (even if you don’t end up doing that) will help you feel more in control and relaxed.

4. Remind yourself why you love them

Think about all the good things you love about him or her, and what they have told you they love about you.

Think about your last conversation.

Remind yourself that it is unlikely that their feelings about you (or yours about them) will have undergone a radical shift during their journey, no matter how bad that flight was. Recognize your worried thoughts for what they are–don’t try to ignore them or pretend you’re not feeling jittery.

But don’t let those thoughts run amok in your mind, either.

Acknowledge them, accept that they’re there, and then talk back to them by focusing on thoughts and memories that counteract those worries.

5. Come clean about your reunion nerves

Tell your partner how you’re feeling, and laugh about it with them if you can. He or she may not feel the same way–Mike always said he never got nervous about seeing me again, just excited–but it will help them to know why you might seem a little jittery and on edge.

If You’re Still Nervous About Seeing Your Long Distance Partner…

That’s ok!

They are never likely to completely go away. But we can work to manage those nerves so with every visit, they have less and less of an impact.

If you’re still unsure about how to cope with the nerves. We have a bonus strategy…

Join our Free LDR Support group

In our free LDR Support Group you can ask questions and get thoughtful advice from other long distance couples that have gone through similar bouts of reunion nerves and how they worked through them.

We hope to see you there!




Lisa McKay author image for bio
Lisa McKay is an award-winning author and psychologist. She is also the founder of Modern Love Long Distance, now a part of Lasting The Distance. Drawing upon her own extensive experience with long distance relationships, Lisa helps couples navigate LDR pitfalls and forge meaningful, enduring connections across the miles.
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!

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