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How to Stay Sane in a Long Distance Relationship

One of the most important aspects of a long distance relationship? Understanding your own needs and wants while simultaneously catering to your partner's. It's a balancing act, and a precarious one at that, but it is worth the work if you find "your person."
08/24/2015 11:37am ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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Think you can go the distance? You better find Phil, everyone's favorite hero training satyr, and put in the work, because it takes Herculean strength and determination.

Long distance relationships (LDRs) are hard -- this isn't anything new. However, there are three very important things you need in order to have any hope of making an LDR work while also keeping your sanity. Having been in a long distance relationship with someone on the opposite side of the world for over a year -- 11,000 miles apart to be exact -- I think it is safe to say I'm qualified to give some insight into LDRs.

You're going to need:

1.) Communication on a HEALTHY basis.

Duh. Communication is a must, and if you have a problem Skyping then you shouldn't be reading this post. Talking to your significant other (SO) on a regular basis is a no-brainer. However, it's way more important to make sure that you are talking to your significant other on a healthy basis. You can't forget you have friends because they are the ones that will keep you sane during those long weeks or months apart from your SO. Besides, they'll get pretty fed up if you "hang out" with them and end up spending the whole night on your phone. So don't be that person. Also, it's just rude. So don't be that person even if you're not in an LDR. If you want to make your LDR work, you're going to have to be one heck of a multi-tasker. Keep up with your SO but make sure that you're also living your life.

2.) Trust

If you have trust issues, please do yourself a favor and understand that long distance relationships are not for you. The basis of an LDR is trust, trust, and more trust. You need to be comfortable enough in yourself and your partner to know that neither of you are going to get drunk one night and hook up with a rando. Besides, jealousy is a bad look. Or maybe open relationships are your thing. If it works, it works.

3.) A long-term attitude

Long distance relationship? Long-term planning. When you're in a relationship with someone on the other side of the world, you can't be shy about planning. Plane tickets are expensive! While most of you in LDRs might only deal with being a state or two away, we all know it's not really the distance, but the principle of an LDR that scares us most. There is a certain amount of planning involved, whether it be a month in the future or six months. You have to be committed enough to say, "Okay, I like this person enough not to hookup with anyone else, despite them not being around for the majority of the time." That's a huge commitment for anyone, because let's face it, delayed gratification is hard. So if you're not sure about the long-term with your new found summer bae then get out as fast as you can. Like I said, Herculean strength and determination is a must.

4.) Happiness in being alone

Ironically, this is the crux of making any long distance relationship work. You won't be seeing your SO for a majority of the time, so you're going to have to appreciate being alone. If that's difficult for you, then that's when breakdowns in trust, healthy communication, and long-term planning start to happen. Before you jump into a long distance relationship, you have to be perfectly happy sleeping alone at night or going long periods of time without the intimate touch of another person. Also it's never a good idea to use someone as a crutch for happiness. So make sure you're healthy and happy on your own before jumping into any relationship, regardless of it being long distance or not.

To be honest, long distance relationships aren't for the majority of people. So don't stress if it's not your thing. One of the most important aspects of a long distance relationship? Understanding your own needs and wants while simultaneously catering to your partner's. It's a balancing act, and a precarious one at that, but it is worth the work if you find "your person."