Top 10 Long Distance Relationship Tips From a Bumble Couple 1700 Miles Apart
by Shayda Torabi
I'm jumping into a hot topic because, well, I’m in a successful long distance relationship! I feel the more I share about how we’re making it work, the more I can help inspire others that (1) long distance relationships are doable, and (2) with the right partner, love really does conquer all. I always remind myself it takes two to tango; we both have to agree on how we handle this!
We matched on Bumble in June 2019, while my now-boyfriend was just visiting Austin, Texas (my hometown) for a work conference. But fun fact about us: we didn’t even meet while he was in Austin. No, we matched, and by the time I had opened my app to reach out and “make the first move” he had already landed back in San Jose, California, where he lives. He would go on to book another trip back to Austin to meet me for our “first date” in July 2019, and the rest is history. So we started dating long distance and now have managed seven happy months together building the foundation for our love story.
I’ll get into our “how we met” story later, but for now wanted to just share 10 quick tips for anyone who is considering dating long distance, or finds themselves in a long distance relationship. We definitely don’t plan on being long distance for ever, but right now that’s the status so I’m sharing in hopes of inspiring others that it’s not only doable, but can really be a good opportunity to help you grow as a couple! And if you can survive long distance, you really can survive anything!
So without further ado, here are some tips.
1. You have to make time for communication. Look, I love to communicate and consider myself somewhat of an expert on communications (I majored in Marketing and Mass Communications). But I definitely put a wall up when the topics get difficult. And add distance into the mix and I’m one step away from avoiding confrontation. I’ve definitely had to adapt to be more open in communication towards my boyfriend. He has great communication habits and I really appreciate that about him and genuinely want to talk and express myself, but have struggled having big conversations over the phone. It’s made us stronger by opening up to each other, but it hasn’t been easy. We had to agree that there is no bad time to talk, so if there is something big one of us needs to say we need to put it out there so together we can work through it. Whether we say what’s on our mind in that moment or we plan to talk later, we try not to let things fester. It’s great when you have a partner who wants to seek to resolve. So much of my dating history was about me vs him, and in this relationship, in part because of the nature of the distance, I’ve had to learn that we’re in it together. So I have to be open to resolving even if that means having a hard conversation over the phone instead of in person. I’ve definitely had my fair share of freak outs, and I've felt depressed and lonely, but just being able to communicate that to my boyfriend has been key in him helping me defuse those situations. We’re not perfect, but we’re learning what makes sense for us and our relationship!
2. Set ground rules. It’s important to decide how you want this relationship to go and express what you want and need. Do you need to communicate every day, and is that possible considering the time zone or what their job is, e.g. military? How can you communicate, and what is appropriate? I’ve even heard of some LDR couples going as far as setting ground rules for what happens when they're together, like where they stay and or even if stay together in the same bed or hotel room. To each their own! But knowing where you stand and what the rules are can help you maintain them. We decided it was important for us to see each other regularly, talk daily, and to not let things linger – so communication is a big theme for our relationship! Another thing that we want is to maintain some sort of independence. We want to continue our lives and our friendships and our obligations. Who we were before each other is what made us attracted to each other in the beginning, but we definitely had to work out how this new relationship fit into our flow We chose and continue to choose to make us a priority.
3. Share your schedules. This one might seem a little invasive, and you can decide how much you want to share. But sharing is key. We even share our geolocation, so at any point I can see where he is during the day. It’s just another gesture that allows us to feel connected. I say share schedules because there were times in the beginning where I wouldn’t hear from him til late. And we’re two hour time zone difference, so I would assume he must be done with work, and wonder why he hadn't called me yet — but little would I know, he was late working with a client that evening. We’re better at this now, but try to keep each other aware of day-to-day schedules. He lets me know if he’s hanging out with friends after work; I let him know if I’ll be at an influencer event. And we still make time to connect every day. By being aware of what and where the other person is can help ease some of those questions that could swirl. Plus it helps you feel a part of their day knowing what they’re up to!
4. Get creative in how you connect: We stay in contact via phone, FaceTime, emails, handwritten letters, and more. My boyfriend is big on communication. I can’t stress it enough: it's a true blessing and I love that about him. After connecting on Bumble he was very insistent on FaceTiming, so we’ve pretty much video-called with each other since we met. And ever since our first trip to see each other when he came to Austin, we’ve FaceTimed every single day. Literally a day hasn’t gone by where we haven’t video-chatted with each other. It helps to see his face and expressions, so we prefer that over phone calls. We also follow each other on social media, and from time to time we'll share memes, restaurants we want to visit with each other, and even just having flirty conversations over DM (which is helpful to keep some fire alive)! I also personally love snail-mail, so from time to time I’ll handwrite him a letter and spritz it with some perfume and leave a juicy kiss on it. I just think it’s a little thought that goes a long way to having my partner feel connected to me. No matter how you communicate, shake things up every now and then!
5. Always have a trip planned. This was a tip passed on by fellow friends in long distance relationships and we’ve been pretty good at sticking to it. For us, we both fortunately work for ourselves, and where we live there happen to be nonstop flights to and from each other. So we decided it’s easy for us to make quick weekend trips from Friday to Monday. We try to see each other every two to three weeks, although sometimes we’ve gone longer just due to schedules. That's definitely are a strain, but we make it work using some of these tips I’m sharing. But we usually plan one or two trips ahead of time. For example, we’re heading to Las Vegas next weekend, but I already know he’s coming to Austin two weeks after that, so it gives me something to look forward to. It helps me get through the in-between when we’re not together.
6. Use the time apart to really get to know each other. The better you can understand your partner, the better you can manage the relationship, your expectations, and needs and wants. My boyfriend and I have done general tests, quizzes, an Enneagram test, the Myers Briggs, and most recently we did StrengthsFinder, a personal development tool. I found it really helps us get to know each other better and more importantly learn and be able to address how we are different. I know what motivates him and what his strengths are. His knowing mine really helps us be better partners for each other. We also did a love language test, which really came in handy; one of my love languages is physical touch, and in a LDR there is a lack of that given the distance. That empowers my boyfriend to address it and give me the attention I need from the relationship in other ways.
7. When you do see each other, be intentional. Don't get caught up on the vacation mode and make time for real-life experiences. This is a difficult one for me to share because I still get wrapped up in the idea of “being on vacation” when I go visit him in San Jose. I always want to go to San Francisco and try new food and see new sights – #bloggerproblems! And not that those experiences and adventures are bad, but stop and think when you’re spending too much time doing that and not enough time doing everyday activities. We talked about this specific point during our last trip and decided that for every day of the trip, we would each have the authority to plan a full day so that we both feel included in the planning of our time. We also agreed that most of the trip would be spent at home, cooking, watching movies, hanging out with friends and family, and just enjoying each other's company instead of rushing to "do new things" together. It’s all about balance, but this is something we’re trying to work on especially as we spend more and more time visiting each other's hometowns.
8. Make a point to get to know each other's family and friends. We did this really early on in the relationship, basically once we realized how important we were to each other and because we met long distance from the beginning. We wanted to make sure our friends and family were on board before we invested more time into the relationship. Now it's a topic that brings us closer together. We check in on how each other's parents and siblings are doing. I sent his parents a Christmas card with a picture of the two of us, and when we visit each other's hometowns we always incorporate hanging with friends.
9. Set goals. Use the time you have apart to establish goals, whether that’s for you as an individual or you both as a couple. What do you want to accomplish by the next time you see each other? What do you want to achieve when you do live in the same city? Taking the time to get really clear on what you want and what you and your partner want for each other can sometimes get lost in the day-to-day, so a LDR is a great opportunity to really establish what's important to you and your partner and then work towards those goals. My boyfriend and I both want to have successful businesses, and we both currently own our own companies. We often talk about our professional goals and how we can help support and encourage the other to achieving them!
10. Appreciate it! Know that the end goal is in sight and that this is temporary, whether it be for a few weeks, months, or even on and off for years depending on your significant other's job or situation. This is one that I’m just leaning into. I’m learning to appreciate this pace of our relationship because it’s allowing us to grow and create a good foundation for communication in our relationship. I know that it isn’t forever, and so being able to create some sort of peace of mind and appreciation for the current status is a great opportunity and practice for living in the present!