10 Tips For Maintaining A Mindful Long Distance Relationship. ~ Kristin Driskell


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As more and more people are finding themselves in long distance relationships, the belief that it is bound to fail has been proven to be unsubstantiated.

Many are in fact bound to flourish. I know from personal experience. I jumped in heart first to a long distance relationship nearly three years ago, and that has blossomed into what will soon become a marriage.

Over the past three years we have had times spent together and apart in three different countries. We have had times of intense connectedness and times of utter despair, but most importantly together we have learned how to use the ebb and flow of distance to our advantage.

Like other relationships, there are an infinite number of things that play into the success of a long distance relationship. I can offer ten tips that I wish someone would have shared with me. These won’t guarantee success, but I can assure you that they will make your long distance love life more about the two of you and less about the distance in between.

Although this distance may seem daunting at first glance, my hope for you is that you can soon see the challenge as an opportunity to grow individually and with your partner.

  1. Honesty must be your first policy. By that I mean you need to be honest with yourself and with your partner. Long distance relationships offer no room for guessing games of hard to get or otherwise. Be honest about your feelings regardless of how irrational they may seem. Tell each other where you stand in the relationship. That means both people know if the relationship is open, closed or on hiatus. This is even important for any lengthy separations.
  1. Set appointments. Whether it be for skype sessions, phone calls or however you communicate with each other, this is important. It gives each partner something to look forward to and prevents any arguments over why one person didn’t call or answer. This also means that you need to be on the same page about how often you want to talk. What each person expects may be different, so find a compromise.
  1. Make an effort to actually see each other. Even if it is just some sort of video chat once a week. We are very visual creatures. Seeing each other can really kindle the fire between the two of you.
  1. Continue to share your common interests. This can be anything. Is there a website that you both visit regularly? A show that you both watch every week? A sport that you both enjoy? A movie you both want to see? Maybe it’s a book, a class, an artist. The point is that you keep doing the things that you like to do when you’re together, even when you are apart. It gives you something to talk about when the conversation wanes and more importantly, you can feel connected to your partner despite the lack of physical presence.
  1. Do something unexpected. This could be something as fun as a surprise visit (provided your relationship has reached “surprise visits are okay” status) or as simple as handcrafted snail mail, which is my personal favorite. Text messages are also a sweet way to be reminded that there is someone special in your life. Be creative and find what works for you and your partner.
  1. Discuss your expectations. Especially your expectations regarding the future of the relationship. Expectations have the potential to ruin any relationship if they are not considered thoughtfully and kept in check at times.
  1. Be realistic about when you will see each other next. This is really simple, but it’s sometimes forgotten when you’re desperate to see each other again.
  1. Enjoy your time. Long distance relationships are not for the faint of heart. You need to really be able to examine yourself as an individual. Stay involved in your own life, after all this is most likely one of the reasons your partner was attracted to you in the first place.
  1. Accept bumps in the road. They will come. If you are not resilient and truly committed to the health of the relationship, you will give up easily. Remember that you will feel lonely and not connected at times. Rest in the fact that feelings are transient in their nature.
  1. Talk to each other. Of course, you are going to talk to each other on the phone, through email or otherwise, but I’m referring to talking when nobody is around. Yes, this sounds a little crazy but it does provide some comfort just to express yourself out loud. Plus, it’s better than just talking to yourself.

As for the rest, experience is the best teacher. There are many successful long distance relationships out there, and I’m happy to be part of that group.

Editor: Jennifer Cusano

Kristin Driskell is a passionate yoga student and teacher who loves to learn, mostly through the experience of traveling near and far. She currently lives in Southern California where she is pursuing her Masters in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and dreaming up the next adventure. Follow her @keepomyoga on twitter or read more of her “Finding Life in Every Word” at kristinfromks.blogspot.com.


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32 Responses to “10 Tips For Maintaining A Mindful Long Distance Relationship. ~ Kristin Driskell”

  1. livingfrombalance says:

    wow.. I have been in a long distance relationship for almost 9 years. At first it was a 4 hour drive for almost 8 of the years. Then he lived here for 6 months.. it was GREAT having him here. SUper helpful, my kids love him. Then as aburptly as he came, for financial reasons he left. This time is was to the complete other coast. Supposedly it is for 8 months. This is truly testing me on all levels. Between the different time zone, the day long trip to see each other and the length of time that will now be in between visits, I don't know if I have it in me. THis article was helpful to say the least. I am trying to be strong,,,but its only a week old and I am still trying to wrap my head around it all.
    thank you!!

  2. I have been in a long distance relationship for a LONG time now, and this article perfectly summed up why it has worked for us so well! But you are right, people always give it a negative stigma. As if they expect a long distance relationship to be doomed to fail. But with todays digital era of smart phones and skype, one can be in touch nearly all day long with their significant other if they want to be. I know we do! We spend soooo much time connecting in all the ways you described,. and I agree with you that this is becoming more and more common, especially as the internet explodes and people are developing long-distance relationships online. So thank you for sharing this. I also wrote a little something about my long distance relationship and the role fragrance has in maintaining it. Check it out, if you like: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/11/nourishing

  3. catnipkiss says:

    I was in a long distance relationship for 3 years (and 2 more before he moved for a job, total of 5 years together) It was really hard….. for ME. I wish I had had the balls to do number 6, discuss expectations. he even bought me a diamond ring, and I thought we intended to some day be together, but NOT SO FAST, Shorty…. he really loved having me around for lovefest weekends, and be free to focus on his very important job during the week. Turns out he was VERY content with the distance and could have done it forever, but when I wanted to move in together, after my kids were grown, he balked. i had to break up with him and it remains one of the most painful things I have ever done! So for God's sake, don't do 3 years like an idiot and get a big shock, like I did. I think long distance can work ONLY if the distance will some day end (or if BOTH people just like it that way. Which, to me, is a cop-out, but to each his own comfort zone 🙂 – Alexa M

  4. […] 10 Tips For Maintaining A Mindful Long Distance Relationship. ~ Kristin Driskell (elephantjournal.com) […]

  5. sudharana says:

    Long distance love is a great concept. Staying connected to a loved one who is miles away from you keeps the love ignited between the two.

  6. Debra DeAngelo says:

    You missed the most important one! Trust! My husband and I were in an East Coast/ West Coast romance for 10 years before we finally managed to get onto the same side of the continent. It was very much worth the wait

  7. Debra DeAngelo says:

    Hmmm… my post was truncated…

    You missed the most important one! Trust! My husband and I were in an East Coast/ West Coast romance for 10 years before we finally managed to get onto the same side of the continent. It was very much worth the wait. You mentioned an important factor – regular times to talk on the phone. For us, twice daily. Another key factor was being about to see each other several times per year, which requires another key factor – financial fluidity. Over the course of 10 years, despite the distance, we were able to participate in key milestones – births, deaths, weddings and graduation. A long distance, long term relationship is possible. But you have to be willing to live with the discomfort and longing, and not give up on the goal – to be together some day.

  8. Christina says:

    Magnificent article. Thank you.

  9. Deb says:

    Great article! In addition to 10 points, I also liked Debra DeAngelo's comment about trust. Without trust, honesty, and discussing expectations, most long distance relationship don't have a chance. I think long distance relationships ultimately work for those with a true sense of adventure and a strong sense of self. Without those qualities, it's hard not to let the insecurities ultimately take hold.

    I've been in a long distance relationship for the past nine months with a wonderful man from South Africa. It's about as far as a couple can possibly be from each other and those 30 hour flights sometimes make me question my sanity!. First of all, we wouldn't be able to do it without Skype (thank you, thank you!!!!) and texting. (Fyi…Whatsapp gives you free international texting 🙂

    For me, the craziest thing about a long, long distance relationship is that, normally, dating involves a gradual intermingling of each other's physical space. With a long distance relationship, you physically move from one extreme to the other…either you're completely apart or truly living together when you ARE together. Early on, this can actually be a good thing because it makes you realize how important your relationship really is and makes you less likely to take your special connection for granted. The "living together" component gives you an idea of how compatible you are early on, so you know from the get go whether or not you're wasting your time.

    Bottom line, for most of us, feeling connected to someone truly special makes a long distance relationship extremely hard, but ultimately, a temporary thing. That said, I'd like to add "hope" as an 11th criteria. There will be a few out there who either have such a strong sense of independence OR commitment/intimacy issues that make a long distance relationship preferable, but for the majority of us, the effort and commitment necessary to make a long distance relationship work is because you found a very special, irreplaceable partner who you want to share your life with. That partner has to be special and unique enough that at some point, you both envision a way to ultimately be together. We do…and for us, that's what makes this temporary long distance relationship totally worth it!!!

    • @keepomyoga says:

      i'm happy to hear of others out there making it work! thanks for sharing your thoughts! trust is clearly so important for any relationship and hope for the future has definitely helped my soon to be husband and i through some tough times!

  10. mkcycle says:

    Thank you for this article and the advise. I'm in a long distance relationship that's fairly new (2 months), we live 3 hours apart. And hope that some day we live closer. We've been friends for 12 years though. So here's to hoping he's the one.

  11. […] in a long-distance relationship now, since I moved to New England from the South. New England is in its first big bloom of late […]

  12. Chris Grosso says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience! I'm just beginning a long distance relationship with someone I'm more deeply connected to than anyone else I've ever come across in my 34 years on this earth. It's very scary but your words offer a light of hope that is very timely for my situation. Much respect and gratitude.

  13. kendahl says:

    My husband, who is a cross country truck driver, and I have moon dates. We go out at night and stand and view the moon while we talk. It's a nice way to feel connected. He takes the time to send me postcards from all around the country. Then I posted them inside all the kitchen cabinet doors. We also have a rule about 'no expectations…first night home." Often there is fatigue with the travel and we would fight when I was all hyped up but he needed to catch his breath and recharge his batteries. We also own and used for about the first two years "The Book of Questions" and "If'. They are just great books that are full of conversation stimulating questions. I wil say though it occured to me the other day that we are getting kind of boring. We have heard ALL of each others stories because communication has been all we have had for so long.

  14. […] maintain your relationship as strong as ever even when you are miles apart if you keep a few things in mind from the beginning. […]

  15. asiorhan says:

    how to mantain a long distance relationship >>>> Enter the site and review : http://relationshipslongdistance.blogspot.com :)).

  16. Rings Online says:

    Important tips thanks for information.

  17. James says:

    It was really impressive published article. I do personally learn in the post and also I will share it to my friends later after reviewing. Really interesting post indeed. Thanks.

  18. Bette says:

    Genuinely, thank you for this. My boyfriend and I's relationship is quasi-long-distance – we live in separate cities, admittedly only a couple of hours apart but due to his family not liking me much (they are quite traditional) and the fact he's actually in a remote wooded village just outside of the nearest city and I don't drive, we have an awful lot of distance between us. We've been making it work for a year and this article really just cemented my drive to make it work for many more to come. I just need to practice greater mindfulness and let my bad feelings go, and focus on the good. Thank you so much.

  19. I would just like to say how lucky we are that we have this technology today where we can get to, not only talk, but also see our love ones from abroad through the use of webcams. Communication is very important for couples, especially to those who are in long distance relationships. It is not enough though that we talk to our love ones every day. When we communicate, it is also important that we are true and sincere with everything so as not to destroy the trust that we have invested in the relationship. Also, while chatting, don’t be afraid to get a little creative to spice things up. This way, both you and your love one will always look forward to your next chat session.

  20. Natalie says:

    This is perfect and just what I needed to read. My partner and I have been doing long distance for six months now and everything you’ve expressed I can completely relate to. Today, of all days, I am so grateful to have come across this article. Thank you so much for your beautiful words of advice.
    Always in gratitude x

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