Are you a guy and entering a long distance relationship for the first time? Worried about how to be a good long distance boyfriend?
Yep. A couple of years ago, I was just like you.
Whether you’re the long distance boyfriend or the long distance girlfriend, everyone in an LDR wants to know how to be a good long distance partner.
The reason is simple—distance changes the dynamic of your relationship, and it takes a lot more work to maintain that emotional connection.
My long distance relationship was my first serious relationship, and I learned real quick that LDRs play out very differently to face-to-face relationships!
Here are some tips I’d tell myself if I could travel back in time and teach myself how to be a good long distance boyfriend.
They’re simple…but not necessarily easy.
1. Put In The Extra Effort
When you and your girlfriend are doing long distance, the game changes.
Without you around, she will notice your absence even more. She will miss you and need your interaction.
She may also pick up on more things, like if you forget special dates, fail to maintain the romance, and not be in tune with her feelings. These issues will magnify over distance.
So be prepared to put in that extra effort.
Be proactive in planning trips to visit each other. Really plan them out with ideas of things to do and places to go—let her dream and look forward to your arrival. (Two weeks of love making doesn’t count!)
Speaking of dates, don’t forget them. It’s bad enough to forget things like anniversaries or birthdays, but forgetting them when you’re already under the stress of long distance is just turning a spark into a bonfire.
Exceed her expectations by planning some small gifts for each event. I found that physical tokens worked really well to maintain my connection with my SO, especially things that I did myself. It could be as simple as writing a letter, or making something for her.
Obviously, your relationship and her preferences may differ, so go with what you know.
Finally, be creative when it comes to intimacy and making up for physical absence. Sexting and naughty pics (if you’re both comfortable with them) will help stoke fires, but going one step further with things like toys can really spice things up. Open up to your partner and talk about how you can both keep your appetites for each other fulfilled.
2. Get Ready To Communicate More
It’s a cliché at this point, but there’s truth in it—you’ll be doing a lot of talking and texting over a long distance relationship.
Granted, there were times in my own LDR where my girlfriend and I would just sit on a Skype call and hang out. She would read, and I would be working on something or doing a bit of gaming.
However, I was texting, calling, FaceTiming, and writing to her the majority of the time.
Failing to communicate enough for her needs will hit her hard. Communication is the lifeline of your LDR—it’s not something you can leave for later.
So be prepared to chat or text.
On top of that, be ready to eventually chat not only with her, but with her social circles, too.
If you’re both taking this LDR seriously, there will come a point where her family and friends will wonder why she’s on the phone all the time.
You may find yourself speaking to her family or her friends—don’t decline the opportunity!
Being a part of her “real life” can help keep you in her mind, and strengthen your LDR. Nothing shows you know how to be a good long distance boyfriend more than being a part of her life halfway across the world.
3. Be Honest And Open
Okay, so you need to communicate more. But it’s not just one-word texts and emoji-responses.
The quality of your communication needs to improve, too.
That may mean longer chats, and also more deep and meaningful chats.
You may need to be more open with your emotions, and be explicit in what you say and mean.
After all, you don’t have the benefit of non-verbal communication to help get your point across!
One of the upsides of doing long distance was that my girlfriend and I really improved our communication.
We were able to sense when the other wasn’t okay, and we weren’t afraid to call it out.
Finally—and this may seem obvious—avoid hiding things or keeping secrets.
Everyone is entitled to their privacy, but if you hide something that affects your relationship, it can be incredibly harmful to your partner.
For one, there’s little they can do to help you or manage the situation.
And secondly, they may start wondering what else you have neglected to tell them.
In the words of Brené Brown: “Clear is kind; unclear is unkind”.
When you’re in a long distance relationship, you might think that you’ll have more time to do your own thing, since your SO won’t be around.
Maybe you could spend a bit more time gaming? Attend a few more parties? Or do some extra long gym sessions?
You can…to an extent.
While you should continue to live your own life, remember that you may need to compromise and set aside some time to spend with her too.
It may be tempting to blow off the odd call here or there, or leave a message on read while you finish a few rounds online with the boys.
However, maintaining consistent lines of communication helps keep the relationship healthy and alive.
You should also be prepared to make some sacrifices and compromise when it comes to ending the long distance relationship.
Since one person has to pick up their life and move, you both need to make a decision as to who does that, and who can support the other on their journey.
That means you’ll (eventually) have work to do.
5. Respect Her Personal Time (And Yours)
While you’re apart, make sure to let her down her own thing…and make sure you keep doing yours, too.
I know—I said earlier that you may have to compromise and set aside some time for your relationship.
I’m talking about the other extreme.
Don’t blow up her phone and constantly inundate her with messages, mentions, and calls.
Don’t get after her for every thing she does with your knowledge.
And don’t go nuts over every person she sees.
I can relate. I’d feel jealous about the people who could hang out with my SO when we were apart, too. And talking about our guy or girl friends would come with a particular vibe.
Everyone needs space and room for their own personal life. This goes for both in-person and long distance relationships.
6. Make Plans
There may come a time in your long distance relationship where you might even feel comfortable.
There will be a routine, you’ll know when you have your calls, and things can be predictable.
However, long distance relationships aren’t meant to last.
And by that, I mean you should both be making plans to be together whenever you feel like your situation warrants it.
Be proactive about it. When can you see the distance ending? Where will you end up?
Planning for the future sends strong signals to your partner that you really do care about the relationship. It tells them you want to close the distance and spend the rest of your relationship happy together in the same room.
(Once you do get to the point where you’ve figured out where you’ll both be living, be sure to check out my guide to moving overseas.)