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RELATIONSHIP ADVICE

3 love hacks to SAVE your long distance relationship.

Lauren Gray

Dear Lauren,
 
I want to understand my boyfriend and save my long distance relationship. I’m not sure if I want to be with him, because sometimes I think I can’t live without him, and sometimes I don’t want to deal with his ignorant behavior. He doesn’t even text me or call me. When I ask him why he doesn’t pay attention to me, he says he’s busy and he forgets. Frankly, I don’t feel like I’m asking too much. I don’t want to run after him, I want him to go after me. How can I restore his previous passionate attitude toward me and make this long distance relationship work?
 
-Dyane
 

Dear Dyane,

Long distance RE-ALITY check
 
You say “you can’t live without him” but you’re also sick of putting up with his Bad Boyfriend Behavior.
 
I get it. Sounds like the old adage: “Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.” And there’s nothing charming about the tragedy of being between a rock and hard place. This, of course, is what LONG DISTANCE often feels like for couples.
 
For some life-reason (work, school, family) you need to live in different locations; but you love each other and you want to be a couple. You can’t physically be together which leaves you with two less-than-ideal options:
 
Do you split or just split the difference?
 
Many in-love couples decide to split the difference and try for a long distance relationship. But just because long distance relationships are common doesn’t mean they’re easy. For most of us, they’re not. It’s do-able but it’s a real challenge.
 
So, in order to strengthen your will power for the days ahead, you need to get clear: are you going to split because it’s hard or are you going to TRY to split the difference, knowing that it’s less-than-ideal and it’s not going to feel as perfect as if you lived in the same area?
 
If you’re ready to put your best foot forward and commit to trying this LDR thing, then I’ve got 3 Love Hacks that are going to help rekindle the passion and make your long distance relationship work.
 
 
Love Hack #1: Enjoy the “extra!”
 
Remember when you used to be single? Go back in time for a minute.
 
How did you take care of your needs then? Did you spend a lot of time with friends and family? Did you learn a new skill every month: how to crochet, play the ukulele and/or paint a sunset? Did you volunteer at your local pet rescue center?
 
How did you make yourself happy without a man?
 
Being in love is awesome. I often describe my relationship as “pure luxury:” supporting, comfy, relaxing, fun; it’s easy to be happy around him. But the danger lies in when we become TOO dependent on our partners to make us happy. When that happens, NOBODY’s happy.
 
My relationship is “pure luxury” only because I make the effort to make myself happy.
 
That’s because when I make myself happy then my partner’s only job is to make me happy-er. So anytime he gives me a compliment or opens my car door on a date, it’s extra. I don’t expect him to do that as part of our relationship “contract;” it’s extra and it feels luxurious.
 
This perspective is important to ALL relationships, but it’s even MORE critical to the survival of LDR’s. Make yourself happy; fill your life with people, fun, adventure, and creative expression. And then when he calls, compliments or connects with you in any way: it’s EXTRA.
 
Appreciate the extra luxury he brings to your life.
 
 
Love Hack #2: Change the communication game.
 
You want him to call and text you more often. You’re not asking much; you just want a little communication. How hard is that?
 
For a guy, it’s actually kinda hard. Men function on the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. Time passes quicker for him and he doesn’t feel the need for a relationship connection the way you or I do. This means it’s easy for him to go days (sometimes weeks!) without thinking about you and subsequently calling you.
 
This doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you, it just means you’re not in-sight-in-mind.
 
This inherent gender difference causes the most stress for women in long distance relationships; because he’s certainly not out of sight and out of mind for YOU! You think about him all the time and want to connect. He doesn’t.
 
Which is why he’s not calling or texting and he’s losing the communication game as it stands. This not only causes YOU stress, heartache and disappointment but it also makes him feel bad, like nothing he does makes you happy anymore. When he does talk to you, you’re mad at him for his Bad Boyfriend Behavior.
 
Once he associates talking with you with feeling punished instead of feeling good, that’s the beginning of the end. Don’t let it end that way. Change the game.
 
Instead of expecting him to contact you, try texting him. Not just any run-of-the-mill text message but an FYI text: for your information only.
 
The purpose of an FYI text message is merely to update him on your day. It’s not as satisfying as if he started to call you all the time and sent you text messages saying, “I’m thinking about you.” I get it. But as soon as you release yourself of those UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS, you also let go of the accompanying disappointment and frustration.
 
It’s all about redefining the game to set you BOTH up for feeling good. Let him know that these are just “updates” and that you don’t expect anything in return.
 
FYI text example: “Remember that guy who plays the drums on the corner? He added ‘singing’ to his repertoire! My ears almost curled up and died. You would’ve loved it. Miss you!”
 
Another example of an FYI text message can just be a picture of you enjoying lunch with your friends, you making yourself a stack of pancakes, you being happy and enjoying life.
 
Picture him reading it and smiling. Let go of any expectation that he has to return the text in order for intimacy to be achieved. You’ve put yourself in his sight and back in his mind – you’re connecting. Don’t check your phone every 5 minutes to see if he responded. Live your life. Your FYI text is your connection.
 
IF he responds, enjoy the “extra!”
 
I want to make a clear distinction, by writing him you are not pursuing him, you are merely updating him.
 
By releasing him from the pressure of your communication needs, you also free him from the burden of your dissatisfaction. Your cheerful FYI texts make him feel like he can make you happy and helps him enjoy your relationship even more.
 
 
Love Hack #3: Put a time-limit on it.
 
For most of us, long distance relationships are not sustainable.
 
Which means you need a light at the end of the tunnel in order for your love and relationship to survive the journey.
 
If you want to be in a relationship, you have certain relationship needs. If your partner cannot meet those needs by living far away, then there is no way the relationship will be successful – no matter how much you LOVE each other.
 
Creating an end date, gives you hope for a new beginning.
 
I recently binge-watched the Netflix series: Unbreakable Kimmy Shmidt. In it, she holds to the optimistic manta that anyone can do anything for 10 seconds. It’s certainly a motivating thought, isn’t it? And it can apply here to your LDR. We surprise ourselves at the inner strength we find when we put a time limit on something.

 
So set a date. Not just for your next visit, but for your permanent solution. Hold out for the time until you can be back in his sight and in his mind permanently.
 
You were always in his heart.
 
With love,
Lauren


Now I want to hear from you!
 
Have you been in an LDR? How did/do you make it work?

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read more blog posts from Lauren Gray
  • jsanchez
     12/14/2016 9:10:41 AM
    Right now Im in a long distance relationship and I'm about to head home to see him after four months apart and last night he tried ending things over FaceTime right before we have a chance to be together in person. Things have been tough the last few weeks and he's reconsidering it and thinking about if he has the time for us and if he even wants to be in a relationship at this point in his life. He agreed to go out tonight so we can talk and see how everything goes...I just really think we need this time in person to talk it all out and see how it goes. If any of you out there have some advice about how to get through this rough patch it'd be greatly appreciated......
  • dione10
     10/29/2016 1:02:54 AM
    thank you for posting this! this is what I need right now. I've been in a long distance relationship for more than 3 years and we are at the point of not talking because simply we don't have much to talk about so he don't text or call me unless I text or call him first...and the more he won't talk to me, I cling all the more. I know, it's becoming annoying for him. I will try all these suggestions and see where it leads us. I love him, and I still see him as someone I want to be with for the rest of my life. Thank you again!...
  • PruneOvaries
     10/23/2016 7:23:21 AM
    Thank you for writing this. It's just what I needed to hear. I've been in a relationship for 4 years, most of it living together. My boyfriend moved across the country for work while I finish grad school. Some times he's good about communicating, sometimes he's not. Recently, I've been getting monosyllabic responses to my texts and days at a time when I don't hear from him. I was convinced that he was over me or met someone else. This post gave me hope that he just doesn't care about communication the way that I do. And when he pulls away, I cling tighter. I'm sure that was making it worse for him. Hopefully I haven't pushed him away too far with my expressions of confusion about his recent behavior. I will try to bury myself in my own very busy life!...
  • HaileyCakes92
     10/4/2016 8:33:50 AM
    I really needed this. I've been doing this for the past two years and never realized I was not only losing myself but ruining my relationship in the process. We are at this awkward point where we don't know if this relationship is worth fighting for anymore. I guess I can say I'm a lot like Dyane.
  • loriehus
     9/1/2016 1:22:47 PM
    Im currently in a LDR and it is very hard and confusing for me. My boyfriend and I have been together for over 8 years. We lived together for 7 before he purchased a house 3 hours away. He is definitely going through a midlife crisis and is internally having a hard time growing older. Im working on my Masters degree and need to move to Arizona soon to finish this. This will put us 2,700 miles away. So far I have always conformed my needs around his. This has made me codependent on him and have not fulfilled my dreams for a very long time. I have asked him several times if he wanted to end this "relationship" and he says no. He alway seems to have the energy to spend with his friends but the rare trip he comes to see me, he is always tired and falls asleep early. I know I need to leave him but it is hard....
  • Josiewill
     7/27/2016 8:51:30 PM
    I have been in a long-distance relationship for 3&a half year, how the hell do we do it, you ask? Well it's a very very long story - but the main factor is we communicate everyday. It's very difficult because of the 8 time difference so now you know that we are on different continents. We only see each other twice a year for 3 weeks at a time. The list of misunderstandings heartaches could make me Rich if I had a penny for each one. We love each other deeply, and then sometimes I feel like he doesn't love me at all because when we Skype I don't have his attention very often. It's 11 to 12 p.m. his time when we speak on Skype and he's usually watching something before he goes to bed. I've accepted that and I'm okay with that, it's just the way it is. It's very hard to keep things fresh and exciting at that time of night when you're talking everyday. Other times it's light and Breezy and we have lots to talk about but the main thing with men is that they don't talk about their day-to-day stuff very easily oh, and they certainly don't want to hear about your day-to-day stuff. So you better have something good to talk about.. we've watched movies , and had some form of LDR Passion, which again is not easy ,I am just coming home from work days out of the seven that we Skype, so I'm not in that mood and must create it . But when we are together it's wonderful and perfect and lovely. He doesn't like the US and I fell in love with England before I even met him so I had already made the decision to move there. Unfortunately the government doesn't make it easy and it's been a long journey for me to sort things out and now it's just a matter of money. we've got to close the gap soon because we're not getting any younger, we are in our 50s.. life is passing Us by with each year and I could not even imagine a Christmas without him after spending Christmas of 2015 t
  • RebeccaL
     12/18/2015 2:04:22 AM
    lol i needed this 5 years ago... def made these mistakes a few times... and the relationship disappeared...
  • Amari
     11/9/2015 2:53:00 PM
    Lauren, Thank you for this article! It is very timely for me. I've been in a LDR for about 7 months. I started really feeling something for this guy about 4 months ago. Everything you said was so right on. He and I text everyday and we always share snippets of what we are doing. I see him about once every 3 weeks. I could completely relate to what you said about how women see and want things verses men. While I understand this intellectually, I have to constantly remind myself because I get caught up in my head and become insecure. Thankfully, I don't go off on him - not my personality. I have spoken to him about how women's minds don't work the same - I'd like to hear from him more than I do. He has made an effort to call me once a week which I appreciate. I'm glad you posted a reminder that men can and do love us when we are apart. I'm keeping the faith. I really like this man. He is a good match for me in many ways. Thanks again!...
  • cherylA
     11/8/2015 11:32:44 AM
    I have been in LDRs since my twenties. Im in my mid fifties now. My first LDR I married and moved to the UK, raised two kids...divorced after 24 years of marriage. I moved back to the USA ten years ago. For the past two years have been in a relationship with a man in Canada, 1000 miles from my home. Last year he drove down to my house nearly every month, stayed for two-five weeks at a time. Then he went home to Australia to visit family for six weeks after leaving my house in Jan. Before he left he told me that he bought a sim card for his trip so we can communicate. I didn't hear from him until he returned home to Canada in March!. By that time I was heartbroken and considered myself single. Went back on match.com, and met a wonderful man that lived further away also in Canada 2500 miles. He flew to my house within two weeks of our meeting. He fell in love with me the first visit. He said that he would do anything just to be with me and he didn't want to live one more day without me. He went home and came back the following month, then the month after i went to his home. By this time we were both deeply in love. I'm in my mid fifties, have dated many men. Ive had some wonderful relationships with awesome guys...this one was the best. Ive never laughed more with anyone else or ever felt as comfortable etc. We were considering marriage etc. Until he hit a brick wall and decide he isn't strong enough to follow thru with finding a new job and make a new life in his mid fifties...and decided that a LDR is not for him. He decided not to pursue our relationship any longer. and he told me. I was even considering going to his place in mid winter to see if its doable for me, as I have moved around in my life. I believe its not where you are but its who you are with that makes life happy. Now I'm at a point where i miss him daily. We have reduced Skype to once a week...and our connection is still there. we are trying to remain friends knowing it'
  • Aurelie
     11/8/2015 11:28:06 AM
    I like this post as well. My case is different. My partner is a sailor and is away 2 months, at home 2 months, all year.... I don't particularly enjoy my alone time as I miss him so much!... He writes nice texts and messages everyday, which is absolutely lovely but I am thinking that he prefers being away than spending time with me... I love him and don't want to end this relationship but I don't know how to cope with this distance and think that there might never be a "end date" to that... ...
  • lizadeeza
     11/7/2015 12:20:41 AM
    You are SO right on with these suggestions. And I actually was implementing all of these. And it was working, until I lost faith, unfortunately. I just assumed because he wasn't responding that he didn't care. And I flipped out at him via text. And I believe that this "flip-out" not only ended our future as a romantic couple, but also as friends. We were good friends. For me, I actually really enjoy long distance relationships, since I really enjoy my alone-time and being single to do as I please ... My ideal relationship would probably be 3 months close, and 3 months far, or 6 months close and 6 months far... this is what I was hoping with my guy - who lives in Italy. I was trying to build my business, so it would allow me to live overseas for part of the year. Unfortunately, one can only live in Italy on a guest visa, for 3 months straight. And every other visa is very difficult to get. Of course, there is the marriage Visa - but I am not a fan of marrying anyone I haven't known for at least a year of "in-person, in the same place" time. So, I will use your advice "next time" I am in a LDR. Heart-a-breaking, Liza...


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