In my work as a relationship coach, I spend a lot of time on the road. (In fact, I’m writing this article in an airport right now.) Inevitably, when talking with my fellow travelers, one will mention they are in a long-distance relationship, and when they find out what I do, they all want to know: How do you make a long distance relationship work?

Regardless of why you are apart, long distance relationships can be challenging. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make it easier. Here are six tips to make long distance relationships easier:

1. Create “date time”. In college, my boyfriend and I spent a summer apart. We made a point to spend five hours on the phone each week in “date time.” We’d have meals together, and sometimes watch the same show, but mostly we talked, sharing the details of our lives, what we were thinking about, laughing and being supportive. Consciously spending time together is important for all couples. Be sure to prioritize this, and don’t let other things distract you.

2. Make friends with technology. Skype, instant messaging, email, and text messaging can all help make the distance seem shorter, and all of these are low-cost ways of communicating. You can also follow each other’s activities on Facebook, Twitter, or a private shared blog. Multiple channels of communication helps create ambient awareness of the little things that make up one another’s lives.

3. Maintain a local support system. This is especially important if you’re the one who’s moved away. Having friends locally provides you with people to lean on, things to do, and variety. It’s important to have a life of your own, regardless of where your significant other lives.

4. Ask for what you need. Be clear about the difference between a strategy for getting a need met (I “need” you to come visit me this weekend.) and the actual need (I need face-to-face time.) One way to tell the difference is strategies usually require more explaining, and needs can often be summed up in just a word or two.

5. Plan when you’ll see each other next. Knowing when you’ll next see each other can take the edge off, even if it’s going to be a while. Whenever possible plan the next trip before the previous one ends.

6. Be patient. When a challenging conversation comes up, make time to have it properly (instead of furiously trying to express yourself in 160 character text messages or over IM.) When waiting to see each other, remind yourself of the things you love about the other person, and what’s right with your relationship. Remember that even though you are far apart, you still have all the time in the world.

Long distance relationship advice is really about finding ideas that work for your relationship. Each situation is unique. For more ideas about how to make your relationships amazing, regardless of distance, sign up for my relationship tips newsletter

Author's Bio: 

Marcia Baczynski is a relationship coach and the Director of Relationship Programming at Ideal Balance Inc, helping busy professionals create amazing relationships with the people who matter most.