The secret to making long distance relationships work

Our world is getting smaller and smaller every day. It’s a fact.


Modern technology has made it possible to be constantly in touch with people anywhere in the world – even during these challenging times.  Distance has become less and less of a barrier to happiness.


People fall in love without ever meeting in person and go on to live happy lives starting from something as simple as a random Instagram DM. It is amazing that we no longer have to limit the search for the ‘love of our life’ to the village, city or even the same continent we were born in.


This constant connectivity, however, has also created a culture of instant gratification, a need to immediately satisfy any desire. This was often quoted as one of the main challenges of dating pre-pandemic. Covid changed that to a certain extent, as we can’t just jump on a plane and escape on a weekend getaway.


If you find yourself stuck in an LDR (Long Distance Relationship), here are some facts to bear in mind.


  • LDR’s offer a great opportunity for deeper connection, getting to know each other, and rediscovering the joy of delayed gratification. Take this opportunity to move slow and spend time focusing on working out how compatible you really are with each other. Explore if you have a common vision (ie. do you want the same things in life), share similar beliefs systems, and if your expectations of each other and the relationship are aligned.


  • The distance between you is a gift that can help you avoid making relationship decisions based on physical attraction alone. It is also a great opportunity to develop great communication skills and avoid setting unrealistic expectations for how things will be if/when you eventually get together. The need to express your feelings and keeping the communication going provides a different context for love. With the right type and amount of communication, you can create a deeper sense of mental and emotional intimacy which is sometimes challenging when spending every moment together in those early days of intense chemistry.


  • One of the big issues in any relationship is establishing trust and being confident the partner is true to their word. This is even more difficult when you are not in the same location and you don’t get to spend time in each other’s presence. In LDRs that start online and partners have not met in real life, there is a danger a false sense of attraction and chemistry can lead to heartache and disappointments when that apparent connection doesn’t translate into real emotional and sexual compatibility. So make sure you keep your expectations low and don’t fall too deep before you meet for real.


In short, you could see LDRs like a waiting room for your life together. A waiting room in which you are able to test each other, determine if your individual requirements for an ideal relationship are being met, and take the opportunity to create a powerful foundation for what is going to follow.


The secret to making an LDR work is in fact clarity:  know exactly what kind of relationship and life you want, what are the non-negotiable criteria that make love work for you, and what you need to change about yourself to ensure you can co-create your ideal relationship with your partner.


Last but not least, having a clear deadline as to when and how the long-distance status will end is a key factor to ensure the ultimate success.


Read the article in Hong Kong Living Magazine