3 Tips for Managing a Long-Distance Relationship

Photo Source: Photo by Vitor Pinto on Unsplash

Sustaining a healthy, fulfilling relationship requires effort, intention, and good communication. When you’re long-distance, relationships require that much more of those elements. As an actor, it’s likely that at some point in your career you may have to navigate periods where you are away from your partner for months at a time. While being physically apart for long periods can be challenging, it’s not impossible to stay connected as a couple. 

Aside from a strong foundation, here are three tips that can help you manage common obstacles that can arise in a long-distance relationship.

1. Be intentional about connecting.
The worst thing that you can do in a long-distance relationship is to wing it. Saying that you’ll “figure it out” or that you’ll “talk when you can” will set you up for disaster. It’s important to be clear about expectations as far as communication and to be realistic given your circumstances. Carve out a consistent time (perhaps on the day that your show is “dark”) that you can commit to connecting rather than playing phone tag or waiting for your schedules to naturally sync up. Not carving out time can make you both susceptible to frustration, resentment, and disconnection.

In addition to carving out the time to connect with one another, be intentional about that time. Think quality versus quantity. Connect when you have energy and not when you’re rushed or hungry. Being present when you connect is just as important as making the time.

READ: The Actors Comprehensive Guide to Self-Care

2. Be creative.
Because face-to-face and phone calls may be limited, thinking outside the box is significant in a long-distance relationship. Don’t utilize your phone chats to simply talk about what happened in your day and share updates. Spice it up! This could mean purchasing a game for couples with conversation starters such as “Our Moments” or watching your favorite show together on FaceTime or Skype. Use technology to connect and to have virtual date nights. Send a postcard or letter for no reason! Sending something tangible with your touch can be meaningful in the other’s absence.  

3. Don’t forget self-care.
It starts with you. Self-care is necessary to be able to nurture the relationship creatively and intentionally particularly with a long-distance love. In any relationship, it’s important to have a balance of autonomy with connectedness. When it’s long-distance, a fulfilling life with friends, hobbies, and interests are an asset in maintaining self-care and dealing with missing one another. Making sure that you’re investing in your mental, physical, and emotional well-being helps you to show up better in your relationship. Make sure that you fill your time with things that give you joy so that you’re not just waiting around for your beau to be free or being solely dependent on your partner to fulfill you. Amping up on self-care is key for both yourself and the relationship as a whole.

Managing a long-distance relationship can be a great opportunity to build resiliency and build an even deeper connection. It doesn’t have to be a struggle that you are just “getting through.” It can help you and your partner stretch, grow, and connect in ways that you may not have experienced had you never been tested with distance. Being mindful of these three tips can help the working traveling actor stay connected even while far apart from their significant other.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Jelisha Gatling
Jelisha Gatling is a licensed marriage and family therapist in New York City. She works with couples helping them to unpack their baggage. When she is not with clients, she is writing and presenting workshops on self-care and relationships, as well as running therapy groups for artists. With a creative arts background having written and produced plays, Jelisha weaves creativity and humor into her therapeutic work.
See full bio and articles here!

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