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Trying to have a long-distance relationship can be as easy as trying to maintain an elaborate updo in a windstorm. The reality is that you’re in for a lot of effort so get off on the right foot if you want to keep this relationship standing.Men and women struggle with maintaining regular relationships. A long distance relationship requires extra  tender loving care.

Review the situation.

The time period allotted for this romantic distance has to be something you can actually handle. If it’s a newer relationship and one of you will be gone for a while, it’s time to have “the talk” to see just how serious you both are about this relationship. If you’ve been committed to each other for a while, it’s all about how you deal with the time apart. If you’re someone who will turn to the company of strangers when left alone for longer than a month, then the problem isn’t with him, it’s with you. End the relationship now. Ripping off the bandage might hurt, but doing it slowly is worse.

Trust.

Without trust, this long-distance relationship is doomed. Not only do you need to trust him, but he needs to trust you. That means continual support so he can actually do that. If he suddenly transforms into a paranoid freak, it means this ingredient is lacking and the situation is now a recipe for disaster. If you turn into a paranoid freak, he’s either a) giving you good reason to feel this way or b) you have too much time on your hands.

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Share everything.

Just because he’s not there on a daily basis doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be party to your daily life. Mundane as it might be, it will help you both feel a part of things. That said, repeatedly talking about the new guy at work or sharing all the exciting things you’re doing is only going to unleash the Green Monster within. You might think jealousy will keep him in line but odds are it’ll push him into more accepting arms.

Stay in touch often.

Sporadic conversations and occasional communication will only cause suspicion, or make the gap even bigger. If your phone bill is getting high, get creative with emails. Forget technology entirely and romance each other with long, luscious love letters. Record tapes of you sharing your daily routine (along with intimate whisperings) for him to listen to. That said, obsessive phone calls or messages every hour is stalking, not talking.

Make reunions count.

Hopefully distance has helped you to appreciate each other more, which makes for even steamier reunions. It’s important to enjoy the expectation that comes with waiting. Knowing you’ve got a flight booked makes the lonely night pass faster. Make sure when you do meet up, you treat it as quality time together, and not catch-up time with the rest of the planet. Consider reunions a vacation if possible, meeting up in places that neither of you are living in. Think “love nest,” not “family and friend potluck.”

Schedule time accordingly.

While reunions are wonderful, if they’re too far apart, stress will build up. The more frequent the reunions, the more “normal” your relationship will feel. That way, if you do have the odd weekend that requires heavier discussion, you won’t have lost out on a rare moment. If frequent reunions are impossible, try to deal with issues as they arise rather than waiting to spring them on him like a cold shower when you’re finally together.

Dream together.

Okay, so the “now” sucks as far as your relationship is concerned, but there’s no reason you can’t share future dreams. Planning your future together can make for a great pick-me-up. Just make sure you’re both planning the same thing, otherwise you might be left with delusions rather than dreams.

Keep talking.

It’s important to keep sharing your fears and hopes and encourage him to do the same. That means letting him get a word in edgewise, or even forcing him to actually share what you might be dreading. Things might have been working great at the start, but distance can weaken even the strongest link. And if you are the weakest link… good-bye. Patience and priority are your two “game plan” words. Think of it this way: long-distance relationships are like trying to eat a double-scoop ice cream cone on a hot, summer day. If you can keep up the pace, you should be able to enjoy everything to the end. If you can’t, all you’ll end up with is a big mess. Know yourself, give it a shot, but be prepared to ditch the remaining cone if necessary.

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