Long distance relationships used to mean sending perfume-scented letters in the post and waiting patiently for a reply that could take weeks to arrive. That, or relying on a phone call once a week, perhaps even from a pay phone! In 2022, this seems unfathomable. Thanks to the digital revolution, in particular, smartphones, instant messaging apps and social media, it’s possible to speak to people on the other side of the world without a second thought. This has made long-distance relationships much easier. That being said, being able to text, call and now even video chat at pretty much any time of day isn’t a replacement for seeing each other in person. This means that despite it being easier to communicate, a lot still needs to be done to keep the spark alive and deal with the distance. So, if you’re in a long-distance relationship right now, or you will be in the future, this guide is for you. Here’s how to manage a long-distance relationship in 2022. Set realistic expectations for you both One of the most important ways to manage a long-distance relationship is to set realistic expectations. This is because even the most committed couples will be busy, will have jobs and might even be living in different time zones. This means you can’t always be available to talk all the time. Therefore, to avoid disappointment and arguments, it’s important to have realistic expectations and boundaries with one another for communication. Within these expectations, you might wish to consider: \tHow often you communicate \tHow you communicate \tWhen you communicate (which days, times, etc.) \tHow often you see each other in person You also need to make sure that you have honest conversations about these expectations; this will stop either of you from feeling pressured to always be on your phone or to communicate 24/7. Find small ways to show you care You might have agreed that talking all day long is not possible, but there are other small gestures you can make that let them know you’re thinking about them without going overboard. For example, firing off a quick email when you arrive at work or sending them a text at lunch that says’ thinking of you’. Shipping small gifts to one another can also go down nicely. Of course, you don’t have to do this all the time, but every now and then could be a very sweet and welcome gesture. Decide how often you’d like to visit each other Having distance between you can be hard, and it can start to take its toll on your relationship, so deciding how often you’d like to see each other can give you something to look forward to. Of course, this will be totally dependent on how far the distance is between you. If you’re on the other side of the world, visits will be few and far between. Whereas if you’re a few hours drive away, you might be able to set aside one weekend a month. Either way, knowing when you’re next going to see each other can help to make the distance feel a little smaller. Plan virtual dates and do ‘normal’ couple things While chatting regularly is nice, it can’t replace actual face-to-face dates, something which is important in any relationship. But just because you can’t go out in person, it’s still important to schedule some virtual dates. And as we said, technology has made this much easier. Thanks to technology, there are lots of fun virtual dates you can go on, from dinner and drinks to a trip to the zoo or even a quiz night. Whatever you guys prefer to do, just be sure to set aside some dedicated time to have fun with one another, even from a distance. Doing what is seen as ‘normal’ things (semi-normal at least) can help to bridge the gap between you both. Embrace any cultural differences Now, this one doesn’t apply to everyone but can be very important if it does. If you’re having a long distance with someone in another country, it’s entirely possible that there are some cultural differences between you. Our culture is a huge part of who we are; it can also impact how and when you can communicate with each other and what you like to do. So, if you’ve found yourself in this situation, it’s a nice idea to try and embrace your partner’s culture; this can make you feel closer. Some ways you might do this include virtual cooking lessons of native or important dishes, watching foreign films together or perhaps even learning their native language if this is different to your own. Embracing cultural differences in this way can add romance to your relationship and help you to feel connected from afar. Make the most of your time together When you do get to see each other, you want to make the most of your time together. Now, this doesn’t mean cramming every second of the day full of activities; after all, it’s nice to have time to relax and unwind together. That said, before you meet in person, it can be a nice idea to get some plans in place for fun things you can do during your visit. This could be date nights, dinners, seeing family, visiting any local landmarks and highlights, movie days, etc. Just be sure to spend some quality time together and make some memories. As the distance can be challenging and can make you start to question your relationship, quality time together can reignite the spark and remind you why the distance doesn’t matter. Plan for post-visit blues It can be tough to say goodbye again, especially if you haven’t seen each other in months. As such, you need to find a way of managing the post-visit blues. Some of the best ways you can do this include: \tJumping back into your routine \tLeaning on each other and discussing your feelings openly \tPicking up a new hobby or throwing yourself back into an existing hobby \tMaking plans for your next visit and giving yourself something to look forward to \tStaying busy at work and boosting that savings account ahead of your next visit. This can be really important if you have to travel long haul to see each other Be kind to yourself Finally, remember to practise self-love and not to put too much pressure on yourself. Do small things to care for your well-being that make you happy and keep you in a positive outlook. And always be kind to yourself on the tough days. Speak openly with your partner when you can, or talk to a friend or family member if you’re struggling.