When you or your partner has to move away for work (or occasionally for some other reason) and breaking up is absolutely off the table, your only option is a long-distance relationship. It’s a means to an end—and a noble one at that, as you both endeavour to keep the spark alive—but let’s face it: almost no one actually wants a long-distance relationship. Very few people value spending long periods of time away from their partner. And if they do, chances are the relationship isn’t actually working full stop.

But for those willing to work to stay together because they love each other and want to settle down, going long-distance is the ultimate test of connection, strength, and trust. A long-distance relationship can even serve to fortify that special bond between you by highlighting just how much is missing from your life when your partner’s out of town. And fortunately, there are lots of strategies you can put in place to ease the tough times. Because there will be tough times—but do things right, and you can ensure the romance stays alive, the attraction stays palpable, and the relationship grows only deeper and more profound.

1. Assess the goals you have in common

First and foremost, you need to think practically: how is this actually going to work? This involves sitting down with your partner for a frank conversation—and honesty is paramount. Do you plan on living in the same place in the long run—will one of you eventually join (or rejoin) the other? Do you want to live together soon? If so, will you both have a stable income? And how about children? This can be a difficult discussion to hold, but without laying your cards on the table about how you feel and how you see the relationship panning out, you all but destine matters to the romantic dustbin.

2. Don’t equate distance with a need for excessive communication

This is a tricky one. The temptation to send your long-distance partner text after text is real—but bombarding them risks you coming across as clingy, untrusting, or like you don’t have much else going on in your life. It goes without saying that regular and sincere communication is vital—but that’s not the same as texting or calling for its own sake. And while you should always err on the side of caution when it comes to anything that could be perceived as mind games, it’s nevertheless true that you need to maintain some level of intrigue when you’re physically apart. That doesn’t mean reneging on details or being slow to respond to their messages, but rather that your partner will generally be more excited to hear from you when conversations are slightly more spaced apart, deliberately scheduled, and built up to with sparing but meaningful messages: I’m so excited to see you on FaceTime tonight!

3. Let them know you’re thinking of them

This one doesn’t contradict the previous point. Because while you don’t want to overdo the texts and calls whose sole purpose is to check in on what your partner’s doing after you’ve just spent three hours on the phone, there’s a lot to be said for messaging them something cute out of the blue, or sending a selfie, a voice note, or even just a heart emoji. You can strengthen the relationship by reminding them how much you think of them even when you’re not talking.

4. Get creative with technology to feel closer to one another

With a little ingenuity, there are so many ways to be emotionally intimate through the means of simple technologies you both use in your day-to-day lives. For example, when your partner’s had a bad day or is going through a rough time at work, you could brighten their mood immeasurably with a playlist you’ve created of your relationship’s defining songs. And how about a long-distance film night? Get on FaceTime with your popcorn and drinks, press play at the same moment, and discuss and react to the film in real time. You might be amazed at how effective a shared virtual experience can be in bringing the two of you closer.

5. Swap belongings

There are few better ways to feel close to your long-distance partner after a long hard day than throwing on one of their jumpers with still a hint of their scent on it. Or if they gave you a parting gift, use it, cherish it. Every present will hold so much more meaning now the two of you are apart. That connection via a tangible object is an amazing portal back into your partner’s arms.

6. Always have the next date you’ll see each other in the calendar

By scheduling your next time together physically, you can do away with some of the pain and anxiety that are inevitable when you’re apart. These dates in the diary are the glue that binds the two of you together through good times and bad.

7. Have an end in sight

Most importantly of all, this long-distance marathon needs a finish line. You can’t do this forever; invariably, the two of you will either break up or settle down. So be sure to have fairly regular conversations revolving around your plans, goals, and feelings about how your long-distance relationship is progressing—and contextualise the discussion with an agreed-upon timeframe.

You can’t fight love—and many successful relationships start out long-distance

While a long-distance relationship can’t be sustained indefinitely, it’s certainly a means to an end when you meet somebody truly extraordinary, who blows your world wide open in a way you’ve never experienced before. And if you need a little assistance meeting that special someone—near or far—we can help.

Maclynn (formerly Vida) is an elite, multi-award-winning international dating agency. Our global network boasts some of the world’s most impressive singletons. While we do of course factor geography into the equation when pairing people up for dates, it’s ultimately, of course, at the discretion of the two individuals how far they’re willing to travel to find love. So get in touch today, and we’ll help you meet that one person with whom your romance could be all-encompassing—even if they do live out of town.