Surviving a long distance relationship is not impossible. No, it’s not easy-but it is doable.

I dated my husband five years long distance-he was in southern Italy, I was in southeast Texas-and they were the longest five years of my life.

They were also instrumental in helping us nurture our relationship and establish the foundation we have today.

Every now and then I get emails from people, usually women, who are dating an Italian man long distance and looking for some tips, advice or just a caring “ear” from someone who’s been there.

Today, I’ll share those tips with you.

Here are five tips for surviving an international long distance relationship.

Joao in a red phone box in Valletta, Malta.photo credit: victoriapeckham

1. Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk

… and then talk some more.

Long distance partners have it easier today than we had it just four or five years ago. With Skype chat and video you can actually engage in conversations without having to rush through phone calls that are costing you a fortune.

Still, that’s what we did.

We called each other three or four times a day, sometimes just to check in and say hi, other times to share a funny story about something that had just happened and other times when we had planned a phone call.

In fact, getting into a routine and knowing when you will hear from your partner is good idea. It helps cement expectations and helps you avoid manic why-hasn’t-he-called moments.

2. Have a Plan

Some relationship experts will tell you to have a plan on when the two of you will be together-forever. Personally, I think that is a little extreme. When my husband and I decided to try our hands at a long distance relationship, we had no idea how it would work out.

Instead of adding to an already stressful relationship by forcing a plan that may or may not be easy to make, take baby steps.

Have a plan on when you will see each other next.

Airport goodbyes are always sad and tearful, but knowing when you will see each other again is essential for moving forward.

3. Get a Life

You absolutely can not have a positive long distance relationship if you crawl into your bed and turn off the lights until he resurfaces. You have to have a life.

Finding your groove when you are apart will fill the time and help you feel more independent-an attractive quality in any partner.

That being said, I attribute much of our success to the fact that we were both over the going-out-every-night-drinking-and-dancing stages of our lives. One night of alcohol-induced craziness can kill any relationship … imagine what it could do after months of missing your long distance lover.

Make sure you and your partner are on the same page.

4. Stay Connected

And I’m not talking Internet, phone or Skype here. I’m talking about you.

Staying connected and ensuring you remain on the same page is instrumental to the success of your LDR. It is also a good idea to put yourself in his/her shoes. Before we’d make any big decision, we would think of what we would have wanted the other person to do in that situation.

If you wouldn’t be comfortable with your boyfriend going out and having drinks with a same-city ex, then you shouldn’t go. But again … make sure you are on the same page.

5. Stay Positive

We were lucky. Our friends and family members were totally on board and supportive of us throughout our relationship, but we still had some Negative Nellies who insisted on sharing their gloom.

“It’ll never work.”

“How are you going to make it?”

“I wonder what he/she is doing now.”

You don’t have room for these thoughts in your long distance relationship, so kick ’em out. Either refuse to talk about your relationship with negative people or distance yourself from them all together.

Your relationship has enough stress. Don’t let someone else dump their stress onto you.

Did you survive a long distance relationship? What other tips would you share?

Traveling to southern Italy? Click here to see how I can help you plan the trip of a lifetime.

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Contributing Writer for:

DKTravel1Michelin