Keys for maintaining long-distance relationships abroad

While getting into a solid relationship was hard enough for me, nothing tested the bond between my girlfriend and me quite like our time separated while I was in Germany this past semester. Thankfully, we made it through those four long months with our relationship intact and stronger than ever, but not without a little work. Here are some of my tips for maintaining a long-distance relationship while you’re abroad.

Communication is key

Although there was a seven-hour time difference between Germany and Wisconsin, it was vital for our relationship that we consistently communicated. This unfortunately meant that I had to stay up until 2 or 3 a.m. in some instances, but it was definitely worth it to share conversation with each other. This is a great depiction of how sometimes sacrifices have to be made in order to maintain a relationship.

Keep it personal

The method of communication is also important. While texting is a convenient way of keeping in touch, it lacks the personality of other communication methods. FaceTime was easily my favorite way to talk with my girlfriend, as it gave me the opportunity to see her face (albeit digitally). This kept our relationship stronger because made it feel like I was actually able to spend time with her despite being an ocean away.

Opt for the old ways

Another great way to stay in touch is an old-fashioned letter. It may seem archaic, but there’s a charm to receiving a physical letter in the mail, not to mention the fun of anticipating a letter you know is on its way. I would definitely recommend this thoughtful form of communicating, especially if you’re going abroad for longer than a semester.

Love is a gift

Want to go beyond simple communication channels? Try surprising your significant other with a gift! I’ll never forget when my girlfriend sent her first letter to me; I was anxiously awaiting its arrival, and I was shocked to instead find a small package with assorted candies enclosed. That was a huge bright spot in my day. Whether you’re abroad or stateside, a small surprise can be just the thing to make someone’s day.

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