Finding love is difficult, but maintaining that love over distance can be even more challenging. Distance can either end a relationship or make it stronger than ever before.
“Long-distance relationships are tough,” said Trisha Breakall, a senior studying child development. “They are not for everyone.”
If you are in a long-distance relationship, are thinking about getting into one or know others in one, it is important to learn what it takes to make it succeed.
“Long distance does not have to be the end of the relationship,” Breakall said.
She said that to make a long-distance relationship work, both people need to be committed and make the choice to keep the relationship alive.
“Scientific studies show that couples in long-distance relationships can be equally, if not more, satisfied as geographically-close couples,” according to Jessica Orwig’s article, “Why Men Pull Away” in Business Insider, explaining how to make long distance work.
Long-distance couples are more likely to share meaningful thoughts and feelings, and therefore experience a deeper sense of emotional intimacy than those in closer proximity of each other, according to the article.
There are over 3 million Americans in long distance relatiosnhips, according to Emma Dargie, a PhD student in clinical psychology at Queen’s University who has studied hundreds of long-distance daters.
How do these 3 million Americans do it?
“Both must be willing to work, to make it work,” Breakall said. “It’s really been a choice to become more selfless and ask myself what I am doing to strengthen our relationship.”
She said those choices have helped her, not only with her relationship, but also as an individual.
“It has refined me in ways I didn’t know I needed,” Breakall said.
Breakall said she watched her roommates and friends get into long-distance relationships, and she vowed she would never do it; however, that was before John Stegelmeier.
Breakall said she has been dating her fiancé John for 8 months, most of that time being long distance, but they have made it work and are now engaged to be married in the temple this December.
Dakoda Leia, a BYU-Idaho alumna, said communication is key.
She said her relationship would not be the same without it.
“If you don’t communicate, there’s nothing there,” Leia said.
According to Dargie’s study, the best advice for long-distance relationships is having good communication.
Breakall said she learned how difficult it is to communicate. She said she had to learn how men and women communicate differently.
She said that sometimes, she had to be very direct and tell Stegelmeier everything including her reactions because he could not pick up on nonverbal cues.
“You have to be extremely involved in each other’s life, and if you’re not on the same page, it’s easy to fall apart or become discouraged,” said Michael Molder, a freshman studying social work.
Molder and Leia are getting married this December after being in a long-distance relationship the last five months of his mission and the past two months while at school.
“If you really love them, then it’s worth it,” Molder said.
Molder said the two have Skype dates where they sometimes watch a movie together and can talk and comment while watching.
Molder said those activities helped their relationship stay strong.
Another way to make sure the relationship flourishes is to not compare your relationships to others, Breakall said.
“Everyone’s relationship is its own, nobody else’s,” she said.
Doing activities together and keeping each other updated about each other’s lives are some of the best ways to keep a long-distance relationship strong, according to Keay Nigel’s article “21 Best Tips On Making A Long Distance Relationship Work” in Life Hack, an organization trying to improve people’s lives.
Another tip to make long-distance relationships work is to build trust, according to Orwig’s article.
“In any relationship, but especially in long-distance relationships, it’s important to understand that your partner has a life outside of the relationship,” according to         Orwig’s article.
Trusting the other person and having confidence in the relationship will reduce jealousy and stop many other problems from being created, according to Orwig’s article.
“I want him to be happy and doing fun stuff while we’re apart,” Breakall said.
She said that the only thing she ever got jealous about was that she could not be there to have fun with Stegelmeier, like others could.
“Do what you can together, and find joy in the journey,” she said. “My happiness isn’t dependent on John, and I know I will be with him soon.”
One thing that Molder, Leia and Breakall all said everyone in long-distance relationships should do is keep the relationship focused              on Christ.
“Hit your knees often, and ask if this is the right path,” Leia said. “God doesn’t give you what you      can’t handle.”
It comes down to both people in the relationship working together and making a choice to make it work, Breakall said.
“It will work if you want it to,” Breakall said. “Every relationship is unique, and the right person is the one you choose and communicate with.”
It is possible to make a long-distance relationship work, but both people must be willing to go             the distance.
“In hindsight, it has all been worth it, and I don’t think I would have gotten to know him as well if we hadn’t been apart for so long,” Breakall said.