Being long-distance from your significant other may not last forever, but it can feel like a huge burden on your here-and-now. If your partner isn’t in the same ZIP code, timezone or hemisphere as you, here are a few lessons you can both learn that will serve your relationship well once you’re reunited.

Communication is key

Early morning texts. Late-night video chats. Whether it’s Sunday brunch or a big project at work, you two chat about all your plans, adventures, challenges and feelings openly. But when you’re back under the same roof, will that ability to communicate remain?

Most likely. Maintaining a relationship long distance makes communication a priority and a habit. While the ways you communicate will change (goodbye FaceTime and hello face-to-face time), you will still feel the freedom to share the lows and celebrate each other’s victories.


Creativity counts

The little things are what often matter the most. Sweet notes left in your makeup drawer or a pot of coffee waiting for you on your busiest morning. But when doing long distance, the creativity and thoughtfulness need to be amped up a bit.


Maybe it’s a barrage of letters leading up to Valentine’s Day. Maybe it’s a care package outfitted with the best birthday surprises or treats for a random Tuesday. Long-distance couples often have a special knack for thinking ahead for special days (and the seemingly mundane ones) to make them a time to remember and feel cherished.


Practice patience

Patience is a learned virtue. When your long-distance partner forgets a FaceTime date or stays out later than intended with friends in their city, you may feel as though you’ve been demoted to the back burner. But as time goes on, you will develop a special sort of patience and security (plus some handy conflict management skills) for moments like these.


When you’re finally reunited, this patience will carry over when your partner chooses to play video games instead of watching the show you binge together. You’ll be better aware of their needs, their habits and their slightly annoying quirks, and the patience you developed while apart will make it easier to decide which issues really matter and which you can let go.


Keep your own identity

Even when you’re living near each other again, you won’t be able to spend every evening together. You both have found friends, hobbies and other ways to fill your time apart, and it’s important to maintain these lives outside of your relationship. Avoiding codependency and too much togetherness is healthy for the relationship and the individuals in it.


Live in the moment

Finally, you’re learning how to live in each moment together. Under the same roof, a movie on the couch can feel less-than-spectacular. But when you’ve known the heartache of being separated from the love of your life, time spent in their presence is a gift you truly treasure.


So, while the distance doesn’t feel easy right now, it’s important to hold on to one important reminder: The lessons you learn while far apart will only bring you closer together.

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