How to Take Care of Yourself Emotionally in a Long-Distance Relationship

Long-distance relationships require emotional maturity. We give you some tips to ensure that distance doesn't end up being the factor that ends your relationship.
How to Take Care of Yourself Emotionally in a Long-Distance Relationship
Elena Sanz

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Today, thanks to new technologies and communication channels, maintaining a long-distance relationship is much easier than it was some years ago. Nevertheless, it’s still a complicated and often painful process. In fact, during this kind of relationship, more than ever, you need to count on yourself to protect your emotions and be able to enjoy the bond between you.

Long-distance relationships are just as relevant as those that develop in a context of physical proximity. However, if your partner lives far away, it’s likely that you’ve had to face the judgment and disbelief of some of those close to you. Nonetheless, research demonstrates that those who maintain these types of connections manage to achieve higher levels of intimacy and satisfaction in their relationships.

Despite this fact, in most cases, the distance ends up becoming a negative variable. It’s usually down to factors like your partner not being there to hug you after a hard day’s work, being unable to comfort you in bad times, or not being able to accompany you on outings or celebrations. This can awaken fears, insecurities, and inappropriate behavior in both of you. For this reason, we want to offer you some tips to take care of yourself and avoid any unnecessary suffering.

Sad man, in a long-distance relationship.

Taking care of your emotions in a long-distance relationship

When you establish a  relationship, you usually unconsciously deposit a good part of your well-being in it.

In the face of dissatisfaction and unhappiness, you might blame your relationship for not contributing what you need to make your life better. However, taking care of yourself is your responsibility. Indeed, more than anything else, it’s your thoughts and attitudes that determine your peace of mind.

Control your inner saboteur

Being away from your partner can awaken a negative internal dialogue in you, the voice of that inner saboteur who tries to convince you that something is wrong. For the same reason, you may find yourself constantly thinking that your partner is going to cheat on you or that they’re going to discover that they’re happier without you.

These insecurities can lead you to carry out unhealthy behaviors like constantly complaining or criticizing your partner, trying to control them, always needing to know where they are, or even trying to find ways of spying on them.

Not only does this deteriorate your relationship and break the trust between you, but it also causes you enormous unnecessary emotional suffering. Therefore, it’s important that you detect these kinds of thoughts as soon as they occur, analyze their veracity, and replace them with others that are more appropriate and beneficial.

Live in the present

If you’re in a long-distance relationship, the time you spend with your partner is likely to be limited. Thus, it may be, that in those few days you share, you’re constantly thinking that you’ll soon be separated again, which prevents you from enjoying the moment.

If you find this happening to you, try to anchor yourself in the present, the here and now, where everything is fine. Live your shared moments to the fullest and don’t allow your anticipation to fill you with sadness.

Your life goes on

If you lived close to your partner before the separation, you may have the feeling that your life has suddenly stopped. That’s because your previous routines are no longer viable. However, spending your life waiting for your partner to return isn’t a positive move for either of you.

Both of you must continue to progress. As a matter of fact, this time apart can be ideal for focusing on yourself, your career, hobbies, and the rest of the people in your life. Furthermore, by enriching yourself, you’ll also be contributing to enhancing your relationship.

Friends talking over coffee

Be clear with yourself and your partner

Communication and honesty are essential for a long-distance relationship to work so that neither member suffers unnecessarily. For this reason, you should try to communicate to your partner what you feel and need at all times and also listen to their needs. Above all, it’s essential that you’re clear with yourself.

A long-distance relationship can evolve in different ways. It’s possible that, at a certain point, wear and tear will take its toll on one of you and your desires and priorities will change.

Therefore, it’s important to check that you and your partner are on the same level, that you both share the same goals and plans for the future, and are similarly committed to each other. If it’s only you who’s striving to keep the relationship alive, who always gives in and surrenders, and who’s the only one planning a future in which you’ll both be close again, try to stop fooling yourself. After all, while ending a relationship is painful, sustaining the unsustainable can be devastating.

A long-distance relationship requires maturity

Maintaining a temporary separation with your partner doesn’t have to be catastrophic. In fact, it can even strengthen the bond between you. Nonetheless, maturity is required for this type of relationship to succeed and not to be excessively damaged in the process.

Emotional intelligence, assertiveness, and calm will be your best allies while the distance between you lasts. Question your thoughts before believing them, always express yourself with respect and clarity, and learn to calm down so as not to be hijacked by any negative emotions. Indeed, if you possess emotional maturity, a long-distance relationship can be a precious experience.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Crystal Jiang, L., & Hancock, J. T. (2013). Absence makes the communication grow fonder: Geographic separation, interpersonal media, and intimacy in dating relationships. Journal of Communication63(3), 556-577.
  • Sahlstein, E. M. (2004). Relating at a distance: Negotiating being together and being apart in long-distance relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships21(5), 689-710.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.