'My boyfriend and I live 12,000km apart. Here are 8 ways we make it work.'

It’s terribly romantic, isn’t it? Meeting someone overseas, falling in love, forgoing real life to hop on a plane to find them again, pining for them when you’re apart...

This is my reality right now, and yes, it is terribly romantic (more so through the lens of being a person who has read far too many novels centred on the above). However, it’s also incredibly tricky to sustain and build a real relationship when there’s an ocean between you and your partner.

The time differences, the missing out on major moments (I spent all of my boyfriend’s birthday crying as I missed him so much - a fact that the strong, independent part of me can’t stand), and the general, physical separation is really challenging.

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All of that said, nine months into our long-distance relationship, I feel we’re finally starting to find our long-distance groove. Here are eight ways we're making it work: 

1. Date night.

There’s a lot of dating advice, about long distance love or otherwise, which encourages regular date nights between established couples. The current time difference between my boyfriend and I (he’s 17 hours behind) means we can’t really indulge in a true date night, however we try to make time, once a week, for an hour of video chatting in which we really connect.


Doing this on your computer instead of your phone, when you’re not doing anything else, is key. You can also add sweet little tasks to your plans like making a meal together, making a cocktail or coffee together, or even watching the same TV show together in real time (that’s as long as you can handle these kinds of remote tasks without getting ba lockdown flashbacks). The key is that there is time dedicated to you and your partner really connecting.

Image: Supplied

2. FaceTime over phone.

Beyond date night, it’s important to get FaceTime in. Actually seeing the other person has helped me tremendously when I’m really missing them. It makes me feel more connected to them and involved in their day. Plus, it’s such an easy and accessible mode of communication nowadays - just don’t be that person on public transport on a loud FaceTime call without headphones!


3. Remote couples therapy.

OK, this one honestly make me cringe a little, though give me a break, I’m a millennial (and he’s an American), therefore regular therapy is part of our package deal. I always thought that couples counselling was solely for stale old marriages which are on the rocks. But it’s not - it’s actually an amazing tool for anyone in a relationship. We were finding that swinging between the extremes of spending 24/7 together when we were visiting each other vs being apart meant our communication was seriously fluctuating.

We’re now using couples counselling to work on that and to find better ways to connect, strengthen and build our relationship when we’re apart.

It’s not as expensive as you’d think, either. We use ReGain (an online therapy), and if you can’t afford a one-on-one (or one-on-two) service right now, reading various books on how to make your relationship stronger can also aid in any communication challenges (I know I’ve looked to books by psychologists in the past when I couldn’t afford to see someone).

4. Befriend other long distance couples……preferably those with a successful outcome.

As I arrived back from my last trip to see my boyfriend I was feeling utterly deflated. I was exhausted from my long journey, sad to be apart from him yet again, and freezing upon returning to the Southern Hemisphere in July. Sat there, looking very glum, my Uber driver asked me if I was okay. I dramatically explained to him that I’d just left my lover at an airport on the other side of the globe, and then he went on to tell me how he’d reconnected with his high school sweetheart online during COVID, formed a long distance relationship with her and that after two years she’d recently moved to Melbourne to be with him!


Hearing his successful love story was such a good reminder that long-distance relationships can indeed work. Since this encounter I’ve consciously reached out to people I know who are in long distance affairs too, asking them for tips and encouragement.

Image: Supplied

5. Invest in a remote controlled vibrator.

Now I won’t go into too much detail on this as my family often read my work (perhaps skip this one, Mum). However, the technology available to keep long distance lovers… close… is pretty astonishing.


Nowadays there are all kinds of vibrators available on the market which one can control with their phone, even if they’re 12,000km away. No, it can never replace the real thing, but it does make a difference. It is, for lack of a better expression, hot to know your partner is in control of your pleasure. Not to mention there’s an element of silliness which comes with it (what kind of world are we living in where this sort of technology exists?!) that helps as sometimes long distance love can feel a little heavy and serious.

6. Make plans to see each other soon.

Most importantly, plan to see your long distance partner as soon as possible. My boyfriend and I never leave one another without knowing what’s next. Our pattern tends to be six to 10 weeks apart followed by a few weeks together. This is what works for both of us your schedule might be totally different. Regardless, just make sure you have something in the diary so you can look forward to seeing your partner again.

7. Remember that you still have a life.

I repeat, you have a life

It can be dangerously easy to slip into a mode where the long-distance relationship you’re in becomes the Sun you orbit. But it’s not the Sun, it’s more like Mars or Venus, nearby but not at the centre of your solar system.

The obsession that can come with long distance love is sometimes all-encompassing (again, especially if you’re like me, a girl who’s read too many books and was brought up on Rom Coms). Whilst it is romantic to occasionally indulge in those feelings of longing, you still have a life back home.

Whenever you feel yourself getting a little too obsessed with that person across the pond, recenter in your own life. Focus back on your friends, your family, your work, the place you live in, and other things that make you feel good about yourself like exercise or seeing art exhibitions.


This is really important because when you do eventually live together, you can’t let that other person, nor the relationship, dominate your world. Remember that you are the centre of your own life, your own Sun.

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8. Have an ultimate goal.

It’s important to plan towards a future together in which you will be able to co-exist in person. My boyfriend and I have a goal of me moving to Los Angeles next year. We’re working towards it constantly, though not pushing or forcing it (all the better as the US immigration system is proving to be a bloody nightmare). We’re also aware that me truly living there will take some time - it’s likely I’ll continue to be professionally based in Australia for a while, even if I live in L.A. It’s a case of good things taking time, and a focus on the goal of being together whilst being open to the path that will lead us there.

If you meet someone from overseas congratulations. It makes for serious romance, captivating cocktail party talk, and enables you to really learn from another culture. Just remember to keep the balance, use your time together wisely, work on your relationship even if you’re not together and maybe invest in one of these.

Feature Image: Supplied

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