How to light the spark if you're miles apart.
Credit: Courtesy of Brooke Saward

No matter what keeps you apart-whether it's travel for work, taking some time to address a family matter, or chasing down your dreams-there are countless reasons why a couple can be separated for extended periods of time. That doesn't mean that you can't keep your healthy strong and healthy, though. Use these five tips to remind your loved one how much you care while you're apart. Trust us, when you do return to one another, your bond will be even stronger than before.

Carve out time to talk every day.

"If you weren't dating long distance, you'd likely be sitting down for dinner together, having pillow talk, or snuggling on the couch," says licensed counselor and dating coach Samantha Burns. But not being physically near your partner doesn't mean you can't give them undivided attention and make sure they still feel like a priority. If you're communicating, but not in person, make sure you're not multi-tasking and that all of your other to-do's are on the back burner. "If this feels like a chore, this is a warning sign that long distance may not be for you," Burns says. "You should be excited and looking forward to this time to reconnect over the phone, Skype or FaceTime."

Mix things up.

Research shows that ruts of doing less-exciting activities can lead to boredom, Burns says. And boredom is a silent relationship killer. At the same time, breaking out of a routine can be difficult-whether you're a long-distance couple or living in the same space. "You have to be strategic about activating the reward center in your brain, which releases dopamine-a neurotransmitter that gives you that euphoric feeling, makes you crave your partner, and keeps you thinking about each other," Burns says. So find ways to release dopamine together, she suggests, like watching funny YouTube videos at the same time, listen to loud and exciting music together through a shared playlist, or by surprise each other by planning an unexpected visit or sending a thoughtful gift or love letter in the mail.

Do activities together.

Just because you're far away doesn't mean you can't participate together in something you both enjoy. "When you're long distance, it's easy to feel like you're growing apart when your day-to-day lives are so different," Burns says. So take some time to stay connected by doing things with your partner. Burns suggests you try reading the same book, watch Game of Thrones at the same time, play a computer or video game against each other, or even do an at-home workout with the camera turned on so you can motive each other. "Working on the same goals or projects allows you to grow together," she says.

Talk dirty.

"Your partner may be your best friend, but he or she is also your lover," Burns says. "And in order to keep the spark alive, it's important to tap into that sexual relationship." She suggests you start by sending flirty texts. "Depending on how comfortable you are with this type of talk, you can start slowly," she adds. "Tapping into flirtation and sexuality will be important to glue in holding your long-distance relationship together."

Plan for the next time you'll see each other.

One of the hardest things to do in a long-distance relationship is to stay motivated when you don't know when you'll see your significant other again. "The anticipation of reuniting is what keeps a lot of couples excited and invested," Burns says. "Sit down with your calendars and map out a travel schedule that's realistic, affordable, and that minimizes long gaps of time apart when possible."


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