Going the distance: our top ten tips for a successful long-distance relationship
You’ve found the guy you want to be with!
You’ve had the Big Chat. You cook for each other and argue about what series to binge next. You know each other’s favourite positions and biggest turn-ons. You’re two guys in love, sharing a life.
Except now one of you has to leave. Maybe it’s for work, or family, or a complicated visa situation. Whatever the reason, you’ve taken the brave decision to stay together and have a long-distance relationship.
While it’s nobody’s first choice, there are ways to make the best of a long-distance relationship — and maybe even learn a bit about yourselves in the process. From simple tips on communicating to the wild frontier of teledildonics, there are plenty of ways to stay close, even when you can’t be together.
1. Commit to the relationship and prioritise it
Being apart from your boyfriend, you’ll have more time to cultivate your own interests and friendships, and your life may actually become fuller and busier than it was before.
But you still need to prioritise your partner, and you should expect him to do the same. That means setting aside time for each other — for chats, cam sessions, coffee, a glass of wine — every day. Make sure your plans with him come first, even if it’s just a phone call.
2. Work out whether you want monogamy or an open relationship
If you’re a monogamous couple, this can be one of the scariest things to talk about.
For some guys, there’s no question — they don’t want to have sex with anyone other than their partner. If this is you and your bf, there are a bunch of ways to keep your sex life interesting, even if you can’t be together physically (see the point below on technology).
For other guys, an open relationship can be a more practical solution. An open relationship isn’t for everyone, but it’s reasonably common among gay and bisexual guys — one study in the US found 42 per cent of the partnered gay men who participated were non-monogamous, in fact. Meanwhile, here in Australia, Gay Community Periodic Surveys from 2021 identified roughly 20 per cent of guys surveyed had both regular and casual partners — though that proportion is a drop from previous years, likely due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Being in an open relationship takes a lot of trust, communication and respect. But it can also take the pressure off in other areas of your relationship, and even lead to a deeper connection and better understanding of each other.
If you’re looking to open things up, a good place to start is to consider relationship agreements. And remember that sex outside of your primary relationship means keeping your sexual health in tip-top shape too. Discussing boundaries and other key elements like whether you’d use condoms, PrEP or rely on an undetectable viral load can be a useful way to build trust and know that you’re both invested in each other’s wellbeing, even while apart. Discover more about ways to keep each other safe in Using four great options to prevent HIV: a combination for success.
3. Call him rather than texting
Texting and other forms of instant communication (e.g. social media tags/posts) can be great for keeping in touch, but they’re no substitute for hearing the sound of your voice or seeing your face in real time.
Phone calls and video calls are a vital part of keeping your connection strong and maintaining the normal rhythms of your relationship. Try to call one another at times when you’d normally be together, like first thing in the morning or at dinner time. Something as simple as sending him off to work with a virtual kiss on the cheek can help keep your regular routines as a couple alive.
Even if you’re not normally big on romance or expressing your feelings, make an effort to show him you care about him as often as possible.
Tell him you love him. Make a point of saying he’s gorgeous when you video chat. Say how much you want to give him a hug or a kiss (or a blowjob). Send flowers, cupcakes or his favourite UberEats meal to let him know you’re thinking of him.
If you suddenly find yourself missing something about him, tell him in the moment.
5. Technology can help keep the fire burning
Sexting, phone sex and camming are all great ways to keep your intimate connection alive when you’re apart. If you’re new to virtual intimacy, now is a good time to explore what you like and don’t like. Get him to talk dirty to you before bed. Play strip poker online. Cook dinner naked and let him watch. Have a mutual masturbation session where you talk about the last time(s) you had sex. Discover the secrets to getting it on online in Virtually hooking up: a beginner’s guide to online sex.
If you’re a bit more adventurous (and willing to drop some cash), the world of teledildonics may also be of interest. Designed for exactly your situation, teledildonic devices allow you to simulate sex with your partner in real time, using remotely synced sex toys. Want to watch him cum using a vibrator you’re controlling over the Wi-Fi? Or maybe blow his mind with a cock sleeve/vibrator combo, which mirror each other’s sensations across the distance? This was surely the end goal when the internet was invented!
6. Make yourself part of his life (and vice versa)
Staying involved and interested in each other’s lives, wherever you are, is one of the best ways to stay close. Hang with each other’s friends via video call, or take a virtual tour of his neighbourhood.
Plan little surprises for him, both online (a cheeky dick pic might brighten his boring day at work) and offline (a delivery of flowers and/or his favourite food is never a bad idea). Have movie nights and games nights together online.
7. Share the boring stuff, too
It can be tempting to filter your life for your partner and show him only the good parts. The thing is, the everyday ‘boring’ parts of life are how we get to know each other, and how we keep knowing each other.
Ask him to help you decide what to have for dinner. Tell him what you did at the gym. Talk about what you’re watching at the moment. All these things are part of how you fell in love in the first place — keep them in the mix.
8. Check in with each other regularly about how you’re feeling. Be completely honest
There are going to be times when one or both of you doesn’t feel great about being in a long-distance relationship. You might feel that he’s becoming more distant, or you might be emotionally exhausted. Support each other through these sorts of feelings, which are inevitable. Talking it through can help get to the root of the issue and frame it in terms of ‘it’s time to make an adjustment’ rather than ‘it’s not working out’.
9. Make plans to visit each other regularly
The lonely times will be much easier to bear if you have something to look forward to. Always have a visit or a holiday together in your calendar. Make sure you go to see each other regularly (if you can), and treat yourselves to some time when it’s just the two of you — go ahead and book that dirty weekend.
10. Talk about the future
If your long-distance situation has a definite end date, talk about what’s going to happen once you can be together again. Plan a welcome home party or a holiday. Again, it’s about having something to look forward to. If it’s not clear when that might be, make sure you’re planning ahead for milestones like birthdays and anniversaries together.
And don’t forget, your long-distance situation isn’t going to last forever (and it probably can’t). Stay connected and be brave — when this is over, your relationship is going to be even stronger for it.