Here's How Often You Should Communicate In A Long-Distance Relationship

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Rules and expectations for long-distance relationships are not always as clear-cut as those for partners who live near each other. If you're in one, you might find yourself asking questions like "are we supposed to talk to each other's families?", "what should we do for each other's birthdays?", and "how often should people in an LDR even talk?" But the truth is, whether your relationship is long-distance or not, there are no rules. There's no right or wrong frequency with which you need to talk to your long-distance partner. What's more important is how each of you feels about your communication.

"Long-distance relationships can be challenging for a variety of reasons," therapist Alisha Powell, PhD, LCSW tells Bustle. "Communication is crucial in helping them to remain healthy. You should talk to your partner as much as you would if they lived close by. Establish communication habits that work for both you and your partner. For some couples, having an ongoing conversation throughout the day is necessary. For other, checking in once a day is adequate."

How do you know if you're talking enough, then? Here are some questions to ask yourself that will give you a better idea than any number.


Have You Talked About How Often You Want To Speak?

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The right frequency with which you should talk is whatever frequency you can both agree on. To figure out if you and your partner are on the same page about how often you should talk, have a conversation about it. Then, have more conversations about it as your relationship progresses to see if it's still working for you. "Reach out to your partner if you would like to communicate more or less with them," says Powell. "Don’t be afraid to express your needs and your expectations."


Do You Let Them Know You're Thinking Of Them?

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Even if you go long stretches of time without hearing each other's voices, texts and emails can go a long way. Spira recommends sending occasional thinking-of-you texts to let your partner know you're still with them in spirit, if not physically. "There may be times when a call isn’t feasible, due to being on different time zones or work commitments," she says. "If that’s the case, ramp up the texts to your significant other, starting with a good morning text and ending with a 'sweet dreams' text when it’s time to say goodnight."


Do You Know When You'll See Each Other Again?

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Long-distance relationships feel more real when there's an end in sight to your time apart. So, Spira suggests scheduling time to see each other again as soon as you can. The knowledge that you'll soon be together will help get you through your time apart, and the excitement of planning your reunion will give you something to talk about.


Are You Hearing Each Other's Voices?

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"Feeling connected to your partner is critical to the success of your relationship," says Spira. "I believe the best way to stay connected is to hear someone’s voice." Your voice, after all, can communicate more than words on a page. Make sure you're at least occasionally communicating through some means other than writing.


Are You Seeing Each Other's Faces?

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When you can't see each other in person, it's important to still see each other's faces. "Not everyone wants to use FaceTime or Skype for a video date, but it’s the closest thing you can get to being on an actual date," says Spira. "Seeing the expression in your partner’s face when you crack a funny joke ... keeps the spark alive in a long-distance love."

Long-distance relationships can be hard, but they also have advantages, like more freedom, the chance to focus on work, and exciting reunions. And thanks to technology, you don't have to be physically close to feel close to each other. You're free to communicate as often as you want.