Getty: Cindy Singleton

Long Distance Relationships Are More Like 'Normal' Relationships Than You Think

Just because you're in different zip codes doesn't mean you two are doomed.

You don't go out intentionally looking for one, but the truth is, long distance relationships happen. With love stories, songs and even apps centered around them, they are often put in a category separate from other relationships. But when you look at how "regular" romances develop, they're built on the same foundation as long distance ones. Both kinds of couples struggle with the same challenges and can apply the same principles for success over time. The mileage is the only real difference between the two, here's why.

  • Getting to know each other first is crucial.

    Part of the appeal of long distance relationships, especially ones that start off that way, is that you get to know someone before spending time face to face. This idea of a slow burn gets romanticized when you don't have the option of seeing the person, but the reality is that getting to know each other first helps the progression of all relationships. All couples have that option.

  • Communication is the important most important thing.

    Communication seems like everything in a long distance relationship, because it feels like it's all you have. Still, couples can live in the same city, even the same apartment, and if they fail to communicate the relationship fails regardless of physical contact. Communication is vital in long distances relationships because it's vital in all relationships.

  • You value the relationship, but also your independence.

    In the beginning, couples want to be around each other all the time. After awhile, they gradually transition out of the honeymoon period and become more independent in long term relationships. People in long distance romances have the same inseparable impulses in the beginning. They just don't have the codependent options. Thus, they start off where most other couples end up — two people who are good on their own, but great together.

  • You support each other's goals even when they're not convenient.

    Long distance relationships usually exist because you both are pursuing something — going to school, pursuing a career or taking care of your family — and anyone who loves you has to support that. Normal relationships also have to find a balance between their goals and each other. It's just not as obvious as long distance couples.

  • Sexting is awesome!

    Sexting comes in many forms. You don't have to be down with dirty talk or take pictures to participate. Long distance relationships seem to have their sext game on lock, but communicating desire and building anticipation is equally important for other relationships. Whether you're in the same city or not, the language of lust is important for maintaining long term intimacy.

  • Being broke causes problems.

    Being broke is a huge burden in all relationships. In long distance ones it means you can't see each other, but for all couples it's a source of stress. Less money means less power, choices and self esteem for one or both people involved. That will make any relationship more difficult than it needs to be.

  • Sex is vital but not everything.

    Physical intimacy is an important part of romantic relationships, but as many long distance couples already know, it's not the only part. Many couples lead with sex in the beginning and build on other shared interests from there. Long distance couples may opt to build before they bone, but in the end everyone needs more than sex to sustain a relationship.

  • Quality time is more important than quantity.

    Long distance couples don't have the luxury of taking everyday moments for granted, but here's the thing — just because you have that luxury in other relationships doesn't mean you should take it. If relationships were only about putting in hours, more people would succeed at them. They're about consistently connecting and having fun with each other, regardless of distance.

  • You both think about the "big picture."

    It's important for long distance couples to remind themselves where they see themselves down the road, but only because that's important for all couples. Having a shared vision of what the future looks like and the willingness to be flexible and work together in getting there is what relationships are all about. Sure, the future for long distance daters initially involves geographical changes, but that doesn't mean other couples wont have to entertain that possibility ever either. The process of growing as a couple is the same.

  • You need to trust each other for it to work.

    People are often quick to say that they would never get into a long distance relationship because it would bring up too many trust issues. But if you're willing to bring that kind of baggage into a romance based on proximity, it doesn't change anything and only creates different problems. You can't be in a relationship with you don't trust. Period.