Long distance relationships are complicated, but with a little bit of planning and effort, you and your partner can make it work. Whether you and your beloved are apart for a few months or indefinitely, these tips are sure to help you stay connected.

Set Clear Expectations

Start off on the right foot by laying the ground rules. If you and your partner are married or have been together for a long time, then it probably goes without saying that the two of you are exclusive, and going on casual dates with other people is out of the question. However, if you and your partner have yet to meet in person or have only been together for a few weeks, neither of you should take exclusivity for granted.

Bottom line: if the relationship is young, don't make assumptions.

Stay Balanced

It sounds counterintuitive, but hear us out: long distance relationships are hard work, but being a slave to your phone will only make it harder. Many couples try to compensate for distance by communicating as much as possible. This may work for a little while, but pretty soon you're going to have to step outside and actually interact with the people around you. Not only is it unnecessary, but forcing yourself and your significant other to be tethered to your phones is a recipe for burnout.

Instead, figure out with your partner how often you should aim to communicate. This will vary widely from relationship to relationship, so figure out the balance that will work best for yours.

Look for Other Ways to Connect

You may not spend every waking moment on the phone, but that doesn't mean that you can't find little ways to connect throughout the day. Play an online game with your partner, share videos and songs that you like or read a book together. These are small ways to keep the relationship alive, even after you've long exhausted your normal topics of conversation.

Know Each Other's Schedules

Nothing fuels insecurity and disappointment quite like a phone call or text that goes without a response for hours. Knowing your partner's schedule and making sure that he or she knows yours is a simple way to make sure that you're sending a text or making a call at the right time. Use an online calendar to keep track of each other's agendas and upcoming events.

Stay Positive

Like any relationship, a long distance relationship needs a healthy dose of positivity in order to be successful. It's easy to focus on how lonely you feel or how difficult this season of life is. Whenever you start to feel that the relationship brings more sadness than joy, focus on being thankful for the little things. A hand-written letter you've received, the fact that you love someone who also loves you and that you and your partner are healthy and safe are all reasons to be thankful.

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