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How to Maintain a Long-Distance Relationship

By: LIFELines

Your heart beats rapidly and your palms get sweaty every time your Sailor or Marine walks in the room. You want nothing more than to be together — yet here you sit, alone. The object of your adoration is thousands of miles away and just as lonely.

Maintaining a long-distance relationship is not easy, but it can be done. In fact, it can be done with humor and romance that can bring you closer together and make your reunions that much sweeter.

For today's military couple, keeping connected is easier and faster than it was just ten years ago. The Internet, cell phones, videos, and old-fashioned snail mail help keep the flame of romance burning bright.


The number-one ingredient for relationships that span the globe is communication. There are, however, a few do's and don'ts to keep in mind.

Do share your everyday life in your correspondence. Describing the events of the day may seem boring to you, but to your Sailor or Marine, it's a connection to home and family.

Don't write about a crisis or unpleasant situation and leave your Sailor or Marine hanging. Tell about what happened, but tell how it all worked out, too.

Do include your Sailor or Marine as much as possible in making decisions. Emergency decisions must sometimes be made — but when you can, it's important to include your other half in decisions that affect you both. One of the ways to maintain togetherness across the miles is to make everyone feel they're part of the unit.

Don't write a letter or e-mail in anger. If you are able to talk by phone and work through a problem, that's one thing. But one-sided arguments only cause hard feelings. Take time to cool off before you put pen to paper (or fingertips to a keyboard).

Do remember that words are powerful. Express your love, longing, and desire to be together again. Everyone needs to hear (or read) that they're loved now and then. It is especially important when you are separated.

Packages, Gifts, and Goodies

Send care packages, cards, and other items. The arrival of a surprise in the mail says that the one you love is thinking about you. Sailors and Marines away from home appreciate something that brings a laugh or smile.

Keep in mind, however, that some items may not be appropriate to send to service people in the Middle East. Fashion, fitness and muscle magazines that show scantily clad people can be construed as pornographic in Middle Eastern countries. Pork products are considered unclean in Islamic countries. The United States military tries to be considerate of other countries' customs and discourages service members from having items that might be considered offensive.

Remaining Faithful

Nothing destroys a relationship quicker than a lapse in fidelity. Keep yourself out of situations where something could happen that you might regret later. A strong marriage before you're separated will help you both remain faithful.


Depending on your financial situation and where your partner is, trips and weekend visits can help strengthen a relationship. Sometimes the distance is too great for weekend trips. If you know your significant other is going to be in a foreign country for a year, some financial pre-planning is needed, as well as taking care of passports, immunizations, and lodging arrangements.

You can grow and deepen your relationship across the miles. If both people in the relationship are committed to making it work, then love can conquer all, even when there is an ocean between you.