Welcome to Ask Anka, a weekly column in which sex therapist Anka Radakovich dives deep into your most intimate issues with advice and tips to help you live your best sex life. Have a question for Anka? Drop us a DM (no fear, we'll keep it anonymous) on Instagram @Brides
How do I keep a long-distance relationship exciting?
Long-distance relationships (or LDRs) are inherently exciting. It’s romantic to miss someone, then reunite. But geographically disadvantaged relationships take work so that it doesn’t become a non-relationship. If the LDR isn’t stroked, the person who just told you they were in love with you could easily ghost you six months later.
I have been in a few epic LDRs. My LDRs were thrilling, nerve-racking, and heartbreaking—and I would do it all over again. Here are some things I learned that made sure the LDR didn't fizzle out.
Talk More Than Text
Texting is fine for telling someone you miss them, arranging where to meet, and flirting, but always talking triumphs over texting, especially in an LDR. Talking over the phone, or face-to-face via Skype or FaceTime, creates intimacy and is the thread that keeps a long-distance relationship together, since you can’t physically be with one another. I once met someone at a party in Los Angeles when I lived in New York City. For three glorious months, we talked on the phone or on FaceTime every other night, which added up to 45 phone dates.
It was fun to walk down the streets of my Greenwich Village neighborhood on a summer night, giving him a travelogue of the neighborhood. It created an intimacy and shared experience that was similar to a real date. During those three months, I got to ask him everything I wanted to know: What his childhood was like, what his dreams were what he wanted in life and in a relationship. And I found out what made him laugh, as he made me laugh. It was dreamy and romantic. When he finally flew to New York to see me, I opened the door and we suddenly had nothing to say, as we said it all for the last three months. So I told him he looked hot, and he picked me up and carried me to my bedroom. It was heavenly, mainly because we already went into detail over the phone about what we both really wanted in bed.
You Have to Regularly Meet IRL
A male friend recently told me he fell “in love” with someone he met on Instagram who lives in another country. But they hadn't met yet. I told him to meet the girl and then see what he thinks before he puts a ring on it. They finally met, and they didn’t even like each other. Don’t waste too much time on an LDR unless you have already met in person.
If you've met and you want to give the relationship a go, you need to see them on a regular basis. A study was done on the predictability of outcomes in long-distance relationships which found that couples who waited more than 4.5 months to see each other had less probability of staying together. I find that seeing each other at least every three months keeps the relationship going, otherwise you start to forget what the person feels like to be with.
Be an Endless Flirt
Like in any relationship, you have to constantly flirt with each other to keep the spark alive: Send surprise snail-mail gifts; make sexy videos of yourselves to send to each other; send goofy selfies or romantic poems. It’s supposed to be fun!
Anka Radakovich is a couple’s counselor, certified sexologist, and sex therapist. Follow her on Twitter @ankarad.