Online Dating Over A Long Distance: 20 Tips To Make It Work

Disclosure: this page may contain affiliate links to select partners. We receive a commission should you choose to make a purchase after clicking on them. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Online dating opens the doors to dating anyone you want. Your soulmate might exist, but who says that they live in your area? Maybe they’re across the world, hoping for someone like you to jump into the online dating pool so that you can connect.

Long-distance dating after meeting online means exactly that—your budding relationship will be entirely digital, virtual. You won’t be in the same place at the same time very often, if at all to begin with.

How can this type of relationship work?

The truth is, if you don’t end up in the same location eventually, your relationship is doomed to fail at some point. However, any relationship can end because of outside influences. So, why not enjoy the experience of a long-distance relationship and at least try to turn it into something meaningful and long-lasting? It can happen.

Here are some tips for starting a long-distance relationship online and growing it into something that might last a lifetime.

Get expert help figuring out whether starting a long-distance relationship online is the right choice for you. You may want to speak to someone via for practical advice that is tailored to your exact circumstances.

1. Send good morning and good night messages.

Getting a “Good morning” and “Good night” message every day can mean a lot to a person. You’re starting and ending the day together, or you’re at least aware of when each other’s day starts and ends.

It’s comforting to know that your partner thought about you as soon as they opened their eyes and right before they closed them. This also helps form a habit out of spending your days together even if sometimes the good night and the good morning message is all that you get.

You wouldn’t be spending every minute of every day together if you were dating in person, so don’t try to do this while you’re dating online. Starting and ending the day together should, however, be a daily part of your relationship that keeps you connected in case you need to talk.

2. Talk about everyday things.

“How was your day?” It can be lovely to be able to answer this question honestly to the person you care about. So, share details about your days with each other.

Did you get into a fight with a coworker? Did you choose a salad over a burger today? Discuss your day and ask how their day has been going.

You can talk about random everyday things and engage in small talk as well. Talk about the weather or what you’re doing right now. Most importantly, talk the same way you would if you were in an ordinary relationship.

Don’t talk more than you would if you were dating them in person just because you need to write it rather than say it. Keep in mind that you could also use voice messages or jump on a call instead of using text messages. This will remind you that you’re dating a real person, not someone you’re looking at on the computer screen.

3. Discover common interests and bond over them.

Entering a long-distance relationship from the beginning isn’t all that different to the early throes of dating in person. One of the most important things is to figure out what you have in common.

These shared things can bring you closer together, and they are perhaps even more important when the relationship is virtual. Maybe you like the same game that you could play together even over a distance. Perhaps you like the same genres of entertainment, so you could read the same book and talk about it or suggest a movie and watch it at the same time as each other.

Your common interests can turn into fun date ideas, not just make you feel closer to each other. Just keep in mind that you’re not dating purely through text messages because that’s not how a relationship works, at least not for a long time. Have a video call on your laptops while you’re doing your everyday chores, or prepare the same meal and have lunch together.

4. Don’t talk too much.

Just because someone is available online and interested in you doesn’t mean that they want to talk to you whenever you feel like messaging them. Don’t talk too much, and try to communicate as much as you normally would if you were dating in person.

Constant messaging can be tempting, but it quickly ruins potentially good relationships. It’s not sustainable to talk every minute of every day, so keep it to the same frequency as if you were in a regular relationship.

5. Have virtual dates.

You must have actual dates, and there are plenty of options as long as your electronic device and internet connection are ready. You can also use some of the ideas related to your common interests, as previously mentioned. Don’t hesitate to explore new interests and try new things too.

Maybe you never tried mixing wine with Coke… give it a go on your special date. Or you could order in some fancy takeout and dine together. Wine goes well with cheese, so why not make it a wine and cheese-tasting event?

Don’t forget to dress up for your dates despite being at home—even if your man would be perfectly fine with you staying in your pajamas! Act like this is a real relationship and it will begin to feel more real.

6. Give gifts.

Small mementos are very important in online relationships. Your partner wants to have something to hold and hug when they can’t touch you. They want to have memories of you and your experiences together. So, exchange gifts. Send a care package to their address or wait until you see each other in person to give a gift.

You could give them a small pillow sprayed with your perfume and their favorite chocolate, or even jewelry. Giving someone a ring really proves that you’re serious about dating them. It doesn’t have to be an engagement ring to feel like one. A simple, interesting ring that you think they’d like to wear will do the trick and will always remind them of your relationship.

7. Talk about meeting in person.

A long-distance relationship is unlikely to work unless you eventually and occasionally meet in person.

So, ask yourself: is that really so difficult to accomplish?

Talk about it when you think that the relationship has real potential. Maybe you could go visit them or they could stay at your place. Alternatively, it might be a better idea for you, or them, to stay in a hotel so you aren’t thrust into living together too soon.

Keep in mind that seeing each other doesn’t mean that you’re living together, and it also doesn’t mean that you’re on a vacation. Date like you normally would if you had met in person and not online.

Talk about meeting in person, and if they hesitate, they’re not that serious about dating you.

8. Then actually meet—as often as possible.

Meeting each other only once is not going to be enough. You’re not going to instantly move in together or move closer to each other. So, a long-distance relationship might require a few expensive trips that you have to be willing to take for the whole thing to work.

See each other in person if you’re serious about this relationship. If you want this to work out, don’t look at it as something to do online when you’re lonely. Online chemistry is not the same as real-life chemistry, so check out how you work when you’re in the same room together before committing to each other for the long haul.

9. Have sexual intimacy.

You should be comfortable with sexting and dirty talk if you want a long-distance relationship to work. A romantic relationship without sex is not that romantic, so work on your sexual intimacy even though you can’t reach out to touch each other.

If you trust this person, you could even exchange a few sexy pics (just make sure to hide your face, just in case) or have a sexy video call (again, be cautious about being recorded!).

Even if you’re cool with all this, it’s probably not the kind of sexual intimacy that you had in mind when looking for a relationship. Unfortunately, it’s all you can have when there are miles separating you from touching.

10. Consider the benefits.

A long-distance relationship that is almost entirely online comes with many benefits. When your partner is not fully present in your life, you have much more time for your hobbies and interests. You get to hang out with your friends and generally experience more freedom than you would if you were dedicating a lot of your spare time to your partner.

However, the biggest benefit of online relationships is that you are with someone that you’ve never been in the same room with, at least to begin with. This means you have the entire world to choose from; you’re not limited to someone local. You have the chance to expand your horizons and actually find your soulmate among billions of fish in the sea.

11. Be honest and loyal.

Just because online relationships give you more freedom, it doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want. Be honest with your partner and loyal to them. Behave the same way you would as if you were in a regular relationship. Don’t cheat or lie.

Let them know when you’ll be going out with friends or doing something else where you could potentially meet another mate. Don’t make them jealous, and reassure them of how much your relationship means to you. Without honesty and loyalty, a relationship can’t work. This is true of any relationship, let alone a long-distance one.

12. Cherish your moments together.

Cherish the moments that you get to share together, especially when you’re seeing each other in person or having virtual dates. You probably have a lot of other things on your plate and you may even be in different time zones. So, use your time together wisely and treasure every second of it.

Make it count by spending it in a meaningful way that brings you closer together. Have heartfelt conversations, listen to each other, and talk about your feelings. Don’t forget to just have fun sometimes by simply sharing a laugh.

13. Be there for each other.

You can’t physically show up when your partner needs you, but you can be there for them in every other way. Expect the same from them. Be there in each other’s moments of grief and sorrow. Give a shoulder to cry on or offer insightful advice. Hey, maybe you can even cheer them up and make them laugh.

You could do your part simply by picking up the phone and listening to what they have to say, even if it’s an inconvenient time for you to chat. Confide in each other. Your relationship can’t work without mutual trust. Show that you care by actually being there even though you can’t physically transport yourself into their arms.

14. Support each other.

Not all your hobbies and interests are going to match, and that’s okay! Support them in whatever it is that they are passionate about, and this will undoubtedly mean a lot. Show them that you value their art by gifting them a special paintbrush, or show appreciation for their favorite type of music by listening to it with them.

Give them a gift related to their likes and interests, or turn their likes and interests into a date. Be the wind beneath their wings, and don’t hold them back when they’re fighting to achieve their dreams, even if it’s hard for you to believe in them too.

Try to have faith in them and hope that they’ll succeed in whatever it is that they enjoy doing, or at least that they’ll do it frequently. So, encourage them to dedicate time to their hobbies and interests instead of demanding all their time for yourself.

15. Do things together while apart.

Not everything has to be about having quality time together. Spend some time together doing normal everyday activities that you would do anyway, and see how it feels when they are incorporated into your daily life.

The problem with long-distance relationships is that your only shot at happiness is for it to end in living together, at least for a short while. So, see how that would work by getting accustomed to each other’s days and habits.

Schedule in some time to just stay connected while you’re living your life, and see if you can both live in harmony. Be aware of each other’s schedules, find out what it’s like to live in their area, and help them learn more about yours.

16. Talk about your relationship.

How serious are you about this whole thing? Starting a long-distance relationship online can work, but only if it eventually stops being a long-distance one. So, are you just having some fun, or are you actually ready and willing to date this person in real life?

If you want to date them in real life, how long will you try it out online before you talk about seeing each other in person? What would have to happen for you to actually date in real life?

Most likely, one of you would need to quit your job and relocate to another place, so are you really ready for all that?

When you’re worried about the state of your relationship, talk about it, and consider whether it’s worth continuing and whether it’s going somewhere.

17. Talk about your problems.

When you experience problems (and like every couple, you will) talk about them, don’t shove them under the rug. Every relationship hits a rough patch every now and then, so don’t just disconnect and ignore each other online when you get into a fight.

Understand that arguments happen in all relationships and try to resolve them like adults. Don’t end a long-distance relationship over a small fight, and don’t rush to communicate while you’re overwhelmed by emotions.

Take some time to cool down and talk when you can calmly and assertively discuss your issues, not point fingers, play the blame game, or even yell at each other and use name-calling to prove your point.

18. Maintain other aspects of your life.

Don’t let your entire life revolve around your love life. It can be tempting to spend all your time chatting to each other, but that’s not sustainable, and it will only cause trouble. So, use your free time wisely and dedicate some of it to your friends and family, professional and personal development, and hobbies and interests.

If you’re in a relationship where you can’t maintain other aspects of your life, the relationship is either unhealthy or you’re with the wrong partner. It’s very important that you both have lives outside of the relationship, even when you’re in a long-distance one.

19. Don’t make impulsive decisions.

You could easily fall in love with this person and think that it would be a great idea to buy a one-way ticket and meet them at the airport. This is when you need to stop and remind yourself that life is not a Hollywood movie.

Don’t make impulsive decisions, such as traveling or even moving to another location, before being sure that this is someone you want to be in a serious relationship with. Even if everything is going great, don’t surprise them by showing up. This is something that you both need to talk about and agree on ahead of time.

If you would need to quit your job to be with them, don’t make such a big decision in a hurry. Take your time to see what’s right for you and your relationship.

20. Talk about your future.

In the end, all that’s left is to talk about your future together. Maybe you’re going to meet, you’re going to visit often, or even move in with each other. At each stage of your relationship, discuss the steps that will follow.

Are you moving forward or taking it slow? There’s nothing wrong with just maintaining an online long-distance relationship for a while until you’re sure that you’re ready to make a big leap forward, such as meeting each other in person.

When it’s time to make the next step, discuss your future and see how you can make a plan to be together even though you’re from different areas. If they’re worth it, pack your suitcase!

Still not sure whether you should get into a long-distance relationship with someone you met online, or how to make it work in the long run? It’s not an easy situation to be in, and it might be all the more difficult if you don’t have anyone to talk to about it. Talking to someone is a great way to get your thoughts and your worries out of your head so you can work through them.

Speak to an experienced relationship expert about it. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours. They can listen to your concerns and your hopes and offer tailored advice to help you figure out what to do.

Relationship Hero is a website where you can connect with a relationship counselor via phone, video, or instant message.

Too many couples try to muddle through and do their best to make the relationship work but having clear, impartial guidance is always going to be helpful. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, speaking to a relationship expert is 100% the best way forward.

Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service Relationship Hero provide and the process of getting started.

About The Author

Ana Vakos enjoys writing about love and all the problems that come with it. Everyone has experiences with love, and everyone needs dating advice, so giving these topics more attention and spreading the word means a lot to her.