How to Stay in a Long Distance Relationship When You're a Teenager

Three Parts:Starting Your Long-Distance RelationshipStaying in TouchTaking Care of Yourself

Distance can be hard on a relationship, especially if you are a teenager. While it can be difficult to stay together when you are far apart, there are advantages to long distance relationships. If both of you are clear about what it means, and make an effort to stay in touch, you can make this relationship something special.

Part 1
Starting Your Long-Distance Relationship

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    Set the boundaries of your relationship. Make sure you both know what you want the relationship to be. If you are together somewhere, say in high school before going off to college, or meeting at summer camp, this is important to do before you separate. Both of you need to be clear to avoid jealousy and confusion.[1]
    • You need to decide if you are going to be an exclusive relationship. It doesn’t have to be, as long as you are both okay letting one another date other people.
    • Figure out if you think the relationship will go somewhere. If so, you’ll want to think about when you two will be able to be together. As a teenager, that can feel like a long time away, but if you don't have some idea of when the distance might end, it will be much more difficult to stay together.
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    Remember the advantages of being long distance. Being long distance doesn’t have to always be terrible. The separation can give both of you an opportunity to learn about each other, and yourselves, while still having someone to talk to during difficult times.[2]
    • You’ll be able to communicate better. Distance forces you to actually talk regularly, to learn more about the things you share, and where you are different. You can’t avoid talking about your life, your dreams, and your concerns when talking is the only thing you have for long stretches.
    • This is an opportunity to spend time with your friends and family, and do things you enjoy. Your new boyfriend or girlfriend probably won’t like all the things you do. With the distance, you’ll be able to do them without feeling guilty about not spending time with him or her.
    • It can be helpful to write down these advantages. That can help you make your thoughts clear, and give yourself something to read when you feel down about being apart.
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    Prepare yourself to say goodbye. Not for the end of the relationship, but for each time you separate again. Remember that every time you see one another, it will end, and you’ll have to say go back to your separate, distant places. While this is always a sad moment, it can be easier if you remind yourself that it is coming.[3]
    • It isn’t good for your emotional health if saying goodbye causes you to completely break down every time. You’ll need to decide if the relationship is really important enough to go through that regularly.
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    Tell your parents. One of the toughest things about being a teenager is knowing that your parents still have so much control over your life. That being said, they should know about your relationship, as they set the rules about dating that you need to follow.[4] They might also be supportive and helpful, and even be able to help you find ways to stay in touch and even get together.
    • Your parents may disapprove, but that is not a reason to not tell them. Instead, try to show them how mature you are by doing it the right way. Be clear about what you want from them, such as advice or support. Make sure you are open and honest about why you want this relationship. Most important of all, if they disapprove, stay calm and try to understand why by asking questions.[5]
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    Proceed with caution if you met the person online. You and your special someone will want to see each other, but if you met online, maybe through a message board or social networking site, that person may not be what they seem. Make sure you verify who that person is before you start any kind of relationship.
    • There are a few things you can do easily to make sure the other person is who she says she is. Ask others on the site, or any mutual friends to make sure the other person is real. If she sends you a photo, run it through a reverse search engine like TinEye or Google images.[6]
    • Never give out personal information like a phone number or address until you are confident you know who the other person is. Even then, be very careful who you share that information with.[7]
    • Be aware of other signs of grooming, like requests for private conversations, offers of money or other gifts, and asking for information about your home or family. If you have never met the other person before, this can be the sign of more trouble, and you should alert the site’s monitors and your parents.[8]
    • This step is really important if you meet someone online. There are too many con artists out there that use the internet to scam or harm others. Make sure you don’t get caught up with someone you don’t really know.

Part 2
Staying in Touch

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    Talk often. There are a number of ways you can communicate across long distances these days. Cell phones, computers, and other technology mean you don’t need to be in the same place to have a conversation. Make sure you work out a schedule to communicate regularly.
    • It doesn’t need to be everyday, or even necessarily at a set time. As long as you both make an effort to communicate, things will work out. Just don’t let finding a time to talk prevent either of you from doing things on your own.[9]
    • Make sure the technology works for both of you. Cell phone and texting conversations won’t work as well if she lives in an area that doesn’t have a strong signal. Likewise, if he has an old computer without a webcam, you probably can’t Skype.
    • Think about the time difference. If you live in different time zones, remember how that affects your conversations. Nobody wants to be woken up at 5:00 AM just to chat.
    • Think about how your connections work. Are you always calling him? Is she the only one who initiates conversation? If only one of you is doing the work of staying in touch, that’s not a good sign. Make sure you are both making an effort to keep in touch.[10]
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    Do things together. This sounds hard given you are in different places, but it is important to building your relationship. This way, you’ll always have something in common, and have something to talk online or over the phone. When you do things together, you’ll feel closer to each other, no matter how far apart you are. Some good ideas for fun things to do together include:[11]
    • Watch the same TV show while talking on the phone so you can talk about it as it’s happening.
    • Learning a new skill together, like a new language or playing a sport. Keep one another updated on your progress, and share tips to get better.
    • If you are both gamers, playing together online can be a fun activity. Make sure you both understand each other’s competitive nature, as you don’t want any hurt feelings by playing the wrong way.
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    Send gifts to each other. These shouldn’t be big gifts, just little reminders that you remember and care. You probably don’t have a lot of money as a teenager, so don’t blow it on a big and expensive gift. Even a simple hand-written letter can go a long way.
    • A small reminder of the place you met is always nice, and can remind you both of the good times you had when you were together. A picture of you two with a nice note can bring up some nice memories.[12]
    • You’ll want to pay attention to each other’s likes and dislikes to make sure you send something the other person will enjoy. This includes knowing about any food allergies if you want to send some treats.
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    Plan your next meeting. Even though there are advantages to spending time in different places, you should want face-to-face time. Make sure you both put effort into finding a time to meet in person.[13][14]
    • The details of your meetings will depend on how far apart you are. If you live in the same state, it might be easy to meet every other weekend. That’s much harder if you live in different parts of the country, or the world. Make sure both of you know how often you will meet and who will do the travelling.
    • Saving money for a trip can become a fun game. Make sure you know how much it will cost, and track your savings. Just remember that every time you save a little money, you are that much closer to seeing your sweetie again.

Part 3
Taking Care of Yourself

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    Be honest about your values. The point of a relationship is not to change yourself for another person, but to let the other person love you for who you are. This can be tough as a teenager, as you will be faced with strong pressure to change who you are, which can be easy to do when you aren’t really sure yourself. If something is important to you, let your partner know. If she really cares, she’ll support you or learn to live with it.[15]
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    Learn to manage your time. While your relationship is certainly very special to you, don’t let it be the only thing in your life. Make time to hang out with your friends and try new things. Don’t always skip out on things because you are trying to make time for a phone call. If your relationship is really important, your boyfriend will understand.[16]
    • Remember that this means letting your significant other have their own life too. You can’t expect him to listen to you going out all the time, then get jealous if he does the same thing.
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    Talk about your relationship with your friends. Make sure your friends know that you are in a relationship. Mentioning from time to time about what your boyfriend is up to, and what you think about it, can be enough. You would talk about your relationship if you two were in the same place. Why would this be different?
    • This also helps you remember your significant other, and can keep him in your thoughts even when you aren’t talking to him.[17]
    • Your friends may also notice if things aren’t going well in your relationship, like your tone changes when you talk about him, or you just don’t mention him as often. They may notice trouble before you do, and can help you resolve it.
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    Think about your goals. As a teenager, relationships can be tough because you don’t always know what you want out of them. Your goals might even change as you go through the relationship, and decide certain things you want or don’t want from it.[18]
    • Make sure your significant other knows when things have changed. It is only fair that both of you are on the same page. Otherwise, it can be a nasty surprise if you spring it on him when you meet again after a long time apart.


  • Trust is essential in any relationship, and even more so when you aren’t physically together. If you two can’t trust one another, the relationship won’t work, whatever the distance.


  • Most teenage relationships won’t last, and being apart makes it even less likely this will work. If your relationship ends, it will hurt, but just like any other breakup, there will be opportunities to move on.

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Categories: Long Distance Relationships