Long-Distance Relationships: Things To Talk About On The Phone
By: Jessica Anderson
Updated July 30, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Kristen Hardin
Some people say that long-distance relationships never work out because the distance puts too much strain on the relationship and it is too hard to not be able to see each on a regular basis. Some people might assume that one or both partners will end up cheating or meeting someone else. This is only true for couples who are not able or willing to put the work in to the relationship to nurture and strengthen it. However, with strong communication skills and a deep bond, you can make long-distance relationships work. Strong communication is one of the most important pieces of a successful long-term relationship. Technology is extremely helpful not only because it is not expensive when staying in touch and feeling connected as it has been in the past, but also because there are so many ways to stay connected: FaceTime, Skype, texting, video messages, pictures, and the good old-fashioned telephone call. So, what could be the problem? To start off with, what if you find it hard to know what to talk about? What if after a few minutes you have nothing else to say?
According to Lara Rutherford-Morrison's article, "How to Survive a Long-Distance Relationship When You're Terrible on the Phone," there are a few ways to work through this issue. However, feeling connected is not impossible when you aren’t great at phone communication. There are some tips and advice that you can consider to help you stay strong in your long-distance relationship. With these tips, you may even find that dating long distance is more fun and exciting.
Things To Talk About On The Phone While In A Long-Distance Relationship
The major upside to today's technology is that you can have video chats instead of just regular phone calls. You are actually able to see their face as you speak with them over the phone. Not only that, but you also can sometimes see what they are doing, giving you a stronger sense of connection. Let's say your girlfriend has moved temporarily for a job and is living in a new apartment. That could make her seem 1,000 miles away but now she can walk abound while you are on the phone and actually show you her apartment and it will no longer feel like a mystery or that she is leaving you behind. It is also, of course, a big conversation starter and you can both enjoy talking about her apartment from the updated kitchen to the tiny bathroom. So, thanks to technology, you can find ways to see your loved one despite your geographic separation.
When it comes to thinking up of things to talk about, you really do not need to force it. Sometimes simply just seeing their face will lead you into a natural conversation. People in long-distance relationships work because they can communicate despite their time zones or separation. You also do not want to get rigid where every night you both must talk at 8:30 p.m. It’s important that you allow room for spontaneity and when you are thinking of each other, call or text at that time. This way, your relationship is still fun and unpredictable. Something short but thoughtful is much more important than trying to make sure your conversations are long. It's important to remember quality over quantity. It is very special to wake-up to a text message that says, "good morning, I love you and I hope you have a great day!" It is also really nice to get a quick call around lunch time for no other reason than to each other's voices. With that being said, there is nothing wrong with having something special that is just for the two of you that keeps you connected. Maybe no matter what, you call on the phone just to say goodnight even if you are really tired. It could also be a good idea to make an effort to use extra words of affection since you cannot be physically affectionate. Long-distance couples can struggle to find the time to speak with each other, so scheduled calls may be important for your schedule.
It is really important to remember that If you are in a new long-distance relationship, it will take time to establish a routine of what to expect. It may be awkward at first and that is okay. Communication is a skill to learn and one that counselors can really help with. If you are struggling with communicating and holding a conversation, it might be a good idea to reach out to a counselor on BetterHelp. Your counselor can help you assess where you weak and strong points are and how to strengthen your weak points and get the most from your strong points.
It is also important to remember that your relationship may be long-distance, but it is not so different than any other relationship. You just see each other less often but you still are sharing a life with each other. Tell your significant other about your day. If you see something funny, take a picture and send it to her. These are all things you would do even if you were not in a long-distance relationship. Don’t think that just because you aren’t spending time together than your relationship will stay strong without communication. Communicating with your long-distance partner is vital to make the long-distance relationship work.
Communication is more than sharing words. It is sharing the right words. No one wants to be on the phone where the conversation is forced. A long-distance relationship can actually be a really good opportunity to talk about feelings, hopes, struggles, dreams- basically letting yourself be vulnerable. This will actually strengthen your relationship. There are also really fun suggestions online that you and your significant other can try. Such as guided question asking, like, "what is your earliest memory". Not only will this make your relationship stronger, but that will add a lot of opportunity for further conversation.
You and your significant other also need to have a conversation about what you each expect. One might think that multiple texts throughout the day and a call in the morning and a video call at night is ideal and the other partner might feel overwhelmed. If this is a situation you are worried about, just talk to your partner and find a compromise.
If a phone conversation turns into a big fight (long distance IS stressful at times as well as all couples fight from time to time) it is perfectly fine to say that you would like to resume the conversation at a later date. This is especially important if it's a phone call and not a video call where you cannot see the other person's body language and facial expressions.
Do not be afraid to try other means of communication when in a long-distance relationship. You can also text, email, and send letters and packages through the mail. Or, you can talk back and forth on social media, as well as post about each other frequently. With these bursts of communication, you can keep the spark in your relationship alive.
You can also make an effort to ensure your time spent communicating special. For example, on Friday nights you both get a bottle of wine and sit outside and drink a glass "together." This can be incredibly beneficial, especially if you will be separated long term. Long-distance relationships need a sense of normalcy in their routine, so don’t be afraid to sit down and have a virtual date. At the end of the day, you want to live your best life as you are in a long-distance relationship. So, do the fun things you would normally do, except through virtual communication.
The 50 Best Topics to Talk About on the Phone
If you're struggling to find things to talk about on the phone, know you're not alone. Long distance communication can be a challenge in many ways. Consider choosing the topics below to discuss when you're having trouble finding ideas on your own.
- Your ride to work
- What you had for breakfast
- Plans for the next time you see each other
- Your thoughts on the news of the day
- Weather differences between your two locations
- Your dream vacation
- Your current goals
- A funny story from when you first met each other
- A childhood secret
- Your day at work
- What you had for lunch
- Stressors in your life
- Your favorite sports team's latest game
- Your plans for dinner
- How you're feeling about the long-distance part of your relationship
- What you would be doing if you were currently in the same room
- A funny story about your pets
- Your plans for the future as a couple
- One new thing you did this week
- Your favorite song
- Your upcoming plans with friends
- A strange fact about yourself
- The last thing you bought
- A fun game you play on your phone
- The book you're currently reading
- What life will be like when you live together someday
- What you're wearing
- The food you're craving
- Your favorite coffee
- How your family members are doing
- What you miss about each other
- Something you can do together over the phone
- Plan your next date
- Countdown the days until you see each other
- The next thing on your shopping list
- Something interesting you saw on television
- A memory from high school
- Your exercise of the day
- How much you love each other
- Something you're dreading
- Your least favorite household chore
- Your pet peeves
- The view out your window
- Something nice you've done for a stranger
- Something you wish you could change
- A task you've been putting off
- Make a plan to write letters to each other
- How the relationship is going with long distance challenges
- A movie you want to see
- How you slept last night
Even with all these updates in technology and the tips listed above, long-distance relationships require work to sustain. Do not let anyone, such as likely well-meaning family and friends, make you think a long-distance relationship is a bad idea or too hard. You know what is right for you. Listen to your instincts. Long-distance relationships, just like typical relationships are going to have ups and downs and that is normal.
Best Tips For Talking On the Phone in a Long Distance Relationship
If you are eager to make your long-distance relationship work, take note of the best tips below. When you take these tips into account, you and your partner will continue to live your best life together, even though you’re living apart. Long-distance couples can make it through if you but it the work to change your life and routine for them.
- Set Some Ground Rules
One of the best tips for long-distance couples who want a long term relationship is to set some ground rules. The reason this is one of the best tips is that ground rules and boundaries are vital to ensure you stay strong while separated. Are there any terms and conditions, privacy, or boundaries you want to set? Do you cancel on each other to hang out with friends and family? Under what circumstance should friends and family be in the background of your phone calls? Knowing how your partner feels about certain things will help your long-distance relationship thrive.
- Join a Support Group
If you are struggling with the work long-distance relationships require, consider joining a support group. Support groups help relationships work by giving you a community of people who are dealing with the same issues. There are many virtual support groups in which couples tune in from all over the world to discuss their concerns and experiences. Perhaps this will be beneficial for you and your long-distance partner.
- Communication is Key
Remember, when you are getting into a long-distance relationship, communication is very important. When you don’t communicate effectively with your partner, your relationship will be much more difficult to maintain. You should communicate to them how you are feeling, what you miss about them, your daily schedule, and when you have free time to video chat. When you communicate with them, your time being a long-distance couple will be very seamless.
Frequently Asked Questions About Long Distance Relationships
Do long-distance relationships last?
They certainly can last if you and your partner are meant to be. Remember, every relationship has the possibility to fail. Just because there is a chance your relationship may fail, it doesn’t mean it will. If you and your partner are serious about each other, then you won’t need to worry about the distance. Just try your best to communicate well and see each other often. This will ensure your relationship keeps going in a positive direction.
What percentage of long-distance relationships break up?
According to experts, 40 percent of long-distance relationships break up. But, don’t let this discourage you! Think of the relationships you have been in. If someone has been with four people during their life, and ended up marrying one, that means 75% of their relationships have failed, and only 25% were successful. Sometimes, couples break up because it wasn’t meant to be. So, don’t feel discouraged by the high failure rate of long-distance relationships.
How do you maintain a long-distance relationship?
You can maintain a long-distance relationship by working at it consistently. When you love a person, you will stay motivated and excited to work at your relationship. Put in the necessary effort and time it takes to communicate with your partner and show them you love them. Talk to them on the phone when you can and fill them in about your day, and be a good listener when they talk about theirs. Also, making time to visit them when possible will help maintain your relationship.
Why do long-distance relationships fail?
Long-distance relationships usually fail because of communication issues. It can be very stressful being in a long-distance relationship, and so communication can be misconstrued. Or, couples may find that they lose their spark because their physical connection is no longer there. If your long-distance relationship fails, it’s likely because you and your partner were incompatible in the first place. Distance only heightens issues that were already present, so the distance is not the true fault of the failure most times. It is likely that these issues were going to arise anyways, but the distance was quick to reveal them.
Should you talk every day in a long-distance relationship?
It is best to at least text every day in a long-distance relationship. When you aren’t seeing them on a daily or weekly basis, communicating will be more important. Even if it’s a good morning and good night text each day, this is still some form of communication. Then, during times you both are free, set aside one to two hours to talk on the phone or video chat. If you two don’t have incredibly busy schedules, you should be able to schedule more time to talk. When you do talk more often, you will likely find that your relationship is stronger.
Can distance kill a relationship?
Distance certainly can kill a long-distance relationship. However, it doesn’t have to. When it comes to making a long-distance relationship work, it is only as successful as you make it. If you both are putting in as much effort as possible, then distance likely won’t kill your relationship. However, if one or both of you are failing to put in the effort, you will feel the relationship dwindle.
Is Cheating common in long-distance relationships?
It’s hard to say if cheating in common in long-distance relationships. When it comes to collecting statistics, many people will not admit to cheating, as they know it is wrong. However, cheating itself is not as common as many people think. Research shows that less than 25% of relationships have affairs outside of their marriages. Now, this statistic is likely around the same percentage for long-distance relationships. But, if you don’t trust your partner, there is likely an issue going on. Consider talking to them about it and work on your trust issues.
Can a man stay faithful in a long-distance relationship?
Absolutely! There is a stereotype that men and incapable of staying faithful in a relationship when they are deprived of in-person activities. This is likely because of the sex-driven persona men are given. However, men can certainly stay faithful in a long-distance relationship. If you don’t trust that your boyfriend or spouse will be faithful to you, you need to express this to them and work out any trust issue you have.
Is cheating in a long-distance relationship okay?
When it comes to cheating in long-distance relationships, all rights are reserved as they would be in a normal relationship. Meaning, no, cheating is not okay. In a normal relationship, cheating is never okay. With a long-distance relationship, just because you don’t see your partner, it doesn’t mean you can cheat on them. If you are your partner have discussed seeing other people, then doing so is fine. But, if you are going behind their back doing it, then it’s not okay.
What should you not do in a long-distance relationship?
To make a long-distance relationship work, you must discuss boundaries and expectations. Each relationship is very different, so the answer to this question will vary. However, it’s safe to say that intentionally ignoring your partner and cheating on your partner is wrong. These two actions should never happen when trying to make a long-distance relationship work.
How often should you talk when in a long-distance relationship?
How often you two talk depends on your schedules and your individual needs. If you two have busy schedules, you likely won’t be able to talk very often. Or, if you two don’t require much communication to convey your feelings, you may not want to talk all the time. However, if you can, try to at least text once or twice a day. Then, schedule a phone call or video chat at least once or twice a week so you can hear each other’s voices.
When to call it quits in a long-distance relationship?
Do you feel as though you are willing to change your life for a person, but they are not willing to do the same? In a long-distance relationship, work is required. Or else, you may miscommunicate or will lose the spark you two once had without work. Your significant other may also expect you to travel to see them frequently, but you don’t have the time. This is why people warn you that a long-distance relationship can change your life. If you aren’t willing to change your life, or your partner is not willing to change their own, it may be time to call it quits.
Another sign it’s time to call it quits in a long-distance relationship is if you don’t love the person anymore. While it’s common to lose some excitement and start to hate the distance, you shouldn’t lose feelings for your long-distance partner. You both deserve to live your best life, and if your relationship work isn’t feeling enjoyable anymore, then your relationship may not be meant to be. Relationships work when both partners are enjoying them. So, your long-distance relationship may not be working if you two are unhappy.
Is long-distance a reason to break up?
Long-distance is not a reason to break up if you are willing to put in the work that goes into it. Although it may feel like you need to change your life to stay together, it will be worth it for the right person. But, if you don’t see it working out, one of the best tips is to just end it now. If you stay together for many more months, your long-distance relationship breakup will be incredibly painful. When you know the person isn’t the right one for you, then the long-distance relationship work may not be worth it. But, don’t break up with someone you love because you will be forced apart geographically.
Why is long distance so hard?
Long-distance can be hard because it calls for you to change your life. Even though getting into a relationship with someone who lives near you, you’re living primarily the same routine. You can just bring your partner with you as you run grocery shopping, go out with friends and family, and live your best life, just with your partner. With long distance, you have to change your life and your everyday routine. Rather than going out on the weekends, you may need to stay at home to FaceTime your long-distance partner.
In addition to how you must change your life in a long-distance relationship, it’s important to communicate even more. In order to make your relationship work, you must communicate a lot with your long-distance partner. As communication will primarily be over the phone, you must be very clear and forward with them. You will likely need to communicate more frequently via text or phone calls, as these will replace more traditional communication methods.
What is the success rate of long-distance relationships?
The success rate of long-distance relationships is about 60%. This may be surprisingly high, especially when you take into account how many people break up when having an in-person relationship. It just goes to show that if you love someone, the extra work for a long-distance relationship is worth it. And, you certainly don’t have to break up with someone just because they need to move away for a job or school.
If you ever feel like you are having trouble managing your long-distance relationship, you can ask for advice at the online therapy platform, BetterHelp. There are thousands of trained professionals ready to help you. Many of the BetterHelp professional counselors specialize in long-distance relationships, and can even help you and your partner work on your communication skills. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.
"Mark has been extremely attentive to everything that I disclose. He's not only provided me support but insight and encouragement to let me know I'm on a good path to self improvement and discovery. Furthermore, Mark has provided me valuable insight on my romantic relationship, specifically with learning more about the relationship dynamics and how to build a stronger, healthier relationship."
Long-distance relationships are hard. At times, they can even seem unbearable - when you want so badly to be next to the person who makes you the happiest, but you can't. Despite these moments, there are tools out there to truly help you build the strongest relationship possible. Take a deep breath, and move forward. Take the first step today.