7 The Commandments of Long Distance Relationships

Are you in a long-distance relationship and need some tips on how to make it work?

Then you have come to the right place!

My name is Cornell Thomas.

I’m a speaker, author, and – most importantly – a survivor of the often dreaded long-distance relationship.

What I know about making long-distance work

Before you call me Tom Hanks immediately, understand that this was no easy feat.

My wife and I went through several extremely rough patches before we figured out how to make long-distance work.

I’m originally from New Jersey, and my wife Melissa is from Washington State, about 50 minutes outside Seattle.

We both attended Minot State University on basketball scholarships.

At college, life was good.

We would hang out pretty much every day and combine our pennies to buy our luxury dinners, which consisted of Raman Noodles or anything off the dollar menu from the old golden arches.

Unfortunately, a huge elephant was in the room during my senior year.

By elephant, I mean one the size of Godzilla.

I was going back home to pursue my dream of playing professional basketball, while Melissa had one more year left in North Dakota.

What made it even worse was that once she finished college, she was going directly back to Washington State to start her career.

How To Make Long Distance Work: The Real Deal

The first month will always be the honeymoon stage.

You miss each other so much that you don’t want to say or do anything that would make each other upset or question your relationship.

Now, if the first month isn’t the honeymoon stage, please stop reading now and evaluate your relationship.

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During our time together at college, Melissa and I rarely argued.

I’m super extroverted, and she’s a tad introverted.

So our “debating” styles were a perfect match.

I would say something dumb (because I’m a dude), and she would sit back, take it in, and wait for my brain to come back.

I would then apologize, and we were good to go.

It’s amazing how 2,500 miles can change the dynamic of a relationship.

Flash forward a year after Melissa graduated college.

You would think we were practicing for a presidential debate every phone call.

We would argue about literally the dumbest things you can think of.

I will never forget one day when we were arguing, and I just started laughing at how ridiculous we were!

Eventually, after an amazing amount of time, listening, patience – and yes, practice – we figured out how to manage the distance.

This past May, Melissa and I celebrated our 11th-year wedding anniversary.

There were times friends, that I didn’t think we would be together for eleven more minutes, let alone married for 11 years with two beautiful children.

But thanks to these ‘commandments,’ we knew how to make long-distance work.

I hope these would also do well for you:

1. Communicate.

Without this tip, none of the other tips matter.

Understand one very important thing: your significant other is not with you!

So when you talk about your day, what happened, etc. give them more detail than in a Stephen King novel.

As guys, we give amazing insight about our day with gems like “It was good.”

Well, that’s not good enough!

2. Listen.

We are amazing at wanting to talk – but how many of us actually listen?

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Actively listen to what your partner is telling you.

When your girlfriend says something like “I wish we could see each other for Christmas,” make a note of it.

Even if you can’t make it out there, maybe you can send her a video on Christmas of you opening her present or use FaceTime with her.

Listen, my friends!

3. Tell the jealousy monster to shut the hell up.

My wife and I had more arguments when we were apart that first two months than we had the two years prior.


It’s because of that darn jealousy monster.

My wife would go to a basketball game with her girlfriends, and the monster would make me ask her 10,000 questions, from who was there to why did the referee look at her during the game?

It seems comical to write, but it’s true.

And guess what?

It’s normal to wonder.

Just don’t assume!

Related: Long Distance Relationship Quotes

4. Never lose your romance.

How to make long-distance work?

One of the most romantic things you can do is send a personal letter.

Yes, those are when you write words on a piece of paper and put it in something called a mailbox.

It shows “effort” and that you actually put some time in.

When you open the mailbox and see a letter from someone you miss and love, it means much more than getting a bathroom selfie.

5. Say sorry and freaking mean it!

You cannot use this technique enough, especially for my guys.

It’s different when you can drive to see her and hoist a radio over your head, playing her favorite song outside her bedroom window.

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But when there is distance between the two of you, she needs to hear it and feel your apology when you’re in the wrong.

Quick tip, fellas: sometimes, say sorry even when you think you’re right.

If she’s a keeper, she will eventually come around and appreciate it.

6. Stop taking score.

If you called her 10 times and she called you nine, stop thinking that she’s beating you in some weird power game you’ve constructed in your mind.

Now, if you called her 100 times and she hasn’t called you once, that’s a little different.

It might be time to move on – or take care of the restraining order and then move on.

7. Ask yourself how much you love this person.

Whenever you feel like this isn’t working, or you might want something else, ask yourself what life would look like without this person.

If the love is true and real, this will snap you back to reality.

How To Make Long Distance Work? Just DO It!

My pep talk is simple.


Thank you for reading my ‘7 Commandments’ to a successful long-distance relationship.

Now is this going to guarantee you get married tomorrow and start having little ones?

Most likely not.

But in the end – trust me when I say this – if you are in the right one, it’s all worth it.

Let us know any other tips you have for making a long-distance relationship work in the comment section below.

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Cornell Thomas, a renowned speaker, author, basketball coach, and catalyst for change, exemplifies the transformative power of a positive mindset. His "next play" mentality enabled him to overcome adversity, turning a career-ending injury into a newfound life purpose. Cornell, the author of "The Power Of Positivity" and "The Power Of Me," with two forthcoming books this fall, spreads his inspirational message globally.