It’s been said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. While that’s all well and good, being in the thick of a long-distance relationship (LDR) can, well, suck at times. The agony of missing someone and not being able to share important moments with a partner can become too much to bear.  Unfortunately, these are some of the perils of committing to a long-distance relationship.

Take heart, though: Not everything about these geographically-challenged relationships is bad! In fact, a study conducted by the Journal of Communication found that couples in long-distance relationships were just as happy and connected with their partners, if not more so, than couples who lived near each other.

This doesn’t come without putting in the work, though. With the help of these ingenious tricks, you may be able to make your long-distance relationship last.

Let Technology Be Your Friend

Technology is often the glue that holds LDRs together. Whether its Skype, FaceTime, email, or texting, use these gifts from the techy gods to help you stay close to your partner. And while a good old conversation is always great, you can use these tools to become connected in other ways.

-Watch TV together. There’s nothing like cuddling up next to the one you love and vegging out in front of the tube together. When they’re halfway across the country, however, that isn’t possible.

The next best thing is to watch what they’re watching, while video chatting at the same time. Although you’re not together physically, you’re still able to enjoy doing something with each other.

– Play games with each other. Thanks to the internet, you are able to virtually play games with your loved one as often as you’d like.

Many gaming systems provide you with the option to hook up with other players around the world and compete with or against them. You can find the same feature available with games right on your laptop, phone, or PC. So, make a clever gamer name and meet up with your SO online.

– Take and send pictures, lots of them. You might be amazed at how seeing a picture of your partner can brighten up your day, and vice versa. Just about everyone in this day and age is a master of the art of the selfie, and this is the perfect chance to showcase that talent. Don’t feel shy; just do it.

And your pictures don’t have to be just of yourself; you can send them a snapshot of something that reminds you of them, an inside joke, or whatever you think can make you feel more connected.

Send Gifts and Mementos

Getting something in the mail that isn’t a bill is always exciting. And it’s even better when it comes from the person you miss the most.

-Write a letter. Texts and emails are great, but there’s something special about receiving an old-fashioned letter from your love (bonus points if you actually write the note instead of type it). People tend to reveal more of what’s going on in their hearts and minds on paper than they do through talking.

Take this time to tell your partner what they mean to you and whatever else you think is important to say. You can also send pictures, newspaper clippings, or anything your partner may find of interest.

– Send an unexpected gift. Birthdays and holidays are an obvious choice for gift-sending. However, really surprise your partner by sending a gift that isn’t expected.

Giving something “just because” is usually more appreciated than when you are obligated to do so. This little gesture shows your partner you are always thinking of them, which can help them feel secure if they ever doubt the long-distance aspect of your relationship.

Give them something of yours. Send your partner a gift that can help remind them of you. For instance, if they tend to borrow a certain shirt of yours whenever they are in town, ship it in the mail. Or if there’s a piece of jewelry they love of yours, go ahead and part with it.

Having a piece of you with them or in their home can help when they’re feeling lonely and may make them feel closer to you.

Join Something Together

You may feel like you are alone in the relationship at times. Engaging in activities together can reestablish the feeling that you are a couple again.

Create a club just for you two. Whether it’s a book, movie, coffee-of-the-month, or a subscription box you’d both enjoy, choosing something you do together like this can add fun to your relationship and keep you connected. For instance, you can both read the same book or watch the same movie and set up a time to discuss it through Skype or FaceTime.

Similarly, set a goal to try all the different coffees in your favorite java house or try all of the breakfast foods on each of your local cafes’ menus. Knowing that your partner is doing what you are doing and then talking to you about it creates a bond.

Challenge each other. Create goals and then help each other achieve them. For example, you may want to become a runner but get winded just by slipping on your tennis shoes. Ask your partner to take up running with you, even though you’re apart, and create a schedule together.

Not only is reaching your goal easier when you have someone there to help you, but you feel like you are doing something together. Check in with each other daily or even log what you’re doing on a shared online document. This helps you stay in touch with each other and allows you to offer each other encouragement, as well as hold each other accountable.

Lastly, Focus on the Positives

Long-distance relationships are not easy. In fact, you may find that you are put through some serious tests during the romance. Fortunately, not everything about LDRs are negative. Staying focused on the positives of being away from your partner may help your relationship last.

You don’t have to give up your independence. Those in relationships often find that they aren’t able to enjoy the same activities they did when they were single. This could be because of time constraints, their partner’s dislike of it, or any number of factors.

The beauty of living apart from your partner, however, is that you are free to do just about whatever you want. You are able to keep your independence and continue to do what makes you, you.

You are building trust. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of an LDR is the trust factor. If you or your partner cheats, there’s a small chance anyone would find out. You can either let this terrify you, or you can use it to build trust in the relationship.

A long-distance relationship requires openness and honesty, which can help you learn a lot about the person with whom you are involved. Perhaps even more than if you spent every day with them.

Your time together is extra special. A common complaint among people in long-term relationships is that their time together is routine. They may engage in the same activities each time they hang out or they become too comfortable around each other (i.e., using the bathroom with the door open).

On the other hand, for many LDR couples, each time they’re able to be together is a fun date. You can be as excited as you want to see one another and there’s no need to feel like you’ve fallen into a slump. This makes sure that your relationship is spicy, fun, and most of all, long-lasting.