LDR: Long Distance Relationship

Physical distance can put a lot of strain on a relationship, especially if you’re used to spending a lot of time with the other person.

It can seem more difficult to develop a deeper relationship when you don’t have the opportunity to see each other in person often.

Despite the negativity surrounding long-distance relationships, they can actually be very successful. With some added effort and patience, many relationships can thrive even over long distances.

Comparing your personalities

Even if you’re in a close relationship with someone, it can be hard to understand why they think, act, or speak the way they do. We have our own way of processing the world and when someone else sees things differently, it can be truly difficult to understand. However, empathy comes from understanding the other person’s perspective. Taking the time to learn more about your partner can help ease the stress and misunderstanding often experienced in intimate relationships. 

You should also be aware of your own personality and how your natural tendencies may differ from your partner’s. These natural tendencies may include your strengths, blindspots, communication preferences, and more. Becoming more self-aware will also help you be more empathetic to issues your partner may raise.

At Crystal, we use a framework called DISC to better understand individual personalities. This classifies personalities into a few categories that we refer to as D (dominance), I (influence), S (steadiness), and C (conscientiousness). By categorizing personalities in this way, we can learn how to communicate with others in a way that helps them understand and relate to us. For example, someone who is a supportive, people-oriented S-type is unlikely to appreciate an overly tense or critical discussion. They may feel hurt or frustrated if someone is being too blunt. On the other hand, if they were an assertive, confident D-type, they’d be less likely to take offense and may appreciate a straightforward comment, even if it seems slightly harsh.

An easy way to learn more about the specific personality types at play in your relationship is to take a personality assessment with your partner. You’ll be able to identify your personality type and discuss personality differences more openly. For example, let’s say you’re an idealistic, spontaneous I-type and your partner tells you that they often feel stressed out when you rush them into big decisions. By understanding your own personality, you are more likely to accept this as a fair critique and learn to slow down and think through your choices a little more. If you remain unaware of your own personality traits, it may be harder to accept responsibility for your actions or understand the impact they can have on your partner.

When you develop an awareness of your own personality and how it relates to your partner’s, you can learn how to adapt when needed in your relationship.

Communication and Conflict

Though being physically far from your partner will likely always be more difficult, we live in an age where technology helps keep people connected. FaceTime, texting, and social media can all make it feel more like you’re with the other person. However, technology can often exacerbate communication issues, since things like body language and inflection are often lost. Seemingly minor communication differences can lead to stressful conflict when distance is involved.

Conflict in emotionally vulnerable relationships is already stressful, but adding in the fact that you don’t necessarily have the ability to talk through it in person only seems to amp up the difficulty. Because of this, long-distance relationships often require more patience, understanding, and considerate communication in tense situations.

The best way to improve communication is by adapting your natural style to be more in line with your partner’s. 

Here are a few tips for communicating effectively with each DISC type:




D Personality Types: Captains, Drivers, Initiators, Architects

  • Move through the conversation one topic at a time.
  • Ask direct questions.
  • Be more open in asserting your ideas and opinions.
  • Engage in too much chit-chat.
  • Be passive or reserved.
  • Drag a conversation out after it has run its course.

I Personality Types: Influencer, Motivator, Encourager, Harmonizer

  • Call or text them spontaneously, just to check-in.
  • Engage with what they share.
  • Remain enthusiastic and empathetic.
  • Speak in an overly serious tone.
  • Respond critically.
  • End the conversation too quickly.

S Personality Types: Counselor, Supporter, Planner, Stabilizer

  • Ask questions about how they’re feeling.
  • Express gratitude.
  • Listen closely as they share and offer support.
  • Be blunt or harsh.
  • Jump right into a serious matter.
  • Neglect to give them plenty of time to share.

C Personality Types: Editor, Analyst, Skeptic, Questioner

  • Give them time to open up.
  • Offer space if they seem frustrated.
  • Focus on keeping certain discussion logical, rather than emotional.
  • Blow stories out of proportion. 
  • Expect them to regularly share a lot of personal information.
  • Include too much unrelated small-talk.


Learning to adapt your own communication style can make a profound impact on the health of your relationship. 

For example, if you’re a D-type and your partner is an I-type, you may be more naturally independent and assertive when communicating, while your partner may want to talk more regularly and lightheartedly. Without adapting at all to each other, you may feel annoyed if your partner talks a lot on phone calls or sends seemingly random texts, while your partner may feel shut down if you don’t share stories about your day or respond coldly to texts. By recognizing and understanding your differences, you might be more inclined to engage with your partner and your partner may make an effort to be more intentional with what they share. 

No matter what your personality types are, you and your significant other are likely to experience conflict. It’s a healthy part of being human. But by making an effort to know what issues to expect and how to effectively talk through them, you can avoid much of the pain, stress, and frustration involved. 

Making it Work

Relationships at all distances require a lot of hard work. Long-distance relationships aren’t so scary if you’re both committed to putting in the effort. By getting to know each other more, showing empathy toward one another’s perspective, and practicing patience, you and your partner can overcome the challenges presented by long-distance relationships. 

If you want to learn more about communication in all relationships, check out our full-length ebook, Using AI to Improve Your Relationships.

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