Research-Backed Advice

6 Things to Talk About in a Long-Distance Relationship

If you’re in a long-distance relationship, it’s normal to feel like you’re running out of things to talk about sometimes. 

Yet the time you spend together, even if it’s online or over the phone, can help replenish your positive feelings about the other person, which can help you maintain your relationship while you’re apart.

Couples live apart from each other in more than 2.9% of marriages in the United States, research suggests. That’s about 3 million people.

Long-distance relationships (LDRs) are even more common in college students — up to 75% have had one at some point, according to estimates.

Here are some conversation topics and other tips you can use to keep your long-distance relationship going strong.

6 things to talk about in a long-distance relationship

It can be helpful to have some go-to topics in your back pocket. Here are a few ideas.

1. Ask deep questions

What questions can you ask your partner in a long distance relationship? After you’ve exhausted the everyday topics, like the weather and what you did that day, you may be looking for something more.

Talking about your emotions and values together can help you maintain a deep connection with your partner.

It all depends on the context and your and your partner’s comfort level, but here are some conversation topics to consider:

  • What’s the most important thing in life to you?
  • What’s the most difficult thing that you face regularly?
  • Do you like surprises? Why or why not?
  • What’s been bothering you lately?
  • What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Why?

2. Play show and tell

Sharing things you’re interested in with your partner, and hearing all about something specific that interests them, will help deepen your relationship.

It could be a simple object, like a new pen or the dinner you just made. Share your excitement about why you like it.

Bring something to show them or tell them about for each call, and have them do the same for you.

3. Teach each other something new

What skills or knowledge do you have that your partner doesn’t, and vice versa? Take turns teaching the other a bite-sized piece of information that you find fun, interesting, or useful.

For example, do you have a favorite cooking technique or a useful keyboard shortcut you just learned?

Sharing small bits of knowledge like this can be enjoyable for both of you.

4. Read a novel or watch a TV series together

Try creating a club together in which you regularly discuss books, articles, TV shows, and anything else you both find interesting.

You’ll find out a lot about each other talking about stories, characters, and ideas.

You don’t necessarily need to watch or read it at the very same time over a call or video chat to have fun with this.

5. Reminisce about the good times

Remember that time you did that fun thing together? How great is it to look back on now?

Looking back on the moments that bond you and your partner together over time is called relationship savoring.

One study found that long-distance couples who practiced relationship savoring had better relationship satisfaction and greater positive emotions toward each other.

6. Talk about sex

Sexual satisfaction in a relationship is strongly linked to love and satisfaction in that relationship, research suggests.

However, surprisingly, being apart from each other (and unable to have sexual contact) in a long-distance relationship doesn’t necessarily negatively affect relationship satisfaction.

The key may be to talk about sex with your partner in whatever way you’re comfortable with.

Consider speaking openly about your own sexual needs and asking about your partner’s.

There are also lots of ways to enjoy sex together virtually, if you’re interested in doing so. You could play games together, talk about your fantasies, masturbate together — whatever floats your boat.

Communication tips to keep the spark alive

People often speak about long-distance relationships as if they’re a bad thing, but being in an LDR may not be harmful for some people.

In fact, some research has found that people in LDRs have similar levels of relationship satisfaction as those in geographically close relationships.

However, the way you communicate with your partner may be different in an LDR compared with a geographically close relationship.

Here are some communication tips to help you maintain a healthy long-distance relationship:

  • Video chat. One study from 2012 looked at how couples used video chat apps to maintain their long-distance relationship and found it helped foster intimacy.
  • Text lots. A study followed 647 adults who were dating or in a relationship with someone. It found that people in LDRs who texted more frequently had greater relationship satisfaction, but frequency of voice calls wasn’t associated with greater relationship satisfaction, and neither was the frequency of video calls.
  • Quality communication matters most. Expressing your feelings honestly with one another, and encouraging and supporting each other with empathy through tough times can help build strong connections, according to research in six married couples in long-distance relationships.
  • Be responsive. Studies show that people in romantic relationships, and LDRs in particular, expect their partners to be highly responsive to their communication. If it’s difficult to make your schedules match up for a video call, texting can help keep you connected.
  • Voice chat. Next time you feel Zoom fatigue setting in, try a voice-only chat instead. Research suggests that voice calls are most strongly tied to positive relationship outcomes in couples, linked to feelings of connection, love, and relationship certainty.

The final word

If you talk to your partner frequently, you may sometimes feel like you’ve run out of conversation topics.

Luckily there are endless topics you can talk about if you dig a little. If you’re at a loss, try using one of the topics above. Having meaningful, enjoyable conversations will help you strengthen your connection and have fun.