NFL Player Reveals How to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work

Couple traveling by airplane

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Surviving long-distance love can be challenging. It’s hard enough to keep the passion going when you see each other face-to-face, but distance can pose some unique challenges. Those who play professional sports have an even tougher time when it comes to nurturing a long-distance relationship, since they are often away from home for months at a time. How do they do it? The Cheat Sheet reached out to former New England Patriots cornerback Terrence Wheatley to get some answers. He must have done something right because he is now married to his long-time love. Do you want to be like him? Well, he’ll show you how. Here are Wheatley’s tips for how to keep the fire burning.

Work on building trust

Distance can make it harder to build trust. It can take longer to develop and misunderstandings are likely to arise. Trust issues often become harder to resolve than relationships carried out face-to-face. Wheatley says it will be important to work on fostering trust and making sure that each person in the relationship feels secure and loved:

The hardest part of long-distance relationships is the fact you can’t see each other. Trust is built over time and not seeing each other makes it even harder to completely trust someone. Trust is something that can make or break a relationship, and I feel that most long-distance relationships don’t work because of the “unknown.” Everyone should take the extra time needed to really build that trust in their relationships by doing the small things to show that you are loyal. Without trust, any and every relationship is destined to fail.

Have fun together

Couple celebrating Germany's sports vicotry at a country pub., sporting event

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When you’ve been with someone for a long time, things can get pretty stale. Wheatley advises couples to make sure they inject some fun into their routine.

We took every chance we could to take trips to see each other or to go on vacation. Another small trick we did was we played games online together. I know it sounds corny, but it’s fun to play your favorite video game with your better half online! It really made us happy, since we are big kids at heart!

Keep communicating

Always stay in contact with your partner. Strong communication is vital for a lasting relationship. Wheatley said he made sure to keep in touch with his wife.

To overcome my own personal challenges with distance, me and my now wife did a number of things. First, we always made sure we talked everyday regardless of how busy we were. I will also say having the ability to FaceTime helps as well! My number one tip is to communicate! Texting is cool, but nothing beats having a good conversation over the phone. Just randomly call in the middle of the day and surprise your better half with your voice. Even if they don’t answer, just leave a nice message and you might just make their day that much sweeter! I personally loved sending flowers at random; make sure you send flowers to [your partner’s] office for an even bigger surprise! Also, never ever fight or argue via text or email! Always pick up the phone and talk it out. Trust me, it helps!

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