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As a living example of a successful long distance relationship, I know do's and don'ts to make the love stay alive. Relationships from afar are not easy, and they don't always work. They can be stressful, emotionally exhausting, as well as down right painful. The trick is to just be patient, and have lots of money for the phone bills each month.
No matter your age, sex, or creed, the key to a successful relationship is communication. If you think you are going to have a functional relationship with another by only talking to each other maybe once a week, in any form, then your chances of it working out are slim to none. The reason communication is vital is because you cannot be with each other to express your feelings and be together physically. There is always going to be a thought in the back of your mind wondering if your partner is being faithful, or if he/she is telling the truth when they whisper those sweet little nothings. So in order to assure each other that your love is real, you have to tell them often. You have to make sure they know that you are theirs and they are yours. It may get monotonous, but it can cause a little paranoia if it is not said enough. The phone bills may get a little expensive. If you really don't have much money, you can split up your phone calls to a certain amount of time each week for each person. You can also invest in calling cards, or even stick to basic online chat. A mixture of all 3 is never a bad thing. To prevent spending too much money, I highly recommend signing up for one of those calling plans that have a very low rate. Also, don't count out programs such as Net2Phone, PhoneFree or any other computer phone program, they are very useful as well as very economical. However you choose to spend your time communicating with each other, just remember that the more you talk the closer you will become.
Another situation that comes up in these types of relationships, or in any relationship, is the obligatory time alone or time with others. It is always a very good idea to inform your loved one where you are going. You don't have to treat them like they are your parents or anything, but it is common courtesy to let them know that you are in fact going out. It will show them that you care for their needs as well as dim any thought in their head that you are seeing someone else. If your boyfriend/girlfriend tells you that they need some time alone for themselves, don't assume that they want it away from you unless they specifically say so. Sometimes people do like to have their own space, as well as their own time to think. If they do want time away from you specifically, do your best to find out why. It is your right to know what you did wrong if anything.
If by some chance you do have a fight, it doesn't mean your relationship is over because you can't be there in person to say you are sorry or console them. It is just like any other relationship, give the other person some time and they will come around. Long distance relationships are hard and are very stressful, so don't be shocked if you do have a few fights or doubts about your relationship. If both of you are serious about your relationship and are both truly in love, things will work out for you no matter how long you have to stay apart. Shorter times apart are always better, but there are many cases of people that were long distance lovers for over 10 years before they were together in person.
One thing to always remember is that a long distance relationship is a very real relationship. You have the same type of feelings, emotions, as well as good times and bad times. The only thing missing is the physical part, and if that is all you really care about then you most likely are not too serious about your relationship. Don't let anyone ever discourage you by saying that you need to find someone where you live, and that you can't be in love with someone that is halfway around the world, because frankly it just isn't true. Who made the law that your loved one had to live within a certain radius of you? If you truly love the person, then it doesn't matter how near or far you are. Love can travel the greatest of all distances, and if you hold that to be true then you experience a feeling greater than any feeling you have ever felt before.
Relationships of any kind can be hard, as well as very rewarding. If you are in a long distance relationship, or if you're loved one lives only a block away, stick with it as best you can. Nothing can make a person feel happier than knowing that they found the person to spend the rest of their life with. At least I know that's how I felt, and still feel.