How to deal with Long Distance Relationships and Timezones

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Time-zones are confusing. My boyfriend and I live in two different time-zones, the difference in time only amounting to an hour; but even figuring out which of us is an hour ahead or behind each other is really confusing.

I can only imagine how much more difficult it is for couples who live several hours apart. The most I have to worry about is if when he says “9 o’ clock” does that mean 8 my time or 10 my time? Living several hours apart would make things way more difficult to manage.

Making time for one another would probably be a lot harder too since you have to deal with your daily obligations in addition to the time difference. Something as simple as planning a movie night or even just scheduling a Skype or telephone call can be really difficult if 6am for one person is 6pm for another.

Okay, so we know it’s hard loving and living in two different time-zones. But how can we deal with it? Let’s explore some easy ways to do so!

Find new ways to express intimacy

So you may not be able to call each other whenever you want, because he’s usually asleep for most of the time that you’re awake. Long distance relationships are already lacking in physical intimacy, so we’ve found ways to reinvent the notion of intimacy in other non-physical ways.

Time-zones make even non-physical intimacy a real challenge because you can’t always do the same things that traditional LDRs do -like Skype calls, for instance. Your schedules just may not allow for the easy “hop on Skype and video chat at a whim” moments. So you’ll have to reinvent the idea of romance and intimacy to fit your situation.

I was able to talk to 6 LDR couples who are currently living in different time zones from their partners. Here’s what they had to say about reinventing intimacy in their relationships:

I send my s/o random gifts in the mail without telling him that I’m sending them. I like to send things that I know he can use and will make him feel closer to me. I once sent him a package full of breakfast things so even though I can’t be there to make him breakfast this is the next best thing! -Anonymous

A really cool idea would be send your s/o an email or letter that they could open and maybe inside you can have a little hand-picked recipe from you that they can make. And even though you aren’t in the same time zone you could technically share the same meal together because you’ve both made the same recipe. It’d be cool to switch off and maybe even take turns picking recipes and sending them to each other. -Anonymous, in a 2 year LDR

Sometimes just having an email or text message to wake up to helps the fact that you’re separated by time and distance. There’s nothing like waking up to a message or photo of your partner first thing in the morning. -Sarah, in a 6 month LDR

My girlfriend and I live on complete opposite sides of the world. So sometimes I’ll set my alarm on my phone to wake me up when I know she gets up so that I can send her a good morning text message and have a short conversation with her before passing out again. I like to do it because it makes me feel connected to her. -Jack, international LDR/Australia-New York

I have no idea how but my partner knows how to go straight to voicemail when she calls my cell. So throughout the day I get to hear her voice through all the little messages she leaves me, even though I may be busy working or at school or something. I honestly don’t think I’d be able to deal with being so far apart from her without the little things like that. -Anonymous, 1 year LDR

On my smartphone I have a time zone app installed. The kind that lets you see what time it is where you are versus where they are? It’s absolutely perfect for me because I’m so forgetful and I’ve broken so many appointments thinking I was 3 hours behind instead of ahead. It’s a life saver for me! -Anonymous, 3 month LDR

Be willing to make the occasional sacrifice

Sometimes you have to go the extra mile in the relationship -no pun intended! Take a day to spend some time with your partner, even if it takes out of a little bit of the time you spend with your friends.

Are you and your partner 8+ hours apart? Take a weekend when neither of you works, clear your schedule and have an all nighter so that you can spend the day with your other half. You may not be able to skype or even have phone calls with one another on a regular basis but you can schedule periods of time when you can sacrifice a few hours of sleep or a few hours of free time to make those special moments happen. Be flexible! You can even take shifts!

No relationship is impossible if you have the right attitude and are willing to really work for it! Being in a relationship with different time zones can be just as successful as any long distance relationship if you remain creative and determined.

photo © 2008 leoplus, Flickr


ta February 18, 2015 - 6:26 am

1 hour? Are you kidding me?? Me and my bf did that too, I felt blessed. We had a time difference of 6 hours (europe-Asia) and now also 6 hours (Europe-US). When he gets up its 5pm my time.

LDR Magazine February 18, 2015 - 5:04 pm

Glad to hear that you and and your boyfriend are able to manage such a vast time difference! Just goes to show that everyone’s situation is different and love can conquer all types of obstacles big or small. Thanks for your comment!

Tori August 3, 2015 - 4:17 pm

My boyfriend and I have an 7-hour time difference, and it will turn into an 8-hour time difference in Winter (France-Korea). It’s been a month since he went back to his country and we’re still trying to get used to it. He goes to bed when it’s only 4pm or 5pm here, so I have to wait until the next morning to talk to him again. Sometimes he wokes up earlier to talk to me while I’m still awake, and I think it’s one of my favorite time of the day, since we both are in bed and both have time to talk to each other. We can’t talk on Skype that often, we try to video call twice or three times a week since we both have to work. It’s hard, but we only have to go go through this for 6 months and a half (without seeing each other even once).
If you are in a long distance relationship with time difference, never give up. Never think you can’t go through this. It takes time to adapt, but never forget what’s in the end : you and your special someone together! 🙂

destiny September 14, 2015 - 9:48 pm

My boyfriend and I have a 10 hour time difference. Sometimes it is a bit hard when you have to completely difference schedules and have to balance school on top of that. During the weekends we have long skype calls late at night where i am and when i am tired he will stay on the line and even sleep with me.

B January 2, 2016 - 2:56 pm

Wow and I thought my 3 hour time difference was difficult. If its 2 pm here it’s 11 am there. He usually ends up telling me to go to sleep. I was talking to him said I have to get up in 4 1/2 hours for a Dr appointment. He said go to sleep and good luck. The appointment was at 9 so he was still sleeping.

Jessa February 3, 2016 - 5:38 am

My boyfriend and I have a 15 hr time difference. It’s really tough some times.

Carly March 12, 2016 - 2:37 am

My boyfriend and I have a 6 hour time difference, and with my crazy work schedule I’m only available late at night my time, which is ungodly hours for him. Luckily, he doesn’t sleep much sometimes he’ll surprise me with a phone call before he finally decides to go to sleep. And Sundays are our movie days, which I love so much! We get to talk for about 5 hours at a time and it’s the perfect way to start a week! Long distance is hard but it’s worth it.

Jocelyn JoJo June 13, 2016 - 11:49 pm

This is my first long distance relationship with my American boyfriend. We are 15 hours apart. He is from LA and I’m from Malaysia. We find it very hard to even find the time to FaceTime each other and talk. It’s very tough. I feel discouraged all the times. 🙁

Alice April 25, 2017 - 8:49 am

Me and my boyfriend are 5 hours away, but we still manage to spend time. Even though, when i leave him a reply it takes longer, because of the speed thru or whatever. but in the long run, we still know that we care for eachother.. But on weekends, we pull all nighters talking about how the rest of our weekday went since we didnt get it. Sometimes, I leave him little messages or paragraphs telling him we’re in this together Making him forget he lives 5 hours away. Never feel discourage, it just breaks down the relationship. Tell him how you feel, the better your partner knows the better the relationship will last.

Pink May 14, 2017 - 1:44 am

12 hours apart, 13 hours when its time saving, it gets very tough when we both in a tight busy schedule because we didnt get to talk too much. Going over a year now, thoughts of having someone near crossed several times. I hope we can meet up soon, loneliness killing softly, sometimes talk and face time is just not enough.

becca May 16, 2017 - 12:35 am

my girlfriend and her family most likely are going to vietnam in the summer of 2018 and i’m not sure i can handle it. friday is our 10 month together, but we’ve never had to deal with time differences. except when she went to texas last summer, but that was only an hour difference. she’s in florida and i’m in indiana. but vietnam is 11 hours ahead of us so i don’t know if i can handle it. all i’m doing is hoping her family doesn’t end up having enough money to go 🙁

Madison November 6, 2017 - 2:49 pm

My boyfriend and I are now 10 hours apart for the next 9 months. (US-Kuwait) And honestly it’s only been two days but it’s already rough. We’ve video called once and talked on the phone once but with the hours so different it’s really difficult. We were only together for a little over 2 months when we had to go through this change. In the end it’ll make us stronger and it will be worth it. I know that we can do this.


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