I never truly understood how difficult long distance relationships were until I was in the middle of one. It's not glamorous, it's not romantic, and it's no walk in the park. Honestly, I wouldn't wish it anyone but sometimes life just leads us down these difficult paths and we have to come up with ways to overcome these challenges.

Here are some tips that I personally have discovered as ways to make a long-distance relationship really work:

1. Someone wise once said, "If you want to live together you must first learn to live apart." Although I really don't want to and I would love to skip to right to happily ever after, this wise someone has a point. Being apart can really strengthen your love for each other. If you're able to love each other being miles and miles away, imagine all the love you'll share when you're finally together.

2. Set expectations and boundaries. Communication is key just like in any other relationship but I believe that you need to go above and beyond being long-distance. Don't put yourself in situations that might make the other person uncomfortable. Always keep them up to date if you're about to step out and be honest about what you're doing and who you're with. You'll have your own rules and expectations specific to your relationship but the important thing is you adhere and respect them.

3. Virtual date nights. I look forward to virtual date night every night. Right now my boyfriend and I are watching Ozark on Netflix together. Right before bed we make a date to watch the show together. Some nights we even have virtual dinner date night. We'll both plan on ordering in Chinese food and enjoy together via Facetime.

4. Kiss em through the phone. While you physically can't be there to feel their touch, you can still imagine it over through phone. There are still ways you can be intimate without being right next to each other. You just can't be afraid to get creative.

5. Send each other gifts. The power of delivery services. Take advantage of being able to send each other gifts through the mail. You can write cute handwritten love letters or even have a pizza or flowers delivered directly to them.

6. Plan your visits. In a long-distance relationship you have to plan way ahead to make plans with your lover. This includes coordinating schedules and even saving up for plane tickets. My boyfriend and I like to plan certain things to do or places to go while so we can make the most of our short time together.

7. Familiarize yourselves with each other's schedules. If you know what a typical day of your significant other looks like, then it can be really reassuring. Knowing when they wake up, to when they eat lunch, to when they usually take that midday nap is helpful.

8. Treasure physical items them remind you of them. I always steal clothes when I go visit my boyfriend so I can sleep with them at night. Kinda corny, I know. Even more though, I have a necklace with his initials on it that I always keep around my neck and close to my neck. I'm so in love it's so obnoxious.