They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it can also be a serious drag. If you’re used to living near your significant other or living together, the transition into a long-distance relationship can be daunting and even devastating if you don’t do it right. On the other hand, with open communication, patience, and a willingness to embrace the exciting new parts of your life, a long-distance relationship can not only be successful but can even bring couples closer.

If you’re new to a long-distance relationship or have been working on making one succeed for a while, there are some important steps you need to take to achieve happily ever after.

Celebrate Yourself

If you want to relocate and start a new chapter in your life, it does not have to mean ending an existing relationship; it just means that the relationship has to be flexible. Maybe you just finished college or grad school, or maybe you just got an amazing opportunity to take on a new job; whatever the reason is, it’s important to discuss your future with your partner. If you’re excited about the move and up for the extra effort of adapting to long-distance relationship, then a good partner should be excited for you and be ready to grow and change with you.

Embrace the Transition

Moving away from your partner can be sad and confusing, but you have to decide if it’s worth it right away. Talk together about what your plans are for a future together and how this change can be good for both of you. Once you put things into perspective, you’ll realize the time you’ll be on your own will help you define yourself professionally, personally, or both. Soon enough, it will make sense for you to move back, now with more experience, or for your partner to join you, now that you are well-established.

Enjoy the Independence

Relationships are great, but it’s important to be your own person, even if you’re part of a pair. When you set out on your own, you will have the freedom to not only keep up existing hobbies but to try new things you might not have done with your partner. Plus, you’ll be able to scope out all the great places to eat or hang out that you’ll want to take your partner to when they come to visit.

Communicate Like Never Before

Many couples report their quality of communication actually gets better in a long-distance relationship. Why? Because what else is there to do but communicate? You can’t sit there on the couch binging TV shows without talking and you can’t go out to the bars or hang out with groups of friends when you’re far apart, so you’ll need to talk. Texts become sweeter, calls longer and deeper, and Skype or FaceTime sessions replace the dates and come without distractions. You may not be able to spend as much time together when living apart, but you can still spend quality time connecting. You can also use an online appointment scheduling app to count the days to your meeting! It is quite romantic!

Find Things to Share

Technology makes it a lot easier to share experiences with your partner even when you’re miles apart. You can use a streaming service or just watch a DVD at the same time to “share” a movie night together. Start the film at the same time, spend some time on the phone, on chat, or on a shared screen while you’re watching, and it’ll be about as close as can be to a good old date night. You can also each try the same new cuisine, hobby, or exercise, and then compare notes. Just because you’re not sharing a zip code doesn’t mean you can’t share similar experiences.

Up Your Trust Levels

If you trust your partner, then it doesn’t matter how near or far they may be, you can rest assured of their faithful commitment to you. The opposite is also true, of course. If you and your partner don’t have a relationship built on mutual trust and respect, distance is not going to solve anything. But take comfort knowing that examples of successful relationships come in all shapes and sizes, and no one couple—be they long-distance or live-in, young or old, married or dating—will ever be the epitome of the “right” couple.

There are all kinds of benefits and drawbacks of a long-distance relationship, but all relationships take work. If you follow these tips and make sure to stay connected, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your romance alive, even from far away.