I marvel when I hear people say that long distance relationships don't work. As someone who has been in a long distance relationship with my best friend and now fiancé for 6 years, I know that long relationships can work if the parties involved put in the work.
The work required to make a long distance relationship work is no different than that required to make a regular relationship work. It is just that long distance relationships force you to do the foundational work sooner for the relationship to have a chance. What is this work? It is the work of building intimacy.
For any relationship to work, the couple must build spiritual, mental/emotional, and physical intimacy. To have a lasting relationship, spiritual and mental/emotional intimacy must form the bedrock on which physical intimacy is built. Without this foundation, the fireworks that physical intimacy provide soon flame out.
Spiritual and mental/emotional intimacy form the bedrock of long-lasting relationships
Of the three types of intimacy, only physical intimacy requires close proximity. Without this proximity, those in long distance relationships have the advantage of avoiding the pitfall of basing their entire relationship on physical intimacy, while neglecting the solid foundation of spiritual and mental/emotional intimacy.
Physical intimacy can take away from building the right relationship foundation
Every relationship requires deep commitment, healthy communication, and chemistry to function as designed. Spiritual intimacy produces deep commitment, mental/emotional produces healthy communication, and physical intimacy has a hand to play in determining whether two people have chemistry.
Long distance relationships can help you achieve spiritual and mental/emotional intimacy sooner by (1) allowing you to be real with your partner rather than trying to impress them, and so build false intimacy (2) giving you the security to ask the tough but pertinent questions with much less concern of awkwardness (3) taking away the external pressures that come from societal / community norms and the scrutiny of others.
Here is a little more on spiritual and mental/emotional intimacy
You are not just a conglomeration of cells or a mish mash of emotions. At the core, you are a spirit being. To develop spiritual intimacy means that you know who your partner is at the deepest level. This makes spiritual intimacy the deepest level of intimacy. It is what produces vulnerability, authenticity, and transparency. It is what allows you to stick a relationship out and forgive when you know your partner is not acting like who they truly are. Therefore, what comes out of spiritual intimacy is a deep sense of commitment.
Mental / Emotional Intimacy
Mental /Emotional intimacy comes when you and your partner understand each other - what makes you tick and what rubs you the wrong way. It is what allows you to avoid the landmines in your relationship field, thereby keeping the relationship happy. This type of intimacy can only come through extensive conversations. When you have developed emotional intimacy, you are free to speak your mind, knowing that your partner understands. Therefore, what comes out of mental/emotional intimacy goes beyond conversation, it is healthy communication.
If you are in a long distance relationship, do not think of what you don't have. Think of the opportunity that has been placed in front of you and maximize it to build a rock solid relationship.