- A couple who spent periods in different places shared their long-distance relationship tips.
- Krystina Burton and Gabriel Solberg met as strangers on a plane and lived in different cities.
- While the couple live together now, Burton is a dancer who often goes on long tours.
An engaged couple who met as strangers on a plane and started a long-distance relationship said they created rules to help make their bond last.
Krystina Burton, 33, and Gabriel Solberg, 38, said they fell in love on a flight from New York to Los Angeles in 2018 and officially became a couple shortly after. They told Insider they came up with long-distance rules when they would fly back and forth to visit each other.
While Burton lived in Los Angeles, Solberg was a digital nomad most frequently based in New York City. The couple moved in together in New York a few months after meeting and became engaged on a trip to Italy in October 2019.
They now document their travels on Instagram for their surplus of 16,000 followers on their @swirlthroughtheworld account, but still resort to a long-distance dynamic when Burton, a dancer, goes on tour for work. Here are their tried and tested tips for making it work across different time zones.
While you're together, pick the date of your next visit and book travel tickets
Speaking about their early relationship dynamic, Solberg said that when he and Burton met up they would plan their next visit and book tickets. "When we were meeting, we decided on the next time that we're going to see each other so then we can have a countdown going before we leave each other," said Solberg. The couple met up in Malibu and Las Vegas, as well as visiting more distant locations such as Mexico, Saint Thomas, and Greece.
The pair said they would decide on a set amount of time they were willing to be apart for, and book travel tickets or make arrangements so there was an element of accountability. Solberg added: "It has to be more than a verbal agreement because that just becomes flaky."
Burton said nailing down dates was helpful because it gave her something to work towards.
Communicate openly, even if it means feeling insecure in the moment
The couple agreed to communicate about anything and everything while they were apart, emphasizing that "there was no stigma around any kind of conversation."
Solberg told Insider: "What we did early on was say, if you feel some way, or like I'm doing something shady, just talk about it rather than spin the narrative in your head."
He said they consciously decided to break down the stigma around what you can say to a partner, noting that it doesn't matter if you feel "annoying" or "clingy," honest communication comes first. Solberg added that "it allows people to grow through the insecurities they might have" and build trust.
"It's about not sugarcoating things," Burton said. "There's no reason for me to be like, 'I'm sitting in this feeling, what am I going to do with it?'" she added, advising other couples to address their concerns with transparency, so they can solve them.
Check in with each other every night, even if it's brief
While honoring a partner's space is important, Burton said couples should try to check in each night before bedtime, even if the encounter is brief. "Checking in every night is good but it should also be okay to say, 'I don't want to be on the phone right now. I love you. Bye,'" she said, laughing.
Solberg added that they didn't have to spend hours on the phone each time and that Burton was especially good at reassuring him when it was okay to go and watch his favorite TV show instead of speaking. "It doesn't have to feel like a burden," he said.
Work on your self-confidence while you're apart
It can feel difficult to have extended periods away from your partner, but Solberg and Burton used the space to keep working on themselves. According to the couple, being secure in yourself is what leads to good communication.
Burton said this self-confidence allowed her and Solberg to not worry about what the other person was doing or who they were spending time with.
Burton said: "I think it has to start with you being fundamentally OK with who you are and not worrying about everybody else, which obviously is easier said than done."