Beyond time and money, the distance also means you can't see each other on a whim. San Francisco-based Carla Borsoi, whose boyfriend of about a year lives in Austin, Texas, misses sharing little celebrations, like good news at work or special events with mutual friends. She also misses those sweet bonding rituals that usually come with new relationships, like getting surprise visits at work, or leaving handwritten notes on each other's cars. Not having your other half nearby can also be tough when you have a bad day, want a hug or need help with a task.
If you're insecure or prone to jealousy, you may not want to admit it, but long-distance dating will accentuate those feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, and set you on a fast path to breaking up. When you live in two different cities, you can't keep tabs, and you simply have to trust that nothing's going on. "The kind of people who will do best are realistic, honest and open people who are willing to talk about the harder realities of relationships," says Tina Tessina, author of The Commuter Marriage.
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When you start out long-distance, the dynamics of communication and courting will be different. It's important to take the time to get to know each other fully. "You can have all kinds of chemistry [and only find out later that they're] narcissistic, inconsiderate and unreliable," Tessina stresses. And even though you might think that because you're in different cities you'll communicate less, you may actually communicate more. "We talk a lot," Borsoi says. "Every day, even if it's just a short text or IM exchange, we converse." That's more than some regular relationships. And when distance is a factor, the talking generally goes deeper into feelings—and sooner.
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When dating, you typically wonder if the other person likes you as much as you like him or her. But long-distance dating requires you to lay all the cards on the table. There isn't as much ambiguity about feelings, which can be a good thing if you're comfortable with being open and honest, and if you have no patience for playing games or wondering endlessly about where you stand.