I’ve recently started dating a great girl, and unfortunately she’s had to move out of the area for work. I have never been in a long distance relationship, and I’m wondering if you have any tips to help us make this work.
The main components of a successful long distance relationship are trust, communication, and guidelines. Most experts claim that long distance relationships are a bad idea, because a lot of people have trouble maintaining them due to the amount of work involved; long distance relationships are difficult, and require a strong commitment. However, by following a few rules, there’s a better chance of having a lasting, healthy relationship.
It’s important to establish rules and guidelines early on in the relationships. For example, make sure that both of you are on the same page as far as how often you communicate, whether or not you will see other people, and when you will see one another in-person. Couples in long distance relationships, in my opinion, as having been in a long-distance relationship for over three years myself, resulting in marriage, shouldn’t go more than a month without being together in person. Without physical contact, a relationship is not likely to last very long. Be sure not to cancel regular meetings with your partner, as she should be your priority. If monthly meetings aren’t affordable, you should reconsider pursuing the relationship altogether. Being in synch with each other’s schedules is important, too, so that you have time to talk on a daily basis. If you and your partner are in different time zones, keep in mind that this will create more obstacles, and potentially be a more expensive relationship to maintain.
When the two of you are apart, you can still plan dates. Perhaps you could both rent the same movie and watch it together over the phone. Video chatting online together over a glass of wine is a great idea, too, for some face-to-face time. It’s fun to know that you and your partner are doing the exact same thing at the same time, and allows you to share a moment even though you’re apart. These kinds of “dates” keep the relationship alive and exciting. If your partner is far away, such as overseas, the internet offers various programs that allow you to communicate for free, or at low cost, online.
Strong communication is key to maintaining trust in a relationship. Never assume that your partner knows how you’re feeling; speak up. Whether you’re feeling good or bad about the relationship, it’s important to talk about it. If you think you need more in-person time, or more time spent talking on the phone, say so. Share everything with your partner as you would in any other relationship; talk about your family, friends, work, your kids, etc. It’s also necessary to have a light at the end of the tunnel. Discuss the future, and when the long-distance aspect can disappear, and who will be the one to re-locate.
Be sure to express your feelings clearly and accurately. Reassurance is imperative in a situation where the two of you can’t often be together. Sending cards, care packages, and even surprising your partner with a visit or a shout-out on her favorite radio station are all ways to express your love for her. You should also consider exchanging pictures of what you’ve been up to, such as outings with friends or family, or work trips, or your kid’s dance recitals. Sharing photos helps the other person feel as though he or she is a part of these fun activities, even if from a distance.
Make sure that you both have the same expectations from the relationship. Establish early on whether the relationship is exclusive or not, and what your title is, exactly. Some people involve themselves in long-distance relationships as an easy way to have love and affection without having to sacrifice any freedom. Be clear about your long-term goals regarding marriage and children.
If you focus on the positive aspects of your relationship, and follow the simple rules explained above, there’s a decent chance it will last.