When you start a long-distance relationship you know there will be hurdles to overcome and things to sort out, but will your relationship be worth the trouble or is the physical distance between you a reason to say good bye to your guy?
There was a time when long-distance relationships took even more effort than they do now. They seldom worked out, simply because communication was slow and delayed. Couples had a harder time staying in touch because phone calls were prohibitively expensive. Today, with high speed Internet, flat-rate calls and messages, and multiple ways to voice chat, staying in touch is no longer as difficult as it once was. You can stay close even over a long period of separation and maintain a strong relationship.
How well a long-distance relationship works is now entirely up to the two of you. Don’t listen to those who try to talk you out of it until you’ve considered the pros and cons yourself. What worked or didn’t work for someone else isn’t necessarily going to be your make or break point. Sure, you can learn from others, but if you really love each other, you’ll figure out how to make it work if you want to.
You can’t know for sure if a long-distance relationship will work or not. No one can predict the future. But there are some signs that will help you see if yours is more likely to succeed or not.
You know each other well
Some long-distance relationships are born from Internet dating, so clearly there will still be things to learn about each other. However, even if you don’t know each other well, there should be a desire to get to know each other better and communicate well. Often, a long-distance relationship is stronger when you’ve known each other for some time and have spent a fair amount of time together.
You trust each other
There’s nothing like jealousy or suspicion to hurt a relationship, even more so when it’s long-distance. You have to be able to trust each other completely as well as be trustworthy. Where there’s love, there’s trust, so that helps, just be aware that it’s easier to become suspicious if you’re further away from each other.
You communicate well and often
Most of your contact is likely to be through the Internet or phone. You’ll be chatting, messaging, Skyping, and using other means of communication that are somewhat limited. There will be times when you’ll be without outside means of judging a conversation, such as body language, expression, or even tone of voice. You’ll have to work out how you communicate, be willing to learn the other person’s love language, and not get offended when something is misunderstood.
You are willing to make sacrifices
There will be times when you’ll have to forgo going out with friends in order to catch your man online, or he may have to stay up late or wake up early in order to chat with you. Having a relationship over distance means you’re not always on the same time schedule. You may have to save in order to meet up from time to time or give up time doing other things in order to be together.
You love each other
If you love each other, you greatly increase your chances of making the relationship work. If you’re not there yet (but you think love could grow) agree to a long-distance relationship for a period of time to see how it works out, rather than pressuring yourselves to commit to something long-term. If love grows, that’s great, if not, you can have an amiable split without hurt feelings.
You are both on the same page
It’s important you both know what you expect from the relationship. Have you both agreed not to date anyone else? If one of you thinks you’re in an exclusive long-distance relationship, but the other doesn’t, there will be trouble ahead. Know what you want and make sure you’re both in agreement.
You have a time line
It’s good to know at any point when you’ll next be seeing each other again, and if possible, the time frame when you’ll no longer be apart. Having something to look forward to can help to make the separation go faster, and you’ll know if you can wait to discuss important things until you’re face to face. If you plan to “meet when you can” and don’t really know how long you’ll be apart, doubt and loneliness can eat away at the relationship, if not kill it altogether.
You share long-term goals
It’s equally important to discuss the future and long-term plans in a long-distance relationship as in any regular relationship. Putting planning and future plans aside during your time apart will weaken the relationship. Talk about what you’ll do once you’re living closer to each other, discuss living together, where you’ll be, and so on. Discussing the future helps cement the relationship even if you’re apart for now.
You refuse to give up
Before going into the long-distance scenario, decide you’re not going to call it quits the first time things get difficult. Acknowledge there will be problems to work through and agree to work through them together, whatever they are. You might fight or have some misunderstandings, especially at the beginning, but if you don’t see breaking up as an option, you’ll make it work, come hell or high water. You’ll resolve the issues and make new commitments until you’re both happy again.
You’re willing to try new things
Intimacy over long-distance can be tricky, though not impossible. It may mean coming out of your comfort zone. Flirt over texts, tell each other what you’re thinking, and consider virtual make out sessions. Try new ways of communication too. Send letters rather than emails or leave voice messages when you can’t meet up online. Venture outside what you think you know and try new ways to keep the spice in the relationship.
You focus on the positive
During the times you do have together, whether you’re meeting up virtually or for real, focus on the positives. Realize that your time together is precious, so focus on the good. Yes, you’ll feel lonely, there will be times when you miss each other incredibly. But constantly focusing on that will only make you feel sad. Stay busy and then you’ll have lots to talk about when you have the chance. Be sure to say ‘I love you’ often and also to acknowledge how good it is to be with the person you love, even if it’s over a distance for now.
You keep a level head
Getting suspicious over every little thing won’t help with a long-distance relationship. There will be times when one or both of you have trouble getting in touch. Internet issues or busy periods at work may throw a spanner in the works. Making assumptions that the other person is upset or avoiding you only serve to make things tense between you. Agree to be upfront when something is wrong and to never assume something is up unless the other says it is.
You’re willing to make the effort
You have to understand from the beginning that it will be work to maintain a long-distance relationship. A lot of effort will go into communication. You’ll need to work on your schedules so that you can meet up online. If you’re both willing to put in the hard work, you’ll have more chance of the relationship working out. If you go into it thinking you’ll just wing it or hope for the best, things are more likely to fall apart.
Over to you: Have you ever had (or are you in) a long-distance relationship? What do you think make the difference between a love that lasts and one that doesn’t go the distance? Please share in the comments below.