Long-distance relationships. It’s the greatest of days and the toughest of times. (Or, even more often, they are the worst of times with brief incandescent bursts of best-of-times-togetherness.)
I’ve been in a couple of long-distance relationships. One was more in my mind (but, damn, what a crazy couple of months it was) and ended with me moving to another country to meet him, just to discover we weren’t “meant to be.”
One began with careless zeal and finished… painfully.
One or two got off to a good start but fizzled out.
And one that began well and finished well. #nine years married #two children #still going strong
So I’ve been around the block a few times, and today I’d like to share with you a dozen truths to abide by in your long-distance partnership.
I’m hoping they’ll be constructive, thought-provoking, or a subtle nudge in the right direction… or all three. Here we go.
1.Long-distance marriages are possible.
Many people believe that LDRs are ineffective. They are incorrect. Maybe a long-distance friendship isn’t for them, or maybe they don’t know what they’re talking about. Don’t pay attention to them. Most LDRs work out in the long term, and many partners attribute their experience in a long-distance partnership to teaching them important relationship skills.
So, hold on to this reality, particularly during difficult times: LDRs, including those that begin over distance, may contribute to stable, safe, long-term relationships.
2.The end aim of every romantic experience is to find a suitable partner.
Remember that the entire point of dating is to figure out whether anyone is a suitable long-term partner for you (and vice versa.) So, don’t launch an LDR to reinvent yourself, enter a dating group, meet the “right” guy, or spice up your life. There are much better approaches to attempt to do any of it.
Instead, begin a long-distance relationship because you met someone fascinating and want to learn more about them. Stick with it if you believe there is a long-term promise and you like chatting and texting with them rather than doing something else. But keep in mind that the LDR can not work out in the long term, and that’s well.
In reality, if you learned valuable lessons about yourself and what you want and expect in a mate, and if you take those lessons with you into the future, a long-distance relationship ending is more than OK–good. it’s
3.The most significant advantage of being in a long-distance partnership is that it forces you to talk.
The most important advantage of working in an LDR is that it allows you to engage profoundly. In reality, you will never have as much dedicated time and energy to spend engaging with your partner throughout your partnership. Make use of it. If you can get to know them thoroughly and well when you’re apart, that can pay off a huge time in the long run.
The stronger your communication skills are, the better your friendship will be now and in the future. As a result, you can still aspire to improve your communication skills. Discover the complexities of LDRs, as well as connectivity and dispute resolution. Put your newfound expertise to use.
4.Everyone begins by donning a pair of rose-coloured lenses.
Everyone is vulnerable to viewing the object of their desire through rose-coloured lenses in the early stages of a partnership. This suggests that within the first few months (or even years) of getting to know someone we find sexy, we prefer to believe they are indeed wonderful in a variety of other respects. In other terms, we like to believe that if someone has a bright smile and glossy hair, he or she is also clever, kind, and fascinating.
This kind of rose-coloured idealization occurs when we begin dating someone who lives down the street. However, idealizing others is much better because they live far away and we just have emails, messages, and phone calls to help us get to know them. In long-distance environments, our idealized view of others can be much more distorted. It may often take a long time before we notice inconsistencies in the individual we envision and the person we see in actual life.
It’s almost difficult to remove these rose-coloured lenses entirely during the early stages of a partnership, but remembering that we’re wearing them might help us be a little more relaxed.
5.You can take it slowly at first, particularly if you haven’t met yet.
When you meet over a long stretch, it’s convenient to hop into the deep end and drive too quickly.
By falling into bed with anyone so soon, you might throw a new friendship off balance. You may even throw things off-kilter by delving too deeply into someone’s life is too short a period. So don’t bear it all too soon (literally or metaphorically)! In particular, LDRs can follow the same rules as public pools: The situation is dangerous! Since the ground here is slick, walk rather than a sprint. And no swimming in headfirst, even though the water seems to be deep enough.
Remember to take it slowly at first, particularly if you haven’t met before. Don’t jump into insecurity at the beginning (at least for the first couple of months). Do not suddenly lose all discipline and spill out your heart and secrets, establish a habit of chatting for hours every day, or make substantial promises only weeks after starting to communicate with somebody.
This might seem to be self-evident, but it isn’t! Not when you’re getting sprayed with happy love-buzz chemicals and the guy you’re interested in isn’t even present to have a reality check. So, right from the start of your partnership, try to develop positive contact habits and boundaries. And even though you’ve missed the train on this one, it’s not too late to redraw any of those boundary lines if you want/need to. Although your friendship doesn’t withstand that… okay, maybe that’s not such a horrible thing in the end.
6.Meeting in person as soon as possible would still teach you something valuable.
There are many details you will understand about someone in person (more on that later), so there are three compelling explanations why you should meet in person as soon as possible…
For starters, it would ensure that you are not getting catfished (or scammed). The majority of individuals would turn out to be more or less as they claim to be. Most citizens have positive ideas in general. However, much does not equal everybody.
Long-distance dating scams are on the increase, which is a sad fact. You may believe you will never fall for a scammer, but don’t underestimate how skilled these individuals are at eliciting strong emotions and forging strong ties. Read this article to learn about the top five long-distance scams and how to avoid them.
Second, meeting in person will help you remove those rose-coloured glasses we mentioned earlier. When you encounter someone in person, you will hear a lot about them, like how they look, walk, act, smell, and so much more. Both of these contribute to the mental image of who they are. Before you meet in person, the mind can fill in the blanks by dreaming of all kinds of wonderful things. Meeting in person will help get the thoughts for your SO closer to life, which is often a positive thing.
Finally, it may be tough to tell if you’ll get the indefinable phenomenon called “chemistry” over the internet. I know it’s hard to imagine, but six months of electric emails and erotic innuendo Will lead to you walking off a plane in a foreign world, wondering where all the chemistry (yours AND his) has gone.
So, don’t be too eager to meet anyone, but don’t put things off for too long either. Chat in person if at all practicable until any of you has spent too much time or emotional resources in your new partnership.
7.When you first meet in person, there will be a “weird zone.”
After four months of emailing each other, I met the man who would become my husband for the first time in Brisbane airport. There were a lot of letters. We neither spoke on the internet long-distance nor did we use Skype or Facetime. We simply exchanged emails.
I told Mike in one of the last emails I sent him before he landed in Australia that there might be a strange zone when we first spoke. I predicted it will last at least 47 minutes, if not much longer.
Mike stepped off the plane, gave me a huge embrace, and pronounced the strange zone to be done.
I informed him he couldn’t declare the strange zone done on his own because mine hadn’t ended yet.
Mike later said that he wasn’t anxious until our first encounter. I was so stressed that I felt I was going to hyperventilate. Multiple individuals respond differently to these supercharged times, and this often results in some kind of strange zone.
So prepare for it. The first time you meet, expect things to be thrilling, uncomfortable, and maybe strange. You could second-guess yourself and question what you were thinking when you entered this partnership. Now is a moment to take deep breaths. For the first intense minutes and hours, try to be patient with yourself (and them). Also, schedule several games to help defuse the tension on your first visit.
8.Whether you have recurring thoughts like “something isn’t right” or “everything isn’t right,” you must pay attention.
When you first start dating someone (especially if you’re still long distance), you’ll be overwhelmed with nice, fizzy, “life is wonderful” energy-giving hormones and chemicals.
This love rush is a lot of fun. And being apart makes it easy to experience all of these love thrills without seeing something that could drag you back down to earth a little quicker. So, what else does distance do? It makes it easy to dismiss deep questions regarding a friendship and move slowly on them.
Many people have told me that they realized deep down that their partnership wasn’t “true” for them on any stage, but they persisted. They kept hoping that the next visit would make things easier. They adored the thoughtful stuff their SO said to them through text or email. Or they didn’t want to cut it because they didn’t want to upset the individual on the other end of the line–a person who said they’d never thought this way about someone before.
I get all of that, still, boys… If you’re spending a lot of time worrying if your friendship is working or worth it, it certainly isn’t.
9.Long distance has a finite lifespan.
Being in a long-distance partnership has several major advantages… for a while. This indicates the distance is something to learn about, but it is still something to bear and (hopefully) resolve.
It’s important not to jump into moving or other major commitments, but don’t put off worrying about when and how you can finally close the distance. After all, isn’t it true that the ultimate aim of an LDR is to be together?
10. things can only be learned in person.
When you’re in a long-distance partnership, strong communication and constant conversation over the miles will teach you a lot about others. One of the most significant advantages of engaging in a long-distance partnership is that long-distance partners become skilled at knowing about each other without physically being together.
However, there are certain things you can’t learn about anyone from a distance. Things like their housekeeping practices. Are they sloppy or neat? How should they keep their fridge and cupboards organized? What method do they use to clean? DO they keep the place clean? What do they do for their “relaxing time”? What are the nuances of their different moods? Should they want your pals?
This implies that in an LDR, you don’t have the opportunity to notice and be irritated by minor details. You can not realize the significance of such distinctions unless you share a room with them. Remember that there are certain details you can’t understand about anyone through the phone or by emails, but don’t make some promises unless you’ve spent significant time together face to face.
11.Gifts, emails, and other thoughtful gestures are more meaningful.
You remember the expression “an image is worth a thousand words”? When you’re in a long-distance friendship, a present will often be worth a thousand hugs.
Gifts, surprises, emails, text messages, and other thoughtful expressions become much more meaningful as you are apart from the one you love. So, even though giving presents isn’t your “stuff,” make it more of one while you’re in an LDR. These presents should not have to be costly (though if you have the resources and the affection, by all means, go for it), but they should be thoughtful. Whether your spouse can see that you put consideration into a gift or act, they can love it more than you can imagine.
If you’re looking for some fantastic gift ideas for couples, check out our gifts for couples list, which has over 80 ideas.
12. Daily, you can sound like an emotional yo-yo.
People often equate being in a long-distance relationship to riding an intense roller coaster, and there is some merit to this.
Long-distance partnerships need you to spend a lot of time “waiting in line,” full of suspense while you wait to meet or be reunited.
Then there’s the long ascent to a reunion, with your heart in your mouth, feeling excited, nervous (maybe even a little sick), yet intensely alive all at once.
When you’re together, there’s the sweet still-point where you’re comfortably balanced between hello and farewell, staring out over the universe.
Although, of course, this is accompanied by a swift dive into the waters that come with farewells, and this is when the comparison begins to fall apart. Long-distance partnership goodbyes are rarely exciting and terrifying. The drop is often depressing, and the up and down loop of reunion and farewell will trigger emotional whiplash in even the most experienced long-distance riders.
All in an LDR will experience the burst of strength and emotion at some stage, right up until the farewell, and then collapse emotionally after the farewell. It’s part of the territory. However, there are items you can do to assist.
For instance, don’t place the rest of your life on pause. There’s no reason to reorganize the life around your LDR. Make time for yourself. Seek more colleagues. Do something else that interests you. For more in-depth advice, read this piece about how to remain happy and safe in your LDR.
What other things can you apply to this list?
OK, I’ve written about a dozen truths to live by in LDRs based on my observations. What did I forget to mention (aside from ‘don’t do webcam sex unless you’re ready to risk getting caught nude on YouTube one day)? What other things can you apply to this list?
I’ll leave you with one more piece of advice (or a set of tips, I guess.)
Guys, think about the box when it comes to long-distance dating. Watch television series. The same books were read. Pose difficult questions to one another. Consider thinking beyond the box. Find great options to support you along the way, such as this book of 401 questions for partners or this 12 week set of long-distance dates (or have them all in an exclusive package deal). It’s well worth it because any time you do anything more than talk about your day, you discover a bit more about your mate, build mutual memories, and strengthen your relationship.
I wish you the best of luck on your LDR trip.