He’s Never Too Far Away: The Fundamentals Of Making Any Long Distance Relationship Work

January 8, 2013  |  

 

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Ideally, the man of your dreams lives about a fifteen minute drive away. He’s not your next door neighbor, so you actually get some space to yourself and he can’t just pop up on you. Plus, if things don’t work out, you’ll at least have separate Starbucks to hit up in the morning. But love has no regard for what’s “ideal.” And sometimes you’ll fall for a man who lives across the country. Your friends will tell you to forget about him, that it won’t work out, and that the travel will exhaust you, but it’s too late. You’ve fallen for him and you want to make it work. But the question is,  is it possible? Actually it is, just stick to these fundamental rules.

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Establish how often you’ll visit

The human being can adjust to any kind of pain, including the pain of waiting to see your loved one! But the key to adjusting is knowing what you’re in for. At the beginning of the relationship, talk about what is realistic for the both of you, in terms of visiting. If you know from the beginning you’ll have to go 3 months without seeing each other, you’re far more prepared for that than if you’d just avoided the topic, and played around with dates and flights for weeks until you realize, “Oh no! Now my budget and schedule won’t allow me to come for another four months!” Set a visitation frequency, and try to stick to it.

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Establish how often you’ll communicate

Some people need to talk every day or else they feel disconnected, others need to space out those hour-long Skype sessions, so they can fully throw themselves into their work for a few days at a time. Find out what works for your partner and you. Similar to setting expectations for visiting each other, if you set expectations for how often you’ll speak, the waiting time in between won’t feel like total torture.

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Don’t overdo it with the communication

Daily texts and perhaps a quick phone call to say hi here and there is good for keeping things flirtatious, but try to limit lengthy phone calls or Skype chats to twice a week. This keeps you from growing dependent on each other and on those Skype calls as your only social life! It also makes each of those long chat sessions that much more special.

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Schedule the next visit before you finish the current one

When you’re dating someone long distance, it can feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. There will be days when you wonder, “What am I doing with this person?” Always having a visit to look forward to helps you avoid those panic moments, so schedule the next visit while you’re still enjoying the current one!

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Don’t skip big events to visit him

When you’re in a long distance relationship, you can’t “do it all.” You can’t drive over to your guy’s house after attending a work event. It’s either one, or the other. And often it’s one, and then none of the other for a few days! But you’ll begin to resent your relationship if you let it take you away from the parts of your life that are truly important to you. When you have to go off the visitation schedule to attend a bachelorette party for your best friend, or a work convention where there will be great opportunities for you, make an exception that time.

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Keep up your social life

When your man is so far away, it can feel like you have to pay extra attention to the relationship to make it work. Again, you may have the urge to Skype every night, or text constantly. And this could take you away from quality time with your friends. This is a vicious cycle because the more your friendships deteriorate, the more you depend on your relationship to work, and the more you depend on it, the more you resent it. Put the phone down, close the laptop, and keep seeing your friends. Regularly.

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There needs to be an end in site

You can’t be in a long distance relationship forever. Have the “who is moving to whom?” talk, and have it soon. If you realize that for work-related reasons, or family, or stubbornness that neither of you will ever move to the other, then what are you doing in this relationship? But, if you have a set goal, you will again avoid a lot of those “what am I doing?” panic moments. And you and your guy will bond over working towards that shared goal.

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Don’t only “vacation” together

Don’t only see each other when you have work off, and even worse, don’t only see each other away from your own cities. In a long distance relationship you run the risk of not knowing what it’s like to really be with each other—I mean when you’re both exhausted from work, sleep-deprived, and have a dozen other obligations to balance along with your relationship. If you want a shot at this relationship working, you have to avoid “vacationing” together and actually see what it would be like to live together.

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If you plan on moving there, plan long visits

If you’re going to move to his city, find the time for long visits there. At least two weeks. When you do finally move there, you don’t want to feel like a tourist in what is now supposed to be your home. So give yourself ample time to get to know the place ahead of time.

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Establish roots in advance

If you’re going to move to his city, start making friends there, start looking for a job, scout out what will be your yoga studio. It will be too much pressure on your guy to feel he is your only source of happiness when you move to his town. And you’ll again resent the relationship if you see him happily continuing his life, with his job and established friendships, while you’re floundering to create a life for yourself.

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Alternate visits

Keep up your end of the bargain. Going to visit one another takes a toll on your budgets, your jobs, and your friendships back at home. And the only thing that makes it worth it (besides getting to see each other!) is knowing the other person is willing to make the same sacrifices you are.

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Throw out any trust issues

You’re going to have to when you’re dating somebody who could (let’s face it) be carrying on a double life with a separate girlfriend on each coast! There it is: your worst fear, written out. Now look at it, and forget it. Worrying every moment you’re away from each other, or not speaking, will ruin your relationship. And that’s a lot of moments to be worrying.

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Expect an initial lull when you see each other

The build up is so big when you’ve waited weeks or maybe months to see one another that when you do finally see each other, there’s always a slight feeling of disappointment. There’s no romantic music in the background, there’s no passionate kiss on a rainy street. You’re just two people who love each other, finally in the same place. But don’t worry: after a few yours you’ll settle in and feel just as excited as you have on all those Skype calls.

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  • Red

    My fiance and I have been long-distance throughout our entire relationship. Actually, we went from long distance to …even longer distance. I would never recommend long distance. It sucks to no end. I love him to death but absolutely hate the arrangement. Just feels like a glorified friendship most of the time. You have the titles with almost none of the perks.

  • Anya

    Great article and right on time. Thanks!