The beauty of a rocky start
There is this unfortunate and misguided notion that relationships that begin over long distances do not stand a chance.
That couldn’t possibly be further from the truth!
Starting a long-distance relationship with someone who lives in a different state or country comes with a set of challenges. However, not being easy does not mean dating long distance is impossible.
All you have to do is figure out the best way to get things going!
In this article, we’ll take a look at:
- Things to consider before you get into an LDR
- How to start a long-distance relationship
- Some hard truths about LDRs
- How to make your relationship work and give it a fair chance at succeeding despite the distance challenges.
Things to consider before starting an LDR
What are you looking for in a relationship?
Assuming you’ve heard about “love languages,” you need to figure out if you can communicate love and affection long-distance.
Do you need physical touch and someone’s physical presence to feel loved and build a more profound emotional connection? Or do you prefer the freedom you enjoy with having a long-distance partner?
Starting a long-distance relationship will teach you that you need to get to know yourself first before getting to know your partner.
Figure out what you expect to gain from this relationship, or you’ll set yourself up for some serious heartbreak and failure.
How far and how often would you travel to meet in person?
Today’s fast pace of living dictates our love life too. Think about your location and availability before you jump on the LDR bandwagon.
Are you willing to drive all night just to see your beau for a few hours? Would you fly across the world several times a year for spending time with your loved one? Can you afford the time?
Do you think you can trust them?
Trust is everything, especially if you’ve met online and started the relationship without meeting in person yet.
There are two things you need to be careful about:
- Are they who they say they are in cyberspace?
- Do you think you’ll like them in person as much as you like them online?
Chemistry, or the lack thereof, is hard to fake or create. It’s there, or it’s not.
Are there any red flags?
I can’t stress enough how important it is not to miss or turn a blind eye to the red flags coming from a person you’ve never met.
If you start feeling suspicious of their true intentions or catch them lying or telling stories that don’t add up, listen to your gut feeling and put an end to it before you get hurt.
How to start a Long-Distance Relationship
Oh, the butterflies!
Getting involved in an online long-distance relationship feels new, fresh, and exciting.
It’s an uncharted territory that many deem fun and easy to navigate, but LDRs come with many trial-and-error and tons of learning pains.
Luckily, there are many successful LDR couples who have hacked the distance and all the hurdles that come with it.
Here are a few important things to consider and do long-distance like a pro:
- Determine your personal and relationship goals.
- Work out a plan for how to achieve those goals.
- Understand what it takes to be in a long-distance relationship.
- Set realistic expectations.
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
- List all the reasons why you are committing to this LDR.
- Talk about common problems you might face while being apart and how you can resolve them.
6 hard truths about LDRs
It won’t be easy
Long-distance relationships are designed to be difficult. And getting to know someone long-distance is hard too.
It doesn’t matter how often you visit each other, how much time you spend chatting, or even how creative you get with your online date nights.
A time will come when the loneliness will get overwhelming. It could be after you two fight or after seeing them off at the airport. Or it might even be some random weekday afternoon on your way home when you realize they won’t be there waiting.
Fights are inevitable
You are never too far away in a relationship for a fight, and long-distance relationships are the best proof of this.
You will also realize that you and your partner will start fighting over the pettiest of things, from missed calls to unfounded suspicions.
It is important to appreciate these as learning and growth opportunities to gain insight into your partner’s needs. Just remember to fight fair, listen, and accept change.
You need to compromise
To be honest, sustaining a long-distance relationship can feel like a full-time job.
This is particularly the case if you and your partner are in different time zones. It’s hard scheduling calls and virtual hangouts at really odd hours of the day!
As a result, you will have to compromise a lot on other aspects of your social life. Fortunately, it will all be worth it when you guys get your happy ending.
People will doubt your relationship
People are often very skeptical about long-distance relationships. Whether it is friends or family, you may not receive the enthusiasm and support that you thought you would have from them.
Don’t let this bring you down. Instead, take it as an opportunity to prove them wrong. It will take a lot of effort, but that “I told you so” vibe you will get when your relationship succeeds will be super satisfying.
Financial planning is important
Long-distance relationships can be quite costly. Consider this – you may have to travel back and forth to see each other, and this will not come cheap.
If you want to do it right, you will also have to invest in fun dating ideas, whether playing video games together, taking virtual tours, or even sending each other gifts.
Let’s not even get started on all the phone bills, which only get worse with international relationships.
Making the relationship work is more than just an emotional and time investment. You have to be smart about your finances as well.
Trust is key
If you are starting a long-distance relationship, trust is non-negotiable.
Remember that this is a complete stranger. What’s worse is that they are far away from you, living a life you know very little about.
If you do not want to go mad with doubt and insecurities, you will have to work on trust. This includes communicating your insecurities and intentionally prioritizing the relationship.
How to make a long-distance relationship work
Make your expectations clear
What exactly do you want from your partner if this works out for you? It could be anything from daily calls to romantic gestures to keep things hot and exciting.
Making sure you’re on the same page is very important for starting a long-distance relationship online. It ensures that you and your partner know how to keep each other happy.
Discuss any insecurities or trust issues
Communication is the first reason why LDRs don’t’ work out.
In addition to talking about what you want, you need to be open about what you are afraid of. LDR relationships can be scary, and you will have a lot of insecurities to work through.
The best way to keep these from escalating and ruining your relationship is by discussing them beforehand. That way, you can reassure each other and know what to avoid for your partner’s sake.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable
It can be quite nerve-wracking wearing your heart on your sleeve for someone you just met and don’t even get to see that often.
To be honest, it is a leap of faith that you have to take in the hopes that they feel for you what you feel for them.
The only way to honestly know where they stand is by letting yourself enter that vulnerable space.
Embrace technology as the third member of the relationship
There will always be three parties in every long-distance relationship. Technology plays a major role as it helps bridge the distance between you and your significant other.
Imagine coming home to a video chat after a long day of work. She is there in front of her laptop with no makeup and sweats on. It is almost like they are there with you, and it is all because of technology.
So embrace it and get the most out of the different channels by making phone conversations and skype dates a regular part of your relationship.
Some things are better said over an email
There is something about emails that makes it so much easier to express exactly what we feel and think. Therefore, make sure to switch things up now and then from calls and video chats to modern-day love letters.
With this low-pressure setting, it is easier to open up, which also makes them worth considering as your primary mode of communication as you are starting to get to know each other.
Come up with a schedule
Following a set plan might seem boring, but it saves you a lot of trouble down the line. Figure out things like when to call and specific dates for in-person visits.
That helps to eliminate the uncertainty that, in turn, leads to insecurity.
However, it does not mean that you cannot talk or check in on each other when it isn’t on the schedule.
Channel your inner hopeless romantic
With proximity being off the table as a way to show love, you need to find great alternatives.
One of the best is being super romantic. Find ways to make your lover feel special. For example, you can get your long-distance partner a nice gift.
Or it could be something simple like cute texts throughout the day or planning a surprise online date. You could also choose to be extra and go for some grand gesture like a surprise physical visit or a care package shipment.
That makes your partner feel loved and thought of, resulting in a very healthy relationship.
Introduce important people in your lives
In any relationship, one of the best ways to legitimize the connection is by introducing each other to friends and family.
Just because you are hundreds or even thousands of miles away, it does not mean that this has to change.
You could start simply by letting your loved ones pop into the video call for a quick hello. With time, you could even have them arrange individual calls.
Discuss your relationship end date and ultimate goal
Where is this going? What is the point?
These are very important questions to ask when starting a relationship where distance is involved. Having a specific end goal makes the entire process bearable.
A great example is agreeing that one of you will move to where the other is as the relationship grows. You could also decide to set up roots somewhere new together.
Prepare to learn patience the hard way
Psychologically prepare yourself for hard times ahead if you want your new relationship to work.
Patience is particularly important, and you will have to practice this not only on your partner but for the sake of your sanity to survive the circumstances.
Start working on yourself
Do not forget to focus on yourself when starting an LDR. Pick up a new hobby, learn a cool skill, or even return to school.
Investing in self-progress makes the entire long-distance setup a lot easier to deal with for the sake of the relationship.
Respect the reason why you’re apart
Doing long-distance can sometimes feel like a walk in the park, but there will be days when you’ll feel like dropping everything and moving in with your loved one.
While it may look and feel like a grand romantic gesture, you need to face reality and remind yourself why you are currently apart.
Reasons are as many as there are long-distance couples:
But, whether you are in school, pursuing a dream job opportunity, or taking care of an elderly family member, you must remember the reason behind your situation, and most importantly, respect it.
Other things in life require sacrifice and giving up, not just your LDR. So, keep your future together in focus, and the long-distance pains will be a little more bearable.
Starting a long-distance relationship online is not in any way an easy task, but it is also not impossible. You just need the right skills and mindset.
Hopefully, these steps will make your life a lot easier and give you and your partner a good start.
You might end up having a more mature and stable relationship than a couple that lives under the same roof!
And with the six hard truths we have served you, you now know exactly what to expect – both good and bad.
So, do not be too hard on yourselves and your relationship. It will all work out in the end!
For more advice about long-distance relationships, head up to Ella’s blog DatingLongDistance