What happens when you fall in love with someone who lives in another city, state, or country? What if you start dating someone who moves miles away? Can you make it work? Long-distance relationships can work if you both agree to continue the relationship knowing it will take considerable effort.
The first step is to define your relationship. Are you going to date other people while you’re away from each other or is this an exclusive relationship? You need to talk to your partner about this from the beginning. Both partners should be aware of the expectations that the other partner has of the relationship. You both have to agree to follow the rules that you set together and keep the lines of communication open to continue the conversation. Be honest with each other about your ability to be in a long-distance, exclusive relationship.
You need to continuously check in with yourself and your partner to see if you’re happy with the relationship. Long-distance relationships are difficult and you need to make sure that the effort you’re expending is worth it. Decide together how much you’re sacrificing and how long you’ll be able to keep the relationship together. Do you have a plan for one of you to move in the future? This can make the time apart easier.
Make an effort everyday to stay in touch with your partner. Send an email or text message or call your loved one to show that you’re thinking about him/her on a daily basis. If you were in the same city, how often would you see each other and how much time would you spend together? Expend the same amount of time within the long-distance relationship. Talk on the phone for the hour that you would have spent having dinner together.
Trust is one of the most significant factors in long-distance relationships. If you can’t trust your partner, then the relationship will not be able to withstand time. You will drive yourself crazy if you’re constantly worried about your partner cheating or lying. Talk about the trust in your relationship and how you can continue to improve the trust and communication.
Be aware of your feelings of jealousy and where they stem from. If you are jealous that your fiancé is having a business lunch with a female coworker, talk to him about it. Tell him that you trust him but wish you were having lunch with him. Combat your unrealistic expectations that your partner will avoid all people of the opposite sex. You have to be confident that your partner is telling you the truth and would rather be with you too.
You have to be patient. If your partner is finishing graduate school in another state within six months, you have to be willing to wait those six months to be together. Don’t make each other feel guilty about the reasons that you’re apart; you could cause resentment in the relationship. Support each others dreams and goals.
Make plans to see each other in person. If you know that you’re going to be in a long-distance relationship for one year until one of you moves, then you should decide how often you can see each other. What is financially realistic? Can each of you travel to see the other once a month? Knowing the next time that you’ll see each other can decrease feelings of anxiety and hopelessness. Both partners need to be willing to travel to see the other. If one has fewer resources to travel, then both partners need to be aware of this and discuss it.
Get creative with your methods of communication. Send your partner e-cards, hand written letters, and surprise packages. Put together a box of things that will remind your partner of your relationship and how much you care about him or her. Send him/her a picture of the two of you, the ticket stubs from the last movie that you saw together, his/her favorite DVD, and homemade cookies.
Avoid situations that would make your partner feel uncomfortable. It’s one thing to go out for a couple of drinks with friends after work on Friday, and it’s another to go clubbing every Friday and Saturday night. You should still be able to have fun, have friends, and be in situations with the opposite sex. However, don’t set yourself up for situations that could implicate that your cheating. Make sure that your partner knows that he/she is the priority.