When starting a long-distance relationship, do you stay or abandon ship?
If anyone told you they got a perfect relationship, best believe that’s complete BS right there. Doesn’t matter how much you’re into each other; all relationships hit a rocky patch along the way, yours including. It all boils down to staying committed and working through your differences if you want to keep what you have as a couple. But that’s easier said than done, especially when you have the distance to contend with.
While it may not be a total relationship killer, distance sure puts a damper on things. So if you’re planning on being in an LDR right now, you’re doing yourself a favor by reading this article. Don’t just jump into things without at least having an idea of what you’re getting yourself into.
That said, there’s no need for you to immediately abandon ship either. Find out what you have to deal with. Read up on what you need to know before starting a long-distance relationship, and decide whether you’re ready for it.
1Prepare for emotional highs and lows.
Be prepared for the highs and lows, to laugh or cry, sometimes both simultaneously. It’s going to be a roller coaster ride of emotions. You may feel an impending sense of doom as the minute of separation comes nearer.
And once the two of you are apart, you both feel miserable at times and filled with longing for each other’s company, but at the same time, you’re hopeful for the future and excited for the next time you can be together again. And once you do meet, you’re in total bliss as you realize all the struggles you put up with were totally worth it—until, of course, the next time your partner leaves again. It’s a cycle of emotions you will go through for the rest of your long-distance relationship.
2Establish ground rules.
Before you get into a long-distance relationship, you must establish some ground rules. What exactly is the real score between the two of you? Are you in an open relationship? Or are you two exclusively dating each other? Do you want to keep your options open? You need to figure out where exactly you fit in your partner’s life before committing. That way, you know what to expect out of the relationship.
3Expect tons of planning.
If you weren’t exactly big on schedules, you would soon find out that LDRs need thoughtful planning to work. You must create a timetable for your visits, calling patterns, how often you call, for how long, and which form of communication you’re most comfortable with.
Work around each other’s busy schedules and figure out how you can create a sustainable communication system. Of course, it goes without saying that all the planning in the world is futile if you’re not going to stick to it.
4Always be honest.
One of the vital factors of a happy long-distance relationship is trust. Conflicts will arise due to jealousy or paranoia if there’s a lack of trust in the relationship.
This is why it’s important to be transparent with your partner, particularly about your feelings or thoughts on the relationship. We also recommend being honest with your whereabouts instead of telling white lies.
For instance, if you’re going out having drinks with officemates after work, tell your partner about it instead of saying that you’ll be taking overtime. If you lied and somehow they’ve found out what actually happened, they may not be as trusting of you as they were before, sensing that you might be hiding many things from them.
5Have a shared hobby or interest.
Another great way to bond remotely is by pursuing a common interest. For example, you can learn about dry sculpting and/or cooking. You can either share sculpting ideas or recipes through messenger or even have a sculpting/cooking session over zoom. Not only you’ll get to strengthen the relationship, but you’ll also get to learn something new!
6Save up— Travel expenses ain’t cheap!
Before starting a long-distance relationship, best be warned that traveling to another country or city to visit your partner will cost you. On top of paying for your plane or bus fare, you also need money for the hotel you will be staying in while you’re there. Not just that, but you also have to pay for your living expenses.
So better keep your finances in check. Skip your favorite Starbucks coffee to save on cash. Cut back on your shoe splurge. And if that’s not enough, you probably have to get another job to buy a plane ticket so you can surprise your partner on their birthday.
7Ignore the LDR skeptics.
Not everyone thinks long-distance relationships work. It doesn’t exactly have the best reputation. Most people surrounding you expect your relationship to fail. They may even go as far as telling you to end things with your long-distance partner and find someone nearby.
Maybe they said it with the best intentions in mind, probably to save you from further heartaches, but if you listen to their negativity and let yourself be affected by their discouragements, then your relationship is sure to head towards a downward spiral.
8Enjoy your me-time.
When you’re in a distant relationship, you spend most of your time alone. Sure, you can call or text your partner for hours, but at some point, you will end the call. And what happens after that? The loneliness starts to creep in once you bid your goodbyes. Sometimes the loneliness gets too much that it becomes the very reason why you want to call things off with your partner.
Instead of moping around and waiting for the next opportunity to call up your loved one, why not enroll in yoga or Zumba class? Put your alone time into good use by learning a new skill or taking better care of your health.
9Don’t break each other’s promises.
The promises you share in your long-distance relationship are sometimes what keep the two of you holding on to what you have. It’s the promise of a near future where you can finally give each other affectionate hugs by simply reaching out your arms in bed, visiting that restaurant you both found out about online with good reviews, or going on a hiking trip together that you look forward to.
Promises may serve as a glue that binds the relationship together, but they can also be the very thing that causes the breakup. The expectations that you deliver your promises are even greater than in a normal relationship. And if it turns out to be a letdown, things can turn sour quickly.
10If you ever feel insecure, relax and let the feelings flow.
You may have the strongest connection and most solid relationship. However, there will still be times when you question whether what you’re going through is worth all the trouble—and that’s totally normal.
It’s easy to doubt when you’re miles away from each other. The distance feeds your insecurities so much that you start imagining worst-case scenarios. You ask yourself whether he’s still as invested in the relationship as you are. Or if he’s been acting cold lately. Is there a reason why he is canceling your Skype movie night? You have to learn how to control that nagging voice in your head. There’s no point in worrying about imagined faults.
11It’s normal to feel a sense of longing, don’t sweat it.
Nothing can compare to your partner’s physical touch. The gentlest kiss can get you to curl up your toes. Even a light brush of your fingertips can get your heart pumping like you’ve been running in a marathon. The physical contact you used to take for granted before starting a long-distance relationship is something of luxury once you’re in distant lands. You’re going to miss each other so much you lie awake at night just daydreaming and recalling how the two of you fit each other perfectly.
12Don’t forget your social life.
Both of you will spend a lot of time with other people. You may feel jealous when you see their Facebook pictures where they’re having fun with their officemates. It’s supposed to be you who’s on his side, not that new coworker. You’re not only jealous of the other people hanging around your lover but also of everyone who gets to enjoy their company.
In times like these, you just need to chill out and understand your situation more. You both have to get your fix of socializing somehow, and since the two of you are apart, there’s no other choice but to get it from somewhere else.
13Don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss important moments.
You can try and be there for every memorable day of your partner’s life, but you can only do so much when they’re miles away from you. You may be there for his birthday, but you may miss out on the day of his promotion.
No matter how much you want to prepare ahead for your visits, nothing’s really for sure, and you can still be caught blindsided by unexpected events. You may end up sick and unable to travel on that day. And sometimes, the most important events of our lives aren’t scheduled and just happen unexpectedly. When it does, you’re too far away from your partner and unable to share it with them.
14Expect some sleepless nights.
You can create a sustainable schedule, but following it to a T may not always be possible. You can say goodbye to the goodnight sleep you used to get before starting a long-distance relationship.
Some nights one of you may have to give up sleep to stay up late until the wee hours of the night, just talking and discussing different things. It’s going to mess with your sleeping schedule, and you may wake up with panda eyes the next morning and go to work with late notice on your table. No one said LDRs are easy. For it to work, you have to be willing to make sacrifices.
15Make an effort to know each other’s families and friends.
Meeting your partner’s parents for the first time can be nerve-wracking. But when you have to meet them through a video chat, it’s both kinda awkward and a relief. You may have to exchange polite pleasantries with his fam and wave self-consciously at the camera, but that’s nothing compared to the pressure of meeting them at a formal family dinner. Their eyes will all be on you, but at least you have a screen to hide your blush if they ask embarrassing questions.
16Use delivery and gift services to your advantage.
Show your appreciation by sending them a self-care package or their fave meal. You could do this step conveniently as there are now tons of delivery apps and online gift shops. You don’t need to go outside; all transactions are done through your smartphone.
17Have virtual dates with your boo.
Who says you can’t date in the digital world? Thanks to our technology today, there are several ways to connect virtually.
Want to go on a movie date? You can install Teleparty on each other’s computers and stream a film together! Call each other on the phone or use the program’s group chat feature to chit-chat while watching the movie.
You can also ask your partner on a virtual museum date. All you need to do is call each other up on a video messaging app; one of you must share the screen. Go to the Google Arts & Culture website, click the three-bar button on the left, then click collections. You’ll be greeted by a bunch of well-known galleries across the globe. Click one of the galleries, then click the street view icon on the right side. And voila, you and your boo are now inside that gallery! Enjoy seeing the artworks in their full glory.
18Get creative with your virtual sexy times.
Being intimate with your partner is important for all relationships. But in an LDR, showing your intimacy toward each other becomes a challenge. You’re going to need plenty of creativity to make it possible. You can exchange dirty texts to each other throughout the day, send sexy photos of yourself, and go on steamy video chats while wearing sultry lingerie.
Before starting a long-distance relationship, you may not have been into online sex, but there’s no harm in giving it a shot. The worst thing that can happen is you share a laugh as you both explore each other’s sexualities through online hanky-panky.
19After a few months or years, send them a personalized love toy.
If you’ve been in a long-distance relationship for years, you’re probably running out of ideas to spice up your sexy times. That said, here’s a unique idea— Surprise them with a love toy modeled from your body.
There are tons of DIY custom sex toy sets on the market, including the Clone-A-Willy and Clone-A-Pussy kits. They’re all made of body-safe ingredients, ensuring a fun and safe way to create a dildo or masturbator that looks exactly like your genitals. Once you’re done, send them the toy and if they’re okay with it, watch them play with this custom toy through video call.
20Sending nudes? Make sure to use secure messaging platforms.
We know you 100% trust your long-distance lover, but for good measure, protect yourself against revenge porn or leaks. Use secure messaging apps when sending intimate photos to your partner. If possible, go with a messenger app that doesn’t allow the users to take screenshots.
21Remind yourself that your partner has a life outside the virtual space.
It’s okay to ask for daily check-ins with your partner; a quick call in the morning and before bedtime helps you connect and be updated with your partner. However, it’s unfair to expect your partner to be available 24/7 or that they’re okay with having 2-5 hours of video calling every day.
Like any other adult, your partner has responsibilities and personal tasks they need to accomplish. We get that you want to have quality time, but don’t also push your partner to neglect the other essential aspects of their life to cater to your needs.
22Be careful when resolving issues, but don’t wait on it until the next meetup.
One con of long-distance relationships is that it’s trickier to resolve conflicts. Unlike a face-to-face meetup, you can’t see your partner’s body language or other non-verbal cues. You can’t truly figure out what they’re feeling at the moment, a factor that could help you give an appropriate response.
That said, try to talk about the issues over a video call. You’ll see some non-verbal signals, such as their facial reaction or vocal tone. Don’t also assume about certain things— always ask for clarification.
And even though it’s more efficient to talk about serious matters in person, waiting until the next meetup to discuss the relationship issue may cause more harm than good. You or your partner may resent each other, making you talk to other “friends” for advice and comfort. Jealousy arises, and the strong bond is now skewed.
23Compromising is a must.
When having a long-distance relationship, it’s important to be flexible with schedules. No matter how detailed your plan is, unexpected events could shake things up. For example, you’re supposed to have a video call on Thursday from dinner to bedtime. However, your partner has an unexpected presentation the next day and needs time to prepare. It might be a bummer, but give your partner that extra time and move your schedule to the next day instead.
24Have regular visits with each other, if possible.
No amount of video calling and self-care gifts could ever top actual dates. Seeing your partner in the flesh, holding them, and hearing their gentle voice is much better than any type of digital communication. As much as possible, visit each other’s places and spend time together. We get that this tip is a bit pricey, considering the current transportation rates and gas prices, but it’s all worth it.
25Set an endgame to the setup, not in the relationship itself.
Long-distance relationships can not carry on forever. Talking through digital means and having to meet then leave each other over and over again may eventually wear the both of you down. Without an endgame, you’re a captain of a ship lost at sea. You have to work together to permanently bridge the gap between the two of you.
Every relationship has its problems. LDRs just have another variable you have to get around with. It’s a lot of work, yes, but if both parties are willing to extend the time and effort, then there’s no reason why you can’t pull through the tough times.
While it isn’t impossible to have a successful LDR, it’s not exactly for everyone either. Before starting a long-distance relationship, you must be mentally and emotionally prepared for the bumpy road ahead. If you have apprehensions, it’s better to save yourself from the heartache and not get into one right from the get-go. But if you can survive being away from each other for long periods, then your relationship is going to be built with iron-clad bonds.