Whether your relationship has always been a long-distance relationship or if you are about to go through your first period of distance, it is important to establish the expectations and boundaries of the relationship from the very beginning.
This will prevent any confusion or discussions regarding the substance and long-term goals of the relationship. Being straight and honest with each other about your feelings and how you see the relationship developing can stop you from leading a person down a long a hurtful road.
In the case of dealing with a long-distance relationship, the saying "honesty is the best policy" will never be truer.
If you have met your partner online, you have started a distant relationship from the get-go. Therefore, it is easier for you to decide whether you want to keep talking online and eventually meet up and see where things go, or you may realise after a couple weeks that you guys are just not meant to be.
However, if like me, you and your partner started a relationship but then had to overcome distance, then be ready to have a difficult talk about where this relationship is going.
Let’s break it down:
1. Discuss the status of your relationship
You will want to discuss and be honest with one another about where the relationship is at right now. Are you already an official couple and exclusive to others? Have you just started dating? Are you madly in love and already spoken about marriage? Whatever stage you are at, discussing the foundations of the relationship with one another will give you a head start to know how you will deal with the distance.
You will also want to ask more serious questions. Most people are scared to ask the “big” questions in case it scares them off. But at the end of the day, would you rather know that he or she is willing to put the effort in for you because they see a future with you or would you rather start your distance relationship with false hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel?
The questions you might want to ask are, “Would you be willing to relocate if our relationship becomes more serious?” Perhaps you only live in different cities, and for now you are able to visit each other on the weekends; even that is a distant relationship. It will soon take its toll on both people and eventually you will need to decide if one of you is willing to move, or if neither person wants to commit. Another question would be, “What are you looking to get out of our relationship?” With this question, you want to know if both people are looking to make it serious or is it just a bit of fun or someone to talk to? When you start your distant relationship, you don’t want to be the person they are texting when they are lonely, you want to be the person they are texting constantly.
2. Explore the difficulty of a distant relationship together
Both of you will have to face the fact that you are not going to see each other. How much of a problem is that going to be? You are going to lose the physical side of the relationship for however many weeks or months you have to be apart.
In my situation, Pedro and I didn’t imagine two years ago that we would be married now; we did not know what we would have to do to make a life together. We thought we might be able to get student visas or work visas to make it work for a few more years before marrying. Do you have security at the end of the distance or is there an unknown aspect? If so, explore that fear together. Talk about the “what if’s.” What if you don’t land that job, or what if you can’t stay in the same country together? Will you do whatever it takes to make it work, or are you not so bothered?
Pedro and I knew one thing, and that was, we would do whatever it took to live together to make our future secure. It is not as black and white for some couples, but understanding each other and realising that there are going to be ups and downs during a long-distant relationship is extremely important. Some days one of you is going to feel more alone, more upset, more frustrated than you. You have to appreciate that it is normal for you to feel this way, and your partner must be understanding of that, rather than angry and result to “this is not working because you are sad.” Emotions are normal and you will deal with them differently.
3. Staying positive
It might sound obvious, but there will be times where you might not see an ending to the distance or you think you are finding it too hard being away from the person. This is where your positivity needs to kick in. Focus on other things in your life that you can put more effort into while you don’t have to commit a lot of your time next to your partner. Start a new hobby, pursue career interests, take an online course. Distance will push both of you to be creative when it comes to communicating and keeping the romantic element of the relationship alive. Long-distant relationships can make you stronger and set you up for a life time of happiness when you finally can be together.
You will have to go through things that other couples won’t have to. Getting through hard times together only solidifies the love you have for one another. You will learn more about each other by being apart (even though that sounds backwards—it’s true). You are forced to communicate more and by doing so, you learn every good and bad piece about one another. If you can get through this, you can get through with ease the harder things you will have to face as a couple in the future.
4. Be reasonable with your expectations
Every type of relationships requires hard work and dedication to your partner, whether you live together or live in different countries. If you and your loved one are willing to put in the work, overcome bumps and unexpected turns, you will find yourself in a loving and successful long-term relationship.
There will be certain dates that you find more difficult than others. For example, you may be apart for each other’s birthdays, Christmas or anniversaries. If you know you won’t be together during these special moments, then find ways to still connect with each other. Send personalised cards, letters, flowers. With the internet and online delivery, there are endless choices to still make each other feel special!
Part of my experience
Pedro graduated one year before me, so I was there in America and Pedro was back home in Brazil. When I left Pedro in Grand Central station (NYC), not knowing when I would see him again, we both knew that we were not prepared to let this relationship sink. We continued texting and skyping every day, until I eventually made a deal with my boss in California where I was doing my summer internship for Pedro to join me for the summer. This was completely out the blue as we did not think we would see each other for six months. You must realise that you do not know how life will unfold or what will happen to allow you to be together again! Keep working at it and find ways to be together when possible. Even though money is always a factor for those in long-distance relationships, in my opinion, money does not bring me half the happiness than the one I have when I am next to Pedro.
About the Creator
My name is Alice, 24 British girl married to my Brazilian husband, Pedro (25). I write to share my experiences of a long distance relationship and general love and relationship tips.