If you are considering getting into a long distance relationship, you probably ended up here because you were desperately trying to find an answer to a question: “Do they work at all?”
If you are already in one, I bet that sometimes (after a bad argument or when you miss them terribly) you catch yourself wondering “Will we manage? How long are we capable of living like this?”
You might not feel comfortable sharing your doubts with your friends or family, and it’s understandable. They might start questioning or discouraging your relationship (“…because distant relationships aren’t real!”). But let me tell you, occasional uncertainty and doubtful moments are completely normal.
So, do these relationships work? The good news is that in many cases, they do. Lovers close the distance and continue their lives together. Also, it’s very possible to have an emotionally close, trusting, and sexually satisfying relationship while living apart.
What are the secrets behind those LDR couples, who make their love stories a success?
1. In many cases, they have a past bond before jumping into a long distance relationship.
It’s not easy getting to know someone without even meeting them. It’s tempting to hide your flaws and try to be perfect, just to make sure they like you. Honestly, if this idea is appealing for you, be aware that this could be one of the biggest mistakes you could make, and it will definitely get you into trouble later on.
Always be yourself and allow your partner to see your flaws during the long distance phase (yes, because none of us are perfect. It’s just that long distance helps you to hide those quirks). Otherwise, you prevent your relationship from developing further.
You and your partner have a right to know the real person you are dating (BEFORE you make any serious decisions).
2. They don’t limit themselves to a life online. All couples I know who were/are in long distance relationships, maintain healthy boundaries between communicating with their partner online and keeping their social life active.
For those who experience social anxiety, a long distance relationship is not a way to escape from social responsibilities and shift your life online to a comfortable and secure space. It is just a phase when you and your partner are forced to be apart for some (hopefully short) amount of time, with a clear expectation to be together in the near future and continue life as a regular couple.
3. They don’t limit themselves to life offline either. In LDR, it’s easy to stop having those casual few minute-length calls. When you live in the same city/country, sometimes you just call them because you are stuck in traffic and are scared that you might miss your train, or because you are buying a TV and want to know their opinion which brand is better, or tell them about a new coffee shop which just opened next door. Calling abroad makes those calls unaffordable. Add the different time zones, and you might not be able to call your partner even if you are ready to pay.
Sharing these small and (you might think) meaningless details, is going to make sure you feel close and connected with each other. Try to get cheap/free calling apps so you can call each other as often as possible and have as much live communication as time difference allows. Involve each other into your lives and make that involvement effortless.
If you manage to sort out your everyday communication, you are making a big step towards making your transition after closing a distance smoother.
4. They don’t care what the world thinks about relationship over distance. They don’t get influenced by “friends” who have strong opinions about how complicated long distance relationships are (like you didn’t know that before!) and want to express these thoughts and opinions whenever they see you. Trust me, there will be many people questioning and judging your relationship because they won’t be able to digest the thought of you being happy with someone who is always away.
The sooner you learn to ignore advice from these “influencers”, better it will be for you.
5. They make plans for the future and assure themselves that this is just a temporary stage. It’s hard to make life-changing arrangements within a short amount of time, but brainstorming on what could lead towards living together is already one step closer to a normal relationship.
6. They meet each other as often as possible. And if it happens that they can’t see each other for some time, they don’t get depressed about it. Instead, they come up with reasons why it would be beneficial. I have a couple of friends who had to leave a gap for meeting every month (they both were getting close to getting fired because of too many holidays), so they took a challenge to become fitter and impress each other next time they meet! It also led them to communicating more about the progress they were making.
7. They remain romantic and sexual with each other. Distant relationships that don’t involve any intimate moments are a friendship. If you think that Skype sex is uncomfortable for you, read here on how to start.
8. They understand that living apart will remain similar to a “honeymoon phase” in their relationship, unless they decide differently.
Staying in a constant honeymoon phase is great. You meet in hotels, have the most amazing sex, and enjoy the odd Skype call while giving each other some updates about your lives. On the other hand, couples that choose to work on having all forms of communication are rewarded with a relationship which can develop to other stages (even when living in different zip codes).
To summarize all the previous tips, successful long distance relationship couples know that they are in a normal relationship. They do everything possible to find a balance between communicating with each other and their family or friends, set the rules of DOs and DON’Ts, respect and support their partner’s life choices, see their future together (and make plans, or at least try to work on one), are present in their partner’s life as much as distance/time difference allows, and they have date nights, (Skype) sex, and even pillow talks.
They know that they are a regular couple, who WILL be together in the (near) future.
If you are not sure how to make it work and enjoy the chapter of living apart, read this set of tips for tough moments of long distance relationship.
What do you do to make your LDR work?