Most people looking for love wouldn’t cite a long distance relationship as their ideal situation. But we can’t help who we fall for, even if that person lives hundreds, or maybe even thousands of miles away. In fact, sometimes, just for a moment, a long distance relationship may seem romantic. Of course, then the reality of long stretches of time without seeing your other half comes back to haunt you.
But before you make a resolution to only ever date people who live five miles away at the most, we should tell you that long distance relationships can work, and they can be amazing. In fact, we even wrote an article about it. Now we present you with the practical guide to making them work – and before you ask, this was written by someone with great experience of long distance relationships so, from the heart.
1. Trust is essential
When you’re miles apart, you need to trust your partner. If you’re prone to suspecting your other half is cheating, or lying to you, then you’ll need a serious attitude change before you get into an LDR. It’s hard if you’ve been hurt in the past but remember that unless you have a real reason to think your partner is cheating on you, if you can see they’re putting their all into your relationship too, then they deserve your trust.
2. Both parties need to be fully on board
The other thing about a long distance relationship is that it naturally speeds up the progression of the relationship. The fact is that if you’re committing all this time and money to a relationship then you need to be really dedicated to it – otherwise one of you is going to be very disappointed. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page commitment wise before you dive head first into it.
3. Be flexible
Chances are you’ll only be able to spend your weekends together (at most), and even then the best laid plans can go awry. In order to spend the most amount of time together you need to be prepared to be as flexible as possible. Maybe you’ll have to work late one day and change your plans to travel early the next morning. Or maybe you’ll have to use your precious holiday days in order just to see your other half. It’s the price you pay.
4. Sacrifice your cash
Speaking of the price you pay, long distance relationships cost money. Planes, trains and automobiles all make a serious dent in your cash. Not to mention the extreme temptation of a long distance couple to make the absolute best of their precious time together by going to nice restaurants or fancy bars. Unless you’ve got loads of cash to splash around, things will get a lot tighter until you live in the same place.
5. Don’t take out disappointment on your partner
Not every plan you make to spend time with your partner will work out, so you have to be prepared for disappointment. And, when that disappointment comes – “I’m sorry love, Mum’s not very well and I really should visit her this weekend” – don’t blame your partner. Your kneejerk reaction will probably be to sulk; after all, it hurts when you don’t get to see the person you love. But remember that your partner won’t like it any more than you do, and they’ll be missing you too. Don’t make them feel guilty when work or family problems come first.
6. Don’t put too much pressure on the weekends
It’s hard, but try not to put too much pressure on those precious pockets of time you get to spend together. Sometimes you can anticipate too much and, especially when the relationship is new, nerves can get in the way. Try to relax and enjoy your time for what it is.
7. Try to reserve time just for yourselves
It’s tempting when you’re in a long distance relationship to cram all the things you’d do in a week into a couple of days. That might be cinema trips, meeting friends or days out, but by filling your days to the seams you might find you have no time just to ‘be’. Remember, sometimes there’s nothing nicer than cuddling up on the sofa to watch a Sunday afternoon film.
8. Have an end point in sight
The long distance aspect of your relationship needs to be finite. We’re not saying you need to have a specific date in mind right from the start, but a few months in, when you’re getting serious, you need to think about the future. It might be a case of waiting for a work contract to end, or it could even be a question of waiting until one of your kids is a certain age, but you have to have something to aim for.
9. Talk every day
When you’re miles apart, you have to make the effort to talk every day. That doesn’t mean you have to spend hours on the phone, as that’s not practical. But drop each other a text to say good morning, or a quick call at the end of the day to see how things have gone. It’s the little things that count.
10. Get online
Texting and calling are great ways to keep in touch, but nothing beats face to face conversation. At least once a week try to arrange an online date using internet video calling. You can pick up a webcam for less than £10 and using a programme like MSN messenger or Skype (both free) it’s the next best thing to being there.