The Truth About Long Distance Relationships

Long distance relationships are no walk in the park… probably because you don’t get to do things together like walking in the park. Distance presents a whole different set of challenges to dating. But every relationship has its difficulties. Right?

Inconvenient, unconventional and hands free; long distance relationships are rightfully stigmatized as difficult. That being said, they’re totally doable. Being in a long distance relationship myself, I can say with conviction that if done with the right person, in the right way, long distance relationships can be every bit as emotionally fulfilling as dating “IRL.” True story.

While we’re on the subject of truth telling, here are 21 truths I’ve learned about long distance relationships, in 3 parts: Why They Don’t Work, How to Make Them Work, and How to Keep Them Going.

7 common reasons why LDR’s probably, usually, don’t work…

  • Communication issues. If 85% what you say isn’t directly correlated with what is actually coming out of your mouth, there are bound to be some problems that arise. Communication as a couple is already hard. Adding 4,857 miles to the mix isn’t likely to make that any easier.
  • Out of sight, out of mind. Period.
  • Screen time is not quality time. It’s definitely not the same thing. And while long, drawn-out, intentional conversations are a great way to get to know each other, they can tend to get a little forced. Or, worse yet, boring.
  • Lack of intimacy. Little, everyday things build intimacy. A coffee here. A funny coincidence there. Waiting in line together. Driving in a car together. Doing life with one another is what builds intimacy.
  • No physical touch. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
  • You have little daily common ground, or normal connection points that build a relationship. Things like shared events, shared stories or shared friends. Nothing like hearing about how that guy whom you’ve never met, did that crazy thing at the place you’ve never been… for the hundredth time.
  • Jealousy. “Where are you?” “Who are you with?” “Who’s that in that picture?” #Relationshipenders

7 ways to make things work…

  • It’s not gonna work just because you “want it bad enough.” It takes two determined people, willing to work at making it work. You can want something and not be willing to work for it. Be intentional.
  • You cannot over communicate. Talk about the tensions that arise. Ask the uncomfortable personal questions. Make the vulnerable admissions, and voice your genuine concerns.
  • There needs to be a goal in mind. Something to look forward to. You can’t mess around without a plan and a goal. There’s nothing so sustaining in an LDR as a potential end date to the separation.
  • You need to know your own timeline. Be sensitive to the natural progression of your relationship. There will be signs when it’s time to make a move.
  • Be careful who you give a voice to. This, of course, doesn’t apply to wise, healthy counsel and authority in your relationship. But the odds are hard enough to overcome as it is.  Get around people further along the line than you two. People with experience in having healthy relationship. Preferably a couple that knows both of you and wants the best for you as individuals, as well as a couple.
  • Develop your own independence. If you’re the codependent type, this is definitely not the type of relationship for you. Spare yourself the misery, if you can avoid it. Because if you’re very needy, it will be miserable.
  • You can just “hang out.” Too many deep conversations get tiresome and draining. Put FaceTime on, prop them up and go do something. Do your laundry. Cook a meal. People who live in the same house don’t sit and talk all day long. It’s okay not to speak and just be “together” sometimes.

Lastly, 7 encouragements to keep you going…

  • The world is smaller now. There are so many ways you can get to people. So many avenues for travel. Utilize them.
  • Every relationship has its difficulties. It’s just a matter of figuring out who is worth figuring things out with.
  • Long distance dating is more common now than ever before. People are less inclined to stay in the same town they were born in. We have so many more options and opportunities than the generations that have come before us. We also have so many more tools to maintain intimacy. Use them.
  • You don’t have to feel super close to them every single second. Even when you live with someone, emotions come and go in waves and hormones. You’re not always going to feel the rosy, warm, fuzzy feelings. That’s why love is a choice and not a sentiment.
  • Life happens. You’re gonna get sad. You’re gonna get busy. You’re gonna fight. Those are the natural rhythms of life in relationship. Don’t be alarmed, and don’t let them catch you off guard.
  • Abuse the crap out of the words “I love you.” Better to beat them down with excess, than have them 3,000 miles away and wondering.
  • Mystery isn’t sexy when you never see each other. Be open. Be obvious. And don’t take it for granted that they know what you’re thinking.

So, there you have it. 21 truths I’ve learned about long distance relationships. Thrown together in haste, because I forgot today was #writingwednesday.

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