There are lots of things to love in this world and this one’s another one to add to the list! With more and more people being exposed to travelling, discovering new ways of thinking and living, more and more people can now relate to people of different backgrounds. And with this interconnected world, long distance relationships are not that rare. Today I’ll talk about it, what it is, the nature of it, how to navigate it etc. This article is perfect if you were/are/will be in a long distance relationship. Disclaimer: I am note a dating coach/expert; just a guy with experience, wisdom, and insights.
So What Is Long Distance Relationship?
This is the easiest question for me to answer in this article: Commonly it’s known as a romantic relationship between two people who are far apart from each other. As you can see from the get-go, “long” and “far” are relative words. One could live in San Francisco and the other in NYC and it would be long distance (when technically they’re in the same country). Conversely, you can live in Malmö, Sweden and the other in Copenhagen, Denmark and well~ they’re technically two countries, but just look at the distance between Malmö and København.
Basically if I oversimplify it: You’re in a relationship wherein you can’t easily invite the other over. Done.
Personally I add: “for now” in the end of that statement. Some people when they hear long distance relationship, they think that you’re into having relationships with someone far permanently. However the way I see/treat it is that you are probably long distance for now but ultimately you’d want to have a plan to be together later on.
Do They Work? Is It Possible?
I know you guys just want to get to the meat-y stuff asap lol so here it is: if I directly answer your question, yes they work. Yes it’s possible. To add though, I found that this isn’t actually the question you subconsciously want to know. You’re asking the wrong question. Asking this is like asking “Can I start it?” (yes you easily can). What I found is that you guys are more curious of “is this going to be a happy ever after for me/us?”.
That I cannot answer for you. I have some insights below but ultimately c’est seulement toi.
Asking “do they work/is it possible” is basically the entry level question and it’s definitely a valid concern but like relationships in general, creating a connection and relationship is one thing. Maintaining it is another.
“Ok, so you’re making it sound complicated or difficult. Should I just stop then?”
No not at all! Before anything else, I actually would like to clarify that while this article may be sobering, I definitely encourage people still who are in these types of situations. I think what you guys are doing are great and you know you’re pushing the boundaries of a lot of things and I’m always all for that! I’m not trying to discourage you, I’m just saying that there are a couple more factors to consider. If you’re just up for flings etc, then you wouldn’t be reading this article anyways but since you are…
Long Distance Relationship Challenges
Let’s go through some of those factors. Actually long distance relationships are no different than regular relationships that you know. It’s just that there’s this one new factor that’s introduced and unfortunately with that one factor (distance), it comes with sub-challenges for the couple. I wrote down a bunch of stuff already but just realized these are self-explanatory so let’s just go through them quick:
- Distance: can you handle not being physically with someone for long amounts of time? For some people Physical Touch is their Love Language so that might be difficult. Also how are you gonna do the horizontal hoola hoola sexy time? (We’re all adults here. Stop giggling lol)
- Timing / Timezone: maybe you want to have virtual dinner dates. But how are you gonna do it if your night is their day. You can still pull it off for sure but the vibe’s off right?
- Trust: How are you with trust? Can you trust the other person. Technically you’re trusting them blindly in all sense of the word actually. It’s borderline “faith” (in someone) already. Conversely, if someone placed their full trust on you, can you manage? ~Oh you think you have the easier problem here? Brooooo/Guuuurl, wait for it. You will be tested. This endeavour will make you crazy, whichever end you’re on.
Surely there are many more and it becomes circumstantial for each person but those are the big ones I think.
Again I’m not a dating coach or expert but this is one insight that I think it works for most people. I’ve actually specified the solution at the top. If/when you’re in a long distance relationship, you’d want this to be temporary (this being the long distance part, not the relationship lol). So you’re dealing with someone and just feeling each other out, cool. Just go with it. No reason to think too far in advance.
If and when things start to steer a bit serious, you’d want to start thinking about the challenges/your solutions. Then if/when it actually goes serious, you’re under the clock now.
My solution and thought process is that you guys should be together (physically, permanently/at least for long time) in two years or less. Sounds like a lot of time for you? Oh trust me. It’ll be quick. It’s basically you have one Christmas to celebrate and then you have to figure out how to uproot your life (or help your partner uproot theirs) and this is not an easy decision or task. When I said “together”, it can be that your partner moves to where you are or vice versa, or you guys move into another city/town/country where you are both familiar/foreign with. Like you guys are moving in together. Constant vacationing does not count. It definitely makes the experience in between more fun and enjoyable but it does not extend/change your deadline.
So why two years?
Well I always try to base things on facts or at least experiences and so this two-year figure is based on the latter. I found that around the 2-year mark, it’ll be a decision time. There will be challenges, (un/healthy) quarrels, compromises, and talks but around that time it’s when things sink in, you understand the gravity of everything and where it can head and it’ll be a make-or-break moment.
Your first six months is definitely the honeymoon stage of being in a long distance relationship. The next 6 months would probably be like that still but more on the “relationship” rather than the distance part. After a year the fluff wears out slowly so like any normal relationships, there are things you find out about your partner for better or for worse. Add on the distance layer too.
On year 2 too, people start to get itchy (e.g.: “can you move here now? this long distance relationship is getting bothersome”). You’ve also rendered 1 year already so you start thinking of “do I want another year of this same situation?”. You then start to think about how you (both) can pull it off. And then towards the end of year 2 you probably have decided if you want to continue this or not? If so, your next big questions is “How?”.
Of course the figures here are relative. Maybe it’s faster or longer for you guys. It all depends on your situation, your patience, trust, etc.
Experiences of Other People with Long Distance Relationship
So is that two-year deadline for real? Yup. I have 2 real-life examples for you. I decided to just make a separate section here below to give you a bunch of examples. Some worked, some didn’t. This section is meant to motivate/educate you if anything.
Details (or lack thereof) is intentional to preserve identification.
- I know someone who is in NA and the other is in EU and they did it for two years but after that it ultimately did not work out
- Conversely I know someone from EU and the other is in South America and I communicated this entire article essentially to them to avoid problems and after two years they now live together in EU. Maybe my tip helped. Maybe it was coincidental that they had things lined up already and they executed them after 2 years but the logic stands the same. If you want it to work, don’t go near the two-year mark. One thing to note in this couple is that the South American technically had European descent and that person has a European passport and that’s what made the move possible. Most people won’t be as lucky to have these awesome documents.
- I know someone who is from NA and moved to EU for a relationship to make it work. Unfortunately it did not work out (had nothing to do with long distance relationship). The NA person genuinely like the host country so even after the relationship ended, that person decided to stay there for good. That person’s life unfolded as it is. Life goes on and I’m sure that person has more and better experiences after that.
- I know someone who is from EU and runs an international business so that someone can be anywhere, anytime. That person is not constantly flying but that person can afford to say “this year I plan to stay in Asia” for example. That friend relates to certain people here and there and sometimes it results to serious relationships. That friend technically doesn’t have much problem with long distance relationships since…~well, that person is moving yes, but that person is in the same city as the partner. The partner tends to be someone who can afford/want to travel too anyways. This friend of mine doesn’t share the problem but that’s one way of approaching the problem I guess: be resourceful, create a system for passive income, then you can make yourself flexible.
- I know someone who is from ME and this is the funniest and best story ever. This friend has a couple of checklist and this person did a year of travelling. At the end of that year, this friend met this friend’s partner (from EU). The funny part is that the partner is in contrast with some items of the list lol. Funny how life turns out huh lol. But it’s so cool, it’s an awesome story, and I’m happy for them and they’re living happily ever after. Currently the ME person is trying to move to EU. To be fair, they’re both abundant so there are certain things they can easily overcome. I recognize this may not be everybody’s situation so it’s worth noting. It also serves as an advice. It’s not even an LDR advice but more of a life/dating advice: If you get your shit together and you got your ducks in a row, it gives you more affordance (time and money) later to easily solve certain problems and attend to more important problems you’d want to tackle. It’s more relevant to men I guess.
- I know someone (a couple of people actually) who just did the working holiday here in NA. They ended up liking it so they just decided to stay and work here (legitimately). They just genuinely love the NA culture and they’re just travelling and living life. They’re not thinking of relationships. As they settle and establish here, life happens and they get into relationships. So that’s another way of circumventing LDR or just general LDR/life/dating advice: live life, yolo, just travel, and just let life unfold then things happen. Eventually you’ll get into one hopefully and there wouldn’t be the distance factor.
- I know someone who is from NA and the other from another NA country. They were aware of the 2-year deadline and they managed through it (either with my tip or by coincidence). They are now engaged and one is moving to the other. It helps that they’re both NA though so it’s like hopping a fence. The other country though is…let’s just say they’re paranoid with security lol. So it’s easy and at the same time…it’s not lol.
I know more (and this actually surprises me) but they fall under similar categories so just refer to above.
LDR isn’t some kind of unicorn where you’re different than the rest. Again if you just oversimplify it, your LDR is the same as any relationship, it’s just that you can’t invite your partner over easily. Not to reduce what you have, but what I’m trying to say is that your problems and solutions are similar to the people around you. That’s good news for you since you can ask for help easily! Your situation just has this additional (albeit thick) layer on top of it.
LDR is meant to be temporary, at least for me. So if you’re in this endeavour, you just need to figure out the exit plan for the LDR and make yourselves together physically. It won’t be easy but hey, if you’ve found The One or that person who is worth risking things, then by all means and more power to ya!
This endeavour is easiest if you have little responsibilities in life (e.g.: just graduated uni with little to no financial responsibilities) or if you’re advanced but you have your life together (and yes, little to no responsibilities tying you down in a certain geography).
More power to everyone in any types of relationships! Alright, now I gotta finish some errands and figure out how to snowboard tomorrow…