The long-distance relationship (or the LDR as the cool kids say) can be a super hot topic. Tons of people have really polarizing opinions on them and it can often turn into a passionate conversation of should you or shouldn’t you.
“If you care about each other, the distance won’t matter!”
“Don’t put your life on hold!”
“You’ll actually communicate better being apart!”
“You won’t actually get to know each other until you’re in the same place!”
Like I said, a lot of opinions. At the end of the day, the only one that really matters is your own. What most people can agree on though, is that long-distance relationships are hard, but that shouldn’t stop you! So many of our Plenty of Fish members began in long-distance relationships, or are still in them currently, and they’re making it work. But, a little extra advice never hurt. If you’re wondering whether an LDR can work for you, here are some hot tips from friends of mine who have been there, survived that.
Be Honest with Yourself and Evaluate Where You’re At
This is arguably the most important thing to reflect on before diving into a long-distance relationship head-first. Long-distance is not for everyone, and you might already know how you feel about it. Personally, it’s not something I could handle long-term. That’s okay. Be brutally honest with yourself and ask the tough questions. Does it feel worth it?
The other thing that comes into play here is where you’re at in your relationship, and how far apart the distance is going to be. No scenario is necessarily easier than another, but you might be willing to work with some set-ups more than other ones. If you’re just getting to know each other – what’s that going to look like? If you’re transitioning into a long-distance relationship – how often will you see each other now? I think everyone starts an LDR with good intentions, but the tough truth is that it just doesn’t work for everyone. Evaluating the situation together and apart before getting in too deep can be a really crucial first step.
Be Intentional with Your In-Person Time
Now you’ve officially entered a long-distance relationship… congrats! Depending on how often you get to see one another, you might feel overwhelmed with packing as much stuff as possible into your time together. Don’t let the pressure eat you alive! Instead of over-planning, just be intentional with what you do while in person. Talk about what’s most important to you both and prioritize from there.
If you’re still getting to know each other, be open about finding the balance between exploring your relationship and introducing them into other aspects of your life, like meeting your friends and family. If you want to be selfish and have them all to yourself for a while, don’t feel guilty! But, be intentional with your alone time as well. What do you want to learn about each other? What activities have you been wanting to explore? What conversations do you feel strongly about having in person?
Prioritize Your Time and Schedules
Here’s a hard pill to swallow: if you’re not prioritizing each other equally, your long-distance relationship will probably struggle. If the relationship is important, you have to make the time. No one wants to be putting in all their effort and not getting the same in return. Have the boring conversations and make a plan. What do both of your schedules look like and when are you going to slot in time for one another while apart? It might not be the sexiest or most romantic way to kick off your LDR, but by planning ahead you’re setting yourself up for success.
Once you’ve done the planning, don’t forget to follow through.
Only Make Sacrifices You’re Comfortable With
Let’s talk about boundaries baby. It’s no secret that you’ll both have to make some sacrifices as a result of being in a long-distance relationship – it comes with the territory. What you don’t want though, is to sacrifice more than you intended and end up resenting the relationship later on. Know your boundaries, and talk about them.
Apart, you still have your lives to live. Giving each other the space to thrive apart is just as important as prioritizing your time to thrive together. If you’re not going to be that person who’s tied to their phone, that’s okay! Just make sure you’re both on the same page and understand each other’s expectations.
Know Your End Game
One of my closest friends started her current relationship long-distance, and from second-hand experience, I know how tough it was for her sometimes. Constant travel and short-lived weekends together are not always easy, but they were committed and they had an end game to work toward. You probably don’t want your LDR to last forever (the distance part, that is), so go ahead and dream up your ideal end game – then slowly make progress toward it.
Again, make sure you’re both on the same page about what this end game will look like, but once you are it can make it so much easier to get through the tougher times. Not to sound dramatic, but it’s a light at the end of the tunnel moment. Knowing where you’re going to end up makes all the in-between feel worth it.
Trust Each Other
Trust is important in all relationships, but long-distance ones require that little extra leap of faith. You won’t always know what your SO is up to. When they’re far away on top of it all, it can sometimes be tough to fight off the spiral. Don’t go making up scenarios in your head. Trust has got to be your best friend.
At the end of the day, if you don’t trust each other what’s the point really? If you’re both committed to each other, there’s nothing to worry about! Keep the lines of communication open and know that whatever is meant to happen probably will. Yes, I had to end on a philosophical note.
No, long-distance relationships aren’t for everyone… but they absolutely can be for you! Don’t rule anything out right away, know yourself, and put that work in honey.