Long distance relationships come with challenges unique to being apart. Below is a bit of advice toward handling the situation and what can go both wrong and right. There are no two ways about it, long distance relationships stink. No one wants their partner to live ten hours away or even three hours away. They can be agonizing for most, but some feel they can only commit if someone is far away. While this may genuinely work for a little while, no time together will eventually mean things fall apart. Unless a real plan is in place to end the distance within a reasonable time, the relationship is unlikely to last. When it comes to surviving long distance, the lessons below can help you avoid common mistakes.
Something to Look Forward To
One long distance relationship killer is a constant uncertainty that underlies the relationship. This uncertainty can make you question whether the relationship is worth it. This can grow worse the longer you are apart which is why it is so important to have a date set that you can both look forward to. This is usually when you are going to see each other in person, but it can be other forms of the event like applying for a job in their town, looking for apartments, or going on a vacation together. If these milestones do not exist, it will be easy to lose the optimistic outlook for the relationship. Keep in mind that if a relationship is not growing, it is dying so you must continually work for some goal together.
Slow to Judge
When humans are separated, we become unable to see one another for who we truly are and tend to start making judgments that are wrong or based on assumptions. In long distance relationships, this can lead to jealousy, irrational possessiveness, being overly critical, or even becoming neurotic which can end the relationship. Some go the other direction and idolize their partners as perfect. These irrational fantasies are completely unhelpful at a time when we need to be somewhat skeptical of our own feelings. Remind yourself to talk openly with your partner about how you are both feeling.
Many long distance couples create some rule about how often they call or talk during a day or week, but this approach will not work for everyone. Some are better off letting communication be organic and talking when you want to talk, even if this means a couple of days communication free. People get busy and have lives to live. This can be a healthy approach. While communication is important in a long distance relationship, talking just because you have a set time is just forcing it. Forced communication can lead to either a half-assed relationship because you feel obligated to talk or resentment will be felt and the relationship can start to dissolve. To avoid this, make communication optional for both of you. If you never talk, it is a sign that something is wrong, but forcing it is just as detrimental.
Distance is Temporary
Every long distance relationship needs hope that one day the couple will be back together. Without this, everything else will start to feel meaningless. Love is not enough. Couples need a shared vision, values, and interests that you are both working toward. It is a big commitment with little actual face time on many occasions, but this can help you learn who you really are in life and relationships. Sometimes this works, other times it does not, but you still learn. The other obstacle is that you do not know what it is really like to date this person because you are not in physical proximity for long periods. You never really know what will work until you are truly together, but even relationships that start long distance can work out if you put in the effort and so does your partner. It is not easy, but no real relationship will be.