Can a Long Distance Relationship Work?

Photo from: David Wygant

Long distance relationships seem impossible, but for generations people have at one point or another experienced them. Wives of soldiers have held down the fort while their loved one fought overseas. Today it isn’t uncommon for a husband from another country to establish himself in the United States and later on send for his wife and family. Some high school sweethearts attend separate colleges and make it work until they graduate and then get married.

In 2005, a survey conducted by The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships estimated that 2.9% of US marriages are long distance. Although some people are against these type of relationships and deem them to fail, there are various ways one can work. If you or someone you know is about to embark on this kind of relationship, here are a few key components to going the distance.

Determine a Time Frame

Establishing how long you both will live apart from each other helps to realize that the distance will not be forever. Having the light at the end of the tunnel will make both of you live your lives with the intention of ending up together. For example, if you agree that two years is the limit, then you won’t accept a job that has a three-year commitment. Or if you do, this could mean that the other person will have to go to your location. The same rule can apply to other commitments such as school, family and living arrangements.

Obviously, it is simpler said then done because opportunities can arise that you simply cannot turn down. But if both of you aim for sticking as close to the deadline as possible, the distance won’t seem as terrible because you’ll be working toward the same goal.

Phone and Visiting Schedules

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If both of you are busy with school or work, it might be hard to call each other every single night — although with today’s technology it’s not impossible. Figuring out a weekly phone schedule with help you stay in touch and know what’s going on in each other’s lives. Once upon a time, it was extremely expensive to call someone long distance but with today’s cell phone plans, phone calls, text messaging and even Skype can be free if you have the same network.

If you live far away then flying in on the weekends could also be a routine you set up. Taking turns flying in on every weekend can be done but it’s expensive. It is also draining when you have busy work-weeks and the weekends are the only time you have to catch up on other things. You should discuss how often you’ll see each other and don’t forget to include the holidays. Maybe you glide in once a month and your significant other does the same. This way you’ll both have a couple of weekends to recuperate and don’t have to spend time in rush hour traffic every Friday trying to get to the airport.

“What Happens in Vegas…” Doesn’t Apply

Photo from: I Watch Stuff

Having a social life can help occupy one’s time when in a long distance relationship but using the philosophy, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” is not very honest to the other person. Not even the crazy logic, “Well, if it’s a different zip code or time zone technically, it’s not cheating…”

Basically, a long distance relationship comes with all of the same commitments a face-to-face relationship does. If it’s going to be hard for you to stay faithful to the other person then going the distance might not be for you.

On the other hand, not discussing a topic like this and just assuming the other person is on the same page as you are is not a wise choice. You should talk about how you both feel in terms of having a monogamous relationship or an open one. Once you establish a guideline that you both will have to follow, trusting each other will be that much simpler.

Indulge in You

In a previous article, Help! The NFL Kidnapped My Boyfriend,  I mentioned how women can use their men’s “Football Time” to indulge themselves. Even though football only lasts a couple of hours whereas a long distance relationship can span from months to years, focusing on “you” is a fantastic way to embrace your situation. By this, I mean taking classes in the evenings, getting a second degree, working out in the gym, getting a second job to save up money or pay off debt, or taking up leisure activities. Try to utilize this time to not only do things that you like but to do things that will enhance your life and who you are.

Moving in with your significant other is a huge step and demands compromise. While you are still living apart you can take advantage of certain things that you might not get away with once you go in together. For guys it might be: leaving the toilet seat up, throwing footballs around the house and running wildly, leaving yesterday’s dinner and the day before’s containers on the coffee table or letting dirty clothes pile up on the floor.

For women, it could be: using all of the toilet paper, leaving makeup all over the bathroom sink, watching endless chick flicks while indulging in chocolate cake and whipped cream or painting your nails on the coffee table with the windows closed. I’m sure you get my point—realize that some of these activities will have to be compromised once you are living with someone else.

The Continuous “Communication” Theme

Nearly every article I’ve written has a common theme which is “communication”. Without trying to sort things out with the people we like and discuss issues, we are in the dark as to understanding each other.

Long distance relationships can be successful when both people are on the same page and make some general guidelines. Many people argue that going the distance is impossible, but nothing is impossible when you like someone enough. When you like someone you will make sure that no distance or time will ever keep you from being together!

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