Loving Someone from a Distance the Right Way

A woman looking at a phone.
Loving someone from a distance is made easier when you can see a future together.

Romantic relationships are, for the most part, straightforward: meet, date, fall in love, get married, and have kids.

Things aren’t as straightforward when you’re loving someone from a distance.

Long-distance relationships can be brutal on a couple, especially when they start to feel the distance. Some people get desperate and they want someone a little closer, or they may not see a point wherein they’re no longer long-distance.

Not everyone knows how to love someone from a distance, nor is everyone capable. But you may be in a situation where you love that person so much, that you want to keep them no matter how much your mind is telling you not to.

So, how do you maintain love from afar, and is it even possible for most people?

Lots of long-distance relationships can, in fact, go the distance. Remember this—it’s the most important part of any long-distance relationship: an endgame.

If you have an endgame, the distance doesn’t matter anymore. By having one, a couple can have a mutual goal to work towards. It also gives them both a dream that they can have together.

Basically, it’s the light at the end of a dark tunnel. Being able to see that light is key to being able to endure a long-distance relationship.

Expectations and Reality

Having an endgame may be the most important thing to have going into a long-distance relationship, but you’ll need a little more than just having a common goal.

For starters, people have to temper their expectations. So many people start long-distance relationships full of conviction, so sure that they can endure the distance between them. They think that they know how hard the distance is going to be, but when reality hits, they start feeling distance in a relationship and it spirals down from there.

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There Will Be Resentment

The reality is that there’ll be times when you’re going to feel some resentment. You may resent the distance. You may resent your partner for choosing to be so distant. You may resent yourself for not being closer to them. Or you resent the circumstances that are keeping you apart.

It’s going to be emotionally draining and there’ll be times when you’ll feel like weeping in the shower or screaming in frustration. Relationships have their ups and downs and sometimes, it’s going to feel like there are more downs than there are ups.

You’ll Miss Them and You’ll Miss Out

Not to mention that you’re going to miss them. You may think that video chats and text messages are going to help and they will, but you will constantly miss them. It’ll be like a stomachache that you just can’t shake.

Speaking of missing each other, you’ll also potentially miss out on milestones. Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries may not be spent together.

A man looking at a phone.
Keep your endgame in mind when you’re in a long-distance relationship.

Another reality is that there’ll be times when you won’t have any contact. Maybe one of you misses the weekly video chat or can’t answer a text in a timely manner. There will be times when the rest of your life is an obstruction to your relationship.

That may not be so bad in most relationships, since a couple can always reconnect with a date night the next day or later in the week. That’s not an option in a long-distance relationship.

Time Won’t Fly and Then It Will and Then It Won’t Again

Here’s something else that you need to be ready for in a long-distance relationship: time will move slowly. You’ll see your partner and then you’ll have to part ways again until you see each other again.

And you’ll wait a long time. Every second between meetings can feel like it’s being stretched out into an hour. Every day is going to feel longer than the last. Until you guys see each other again.

At that point, time flies. The hours go by and suddenly, it’s time to part again. Then it’s back to the agony of waiting and then time goes back to being slow.

People Will Butt In

You may also have people in your life who’ll doubt your relationship. They’re going to make something that’s already hard even harder.

Maybe they’ll tell you that your partner is stepping out on you. Maybe they’ll encourage you to step out on them. Maybe they won’t think that it’s a real relationship at all since you’re not physically together.

Not to mention that they might get super intrusive and offer unsolicited advice. Maybe they’ll tell you about visas and airline tickets as if you don’t already know. They’ll probably question your decision to be with someone who lives so far away and, depending on if she’s foreign or not, how much red tape is in the way of you being together.

Those are just some of the realities you’re going to have to face if you’re going to try loving someone from a distance.

A woman looking at a man who is looking at a phone. A woman looking at a man who is looking at a phone.

You CAN Do It Long Distance

Here’s one more reality: it’s doable. Plenty of couples make it through. But there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.

An endgame has been mentioned, but the endgame can’t be the only time you see each other. During your time apart, you have to plan little visits.

It doesn’t matter if you can only stay half a day before you have to head out again, you have to take every chance that you can get to be physically together. They’re going to be few and far between so take them when you can get them. Not to mention that it gives the both of you something to look forward to.

Rules and Boundaries

There also needs to be rules and boundaries. For example, some couples who are in a long-distance relationship have an out-of-sight/out-of-mind mentality when it comes to what the other is doing. Others have the same rules that most other couples do. But it’s something that couples should discuss. Rules and boundaries regarding what the other can and can’t do when apart need to be established.

A woman blowing a kiss at her phone.
Distance isn’t just physical but emotional as well, so communicate regularly.

Communicate Regularly and Honestly

Speaking of rules for a long-distance relationship, when it comes to a long-distance relationship, communication is key. You have to make sure that you communicate regularly with your partner. Video chat is usually the best, but text messages and voice calls can also work.

Establish a schedule and then stick to it as closely as possible. You may miss a few calls or texts - that’s to be expected, but don’t let yourself miss too many. These pockets of communication are how you maintain your relationship.

Exactly how often should you talk in a long distance relationship? As much as you can, of course. But there’s a caveat: while frequency is important, the quality of your talks matters more.

And when you do talk, don’t just catch up and don’t just ask about each other’s day. Make sure to check in with each other about how you’re both feeling so as to identify any potential problems in the relationship and the places where there’s room for improvement.

Fight Clean

Like in every relationship, the early stages of long distance dating will feel like a dream.

But the day will come when you will have your first disagreement, and then first fight, and so on. These fights can be caused and exacerbated by the distance. When you find yourself in any type of disagreement with your partner, you’re going to have to decide if it’s worth the fight or not. You won’t be able to hug it out afterwards and you definitely won’t be able to kiss and make-up.

So pick your battles and remember that if it’s the distance that’s causing it, it’s not you against your partner, but the two of you against the distance. Remember that you’re both on the same team.

Send Them Surprises

Here’s another tip to survive the distance: send care packages. Pack a few things in a box that will remind your partner of you and your relationship. Even better, make it a surprise. Don’t tell them that it’s coming so it’ll be a delightful shock when it arrives.

Unlike in the past, distance is not a barrier to sending gifts and care packages. With much of commerce occurring online, and with the proliferation of online shopping and delivery services, you can even order food for your partner and have it delivered within the hour.

Is a Long-Distance Relationship Even Worth It?

Are long distance relationships worth it given the amount of drawbacks and rules? Can they even survive?

When it comes to whether or not a long-distance relationship can go the distance, they’re likely to. Studies show that around 60 percent of long-distance relationships eventually end up together. So they can survive and if you are in one, the odds are in your favor.

Whether or not they’re worth it is subjective. Like any relationship, no matter the distance, the people in them have to actively choose to be with their partners every single day. They have to choose to make the relationship worth it. So whether or not a long-distance relationship is worth it will be entirely up to you and your partner.

Plenty of people are in long-distance relationships. Many of them break down. 28 percent of long-distance relationships that break down happen because there are unexpected changes. So if you are in one and you want it to last, then you have to be flexible.

Long-distance relationships are nothing new. They’ve been around so long as people have been in love. So if you do find yourself in one, remember that what you expect and what’s real may not be parallel to one another. Just remember that loving someone from a distance should be temporary and that that distance should, and ideally will, be crossed sooner rather than later.

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