Now that we can connect with people across the world via social media more easily than ever before, and countrywide or overseas study/work/careers are becoming more common, long-distance relationships (LDRs) can be an option many of us explore. But do they work?
That’s a question I’ve been asked many times when I talk about successfully navigating (and surviving) a long-distance relationship that spanned 3000+ miles (and 4 years). I learned quite a lot over that time, and one of the things I discovered was that people often have the same questions about what it’s like to love at a distance.
Here are the ‘Top 5 FAQs About Long-Distance Relationships‘ …
1. | aren’t you worried about cheating?
If worrying about cheating is a huge, constant, looming question (LDR or otherwise), then you’re probably not with the right person or there’s some work that needs to be done to address what your expectations are regarding fidelity. People in LDRs spend a lot of time apart, and it can be something you worry about. Good, honest and regular communication that establishes what you’re looking for is where every relationship should begin.
For me personally, it wasn’t an issue because I made a conscious decision, after a particularly bad relationship, to never be with someone who did this to me or made me feel anxious about this being a possibility. I knew right from the start what did and did not feel right — I was no longer going to accept being treated in a way that was detrimental to me — and I found someone who I had complete faith in (and still do).
2. | how do you maintain a long-distance relationship?
It takes organization, effort and imagination (especially if you’re dealing with different time zones). You create a new normal where you have dinner over the phone or Skype, you talk to each other whenever you can, you send cards and care packages so your partner knows you’re thinking of them, etc. You just have to be prepared to put the effort in — and make sure that it’s reciprocal — and accept that your time together may not look like what everyone else is doing, but you make it work by finding moments where you can be together.
3. | do LDRs work?
Yes, they can. If you’re flexible and find what works for you, there’s no reason why you can’t make it a successful relationship, but — and this is important — there has to be an end point to the miles apart. You both need to be working towards closing the distance or at least knowing when that may happen because perpetual separation isn’t good for your emotional or mental health. Spend time together, in whatever way you can, and put the effort in because overcoming obstacles together will help build something pretty strong.
4. | are they worth it?
That comes down to how you measure success and worthiness — and that goes for all types of relationships. If you get to love someone and they love you back, it can be meaningful, even if you don’t end up together. People can come into our lives and help create positive experiences and moments while some others do not. Some people love, respect and support us wholeheartedly while others don’t invest in us in that kind of way. Ultimately, it’s worth it if you say/think/feel it is. Only you can determine what makes a relationship valuable.
5. | don’t you miss intimacy?
Yes, but you discover new ways to establish it. Like everything else in a long-distance relationship, you figure out how to get around the distance. Meeting your emotional and sexual needs can be fun if you find what works for you (letters, talking, photos, sexting, etc) — you’ve just got to try out a few ideas. And that’s really how LDRs function, you create a new normal that may not be perfect or how you expected things to be, but you figure it out. You go with the flow and make the best of the time you have apart until you close the distance.
Long-distance relationships are not easy, they aren’t flawless or stressfree — but what relationship is? If you’ve found someone you vibe with better than anyone else and you know that the love you’ll both create will surpass anything that came before, then you can survive a physical separation until you’re reunited.
Got any more questions about LDRs or your own experiences to share? Leave a comment!