Dating someone from the same city can be hard. Dating someone from across the globe can be virtually impossible if you're not careful. Long distance dating is not as difficult as many people think and while the official success numbers are a bit murky, we have full confidence you can make it work if you're in this position. Communication is a big factor in any relationship, but it may not be the most important part of maintaining a successful long distance relationship.
We profiled three couples who have been or are currently involved in long distance relationships and asked them the dos and don'ts of long distance dating. We covered everything from communication, dates and what it really means to be transparent. Read their stories on love and dating long distance and our dos and don'ts on keeping the relationship alive and healthy.
Do: Make sure you're in it for the long run
Thinking of how long your relationship is going to last can be daunting. While in normal relationships you can omit the topic from your mind, in long distance relationships it's important to discuss this with your partner from the get go.
"Long term is the name of the game. Long distance relationships progress differently then normal ones. Long gaming is for a meaningful relationship with someone who will one day be your partner." says Andrea Miranda (29) a New York entrepreneur who was in a long distance relationship with her partner Richie (30) from Sevilla, Spain.
Don't: Over communicate
Jillian, an actor who resides in New York, New York while her partner Nina works as an educator living in Sarasota, Florida thinks over communication can become a big problem:
"You spend a lot of time connected, but then it becomes obsessive communication. The challenge can be finding a balance and ensuring the quality of conversations. It's essential we make the space for dates because we need it to be different from a check-in call. We need romance."
Do: Make sure you have the same communication style
Charles (31) and his boyfriend Zach (28) were dating long distance while one was in Orlando, Florida and the other in Brooklyn, New York. Charles and Zach discussed their communication styles before jumping into the relationship:
"Communication was very important. Him and I had almost the same communication style. I’ve always felt in long distance relationships, if you don’t have solid communication you don’t have anything."
Don't: Rely on social media
"Don't be a social media stalker. We’ve all been there... but it will only drive you insane because either you won’t get any/enough information on them or you’ll create this whole problem in your head that is not a real problem. Don't make them jealous by posting scandalous pics, stories etc... it might've worked when you were younger but now it just looks sad." says Andrea.
"I think we have learned that transparency is vital for us. I think that the more transparent we are with one another, the more connected we feel. Communication is key... but to maintain the connection, you have to be vulnerable. You have to say 'I am feeling sad right now and missing you.' You have to be willing to say that verbally. When we’re transparent, we feel closer. The ability to support your partner's autonomy and be confident enough to be okay with them being social. When you waiver on that, it falls apart." says Nina and Jillian.
Do: Plan date nights
Planning date nights is one tool you can use to keep your relationship active. Instead of just communicating daily or weekly, try planning an end of the week date night where you both stream the same movie or play an online multiplayer game.
According to Nina and Jillian, date nights come in different shapes, "Dates consist of FaceTime and other various activities. We do puzzles, watch movies together, stream The Handmaid’s Tale, read to each other and do vocabulary training together. We also learned world geography together. We both downloaded Settlers of Catan to play. We love to read each other poetry and bedtime stories.
Don't: Rush the endgame
"Don't expect everything to happen on your timeline. Again, this is the person you may want to be with for the rest of your life, but take your time. It’s cheesy but the right person will make time and find a way to be in your life" explains Andrea.
According to Nina and Jillian, "The best things about our relationship is that there is no endgame. We have talked about marriage and cohabitation, but we're so autonomous in our lives. We go back and forth on our endgame... like is it to have three places? We have most recently talked about Jillian teaching at the college level and us moving forward. There is no pressure. We want to let it happen organically. Our endgame is to be together... but we’re not in a rush."
Do: Make plans to visit/vacation together
Charles and Zach knew from the beginning they would be together. Introduced by a mutual friend, they didn't start dating until years after. According to Charles, they would visit each other often:
"We would talk literally all day long. There wasn’t a time that we weren’t talking. Luckily for me, I was working remotely and was able to go to New York whenever I could. We would see each other about every two weeks."
Andrea and Richie met in Sevilla, Spain and stayed in contact when Andrea moved back to New York. Richie would visit Andrea, but it wasn't until Andrea moved back to Sevilla that Richie finally made the move:
"You need to make plans to see each other. Since you’re not in each other’s daily physical lives, you need to make sure you see each other and spend time together. I like going somewhere new together - make new memories you can experience fresh together. This will also weed out if someone isn’t that interested in you because they won’t make plans with you, trust me..." says Andrea.
Don't: Forget to set healthy boundaries
Relationships can sometimes be very passionate, but its important for us to set healthy boundaries from the beginning. There's nothing wrong with letting your partner know what's okay and what's not. Not everything has to be black and white, but communicating your limits is a healthy way of avoiding problems later on.
"Don't drunk text and call repeatedly (well, at least not all the time and in a desperate way). You’ll know and feel if it’s too much. Let’s be real..." says Andrea.
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