Are you about to embark on a long-distance relationship?
You must have heard how hard and heartbreaking it can be. And now you worry if you can make it work. If that’s you, then let me put your mind at ease.
Starting a long-distance relationship might be tricky, but it’s also exciting and adventurous. While the prospect of being apart from your partner can seem daunting, with the right preparation and mindset, long-distance couples create a thriving and fulfilling connection.
To make a long-distance relationship work, you will need dedication, open communication, and a strong emotional connection. By setting realistic expectations and establishing a solid foundation, you can build a healthy and even stronger relationship that withstands physical distance. Whether you are entering a new long-distance relationship or transitioning an existing geographically close relationship into a long-distance setup, these ground rules will help you lay the groundwork for a successful and fulfilling journey of love.
In this article, we will explore valuable insights and practical tips on how to prepare for a long-distance relationship, ensuring that you and your partner are equipped to navigate the challenges that may arise so you can create a healthy relationship from the very beginning. As you will be spending time video chatting, we’ll also look at some things you can talk about and questions you should discuss with your partner.
So, let’s dive in and discover the do’s and don’ts of long-distance relationships and how you can prepare for it.
Assess Compatibility and Commitment
One of the essential steps in preparing for a long-distance relationship is to assess compatibility and commitment between you and your partner. It’s crucial to understand each other’s motivations, aspirations, and goals to ensure that they are aligned. Here are some key considerations to help you evaluate compatibility and shared values:
1. Understand your motivations and goals
Take the time to have open and honest conversations about your individual dreams and aspirations. Spend time talking about your personal growth plans, career goals, and other aspects of life that are important to you. This understanding will help you determine if your goals are complementary and if you can support each other’s pursuits.
2. Evaluate compatibility and shared values
Assess how well your values, beliefs, and lifestyles align with each other. Look for common interests, shared values, and compatible personalities that contribute to a strong foundation for your relationship. While differences can add richness to a partnership, it’s important to ensure that you have enough common ground to build upon.
3. Discuss commitment levels and willingness to invest in the relationship
Long-distance relationships require quite a lot of dedication and commitment from both partners. Talk openly about your expectations and willingness to invest time, effort, and resources into maintaining the relationship. It’s crucial to be on the same page regarding the level of commitment you are both willing to provide.
By assessing compatibility and commitment, you can gain clarity on whether you and your partner are well-suited for a long-distance relationship. This process allows you to enter the journey with confidence, knowing that you share common goals and a mutual desire to make the relationship thrive, despite the physical distance.
If you need step-by-step guidance on finding the right partner or assessing compatibility with a person you have in mind, check out our workbook!
Establish Effective Communication
Building a strong and healthy long-distance relationship relies on your ability to communicate effectively. It’ll help you resolve issues and support each other when you are feeling sad or afraid that your relationship will not work out.
Many long-distance couples find that video conferencing with family and friends allows them to feel more connected and involved in each other’s lives. Here are some key strategies to establish effective communication before you even start a long-distance relationship:
4. Embrace various communication tools
Before starting a long-distance relationship, it’s good to talk about the best way for you to communicate. One person may prefer talking on the phone, while their partner is more comfortable with a messaging app. Spend time to figure out the most comfortable way for you to keep in touch.
Take advantage of technology to explore different ways to keep in touch. Video chatting and texting over your favourite messaging app will help you keep in touch throughout the day. Use video conferencing to engage in activities together, such as watching the same show or movie, cooking the same recipe, or exploring new hobbies simultaneously.
A big part of understanding among geographically close couples relies on physical interaction. When you are in the same place and your partner is next to you, their feelings and intentions are more obvious. Little things like body cues, postures and gestures help one partner understand and the other partner feel understood. In a long-distance relationship, you rely mostly on talking and texting. This can make it harder for you to understand each other and may lead to confusion and unnecessary conflicts.
Also, every person has their preferences, but it’s an issue that can be easily resolved by embracing all modes of communication be it a phone call, a messaging app or a video call. Phone calls can bring about phone sex, which can spice up your relationship. The messaging app is perfect for a quick “good morning” text. And, a video call is great to have meaningful conversations and connect on a deeper level.
We have a full article dedicated to communication in a long-distance relationship. It’s full of ideas and practical tips, so make sure to check it out after you finish with this one.
5. Be attentive and actively communicate
When you engage in conversations, be fully present and actively communicate with your partner. Remember to share the things that matter, so both of you can feel connected. Talk about your day, share your thoughts, and discuss your partner’s life to show you care. You can develop an even stronger relationship by including each other’s friends in your video chatting sessions as it will foster a sense of community and allow for a deeper understanding of each other’s social circles and connections.
Show genuine interest in your partner’s life, ask about their experiences, actively listen to their thoughts and try to hear their feelings. Set goals together and support each other in achieving them. Show your partner that they are valued, appreciated, and understood. Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.
6. Communicate regularly but avoid excessive communication
Schedule regular video calls to see each other’s expressions, gestures, and emotions, creating a more intimate connection. Set aside dedicated time to connect and share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
While it’s important to stay connected, it’s equally crucial to avoid excessive communication. Communicate regularly and share important aspects of your lives. However, be mindful of excessive communication as it may lead to dependency or a lack of personal space.
Set some ground rules, respect each other’s boundaries and give each other room to breathe. If the desire to constantly jump on a video call gets too much, find a new hobby to keep yourself occupied.
Mutual understanding and support, are essential in keeping your bond strong and ensuring that both partners feel connected, valued, and loved. It’ll help you navigate the challenges of a long-distance relationship.
For some guidance, check out our workbook on how to communicate better with your long-distance partner.
7. Ask important questions before starting a long-distance relationship
- Are you having strong feelings for this person?
- Are you excited to get to know them better?
- Does this person bring love into your life?
- Are you prepared to be in a long-distance relationship until you move in together?
- How long are you expecting this long-distance relationship to last?
- How and how often do you prefer to keep in touch?
- What type of relationship are you looking for?
- Who would be your perfect partner?
- How long your long-distance relationship will last?
- How do you and your partner feel about the idea of being apart?
- What do you both want and expect from this long-distance relationship?
- Do you want a friendship, a casual, serious, open relationship or something else?
- How often do you and your partner need physical intimacy?
- Are you ok with a long-distance relationship lasting a few months?
- Do you have the means to visit each other and how often?
- Are you willing to move if you decide to live together?
- Do you have the money to move in together when the time comes?
8. Talk about the challenges of long-distance relationships
Before starting a long-distance relationship, it is worth considering common problems long-distance couples often face. Here is an in-depth article covering them all.
At the least, you should talk about these three most common problems of a long-distance relationship:
A lack of physical closeness results in the absence of shared experiences. Shared experience helps us feel an emotional connection. And physical closeness makes our experiences more vivid. When your loved one is miles away, you don’t get to experience your romantic relationship to its fullest.
Many long-distance relationships face the same common problems as those in geographically close ones: trust, jealousy, honesty, understanding, finance, and fading feelings. The difference is the way these issues can be addressed, which is much harder without being next to each other.
Work together with your partner to learn how to handle the issues in your long-distance relationship in a healthy and constructive way. And, remember, that our relationship experts who specialise in long-distance relationships are here to help.
A Lack of Physical Intimacy
In a romantic relationship, it is normal to expect physical affection. So, a lack of physical intimacy is very challenging for many long-distance couples.
In a monogamous long-distance relationship physical affection isn’t there. Usually, one person finds it more challenging than the other, so don’t hold back and feel free to talk about your feelings as they arise.
When you meet someone who lives in your area, one of the first things you want to explore is physical intimacy. When you start a long-distance relationship, physical intimacy is only possible during your visits.
Your long-distance relationship shouldn’t last a lifetime. If it last too long, you or your partner will inevitably start feeling sad and sexually frustrated.
Create a Shared Vision
In a long-distance relationship, it’s essential to have a plan for making a long-distance relationship work until you can start a life together in the same place. Consider the following elements to align your future, despite the challenges of time zones and physical distance.
9. Collaborate on a long-term plan
Discuss your long-term goals and dreams as a couple, considering factors like career, family, and personal growth. Incorporate the idea of spending quality time together and explore the possibility of one partner relocating to be geographically closer in the long run.
Take into account the adjustments required for friends and family, and allocate vacation time to spend together in the same place.
10 Consider visits and relocation
Explore the possibility of one partner relocating to be geographically closer in the long run. Discuss the practical aspects, such as job opportunities and potential adjustments you may want to do around your friends and family. Many long-distance relationships work when partners spend enough time visiting each other.
Plan visits during your holidays to see how you get on when you are geographically close. Regular physical proximity will help you feel connected in a way that can nourish your physical intimacy. You can make your visits more exciting by planning various fun activities and travelling to explore different places.
11. Consider time zone differences
Recognise the impact of time zones when planning your relationship routines and activities and make necessary adjustments.
To ensure meaningful interactions in your long-distance relationship, it’s essential to to find overlapping hours and be flexible with schedules. Find ways to schedule a video call to have a video chat when both of you are free and eager to hear each other.
12. Nurture relationships with friends and family
While your primary focus is on your partnership, it’s important to maintain connections with your friends and family.
Allocate time to engage in social activities, even if they are online. Get in touch with your family and friends and make some new friends. Engage with your partner’s family and each other’s friends to help them feel like they matter.
13. Adapt and course-correct
Remember that plans may change over time, and it’s important to remain flexible. Continuously course-correct and adjust your shared vision as needed. Regularly revisit your shared vision, reassess your goals, and ensure that you’re on the same page.
Things You Should Know Before Starting a Long-Distance Relationship
- If you haven’t met or lived together, you will idealise the other person
A physical gap in a long-distance relationship leaves plenty of room for imagination. This means that without knowing it, you create things in your head that aren’t real. This can mask the sadness caused by the lack of physical interaction. But it’ll make it harder to manage your relationship if you decide to move in together.
- Long-distance relationships work for the right people in the right circumstances
Many long-distance relationships suit people who like romance and adventure. When one person wants to travel the world, a long-distance relationship can work just fine. However, many couples find that it is not sustainable for a long period, so keep that in mind. A long-distance relationship can also work for geographically close couples who are relocating. But in this case, it’s important to keep the transition short and sweet.
- Long-distance relationships are not easy, but couples make them even harder
Sometimes, a long-distance relationship can bring more sadness than joy into people’s lives. Some couples still choose to continue their relationship, despite feeling miserable every day. If a long-distance relationship isn’t for you, it can get pretty unbearable.
- A long-distance relationship is for some and not for others
Every person needs a physical connection. However, some people need it more than others. Physical absence might be ok for some people. And for others, physical presence is necessary to feel connected.
Tips on How to Prepare for a Long-Distance Relationship
While your feelings are the only thing that matters when you just met someone, there are things you can do before starting a long-distance relationship:
- Understand yourself and what you want from your life, your partner, and your relationship.
- Get clear on who is your ideal partner.
- Find the person who shares your values and beliefs.
- Talk to them to see if they want the same things as you from the relationship.
- Understand your own values, beliefs, and preferences.
- Set specific goals for your long-distance relationship.
- Recognise what you want to achieve at the end of this long-distance relationship.
- See if you are looking for a friend, a fling, or a more serious relationship
- Consider the cost of travelling to see your long-distance partner.
- Agree who would move if you are to live together at some point.
- Get clear about what exactly you are feeling (excitement, physical attraction, intellectual interest, etc.).
- Share your feelings openly and honestly with your special someone.
- Ask your partner how they are feeling.
- Don’t expect them to tell you what you want to hear.
- Express what you want from this relationship: a fling, an open relationship, a friendship or a romantic relationship.
- Ask your what they want. You may find that both of you want the same thing, which would be great.
- Don’t be afraid of a little disappointment or sadness if it is not the case. Honesty is more important than disappointment.
- Learn how the other person feels about you.
When you prepare for a long-distance relationship, you should be as honest and authentic as possible. Trust is the foundation of a healthy long-distance relationship. While it’s normal to have doubts, you should feel comfortable discussing them with your partner.
You should know how to manage your hopes and expectations to make your long-distance relationship work. Specific goals with a plan and a timeline are also essential for your long-distance relationship to be successful.
If you are having positive feelings, you are on the right track. If not, take a moment to reassess your feelings and reset your course towards a healthy relationship.
We have a guide on how to communicate in a long-distance relationship. It’s a fun way to talk about hard topics and ask difficult questions that you might find tricky or awkward to bring up by yourself. A video chat is a good option for this kind of interaction in a long-distance relationship.
Much like geographically close relationships, long-distance ones require some ground rules and boundaries. A healthy long-distance relationship also needs regular physical proximity. So make sure that you and your partner set specific dates for when you will be able to visit each other.
Before starting a long-distance relationship you should discuss how important physical intimacy is for each of you. If one of you needs physical intimacy more than the other, then being exclusive will be more difficult for that person. In this case, before you commit to making your long-distance relationship work, review what makes it different and be ready to put in quite a lot of effort. Avoid making a spur-of-the-moment decision that you might regret later.
By establishing a clear long-term plan and spending time together, you can maintain emotional connection, foster a sense of togetherness and work towards a geographically close relationship where distance is no longer a barrier.
Inevitably, you will face some challenges that will test your relationship and commitment to each other.
Before starting a long-distance relationship you should decide if you are ok to be away from your partner for extended periods. The longer you stay apart, the harder it becomes to maintain an emotional connection.
When you meet a special someone, talk about your feelings and intentions. Being open and honest with each other is a strong foundation for your relationship.
Once you know that your feelings are mutual and you want the same things, it’s time to see if you can make your relationship work across the miles.
Acknowledge your feelings, regardless if it sadness or joy. Talking about your feelings is a great way to begin a healthy relationship. This book, Emotions Revealed by Paul Ekman can help you better understand your feelings and emotions. As well as teach you to recognise the emotions of your partner. So you can create a loving relationship from the very beginning.
As your relationship develops, your feelings will change. If you stay in touch with your feelings, you will know what to do as your relationship unfolds. For now, note how you feel and have fun with this new adventure. Worrying about the future takes you away from enjoying the present.
Put your mind at ease by learning exactly what it takes to make a long-distance relationship work.
Frequently Asked Questions about Preparing for a Long-Distance Relationship
How do I prepare for a long-distance relationship?
Preparing for a long-distance relationship involves open communication, setting realistic expectations, and prioritising trust and commitment. It’s important to discuss your goals, establish boundaries, and develop effective communication strategies to navigate the distance successfully.
What to do at the beginning of a long-distance relationship?
At the beginning of a long-distance relationship, focus on building a strong foundation of trust and understanding. Take the time to establish clear communication channels, plan visits or virtual dates, and set goals together. It’s also crucial to discuss expectations, express your feelings openly, and find ways to stay connected despite the physical distance.
What are the do’s and don’ts of a long-distance relationship?
• Talk openly and honestly
• Establish trust and maintain transparency
• Plan regular visits or virtual dates
• Support each other’s personal growth and interests
• Neglect regular communication or become distant
• Let jealousy or insecurity overpower your relationship
• Make assumptions without clarifying doubts
• Avoid discussing important topics or conflicts
Is it healthy to start a relationship long-distance?
Starting a relationship long-distance can be healthy if both partners are committed and willing to put in the effort to maintain the connection. It requires trust, understanding, and strong emotional support. Regular visits and shared future goals can contribute to a healthy long-distance relationship.
How long should you date long-distance before making it official?
The timeline for making a long-distance relationship official varies for each couple. It’s important to take the time to get to know each other, build trust, and assess compatibility before making any commitments. The decision to become official should be based on mutual understanding, trust, and the readiness of both individuals involved.
Are long-distance relationships hard in the beginning?
Long-distance relationships can be challenging in the beginning as partners adjust to the physical separation and establish effective communication patterns. However, with open communication, patience, and commitment, couples can navigate these challenges and build a strong foundation for their relationship.
Can a man fall in love long-distance?
Yes, it is possible for a man to fall in love in a long-distance relationship. Emotional connections can be formed through deep conversations, shared experiences, and genuine understanding. However, it’s important to establish trust, video chat regularly, and plan visits to nurture the relationship’s growth.
Do most long-distance relationships last?
The longevity of a long-distance relationship depends on various factors, including the commitment and compatibility of each person. While maintaining a long-distance relationship can be challenging, many couples successfully navigate them with some effort, trust, and seeking professional help when needed.
How far is considered a long-distance relationship?
The distance that qualifies as a long-distance relationship varies depending on individual perspectives. It can range from being in different cities, states, or even countries. What matters most is how the couple defines and manages the challenges that arise from the physical separation.