Before starting a long-distance relationship you should decide if you are ok to be away from your partner for extended periods. While it’s easy to manage the distance for a few months, the longer it lasts, the harder it becomes to maintain an emotional connection.
- Get clear on who is your ideal partner.
- 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.
Before you start looking for a partner, ask yourself who is your ideal partner and what do you want from the relationship. Knowing what you’re looking for in a partner will make it easier to choose the right one.
To help you get started with your long-distance relationship, let’s have a look at some things you can talk about and questions you should discuss with your potential partner.
How to Bring up Starting 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:
- 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 them how they are feeling.
- Don’t expect them to tell you what you want to hear.
- Be ok with everything they say.
- Express what you want from this relationship (a long-distance fling, an open relationship, a friendship or start a romantic relationship).
- Ask them 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 bring up a long-distance relationship with someone you like, you should be as honest and authentic as possible. Trust is the foundation of a healthy long-distance relationship.
It’s normal to have doubts, but you should be able to discuss them freely with the person you like.
If you want to make your long-distance relationship work, learn how to manage your hopes and expectations. For your long-distance relationship to be successful, you have to set specific goals and make a plan with a timeline.
If you are having positive feelings, you are on the right track. If not, take a moment to reassess. Just be mindful to distinguish temporary emotions from your deeper ‘gut’ feelings.
Here’s a popular conversation starters card game. It’s a fun way to talk about questions that you might find tricky or awkward to bring up by yourself. Playing with physical cards while on a phone or a video chat will bring something tangible in your long-distance relationship.
Alternatively, we have this guide to help you with online communication in a long-distance relationship.
How to Prepare for a Long-Distance Relationship
You’ve met someone special, and now you are facing 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 isn’t hard or difficult; it’s exciting and adventurous. In fact, in many ways, getting to know someone long-distance is much better than face to face.
- Understand yourself and what you want from your life, your partner, and your relationship.
- 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.
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 long-distance.
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.
To put your mind at ease, check out this article. It covers all you need to know about making a long-distance relationship work.
5 Things to Know Before Starting a Long-Distance Relationship
1. If You Haven’t Met or Lived Together, You Are Going to Idealise Your Partner.
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.
2. Long-Distance Relationships Work for the Right People and the Right Reasons.
Long-distance relationships are great for getting to know someone. They suit people who like romance and adventure. Travelling the world together is ideal for some couples. A long-distance relationship can also work for a married couple who is relocating. But in this case, it’s important to keep the transition short and sweet.
3. Long-Distance Relationships Can Be Hard, but People Can Make It 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 will be hard.
4. 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.
5. Forcing a Long-Distance Relationship to Work Is a Waste of Your Life.
Couples start long-distance relationships to feel an emotional connection. But there’s also an expectation of physical affection. If for some reason a couple can’t close the distance, the need for physical closeness isn’t met. This can leave them feeling sad and sexually frustrated.
Things to Talk About Before Starting a Long-Distance Relationship
Before starting a long-distance relationship, it is worth considering common problems long-distance couples often face. Here is in-depth article covering them all.
At the least, you should talk about these three most common problems of a long-distance relationship:
- The distance
- Lack of physical intimacy
1. The Distance
The distance 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.
Other problems that a couple faces during a long-distance relationship are the same as in any other relationship such as trust, jealousy, honesty, understanding, finance, and fading feelings.
If you are prone to depression or anxiety, it’s more challenging to maintain a romantic relationship with a person you can’t touch. One thing you can do, is work together with your partner on this workbook to learn how to handle the distance in your relationship.
2. Lack of Physical Intimacy
Many couples find it difficult to be separated for a long period. The biggest challenge is the lack of physical intimacy. In a romantic relationship, you expect physical affection.
In a monogamous long-distance relationship physical affection isn’t there. While it’s ok for short while, after some time you will start feeling deprived. In a couple, one person usually feels it sooner than the other, so you must talk about it.
When you meet someone who lives in your area, one of the first things you want to explore is physical intimacy. When starting a relationship with a person who lives in a different city, country, or continent, physical intimacy isn’t an option until you start visiting each other.
Before starting a long-distance relationship, it’s good to talk about the best way for you to communicate and how you will handle communication without the physical presence.
A big chunk of our communication relies on physical interaction. When people are next to each other, their feelings and intentions are more obvious. Body cues like postures and gestures help people understand each other better.
When starting a relationship, you have to respond quickly to what the person is saying. If you feel rushed, you might jump to false conclusions. In a long-distance relationship, you have the time to ask the right questions and think of the best answers. Here’s an article to help you learn effective communication in a long-distance relationship.
A cool Q&A journal will make getting to know each other more fun. If you are starting a new long-distance relationship, one question a day will give you a direction while getting to know each other better. For couples who were together before the long-distance, it’s a nice refresher. I guarantee you will learn some new things about yourself and each other.
If you want a more serious and involved approach to online communication in your long-distance relationship, this workbook is for you.
Questions to Ask Before Starting a Long-Distance Relationship
Questions for You and Your Partner
- 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 the long distance to last?
- How and how often do you prefer to keep in touch?
- Do you have the means to visit each other and how often?
- Do you have the money to move in together when the time comes?
- What type of relationship you’re looking for?
- Who would be your perfect partner?
- How long the distance in your relationship will last?
- Are you willing to move if you decide to live together?
Questions to Ask Yourself
- How are you feeling about having a long-distance relationship?
- How does your partner feel about having a long-distance relationship?
- What do you both want and expect from this long-distance relationship?
- Do you want a long-distance friendship, a casual relationship, or something serious?
- How often does each of you like to be physically intimate?
- Are you ok with a long-distance relationship to last a few months while you get to know 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.
You can make your visits more exciting by planning various fun activities and travelling to explore different places. Imagine how you would like it to be in an ideal world and see how close you can get to it given your resources. Before starting a long-distance relationship, have fun and be creative.
As your relationship develops, you will have challenges. These challenges will test your relationship and commitment to each other. As long as you have good communication, you’ll be able to work things out and make the best decisions that work for both of you.
- Talk About Physical Intimacy in Your Long-Distance Relationship
- Brainstorm Ideas of Where and How Often You’ll Be Able to Meet.
- Agree to Always Share Your Feelings, Doubts and Concerns.
If you are looking for a partner who shares your values and beliefs, take a look at this workbook. It will help you get clear on what you want from a relationship and who is your special someone.
How Healthy Is Your Long-Distance Relationship?
If you are having doubts about your long-distance relationship and are not sure if you should try to fix it or let it go, here is our step by step guide to help you and your partner reassess your relationship and make an educated decision that works for both of you.
Relationship Coaching for Long-Distance Couples
Long-distance relationships are hard to maintain without knowing exactly what they involve.
However, once you understand what long-distance relationships are, what they are not and how to navigate them, you are a lot more likely to make it work.
We specialise in helping long-distance couples create and maintain a healthy relationship by building intimacy, trust and effective communication.
If you are starting a long-distance relationship or are already in one, send us a message to book a coaching session for you and your partner.
Frequently Asked Questions
What to do before starting a long-distance relationship?
Before starting a long-distance relationship get clear what it is and what it involves. Knowing what LDR is all about will help you decide if it’s for you.
Is it worth starting a long-distance relationship?
If you have a strong connection it’s worth giving your LDR a go. However, to make it work you’ll need resources for regular visits. If your relationship becomes serious, you’ll also need a plan for moving in together.
What should I know before starting a long-distance relationship?
Before starting a long-distance relationship you should know how to handle the distance, communication, and the lack of physical intimacy.
How to talk about starting a long-distance relationship?
First, ask a few indirect questions to establish if LDR is at all on the table for the person you like. If they like the idea and open to trying it out, you should get a hint. Express your feelings and intentions to the person you like. Ask if they feel the same and if they want the same thing from this long-distance relationship.