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How to make a long-distance relationship work

How to make a long-distance relationship work

If you’re searching for a Christian for a long-term relationship, then the pool you’re ‘fishing’ in is smaller than if finding a Christian wasn’t part of your criteria. With a smaller pool then, you will have to expand the area you’re looking in – and if you’ve spent any time around us you’ll know we are always encouraging our members not to consider distance as any major criteria but to consider everyone – wherever – or despite of – where they live.  After all distance differences are only a short-term problem.

So on the basis that you’ve discovered that all the people ‘local’ to you don’t share any of your interests, and you are open to a long distance relationship, and have fallen for someone who does live a good few hours (or more) away from you, let’s consider how do you make a long distance relationship work?

What is this?

First of all, you must decide what the relationship is. Is it a casual courtship? Are we… serious? Sure, defining things too early can seem overly complicated and very unromantic, but a relationship where seeing one another regularly takes much more time and effort than if you lived locally, needs parameters. It’s harder to be breezy and casual when you’re lining up diaries to be with each other a long time ahead. The frustration of being apart – and the lack of any regular physical contact – may lead to a build-up of frustration. But as long as both of you know where you stand, this should ease the longing and disconnection that distance can give you. You need to manage your expectations.

Be reliable

Spontaneity is harder to pull off with a few hours of travel between you and while it isn’t very romantic to schedule times to meet up, you must stick to your plans and not let one another down. If you’ve been looking forward to seeing someone all month and they cancel at the last minute, that can be devastating. That’s not to say the element of surprise has to die altogether – in fact turning up unannounced at your partners’ flat will seem more special because of the effort involved. Make sure you’re a good listener, though, because if you try to play Prince or Princess Charming the same week they’re out of town for a sales conference three miles from where you actually live, you’ll be in trouble.

Talk a lot

The great thing about long distance relationships in the digital era is nobody’s ever too far away. We are, frighteningly, contactable pretty much all the time. So take advantage of Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Zoom, the lot. If relationships are founded on great communication, then these tools give you ample opportunities to build that foundation. “Out of sight, out of mind” is practically impossible nowadays.

 

Embrace the humdrum

When you’re not together all the time, you feel you should be doing really exciting things or making big gestures on the occasions you are. Weekends in Paris! Romantic spa getaways! Yet another five-courser in a Michelin-starred restaurant or cocktails on the 57th floor of a huge glass tower block overlooking the city! This isn’t a real relationship, though; it’s a set of film scenes. For authenticity, have time together where you do hardly anything. Eat noodles on the sofa, watch TV, go food shopping. The little snatches of the dull everyday will bring you closer together, and these things are what people who live close to each other do, so don’t miss doing them just because you live far away. They too are important building blocks of a relationship.

Be realistic

Because you see each other less frequently, your time together will feel more intense, like you’re under pressure to have the best time and for it to be as wonderful as possible. The reality is this may lead to rows over what seems like nothing, frustration because you’re gritting your teeth trying not to point out their flaws or your dissatisfaction. Your relationship is a pressure cooker and subject to all kinds of weird emotions. Be realistic about what you expect from one another and talk about it. Be very matter of fact about what’s happening and why – “we’re only arguing like this because we miss each other so much” – and be respectful.

Have something to aim for

Some people may tell you long distance relationships don’t work, but they certainly can and do – as long as there is an endgame in mind. If you’re going to make it as couple, you need something to work toward. Maybe, agreeing to see how it goes for a fixed number of months or years before making a decision about who moves where, or saving up to live in a totally different place, new to you both. Without goals, you can’t go anywhere, but seeing the long-distance part as a process in a much larger project can keep you motivated to be together.

Evolve or die

Talk honestly about the prolonged separation and whether you can handle it. You may find your feelings start to fade for one another, and you try to keep things going because of the effort you’ve made so far. The truth is, whether it’s for five months or five years, a long-distance relationship can only be a temporary situation. If you’re prepared to take it to the next level, you should, but if you don’t see the distance changing any time soon, then be bold, make the decision to end the relationship and move on to find someone for whom you will have a long-term future with.