I have decided to do a small series on long distance relationships (LDRs) and friendships. I will cover how to know if you are ready for an LDR, tips to keep your relationship working while away, benefits of an LDR and how to stay in touch with friends while away. If there is a topic you would like me to cover then send a contact form here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part 1: Are you ready for an LDR?
Long distance relationships aren’t for everyone, and that’s ok as long as you are both honest with each other. Things to consider include how well you know each other, how long you have been together, just how far apart you will actually be and how often you will be able to communicate. It would definitely be a lot harder to maintain a long distance relationship (LDR) if you had no internet access and were staying in some remote village in Colombia than in my situation where I am in mainland Europe with access to all social media and FaceTime. LDRs are a lot of hard work and sometimes two people loving each other just isn’t enough to maintain a relationship, you need to have trust, good communication, understanding and a whole lot of other factors.
If you are worried that it’s not for you then maybe ask yourself some of the following questions:
1. Do you trust your partner enough to be away from them?
Obviously, trust is a very important part of any relationship and is one of the main contributors to having a healthy relationship, it is even more important in an LDR when you are physically apart. Luckily me and Andy both trust each other 110% and are more than comfortable with us being apart for 10+ months. I’ve been in a relationship where you don’t trust your partner, and believe me, it is not worth it. If you don’t trust each other when you are close by, it will only get worse when you move to away; whether that’s just to another city or moving to another country.
This is also reciprocated if your partner doesn’t trust you, they will get worse (more controlling, more jealous, more clingy) when you move and that is not healthy for either of you. You need to make this decision and talk about it ideally before you move away, so you both are on the same page.
2. Do you love each other enough to make the commitment to work through the distance? Do you actually want to be in an LDR with this person?
While loving each other by itself isn’t enough to sustain a relationship, it is obviously an important factor. You need to be honest with yourself (and your partner) if you love them enough to embark on this journey together, I’m sure many people have told you that LDRs are hard and they really are. You need to have a lot of love and commitment to make it work across countries, from dealing with bad internet connections, being so busy you have no time to talk and not seeing each other for months to just wishing you could be with them.
This would all be absolutely hopeless if you weren’t that into them and just weren’t really bothered and you need to be making a real effort to keep the communication up. If one of you isn’t really making much of an effort you need to find out have they just been busy or are they losing interest? It would be easier to establish this point before you went away, but if once you arrive it is too difficult and you feel like you are giving more than you get don’t blame it on yourself! LDR’s are not for everyone and not all relationships are meant to work through such a difficult time, I am a firm believer in what is meant to be, will be so don’t be too discouraged if not everything works out how you imagined.
3. Do you see a future with this person?
Not every relationship will end in a lifelong commitment, and that’s fine but an LDR is a huge commitment and isn’t just something to do for fun. If in 5 years time you don’t see this person being in your life, then maybe staying together isn’t the right option for you. LDRs put you through a lot of stress and upset, and if you don’t visage this person as a constant in your future then I would be tempted to tell you to call it quits before “the big move”. It can be a hard reality to face, especially if you love your partner, but if it is the case then an LDR may not be the next move to make. This point is difficult and involves you being extremely honest with yourself; you may not even know the answer, but if you KNOW that the two of you won’t be long term, then maybe an LDR isn’t for you.
This is a personal decision and I can’t tell you what to do, but you will know deep down in your heart how you feel and what is best for you.
4. Are you able to be away from your partner and stay faithful, not only physically but also emotionally?
Are you the kind of person that needs constant attention focused on you, and if your partner isn’t there to give it then you may be tempted to look elsewhere? Do you doubt your relationship while you’re apart and look for comfort from others? Do you develop crushes easily and struggle to stop yourself from temptation?
If you answered YES to any of these questions then maybe an LDR isn’t for you (or even any relationship!). Your partner deserves to have your full commitment and honesty while you are away and it would be unfair to do anything behind their back, even if it’s just developing a crush on a cute guy who works at your favourite bar and having him take you out for a drink “just for fun”. Nobody deserves to be messed about and if you have the tendency to stray easily then an LDR definitely isn’t for you.
Well I hope that was helpful! To those of you embarking on an LDR I wish you the best of luck, and to those who decide that it just isn’t for them I commend your honesty with yourself and want to remind you that LDRs aren’t for everyone! Don’t be disheartened: you will find the right person for you when the time is right.
Let me know your thoughts on the subject.
Part 2: Tips to make the relationship work… coming soon.