This site is mostly focused on helping women get their ex boyfriends back. Thus, it makes sense that most of the things I write for it are geared towards an audience of women who are desperate to win back their man. Of course, every once in a while I get bold and decide to go the opposite route and talk to the general population about general relationship topics.
This is one of those times.
One of the most popular “guides” on my website has to do with long distance and how to win back a boyfriend if the two of you broke up. Well, lets imagine for a moment that you were in a long distance relationship with an ex boyfriend and you just happened to get him back.
What are you supposed to do after you get him back?
You are both still long distance and will likely have many of the same problems that caused you to break up in the first place.
What is it that you can do differently the second time around to make this thing work?
That’s what this guide is going to be all about, how to make a long distance relationship work.
The Problem With Long Distance Relationships
Take it from someone who has been in a long distance relationship before, they aren’t easy…
If you have truly fallen for someone then you want nothing more than to be next to them all the time. Of course, if you are long distance it’s kind of impossible to do that and therein lies our problem.
The Problem = No Physical Contact
One of the best parts about dating someone new for the first time is that you often can’t take your hands off each other.
- You hold hands…
- Have passionate hugs…
- I think you get the idea.
My point is simple, in a long distance relationship you only get to do those things in short bursts. For example, lets say that you and I were in a long distance relationship and we only see each other for a few days every single month. Well, we would get to do the things listed above during those days we have together but then all of a sudden when we are separated its a bit shocking because all of a sudden you are taken away from the thing you want most in the world.
Now, I suppose an argument can be made that “absence does make the heart grow fonder.” However, absence also can caused weak minded individuals to stray from the relationship. I believe this is the “out of sight out of mind” mindset.
So, which is more likely to happen in a LDR (long distance relationship?)
“Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder” Vs. “Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind”
Before I tackle this age old question and how it relates to LDR’s lets take a moment to define what each of these quotes mean.
Lets start with,
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
This basically means that the less you see someone the more you will want to see them. For example, if you and I were in a long distance relationship and we saw each other only twice a month then we would both probably want so badly to see each other for the next months two days during the “absent period” that our feelings for each other would grow.
Of course, there will always be those people that absence has the opposite effect on.
“Out of sight, out of mind.”
The idea behind this quote is that the less you see of someone the more likely you are to look elsewhere for the “physical benefits” if you catch my drift. Again, lets pretend that we have a long distance relationship and see each other only two days every month. Well, turns out that those two days aren’t enough for you and you begin to stray and end up cheating on me because I was never around due to the distance.
So, out of these two quotes which is more likely to happen.
Which Quote More Accurately Describes Long Distance Relationships?
Obviously a lot of it depends on the two individuals in the relationship and how committed they are to making it work. However, from my vast experience dealing with a lot of different long distance situations on this site I would have to say that both quotes are extremely accurate.
In fact, they almost form a hybrid quote,
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder… unless it’s too long… and then it’s out of sight out of mind.”
So, what does this hybrid quote mean?
Simple, absence often makes the heart grow fonder. However, if you stay absent for too long then it’s likely that the other person is going to stray.
For example, I had a woman comment here on the site once that she cheated on her (now) ex boyfriend.
Why did she cheat?
Well, it turns out that they were in a long distance relationship and her (now) ex boyfriend just stopped paying attention to her. In effect, he became totally absent and she didn’t like that very much. Eventually he became so absent that she started to stray and eventually ended up cheating on him with one of her guy friends.
So, his absence made her heart grow fond at first until she couldn’t take the absence anymore and decided to do something to “dull the pain.”
This begs an interesting question.
What is the best way to ensure that the absence doesn’t grow so bad that your significant other strays?
I’m glad you asked!
The Importance Of A Consistent Routine
One of the most interesting aspects of relationships is how a couple gets into a routine.
For example, a common routine for a couple in a long distance relationship would be to text each other all day and then call, FaceTime or Skype each other at night. These types of routines are good because it gives each person something to look forward to each and every day.
Of course, the problem with this routine in a long distance relationship is that even though each person is paying attention to one another constantly there still isn’t any physical contact being made.
Remember what I said above during the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” vs. “out of sight, out of mind” argument above?
In order for a LDR to thrive physical contact needs to be made consistently.
Now, this is where the actual distance between the couple comes into play.
The Two Couple Example
I would like to take a moment and illustrate an important point about routine and distance by using two examples of couples. Each couple is in a long distance relationship and is separated by a certain amount of distance.
- Couple 1 is separated by 100 miles
- Couple 2 is separated by 1000 miles
So, the question I want to pose to you is how often should each of these couples get into the routine of seeing each other in person?
Couple 1- 100 Miles
While being separated by your significant other by 100 miles is certainly considered long distance it isn’t like you are being separated by 1000 miles like the other example I am about to pose. I think it is fair to say that a couple separated by 100 miles should be seeing each other in person 2-4 times a month.
So, if we were to draw up a “perfect LDR routine” for a couple who is separated by 100 miles it would look like this:
- The two people would text each other throughout the day (building a strong emotional connection.)
- At the end of the day (or even throughout the day) the couple should call each other, FaceTime or Skype.
- Every week or every other week the two people should take turns visiting each other (face to face) to strengthen their physical connection.
Lets take a look at a more complicated relationship, a LDR where the couple is separated by thousands of miles.
Couple 2- 1000 Miles
When it comes to long distance relationships a couple who is separated by a thousand miles has it pretty rough.
Because, traveling across the country or into another country can be quite expensive. I mean, it’s not like you can just drive a couple of hours and see them every weekend. No, in order to see your better half you have to buy a plane ticket and make sure both of your schedules are cleared.
So, what is an ideal number for the amount of times a “1000 mile LDR couple” should see each other in person?
At least one time a month…
Lets draw up a “perfect” routine for this couple now:
- The two people text each other throughout the day (strengthens emotional connection.)
- The two people call/FaceTime/Skype each other a bit more frequently than the 100 mile couple above.
- At least once a month this LDR couple should take turns visiting each other.
The One Thing No One Talks About With LDR’S
Long distance relationships have a very interesting aspect to them that I don’t hear that many people mention.
What is this aspect?
They cost money!
Hmm… how can I put this in a way so you understand.
Ok, which couple do you think is more likely to have a successful LDR.
A couple in which both people have established careers in which they earn a decent amount of income every year?
A couple where both people are just out of high school where they don’t have much money at all?
If you guessed the couple with the established careers then you would be right.
It’s quite simple really. Seeing your better half if you are separated by a considerable amount of distance is going to cost money.
Lets use the two couple example I gave in the last section (100 miles vs 1000 miles.)
It’s pretty much common sense that the 1000 mile couple is going to have to pay a lot more since plane tickets can cost a lot of money. Of course, don’t discount the fact that gassing up your car to drive one hundred miles to see your significant other is going to set you back a bit financially as well.
It is my firm belief that in order for a LDR to work both parties have to be willing to spend money to see each other and for some younger couples this isn’t really an option (I am looking at you high school couples.) Now, am I saying that your LDR relationship is completely doomed if you don’t have money to spend on trips to see your partner?
I am simply saying that if you don’t have money to spend on a trip then it is going to make your LDR that much harder to succeed.
The Role That Time Plays Into A LDR
I have been pretty adamant about the fact that I think LDR couples should get into a consistent routine of seeing each other in person. Well, you know what seeing each other in person requires?
Lets take the 1000 mile relationship for example. Not only do you have to set time aside every single day to be close to your significant other via texts and phone calls but you have to clear your schedule months in advance for a face to face meeting.
Some couples don’t have this luxury as they work full time and don’t have that many vacation days they can use.
In other words, not only do LDR’s create financial hardships for certain couples but they can also create headwind in the form of time as well.
This leads me to my next point.
You Can’t Stay In A Long Distance Relationship Forever
Out of everything I am going to say in this guide this is without a doubt the most important section.
So, listen up!
Most long distance couples have their heads in the sand when it comes to thinking about the future.
My guess is that they don’t like to think about the possibility of not being together long term. For example, lets say that you and I are in a long distance relationship and neither of us have the finances or time to be together permanently. In other words, we are stuck where we are and the possibility of seeing each other every day (like most couples) isn’t feasible.
Well, neither of us wants to think about things like that because it hurts too much and we both have strong feelings for each other.
Well, while keeping our heads in the sand will be nice for a little while eventually one of us is going to want a more permanent situation and that is where reality sets in and we realize that we probably aren’t going to work out.
I see this happen with a lot of long distance couples as they don’t have the means to be together permanently.
The Key To A Successful LDR
You want to know what separates the amazing long distance couples from the average ones?
The amazing ones stop at nothing to find a way to be together permanently.
Lets say that you and your long distance boyfriend live across the country from one another (you live in Pennsylvania and your boyfriend lives in Texas.) Well, obviously the two of you should be looking for a more permanent solution where you can be together to see each other in person more frequently.
That means that either you or your boyfriend are going to have to move to each other.
Now, asking someone to pick up their entire life and move to you or you to them is kind of a scary thought which is why most people in a long distance relationship aren’t willing to make the necessary sacrifices.
What sacrifices have to be made to ensure that the relationship is successful?
Sacrifices That Will Have To Be Made For A LDR To Work
You know, most people say things like,
“The key to relationships is compromise.”
“The key to marriage is compromise.”
Well, when it comes to LDR’s the key to them is sacrifice. Both people involved have to be willing to make sacrifices in order for it to work.
What kind of sacrifices?
Someone Is Probably Going To Have To Move
I have already established that for a long distance relationship to work there has to be an overarching goal in which the two people involved in the relationship see each other on a daily basis to satisfy each others physical needs. This means that for those couples separated by a considerable amount of distance someone in the relationship is going to have to move to the other one.
This is a sacrifice that scares the hell out of most people.
Because you are asking someone to leave their friends, family and job for a relationship that has no guarantee of working out.
This is why most long distance relationships fail because someone isn’t willing to make this kind of sacrifice.
You Might Have To Live Together
Lets pretend for a moment that your significant other (who lives in another state) has agreed to make a move to come live in your state. Well, if your better half is willing to make that kind of sacrifice then you might have to be willing to make a sacrifice of your own by living together.
Now, this site is full of women who have a lot of different views on living together. Some of these views are very old fashioned in that some women believe it isn’t right to live together until you get married.
While I personally don’t have any problem with this view if someone is moving across the country for you then it might be disrespectful to them to say,
“Oh, by the way even though your moving across the country for me you are going to have to get your own place and we can’t live together until I see some type of major commitment like marriage.”
Look, if you get another human being to put his or her life behind them to be with you then what greater commitment to your relationship is there than that?
How Age Factors Into LDR’s
This may be a hard section for some of you to hear. However, I feel it is important that you hear it.
Believe it or not but age can play a massive factor in a long distance relationship. Now, I know you are probably sitting there wondering,
“What the heck does age have to do with anything?”
Well, by looking at someones age you can make certain assumptions (which most of the time end up being true.) I know stereotyping isn’t necessarily a good thing but in this case we are going to do so just lay off me for a bit ok 😉 .
Two Important Assumptions Based On Age
Really what I want to look at here is how age affects a long distance relationship.
Well, in my experience I have found that age can affect an LDR in two big ways.
What are those two ways?
Lets use two men as an example here. Lets say that one of the men is 30 years old and the other is 18 years old. Both of these men are currently in long distance relationships with someone of a similar age.
Here is the question I pose to you,
Which one of these men is more likely to have more financial stability?
Well, if you look at these men simply based on their age you are going to guess the man who is 30 years old?
Probably because he is completely finished with his schooling, has settled into a career and he has had a lot more time to save up money. I mean, an 18 year old is still in high school, doesn’t have a career and hasn’t really had any time to save up money.
It probably doesn’t take a genius to realize what I am getting at here.
The older you are in a long distance relationship the more means you have available to you to make things work.
Take a look at the sacrifices I mentioned in the above section (someone is going to have to move, you will have to live together most likely if someone does move.) Well, I know it is easy to get caught up in the romance of a long distance relationship. It’s so nice to plan things out and daydream at how great things can be if you do wind up together with your significant other but eventually reality has to set in and the reality of a long distance relationship is that in order for you to come to a permanent solution where you can have a non long distance relationship with this person you or the person has to have the finances to make it happen.
(It’s not inexpensive to move and getting a place together will certainly cost money.)
An 18 year old kid with no money isn’t going to be able to make those kind of sacrifices.
Lets take a look at the other way age can affect a LDR, maturity.
Lets stay with our example of the two men (one aged 18 and one aged 30) for the maturity example.
I am going to ask you a really simple question,
Without knowing these two men (18 year old/ 30 year old) personally which one do you think is the more likely to be mature?
90% of people would probably answer the 30 year old and they would probably be right. Of course, there are always those exceptions to the rule where you find an exceptional person who is wise beyond his or her years but we are stereotyping here, remember?
A 30 year old man is probably going to have a lot more life experience to draw upon which means that he is going to know the best way to handle all kinds of situations. Also, you can’t discount that a 30 year old man has probably been through a number of relationships in his personal life so he will properly know how to handle the feelings he is having.
Lets compare that to an 18 year old boy in high school who doesn’t have much life experience of his own. Why is life experience important for a human being to have?
Because it allows us to find our identities!
It gives us a purpose and teaches us what we want out of life.
Of course, an 18 year old most likely doesn’t have any experience with a serious relationships at all so he will probably be experiencing a lot of new emotions at once and how does that famous saying go?
When emotions run high logic runs low.
Of course, I still haven’t answered the million dollar question yet.
Why is being mature important to a long distance relationship?
A friend of mine told me something really interesting a long time ago.
Being in a relationship is almost like being addicted to a drug. At times it can feel like you can’t breathe without the other person.
I feel that this quote holds true in so many different cases. Of course, your feelings can almost intensify tenfold if you are long distance (remember, absence makes the heart grow fonder 😉 .) It takes a very mature individual to be able to deal with the distance and make the decisions necessary to ensure that the relationship thrives and as sad as this is to say I feel that younger people experiencing relationships for the first time are at a disadvantage.
How to Handle Common Long Distance Obstacles
Every relationship has at least one obstacle it has to overcome. Well, it just so happens that long distance relationships have a lot of obstacles.
Perhaps it would be a good idea if I took a moment to explain what I mean by “obstacle.”
For me, an obstacle is anything that is going to stand in the way of making your relationship succeed. Off the top of my head the most common obstacles that I can think of that a long distance couple is likely to encounter are:
- The distance (which can cause fights)
- Jealousy/ Fear of infidelity
- You can’t be physical with each other very often.
The Distance Can Cause Fights
Have you ever heard that phrase,
In long distance relationships 90% of your problems stem from the distance and not from actual relationship problems?
Being in a long distance relationship can be extremely frustrating at times. I mean, the more serious you are about the relationship the more you just want to be next to that person all the time yet the distance between you prevents that from happening. Look, some couples can handle the distance with grace but most couples can’t.
It’s frustrating to want something so badly and to know you can’t have it at that moment.
When I was younger I always loved eating this certain TV dinner. Every time my family would go grocery shopping I would get this one specific TV dinner and I would just crave it at different times throughout the week. Well, whenever I would crave it I would run downstairs, open the refrigerator, pick it out and make it. I will never forget this one time when my little brother decided to take the last TV dinner for himself. Of course, I didn’t find out until I got my usual cravings for it, came downstairs and discovered that the TV dinner that I loved so very much was nowhere to be found.
I knew who took it right away, my little brother.
Oh… I was so angry at him. I mean, he took food that I had clearly set aside for myself and had gotten away with it.
Being in a long distance relationship is a little like that. Sometimes the distance can become so annoying that you start to take it out on your partner.
For example, lets say that an imaginary man and woman (lets call them Harry and Sally) are in a long distance relationship. Well, one day Sally starts to feel that the distance is beginning to get unbearable and she becomes extremely irritable at every little thing. When Harry calls her that day she begins to take her irritability out on him. Of course, Harry doesn’t take too kindly to this and he begins to get angry with her and then the next thing you know the two are fighting about pointless things.
(FYI this is not an uncommon situation that occurs in LDR’s.)
I think it’s smart to have something to hold onto like a goal that the both of you have to achieve.
Any idea what type of goal I am talking about here?
Hmm… perhaps one where both of you find a permanent way to get rid of the distance?
Imagine this for a second.
Instead of getting irritable at how much the distance is bothering the both of you what do you think would happen if you both were so fierce in your commitment to each other that you just focused on getting rid of the distance?
Do you think you would be having silly fights over pointless things caused by the distance?
Having that permanent solution is something that absolutely needs to happen.
Jealousy & The Fear Of Infidelity
Everyone in every relationship can get a little jealous from time to time. Some experts out there would have you believe that being jealous is a bad thing that can potentially harm your relationship in the long run. While I definitely think that too much jealousy can be harmful I also believe that a little jealousy can be a good thing because it is an indication to the other person to show them that you really care about them.
Of course, when you are dealing with a long distance relationship everything is intensified because of the distance.
Take this situation for example.
Imagine that you and your significant other are dating one another and are in a long distance relationship. All of a sudden your partner calls you up and tells you that they got invited out to lunch with a member of the opposite sex and they accepted.
When presented with this situation you are probably going to experience two emotions.
You will experience anger because it is going to feel like your long distance partner went behind your back and went on a date with someone else.
You are going to experience jealousy because human beings tend to have possessive qualities here and there and the thought that your partner could find a connection like the one they have with you is going to scare you a little bit.
Now, lets stay with the example here because I feel it allows me to illustrate multiple points.
As your significant other goes to this “lunch” with a member of the opposite sex all kinds of thoughts are going to enter your head. Perhaps the most scary thought is going to revolve around cheating.
“Are they cheating on me with this person?”
When you add in the distance to this craziness you can get someone who becomes extremely paranoid. I mean, thoughts like this wouldn’t be uncommon,
“If they are cheating on me I would have no way of knowing because I am so far away… They could get away with everything and I wouldn’t have the slightest idea.”
Look, I have never met a person who isn’t afraid of getting cheated on at some point. It is a fear that everyone has because no one wants to get betrayed on that level. Unfortunately, this fear is multiplied in long distance relationships because of the distance and being so far away.
Remember, the fear of “out of sight, out of mind.”
So, if you are in a LDR where you or your partner are plagued with jealousy and infidelity fears how are you supposed to handle them?
You handle issues and fears like this with extreme closeness.
Do you remember how earlier in this guide I suggested that you and your partner do everything you can to combat the distance by staying close to each other via texts, phone calls, Skype and Facetime? Well, one of the benefits of doing that is that you can kind of combat any fears of infidelity with extreme closeness.
Now, obviously the risk of being this close is that you could come off as being overbearing. This is where your own knowledge of your partner comes in handy. For example, if you know your better half isn’t a huge fan of talking every five seconds then it is ok to give them some space. Yes, you still want to be close with them but instead of keeping them close to the chest you keep them at arms length.
Knowing your partner is extremely important here.
No Consistent Physical Contact
This is the one that I think most people struggle with when it comes to a long distance relationship.
Lets take a normal relationship (not separated by distance) for example. Lets say that a couple like this is going to see each other around 3-5 times a week. That means that every time this couple sees each other they can do things like hold hands, kiss, cuddle and have sex.
A long distance relationship doesn’t have this advantage. It can sometimes take months before you see your partner and while when you finally do see each other you probably won’t be able to keep your hands off one another your time together isn’t forever as you or your partner will probably have to go back to their stomping grounds hundreds of miles away.
Some people just aren’t cut out for this type of wait for physical contact.
How are you supposed to remedy this?
In my mind there are two solutions to the lack of consistent physical contact.
The first one I have talked about multiple times, HAVE A PERMANENT SOLUTION TO BE TOGETHER!
Look, one of the biggest benefits to having a relationship with someone is how you can be together physically and no I am just not talking about sex. I am talking about simple things like holding hands, intimate hugs and passionate kisses. If you and your partner have something worked out to where you can be together permanently in the future you both having something to work for.
The second solution is all about setting up times to see each other until you can reach that permanent solution.
In other words, see each other as much as possible in person until you can find that permanent fix!