A man wonders whether he should pursue a long-distance relationship, or if it would be better to cut his losses.
Dear Sexes: How do you determine when to pursue a long distance relationship? I find myself wondering if it’s better to cut my losses or take the plunge.
She Said: Long distance relationships can be amazing. One reason is that you get a lot of freedom and time alone, if that’s what you like. If you’re not so into that, you can try to grow into it, and you’ll probably find yourself more independent, which can be helpful in any relationship.
However, part of the allure of long distance love is the distance itself. It can be a way of shielding your heart, of keeping the worst parts of yourself away from the eyes of your partner. That can be fine if you want something shallow, but as far as real love and growth, you need to check in with yourself and be sure that you’re being completely honest, open and unguarded.
The other downfall of the long distance relationship is the reverse of what I just said: You might only get to see the best of your partner. You both save up all your best energy and love for one another, and the reunion sex and excitement is so huge, that you don’t really get to that deep, everyday, sometimes-ugly level of intimacy.
But people do it, and it works. The trick is to stay true to yourself and your partner, and to be sure you’re in it for the right reasons.
He Said: Long distance relationships are hard, so I just made you a checklist:
Long Distance Relationship Survival Guide (A Checklist of Must Haves)*:
- Money (or organization/budgeting skills). If you want to see your long distance love, you’ll need to work it into your schedules. Start getting used to extended travel via planes, trains, buses, and/or road trips in cars. You may also want to change your phone plan, if you don’t already have unlimited minutes.
- Self-Restraint. Being far away from your partner, if you’re a sort of “out of sight, out of mind” kind of person, you may be tempted by others in front of you. You can be faithful, but you’ll have to be strong.
- Technological Fluency. Calls, emails, and texts are fine, but sometimes a face is required. You may want/need to get your skype or google plus chat on!
- No-holds-barred spirit. You’re gonna have to be extra adventurous and creative. If love letters cheese you out, or if phone sex creeps you out, you should probably just pursue a relationship with someone in a city near you.
- Adaptability. Sometimes your visits won’t go the way you planned. Occasionally, busy schedules will force a change in itinerary. Your time (face to face) will be compressed. The pressure will be on. You’ll have to stay level headed. The last thing you want to do is spend your all your face time arguing. Also, eventually (if you want to take this relationship to the next level) one of you will have to move (your belongings, your heart, and your life) to a new city, so you can share love every day, face to face.
*The above items are listed in no particular order.
The newer your relationship, the more difficult it will be to maintain as a long distance relationship.
Ultimately, (like any relationship) you’ll have to answer yourself two questions: 1. Are your needs being fulfilled? 2. Is this relationship worth the work you’re putting in? If you can answer those questions with an unequivocal and unflinching “yes!”, you’ll be fine. Just keep that survival guide in mind. Adventure on!