Long distance relationships have been on my mind a lot lately. With the current state of the world, social distancing, bars and restaurants restricted or closed for indoor dining. The typical way to meet someone is on hold.
But this is our new normal for a while longer and I hope that more people are now open to long distance dating. When you aren’t restricted by geography, your options for meeting the right person drastically increases. Yay!
And I am a huge champion for long distance relationships – my husband and I started out this way.
But I wasn’t always pro-long distance. Before I met my husband, I tried long distance dating and it was a maaaaajor disaster. So, I had no plans to ever get into this type of relationship again. I had been there, done that and swore it off forever.
But with my husband it felt different.
And it turned out that I was right and 5 years and one cute kid later, taking that leap is still one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I highly recommend a long distance relationship for people who are looking for something serious. Its unique circumstances, if used properly, allow for a deeper connection that can develop faster than a traditional relationship.
So here are the keys that made our long distance relationship work.
What Is Successful Long Distance Relationship?
To be clear for the purposes of what you are about to read and the advice I’m sharing, I define a successful long distance relationship as one that ends in marriage. So if you’re looking to have many different
hoes partners in many different area codes, this ain’t it. If you never intend to take that next step, then this might not be the post for you. But no judgement, to each their own, I just want to make myself clear.
And now we can begin.
Choosing Your Partner
There is no one size fits all answer in choosing the right partner, except to trust your gut. If there is any discomfort that you feel towards a person, don’t ignore it. Be honest with yourself and explore the reasoning for the discomfort and it will either prove itself to be a reason to run away or it will clear itself and you can then turn to that person.
Throughout our dating stage, I spent a lot of time in prayer asking for my husband’s true intentions and character to be revealed. And time and again God gave me a peace that I had never had in a relationship ever before so that gave me the signal to continue to pursue.
But when it comes to love, there’s a lot of just putting yourself out there and crossing your fingers for the best outcome. Take a chance, trust your gut and take the leap.
How I met my husband
For the full story, I wrote a blog post about it that you can read here. My husband and I met through a mutual friend. I had heard about him through her for years. She had a lot of respect and admiration for him. And through that I got a lot of insight into who he was as a friend to her, loyal, fun and full of life. Those seeds were planted years before the opportunity to date even presented itself. I thought that I had no interest in him but those small seeds were growing deep roots in my heart waiting until harvest time came years later.
Open And Honest Communication
If you’re not ready to open up, ask the hard questions as well as answer them. Stay up until the wee hours discussing your childhood and your dreams for the future. Then this is not the kind of relationship for you. You don’t have the benefit of sitting together and snuggling or having sex as a way to connect, so verbal communication is what you need to master in order to build a deep connection with a long distance partner.
Physical connections are great, but often times the intensity of the physical can cloud our judgement or even be used as a substitute for putting in the hard work of understanding someone through conversation. And if you sincerely desire a lasting connection, you cannot afford to let a physical connection cloud your judgement.
My husband and I would speak everyday, sometimes until 4am and then steal texts as much as we could during work the next day. We dove deep and bared our souls to one another and that is where we found and sealed our bond.
Create A Transition Plan
I’m sorry but you can’t keep up a long distance relationship forever. Someone is going to have to move. As you grow together and you start believing that this is someone you’d like to spend your life with, the discussion must be had on who is going to move and when.
Now ladies, don’t feel as if by default that you must be the one to move. There are men who are willing to relocate to be where you are.
But I do envy you all, jobs have now been forced to accept remote work and your options for flexibility in where you live in proximity to your job are greater than they ever were before. Moving doesn’t have to mean also giving up your career.
But remember this, jobs are not loyal. They can and will replace you in a second and in turn they can be replaced. But finding a life long love is not so easily replaced, so choose wisely.
My husband was very willing to start a new life in Florida where I lived. But, I felt in my spirit even before I met him that the time at my job was coming to an end. So this was my opportunity to move and start fresh. A chance for me to take time off to explore my career options. It didn’t turn out to be as easy as I initially thought but it has been a time of tremendous growth for me and I wouldn’t choose anything different if I could go back.
Set Relationship Goals
I give all credit to my hubby for introducing this early on into our relationship. Just as you set career goals or fitness goals. You need to also set goals for your relationship. This helps the both of you to stay connected and also serves as practice working as a team, which I’m learning is so key in a marriage.
It’s easy to stray away from each other when there is so much distance but having a common goal can help to keep you on the same page growing together.
What Is A Relationship Goal?
Because our bond grew quickly due to the amount of time we spent getting to know each other, we decide that our goal was to get engaged by the end of that year. At that time we had been together for about 3 months but it felt right, not rushed for us. So much so that we actually didn’t meet that goal. We ended up getting engaged after 7 months of dating and got married less than 3 months later.
Our timeline is not a blueprint for everyone, I can’t stress that enough. It worked for us and kept us on the same page as we navigated our long distance relationship.
Set A Schedule For Visits
Create a regular cadence for how often you visit one another and keep it balanced so there’s no resentment. I briefly mentioned before that I had prior experience in long distance relationships. Resentment grew between us because we didn’t set a regular cadence for visits. Everything was up in there air and so there was an imbalance in who was flying in to see the other.
So set a visit schedule and stick to it. For me and my husband, we made sure to see each other every 2 weeks and we alternated who was the one fly out.
This was great because we never went very long without seeing each other and we balanced out the expense of purchasing flights. When you set the rule and both parties are clear, there is little room for misunderstanding.
Switch it up. Instead of visiting each other at your hometowns, meet in a fun location. Pick a place at random or pick a location in the middle to explore together.
For us, it was Jamaica and we had a fantastic time as I showed him around my homeland.
I would be irresponsible if I didn’t also clearly state that you must take every precaution. Get a Covid test before flying out. Quarantine until it’s safe. Social distance to make sure you don’t infect your partner or anyone you come in contact with as you travel. And please, please, please be smart. Before going to meet someone new, give the details of who the person is, where and when you are going and when you are expected to return to someone you trust.
As I reflected on this topic, I realized that the very things that worked for my husband and I, were all missing in my previous failed long distance relationship. Coincidence? I think not.
Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? What made it a success or what caused it to fail? Share below in the comments. Let’s learn from each other.