When it comes to being in a serious relationship, there can be quite a spectrum. On one end there’s the homeliness of a live-in relationship and on the other end, the uncertainty of starting a long-distance relationship. What is common is that love knows no bounds. And perhaps if your feelings are strong, you can not just tide over the inhibitions of getting into a long-distance relationship but also navigate its many challenges to keep going strong.
If you are confident about the other person and your feelings for them, no bounds or literal boundaries should get in the way. When physical distance is in the destiny of your relationship, your commitment skills have to go up a few notches higher to make it work. Starting a long-distance relationship may take more effort out of you, but it can be completely worth it.
With the right tips for starting a long-distance relationship to guide you through this journey, you truly turn your connection into something meaningful and beautiful. We’re here to tell you how, in consultation with counselor and certified life coach Dr. Neelu Khanna, who specializes in dealing with issues related to emotional needs and conflicts of human behavior, marital discords and dysfunctional families.
18 Things To Know Before Starting A Long-Distance Relationship
Newly dating long-distance can appear very daunting. It can even take some time to get used to. You may spend the first few days in doubt wondering how sustainable this might be for you. A part of you may wonder: is it worth starting a long-distance relationship? You might even grapple with concerns around cheating. But once those test days are over, a long-distance routine can eventually keep you happy.
Cracking the formula of a long-distance relationship is perhaps one of the most difficult steps in this journey. Once you cross that threshold, it can teach you many things along the way. Once the rhythm is in place and your love continues to blossom, there will be no stopping you.
But to take your time and do it in the right mindset is foremost. Here are 18 things to know before starting a long-distance relationship:
1. You will have to put your best foot forward
It is important to accept that a long-distance relationship will take far more work than a regular relationship. You cannot treat it as a regular relationship and expect it to work. Whether you’re starting a long-distance relationship in college or as a working professional, you have to carve out the time to nurture your romantic connection.
This is crucial because the element of distance brings its own problems and relationship arguments. You and your partner will have to be invested in the relationship to tackle them without feeling sapped out. The moment you let things slide or sit idle, it leaves room for doubt and questions.
Dr. Khanna suggests that even when you cannot make the time to constantly talk, you can leave photos or voice notes for your partner to come back to.
Related Reading: How To Make A Long-Distance Relationship Work?
2. Space can save you
We often think that the abundance of actual physical space needs to be compensated by completely smothering another person. That is just not true. Even though you are battling the existence of too much space on a daily basis, choking mental space is not going to solve that. You must contemplate, how much space in a relationship is normal?
This is especially vital when starting a long-distance relationship with someone you just met online. After all, you don’t want to send them scuttling by coming on too strong or being a clingy partner.
Dr. Khanna suggests that space is more important in long-distance relationships than regular relationships. She adds, ‘You really do not always know what the other person is going through. You must understand the person’s constraints.’
3. You can still enjoy sexy times
Sex does not have to take a complete backseat when you are dating somebody long distance. Especially when you are starting a long-distance relationship with someone you just met, you may really want to test new ways of fun with them and be ready for sex talk.
Sexual intimacy is important to keep two people together. One of the noteworthy tips for starting a long-distance relationship is to keep an open mind when it comes to engaging with your new partner. This could entail talking dirty, sexting and phone sex. Spicing up your sex life is going to take a little exploration, but together you can find ways to keep each other gratified.
4. Your faith must be strong when you are starting a long-distance relationship
Starting a long-distance relationship cannot be a spur-of-the-moment decision driven by ambiguous feelings. Before starting a long-distance relationship, you should be absolutely sure that this is what you want, and keep that conviction strong even as you navigate the myriad challenges and roadblocks along the way.
What keeps such a connection going is belief in yourself, your partner and the love that you two share. It is one of the most important components of trust in a relationship.
Without faith, a long-distance relationship can quickly become a breeding ground of conflict and discontentment. Even on days when things aren’t looking so good, if your belief is strong, you can find the strength to keep working at it.
5. Running on two schedules
Being in a long-distance relationship means keeping up with your own schedule while also staying in tune with your partner’s. Knowing their wake-up time to the big events in their day, you may have to constantly evaluate two different schedules so you can always gauge when they can match up.
You also have to be mindful of when the other person is busy or occupied. When starting a long-distance relationship messages become your biggest ally.
So, use them generously to continually build upon your connection and intimacy even when long-drawn conversations may not be possible. When you do talk, do your best to make conversations productive and interesting. This is the key to avoiding unwarranted relationship problems from taking hold and turning chronic.
6. Keep jealousy away when starting a long-distance relationship
It is very easy to get jealous easily in long-distance relationships. If he misses one phone call or if she uploads a picture with a new guy in the gang, your alarm bells start buzzing. Being a little worried is all fine. But once the jealousy kicks in, things can start to get toxic very easily.
It is circumstances such as these that make people wonder: is it worth starting a long-distance relationship? If you really see it, the problem is not the distance but how you react to that distance.
Unless there is an actual cause for concern, do not start sulking because you are feeling jealous and untrusting. Jealousy can bring out some terrible sides in all of us. Thus, it is best to keep the green-eyed monster in check and have faith in your partner.
7. Communication is everything
And pretty much all you have. Think about it this way – your relationship relies solely on verbal communication, which is why it must be the strongest suit of your connection. You must constantly try to improve communication in your relationship.
Since you don’t have the benefit of a soft caress or a doting touch, your words play a pivotal role not only in starting a long-distance relationship but also in sustaining it. You will have to say things wholeheartedly and make sure you mean what you say.
Related Reading: Communication Is The Key To Relationships!
8. You may have to set some ground rules
It is important for you and your partner to be on the same page about things. Depending on how flexible your relationship is, it is important to discuss your expectations. Are they ready for a commitment? Especially when starting a long-distance relationship online, you must be clear on what your boundaries are.
Are you an exclusive couple or not? Can you go out with other people? What are your expectations and demands from each other? These are some questions that must be tackled in the very beginning.
This becomes even more imperative if – like many others – you too are starting a long-distance relationship during the COVID pandemic. With uncertainty looming large and people’s mental health on tenterhooks, having relationship boundaries and ground rules is non-negotiable.
9. Factor in insecurity when starting a long-distance relationship
Bouts of insecurity can come and go even in regular relationships. Their incidence can become a lot higher when you’re starting a long-distance relationship or trying to make one work.
Naomi, a San Francisco resident started dating a man based in Bremen, Germany, after the two connected online and instantly hit it off. However, his outgoing demeanor that first attracted her soon became a trigger of insecurities. Having been cheated on in the past, she couldn’t shake off the feeling that history would repeat itself.
This led to fights and bickering, which eventually took a toll on the relationship. When starting a long-distance relationship with someone you just met online, be sure that you have it in you to trust someone you haven’t met IRL. If there is a tiny voice in your head telling you otherwise, think long and hard before taking the plunge.
Should you choose to start the relationship anyhow, be mindful of not projecting your insecurities on the other person. Dr. Neelu Khanna says, “Respect the other person’s challenges to sort out issues of insecurity. Practice better time management so that you are there when they need to talk.”
10. You will have to be situationally aware
Being in a long-distance relationship requires you to be a lot more careful about your actions and choices. You may have to be mindful about how your actions may affect your partner when they are already feeling distant from you. If hanging out with someone your partner does not like or not informing them about your whereabouts can really torment them, then don’t do it.
It is not always that your partner is suspicious or doubtful. They may trust you but try not to give them reasons to worry too much. Your partner may feel powerless in such a situation and that can get channeled in the form of angry outbursts or fights.
Understand how to handle long-distance relationship problems before getting into one.
11. Find a way to build intimacy when starting a long-distance relationship
This is usually easy for most couples since they’re right next to each other and have no dearth of ideas and options to work on their connection and intimacy. When starting a long-distance relationship, accept the fact that building intimacy will be no walk in the park for you.
You and your partner will have to work at it twice as hard. One of the tips for starting a long-distance relationship that thrives on intimacy is to build a routine of phone calls, texts, updates, movie nights, date nights and other similar couple bonding activities.
From good morning texts to sending pictures of your breakfast bagels, a routine can be helpful because it feels like one is constantly involved.
12. Being online will be your new normal
Starting a long-distance relationship can be super fun if done the right way. There are too many creative ways online to keep in touch these days. So, you will now have to get extremely comfortable with the idea of constant online flirting or being on your phone much more than before. Being on calls, texting, Facetiming, Snapchatting – there will be a virtual dimension to your existence now.
It’s important that you know and embrace this fact before starting a long-distance relationship. Otherwise, the relationship can start to feel like a lot of work. If you did not enjoy texting or using your phone too much before, you should try to develop a taste for it now.
13. You will have to do things with your phone
Going for a walk may now mean holding your phone up and Facetiming your girlfriend. Even when you are making dinner, you may often have your phone up and running constantly so your partner can help you with the dish you are making – with tricks and tips.
Shopping can also be really fun that way where you can show your partner things on a video call and they can help you pick and choose. This is all a part of doing things together. These little moments that you steal to create your own virtual reality will go a long way in making you feel and act like a couple.
Related Reading: Online dating: 8 must-follow relationship tips to make it work
14. Get ready to travel more
Visits and vacations are key elements of long-distance relationships. When you are starting a long-distance relationship with a friend, you may already start searching flights for when either of you can visit the other person. This is one of the tested love hacks to make your long-distance relationship work.
This is one thing that will keep you two very close together and fill the days that you spend apart with the anticipation of meeting again. Planning visits to each other’s homes or meeting at a holiday destination, the promise of being together to look forward to can help you sail through some trying times of loneliness.
That also means you have to be prepared to live out of your suitcases more often. Stay in tune with each other’s schedules so you can find the perfect opening.
15. Try not to have too many expectations
This applies to regular relationships too! Curiosity kills the cat and expectations kill the fun. When you are constantly expecting, you are always setting yourself up for moments that might transpire into disappointment.
Dr. Khanna reaffirms by saying, “Expectations always add to problems and can even lead to breakups.” One must know how to set realistic expectations in a relationship, be it for starting a long-distance relationship in college or later in life.
Have your standards and needs in place, and communicate them well. Don’t let yourself be dragged along in the relationship, and at the same time, don’t take your partner for granted. Just remember that expecting too much can actually drain out the love that already exists.
16. It will teach you the meaning of trust
One of the biggest long-distance relationship problems can be developing unflinching trust. But once that trust is in place, things become fundamentally easier. One of the key takeaways of dating at a distance is that the learning experiences are abundant and it really teaches you how to build trust in relationships.
If you normally have a tough time letting your guard down or opening up, starting a long-distance relationship will change that for you. You will now start taking trust more seriously and delve into it wholeheartedly.
17. You will still have your own time
Yes, here is some great news. One of the perks of starting a long-distance relationship with someone you just met online or someone you’ve known a long time is that there is no paucity of ‘me time’. No relationship should consume every single part of your life.
The moment it starts invading everything that you are, you may not enjoy it as much anymore. When you and your partner are not physically together, the risk of one of you wanting to be forever joint at the hip also reduces significantly.
To make sure you create enough space for taking pauses and focus on personal growth, keep communication clear and honest right from the beginning of a long-distance relationship.
Related Reading: Trust Issues – 10 Signs You Find It Difficult To Trust Anyone
18. Trust yourself most when you start a long-distance relationship
This is the most important thing to do before starting a long-distance relationship. You cannot jump into such a commitment when you are unsure of yourself or what you are doing. Once you have put faith in the relationship, you must also put faith in yourself.
Trust yourself that you are making the right decision for your life and that you are doing your best. When your own strength is unwavering, no mountain is too tall.
Starting a long-distance relationship should always be a deliberate, well-thought-out decision, especially if you’re looking for a stable and lasting partnership. If you’re sure that you’ve found that with someone who may not be physically proximate, don’t let the distance deter you from giving it a chance. With these tips for starting a long-distance relationship and sustaining it, you can sail through.
You can start a long-distance relationship by video calling often, sharing your everyday activities with your partner and practicing exclusivity.
They can if you have an open mind and are willing to put in the extra work. It takes a lot of commitment, strength and love to make a long-distance relationship work in the long run.
They certainly can. As long as you two eventually have the same end goal in mind. You must have the same final decision about where you see your life going so that it may align at some point.
Practicing understanding, giving space, doing away with jealousy are some ways to make a relationship last. Long-distance relationships are not easy, which is why you will have to be extra careful with your feelings and actions when you are in one.
It certainly can be if you love and believe in the person you are dating.