According to Long Distance Relationship Statistics, 14 to 15 million people in the United States identify as being involved in a long distance relationship. With the rise of Internet dating websites, more people find themselves falling in long distance love.
It's tough to love someone you can't be with very often, so before you commit yourself, consider these seven areas of long distance commitment:
Do you have the ability to travel to see each other on a regular basis? Think about how often you might see each other and the money involved in traveling. See if you can fit it into your budget. If not, what expenses can you cut to free up the money to see your significant other? Also, consider whether or not you can get away from work without jeopardizing your job.
Some people are naturally comfortable with low levels of physical affection. Other people need a lot of physical contact to be happy in a relationship. Take a realistic look at your needs for affection and physical contact. Be clear with each other about whether being in a monogamous relationship if best for you. It's better to set honest expectations up front than to be unfaithful later.
Communication is an important part of all relationships, but the ability to communicate with each other is paramount to the success of a long distance relationship. Make sure you both feel comfortable being open and honest about your feelings. Check in with each other about how you're feeling, and resolve not to allow small issues to fester into big problems.
What do each of you value in a relationship? Make a prioritized list of your values and discuss what you both need to feel fulfilled in the relationship. You might need to find ways to meet your needs in creative ways. For example, if doing things together ranks high on your list of values, consider having an online date night. You could meet up online and play games or FaceTime while you watch a movie together. Be willing to compromise and think outside the box.
Being away from someone you love can be very stressful. How will you handle the stress? Will you become depressed or will you manage your emotions and be happy in spite of the miles between you? Saying goodbye on a regular basis can cause some strong feelings, so be prepared for how to care for your emotional health. Make a list of ways you could cope with the stress. You might counter the emotional strain with a girl's night out, meditation or keeping a journal where you vent your feelings.
The type of people you surround yourself with can also have an impact on how you feel about your long distance relationship. If you have friends who want to drag you off to the single's bar every weekend, it might put a strain on your relationship. It could even tempt you to cheat. Conversely, if your friends and family are more positive about your long distance love, you have a support system to lean on when things are hard.
Eventually, if things move forward, will one of you be willing to take the plunge and relocate? Long distance moving involves a great deal of planning, so consider if either of you are flexible enough to make the move. Think about whether or not you feel comfortable moving away from family and friends, if your job offers you the opportunity to relocate and if you like the area where you'd live if you moved. There are also expenses to consider when thinking of long distance moving.
Jessica Orwig of Business Insider reports that scientific studies show couples in long distance relationships can be equally, if not more, happy as their geographically aligned counterparts. Perhaps the increased communication helps long distance couples have healthier relationships. Or maybe being apart helps make the time together more intentional and appreciated.
Whatever the reasons, couples in long distance relationships can thrive. So if you find yourself falling for someone who lives elsewhere, don't despair. Think it through and if it feels right, commit to making it work.