This Is When A Long-Distance Relationship Is Actually Worth The Effort

by Alison Segel

I was in a long-distance relationship my freshman year of college with my ex-boyfriend, who was still a senior in high school at the time. Needless to say, neither of us had a lot of money. He was a 17-year-old high school student, and I was a Los Angeles girl in her first semester at Boston University, trying to figure out what snow and cold weather were for the first time in her life.

With both of us unable to truly visit each other, with my boyfriend applying for colleges and studying for the most important year of testing in his life and me making a slew of new friends in a new city, our long-distance relationship was bound to fail. We were distracted, busy, and unable to give one another the attention we both needed and deserved. Plus, we just didn't have the money our relationship needed to survive.

How do you know if a long-distance relationship is actually worth it? And how do you make it survive?

I asked Lori Salkin, the Senior Matchmaker and Dating Coach, about some times when your long-distance relationships are actually worth the effort.

"At a glance, a long distance relationship is no different from a local one. Two people are introduced or meet with the hopes that this could be the one and go out to see if the connection is there and continue dating if there is a connection or the basis for one," Salkin says. "The difference in long distance relationships is that there is a lot more weight put on the relationship right away because of the difference in the commitment needed to develop and sustain the relationship as opposed to a local one."

And those differences in commitment comes down to the deliberate effort, timing, and finances needed to sustain a long-distance relationship.

Salkin continues, "Yes, you start with phone calls/texting, and then move to FaceTime, but sooner after that, someone ... has to invest time and finances to travel so the two of you can meet. It's not just buying an airplane ticket, it's also a hotel room and then still paying for the first/second/third date that you go on."

That costs major money — money that most millennials don't have. We are spending it on avocado toast apparently. Haven't you heard? And you also basically need to be willing to bail on all of your friends whenever your partner comes to town "because your time is limited together" to make your long-distance relationship work out, according to Salkin. Great.

It's important to ask yourself, Salkin says, if there's anyone worth dating in a closer distance. Are you really serious about this person, and are they really serious about you?  You can't just keep traveling back and forth forever for someone who's either not willing to put in the effort, or who isn't serious about your relationship. If this is the case, someone will eventually break.

However, if your partner is the only person you can imagine yourself with, then the effort you're putting into a long-distance relationship is probably worth it, as long as it goes both ways. Salkin says, "Without full investment from both sides, it is not worth the effort."

Salkin cites her own dating coaching experience as an example, explaining,

Recently, I had a couple in a long distance relationship where one was more interested in the other and that traveled five out of six times.  The other enjoyed dating when it was convenient but did not feel it was worth the investment necessary to equally share the burden of a long-distance relationship.  A relationship like this is one-sided and is even worse than a local-one sided relationship because of the inconvenience factor.

So if you're wondering if your long-distance relationship is actually worth all the effort you're putting in, ask yourself if you and your partner are both putting in the necessary time, effort, and financial responsibility necessary to keep up your relationship. If you both agree that you are, and you're willing to keep doing it, then that's when a long-distance relationship is worth the trouble.

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