Long-distance dating and relationships are no longer a rare way to meet someone new or develop a connection. In fact, it is estimated that in the United States alone, 14 million couples are defined as being in a long-term relationship. Approximately 3.75 million married couples in the United States are in a long-term relationship.
However, before starting a long distance relationship, it is important to know some facts. This can help you to meet the right person. It also ensures that you are safer and that your relationship has a higher likelihood of success.
Why Consider Long Distance Dating and Relationships?
When you are looking for love, it’s important to be open. You never know where you will meet your soulmate. This means that they might live two blocks away or halfway around the world. When you are open to long-distance dating and relationships, you are ensuring that you are not limiting who you can meet.
Benefits Of A Long Distance Relationship
There are numerous benefits associated with a long distance relationship for dating:
- Relationships that can survive distance are capable of surviving just about anything, ensuring a stronger bond
- Distance helps you and your partner to develop strong and effective communication skills
- Staying committed despite distance proves strong commitment
- You are able to create a level of trust that is lasting and deep
- You know that your relationship is based on multiple important factors and not just physical intimacy
- You can learn more about yourself
- It’s a new way to approach love that can open you up to other exciting experiences
- It gives you an opportunity to learn to be interdependent
- Since communication is your primary way to spend time together, you will learn more about each other and have more things to discuss
- There is always something to look forward to, such as a trip to see each other in person, or your first meeting if things are new
- You’re less likely to take time together and making memories for granted
- You learn to be creative to foster romance and intimacy
- You will not rush moving in together and this is important because statistics show that moving in together too fast can actually be harmful for relationships
- You learn how to better balance making sacrifices and having your needs met
- Both of you learn to be more patient
- It gives you the chance to travel and see parts of the world you might not otherwise ever visit
Tips for Starting a Long-Distance Relationship
Now you know why long-distance dating is a good idea, but where do you start? The first step is getting to know yourself and what you want out of a relationship.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Can your schedule accommodate the time needs necessary for this type of relationship?
- Can you handle a relationship where there is not frequent physical contact?
- Can you trust a person you have not met in person?
- Can you trust yourself to remain faithful when your partner is not nearby?
- Can you be adequately fulfilled in a relationship where communication is the primary way you spend time together?
- How much of a distance are you willing to try?
Answering these questions helps you to learn more about what you want in a relationship. The answers also help you to assess whether you can be successful in trying long distance dating.
From here, the next step is to start looking. If you’re seeking a partner on an online dating website such as eHarmony or Match.com, make it clear in your profile that you’re okay with long distance dating.
Long Distance Dating Within Your Own Country
When most people start distance dating, they do so in their own country. The first step is considering how much distance you are willing to tolerate. For example, do you prefer to find someone within X number of miles? Or, are you just interested in those who live in certain regions or states? These are the first questions you need to answer.
After you connect with those who meet your distance preferences, consider how well this is working out. From here, you can elect to either stick with these preferences or expand your search.
Remember that within the United States there are numerous travel options. There is almost always one that is ideal for all people. Even if you’re on a tight budget, trains are a viable choice. So are buses. If you need faster travel, planes work well.
International Long-Distance Dating
If you have a specific interest in certain cultures or you simply have not connected strongly enough with someone in the United States, expand your boundaries. Your soulmate can be anywhere if you’re willing to look and take a risk.
When you elect to search for a partner internationally, just be aware of the logistics or communication and travel.
With communication, the time zone differences can be dramatic, so this is a hurdle that may be problematic depending on your schedules.
Of course, traveling to meet each other can also take more time and money.
Initially, pick a few different countries with cultures and people that interest you. From here, if you are not having luck, add a few more countries to connect with people in. At the end of the day, even if you do not find a soulmate internationally, this gives you a chance to make new friends and learn more about people you share a planet with.
Long Distance Dating Safety
Just like with in person dating, it is imperative that you play it safe when it comes to long distance dating and relationships.
You should be on the lookout for scammers and those with other nefarious intentions. Unfortunately, many scammers do try to use distance dating as a means to find people to prey on.
Watch Our For Red Flags
There are certain red flags to look for that can help you to avoid this:
- Your partner just disappears for periods of time without any explanation or warning that they will be distant for a specified amount of time
- They are not adding you on social media
- They avoid answering personal questions or they just give non-specific answers to them
- Every communication turns sexual and they push for sexual communication even when you make it clear you’re not comfortable with it
- When you’re unable to quickly respond to communication they grow impatient and continue to try contacting you
- The messages you receive appear to be meant for another person
- They ask you very personal and prying questions soon after connecting with you
- They brag a lot, but in a humble and subtle way
- When you make plans to communicate, they often flake out at the last minute
- They don’t want to video chat, but only exchange text-based messages
- Soon after connecting with you, they start to send photos of their genitals or other suggestive pictures
- They quickly start calling you pet names and rarely address you by your actual name
- Their social media and online dating profiles only have one photo
It’s also important to be leery of those who ask you for money. Now, not everyone asking for money is trying to use you. However, if your relationship is relatively new and they are already asking about your finances or for some cash, there is a strong chance they only want your money. Cut your losses and walk away. Only exchange gifts and money once you’re completely sure that your relationship is one that is honest and true.
Lastly, even if you have been talking for a while, when you first meet, do so in public. When you travel to each other, it’s best to stay in a hotel until you’re sure the person you’re meeting is safe.
It might also be a good idea to bring a friend with you for extra safety. You should also leave your itinerary with a few friends and family members. As you make additional plans with your partner, let these people know what they are.
Checking Your Partner for Honesty
When you initiate a long distance relationship online, you likely will not meet each other in person in the very near future. This makes you vulnerable for catfishing (pretending to be someone else). To help prevent this, it is important to take the steps necessary to ensure the person you’re talking to is honest.
The first step is to look for the red flags discussed above. Next, search their name on the internet. Find their social media and other profiles. Make sure that the information on all of these is consistent. If there are inconsistencies, ask about them. If they avoid your questions or appear upset that you asked, they may be misleading you and lying.
On Facebook specifically, you can use the People Search feature. This helps you to find them and to determine if their photos and information are legitimate. You can also take the photos you find and do a reverse image search to ensure they’re their actual photos.
A background check is another good idea. There are numerous viable services on the internet. You only need a few pieces of basic information to perform a check. This lets you know if they have a criminal history or anything else that might tell you about how honest and safe they are.
Planning for Possible Long-Distance Relationship Complications
All types of dating and relationships have their own set of possible issues that can arise. Knowing what these are makes it possible to plan for them. The right plans can make your relationship smoother.
Common Long Distance Relationship Issues
The following describe common issues that you might face when dating long distance and the fixes you can use to eliminate these problems:
- Getting into a rut: Since spending time together only offers limited options, ruts can happen. To fix this, find new and exciting ways to connect.
- Allowing your personal life to come to a halt: When you start a new relationship, it’s common for it to completely envelop you. To fix this issue, make sure that there is a solid balance between your personal and romantic lives.
- You grow apart: This is possible since you are not physically together often. Fix this by making sure that you make time for each other and that you find new fun things to do as a couple even just via video chat.
- You slowly start to talk less: Simply talking can become boring no matter how hard you try. Fix this by finding new ways to communicate, such as starting a journal together.
- Jealousy: Jealousy is human nature, and unfortunately, a big factor in distance dating. Fix this by getting to know each other’s friends and family. It also helps to work on building trust with each other.
- Miscommunication: When you are miles apart, there is room for miscommunication to occur. Just make sure to talk about issues that arise and never be afraid to ask for clarification. Most important, do not react until you ask for further clarification.
- Getting upset about limited communication: When life gets busy, you might unintentionally talk less. This is normal and to fix it, make sure to schedule some time for each other.
- Becoming possessive: You’re in a relationship, but if you become possessive, this can turn sour quickly. If you find yourself becoming possessive, ask yourself why and figure it out. If you feel your partner is becoming possessive, talk to them openly about it.
- Cheating: Since you are not physically together often, cheating can happen. You simply have to be faithful. If you do cheat, ask yourself why you did it and be honest with your partner. It might be fixable, and it might not be.
If any other complications arise, do not ignore them. It is imperative that you talk about all issues like you do with any person you have dated locally.
Communication Tips for Long-Distance Relationships
Effective communication is the foundation of every successful long-distance relationship. Both of you are busy. You are likely in different time zones too. These factors can make communication tricky, but certainly not impossible. The first step is creating some designated times when the two of you will talk. When you schedule it, communication becomes a bit easier to accommodate.
During time when communication is not designated, do not be afraid to send a short text saying, “hello” or offering words of encouragement if you know your significant other has something big happening on a particular day.
While communication will be your primary way to be together, it’s important to note that constantly being in contact can be a negative thing. Remember that you both need your own lives too just like with a local relationship. So, make sure not to get too clingy and set boundaries.
For example, both of you need to sleep. So, allow the other to sleep at their normal time so that you don’t interrupt each other.
It’s also important to discuss when you have plans with friends and family. During these times, you want to focus on them. So, you should respect each other’s time and balance how often you are communicating.
Other Ways To Communicate
You will spend plenty of time video chatting, text messaging, emailing and talking on the phone. However, there are other creative ways to keep open and frequent communication:
- Create a drive that both of you can share to upload photos, videos and audio files for each other to enjoy
- Create a digital journal that both of you can share and contribute to
- Go old school and send each other some handwritten letters once in a while
- Small gifts are also a cool way to communicate after you have been dating for a while
Tips for Managing Your Expectations
All relationships have certain expectations, but due to the distance, managing yours is even more important. The following tips allow you to manage your personal expectations and respect those of your partner:
- Don’t stop focusing on your own life for the sake of your partner
- Make sure to communicate about anything making you unhappy
- You and your partner should be open about what you both need in a relationship
- When things change regarding your personal life or expectations, communicate this
- Make sure that you are giving the same level of respect that you’re demanding of your partner
- Don’t compromise your principles and core values to make your partner happy
- Be clear from day one about anything that you will not compromise on
- Get to know your partner’s core beliefs and values
If a relationship is just not working, don’t be afraid to say something. Both you and your partner will be happier if you’re honest about this. Staying silent will simply prolong the inevitable. You can’t be afraid of hurting each other if it’s just not working. There is nothing wrong with trying to fix issues, but if certain issues are too big, know when to walk away.
Intimacy with Long-Distance Relationships
Intimacy is an integral element in every successful relationship. However, when you don’t live near each other, you’re not able to have the frequent physical contact that is an important part of intimacy. Don’t let this cause you to avoid a long distance relationship though. There are ways to ensure your intimacy does not suffer just because there are a lot of miles between the two of you.
Ways To Get Intimate When Long Distance Dating
The following are ideal ways to get intimate and truly get to know each other on the deepest levels:
- Do not be afraid to overshare with your partner after you have developed solid trust with each other
- Make sure to visit each other in person and get to know each other’s friends and family when this is appropriate
- Send photos often, including those that are a bit steamy once you reach this stage in your relationship
- Consider sexting once you get to this level in your relationship
Ultimately, the intimacy methods you use depends on what you’re both comfortable with. As you continue to communicate, you should talk about sex and the ways you’re willing to engage in it via videos, talking, photos and texting.
It’s also important to remember that intimacy is not just about sex and getting physical. It involves getting to know each other on a deeper level. Ask the tough questions and do not be shy about providing raw and honest answers when your partner asks you questions.
Just like a relationship with a local, for true intimacy, there will be a lot of give and take. Just remember not to rush any of this. Go at a pace that is comfortable for both of you. It can actually be more exciting and fulfilling to build intimacy over time.
Long-Distance Dating on Birthdays and Holidays
When you’re local to each other, you typically make plans to celebrate birthdays and holidays in person. While you may not see each other on all special days when there is significant distance between the two of you, there are still ways to celebrate.
Make plans to spend time together via phone or video chat for special days. For example, video chat while eating a holiday meal or watching a favorite holiday movie. On a birthday or anniversary, video chat while blowing out candles and having some cake. Video chatting is the next best thing to being together in person.
Making plans for a certain day and time makes these celebratory days the easiest. However, you should also not be afraid to be spontaneous. Send a gift your partner does not expect. Or, if the two of you are already planning to meet, surprise your partner by showing up in person. Just make sure that both of your schedules can accommodate it and that you’re both ready to meet.
Just remember that a long-distance relationship does not mean missing these special moments together. It just means that you have to get creative to be there for each other and make memories. To savor some of the extra special moments when video chatting, you can take screenshots. It might not be a traditional selfie, but it is a photo that you can cherish.
Keeping the Romance Alive in Long-Distance Relationships
A long-distance relationship does not mean that you cannot have romance and go on dates. It just means that your dates will not have physical contact. There are several ways to have dates together using video chat. All you need is a video chat program, such as Skype or FaceTime, and a mobile device, such as a tablet or your cellphone. The following are viable distance date ideas that work:
- Watch a movie or a television show together
- Make dinner and eat together
- Play truth or dare
- Read together
- Take silly quizzes together
- Take each other on tours of your areas
- Take each other to your favorite places in your respective cities
- Get creative together and do some crafts or art
- Play games together
- Play 20 questions to have some fun and get to know each other
- Create a mix tape and dance together while sharing favorite songs with each other
- Exercise together
- Talk about some current events and your feelings and beliefs about what is happening in the world
- Get some of your closest friends together to join in on some of your chats, allowing both of you to get to know each other’s lives more
- Spend time learning something new together
This is a lot of information to digest, but it will make your long distance relationship easier, especially in the long-run. Know what you want, communicate openly and be creative. All statistics show that distance will not harm a relationship when both parties are fully invested.
So, have fun and never limit your pool of potential suitors to those who are local to you. Your soulmate could be anywhere in the world!