The modern world is an expensive place, where most households require two incomes to purchase even the most modest of dwellings. Couple this fact with the progress women have made in the workplace since Eisenhower was president and you’ve got a perfect cocktail for a potentially sour brew known as long-distance relationships, which are brought on by career moves that often mean a change of address.
Careers can pull anyone across the country provided the opportunity is grand enough. You’ll need to look inside yourself and be sure that you’re ready to deal with this level of commitment. If you’ve been tempted to stray while she was still living in town, chances are you’re not ready. However, if you can’t see yourself with anyone but her, there are a host of factors to consider when embarking upon long-distance relationships.
Agree on an end
Before you decide to jump headfirst into long-distance relationships, you should first agree on an end goal with your partner -- a specific time, be it six months or a year, when the separation is going to end. You can reunite, she can move home, you can follow or you can call it quits. There has to be an agreed upon goal to look forward to when you first embark upon long-distance relationships. Otherwise, you may end up stringing along the status quo indefinitely, which breeds a particularly robust strain of frustration.
Be realistic in your assessment of this relationship timetable. Make sure to leave enough time to accomplish the goals that forced the separation in the first place. Trying to rush through an experience, even for a relationship, is a good way to build up unhealthy levels of stress.
The quality and quantity of communication with your woman will need to increase substantially when you embark on long-distance relationships. Be prepared for this increase in verbal Olympics. Make sure your phone bill is ready as well by switching to a new cell phone plan with unlimited long distance or make sure your landline carrier is providing the best rates. You will need to be on the same page with your girl as far as frequency goes; will you speak three times a week or once a day? If you’re not on the same page, one party will feel slighted and an insurmountable rift will begin to develop between the two of you that will make the physical distance seem minuscule.
During long-distance relationships you'll want to go ahead and physically schedule communication time on your calendar. Your relationship is certainly as important as any other meeting you may have written down. If you have to miss a “date,” be sure to let her know just as you would any business contact. Bridges are especially easy to burn from so far away. Try closing the gap with video chat, such as Skype.com or TokBox.com.
Visits act like mini-ends. A weekend together is vitally important at least once every six weeks. For all the Jetson-like qualities of video chat, there is no plug-in to replicate touch or smell -- at least not yet. And since smell is the strongest sense tied to memory, you’ll want to keep up physical relations during long-distance relationships. A trip to visit your significant other every once in a while shows her that you still care, and that she’s still very important to you no matter how far away she is.
Don’t just go and visit each other though. Instead, try to create something uniquely you. Taking mutual vacations away from your respective lives creates newness in your relationship and keeps it progressing. It’s important that your relationship continues to grow, not just maintains, despite the distance.
Raise your trust level
When living a great deal of your lives away from each other in a long distance relationship it’s natural that you develop some of your once-laudable independent tendencies. Proceed with caution, however, since she’s going to be developing the same independent instincts. Stories will begin to revolve around people you’ve never heard of and she’ll begin to take on certain characteristics you won’t recognize. Your role will change slightly as well. In a proximal relationship of this caliber, most of your free time is spent with each other.
If you were in charge of planning dates and filling free time, someone else is going to be filling that role. It’s not an attack against you, so try not to show too much jealousy. Let her know you still care and love your role in her life, but you can’t be an anchor from hundreds of miles away.
When it comes to long-distance relationships the name of the game is prioritizing what’s important to the both of you. If it’s family or a relationship that you find occupying the top spot, great, but you’ll have to sacrifice your career a little bit. If you are both career-oriented people and can put your relationship on the back burner for a while, then a long-distance relationship may be for you. It’s all about weighing the ups and downs associated with what you want from your life.
Nikos Deja Vu © 2010