1. Be prepared for a long period of no physical intimacy.
This is for the people who aren’t easily accessible (I.E. not within driving distance, in another country, etc.). In relationships today, people put a lot of emphasis on the physical side of the relationship, leaving the emotional side as some sort of mystical fairy-tale achievement level that people magically attain when they get together. Rather, in an LDR, the sides should be reversed – the emphasis is on the emotional rather than the physical (and yes, physical attraction is still important).
This isn’t to say that you can’t express physical attraction; you should. Figure out ways to satisfy the longing you might be feeling. It might not be the most gratifying ways of satisfaction, but it’s still better than nothing.
2. You can’t be afraid to be honest with them.
Unlike traditional relationships, you might not see the person you’re dating everyday. If you can, that’s awesome. If you can’t call them or Skype them every day, it makes this point even more important.
A lot of people tend to hide how they’re feeling, for the sole purpose of trying not to make others pity them. People also tend to hold their tongues when they’re annoyed with their S.O. in fear of offending them. This is something long distance couples cannot afford to do. In the absence of physical and social cues, most long distance couples tend to understand what they can get from messages, so that sarcasm you sent will probably go undetected and be read as vindictive and snide. Even so, being vocal about how you feel is a really important quality to obtain. Your partner doesn’t have the ability to read your mind when you’re feeling bad, and vice versa.
3. You can’t be viciously jealous.
Like the point above, this is something you just have to learn to do in an LDR. Obviously, both people involved are going to be seeing people in their normal lives, and a little jealousy is fine. Be jealous that other people are hanging out with your partner and you can’t right now. That’s fine. But you can’t question their friend’s motives and use this to spend more time together.
Being jealous only means that you’re human, and there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of it. Being so jealous that you become paranoid of the people who’s around your partner isn’t. They’re allowed to live lives outside of your relationship.
4. You don’t want it to be a long-term thing.
If you don’t want it to be a long-term relationship, then a long distance relationship isn’t for you. LDRs don’t lend themselves to being a casual thing. It’s for the people who are ready to invest themselves in a long-term relationship, and are serious about someone being an important, and a kind of romantic, part of their future. Long distance relationships lend themselves to looking towards the future rather than staying in the present most of the time, so if you’re not ready to look to the future, don’t do it.
If you’re unsure about it, that’s fine, but it’s something that you should talk about with the person involved.
5. You’ll need to commit.
This relates back to the previous point. An LDR is simply that – a relationship – so it’s only natural that it follows the standard rules of a traditional relationship. If you don’t feel okay with sticking with monogamy for the relationship, then this isn’t meant for you. Long distance relationships are, essentially, a romantic, long-term investments.
However, if you and your boyfriend/girlfriend are okay with the relationship not following the same parameters of a traditional relationship, then that’s totally fine, too.
6. You should talk to them almost daily.
Communication. Is. Key. It’s one of the basic pillars that holds up human interaction, and one of the cornerstones of relationships in general. For long distance dating, it might just be via texting, or even Skype, or the many innumerable WIFI texting apps. That’s still communicating.
Seeing their face on FaceTime or Skype is equally important. It’s the verbal cornerstone in communication for LDR’s, and changes a conversation dynamic when you’re actually talking to them VS. messaging.
7. You should save money to go see them.
Plane, train, and bus tickets can be expensive. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t drive 8 hours to go see them, but it means you need to have some money saved up so you can do it. For international couples, save money as soon as you know when you’re going to see them. Set up visiting dates, and go visit each other. Anticipate the next time one of you will visit. Tickets are the least of what you’ll be saving for if you’re in a long distance relationship.
8. You don’t need to spend lavishly when they come visit, and vise versa.
When they do come visit, there’s nothing that says you need to spend a lot of money on restaurants, movies, etc. to impress them. They’ve come from far away to see you, so simply being in the same room together should be enough. Let them experience the world you live in. Show them where you live, and then take them out to your favorite restaurant. Watch bad B-movies together and try to cook stir-fry. Take them somewhere that has significance to you. Introduce them to your family. Not only does this not hurt your wallet, but it also lets you save up for when another visit is being planned.
9. Your life won’t revolve around them, and your partner’s won’t revolve around you.
Living in two different places lends a relationship to issues. Demanding that they spend all their time with you is another. Each person in the relationship has their own life outside of you, so you should come to respect that VS. trying to change it. Respect that they go out with friends on Friday nights, and they’ll respect when you have things to do that takes you away from them. You’ll find that LDRs live two different lives, but find time to break from them and spend a moment with their partners.
10. Be prepared for the relationship to progress unusually.
This happened in my relationship, where we experienced an accelerated emotional progression, eventually being comfortable enough to eat in front of each other, be brutally honest with each other without fear, and even tell each other when we needed to go to the bathroom within the first 6 months. Each relationship is completely different, but LDR’s function in their own weird set of development rules. Since long distance relationships suffer different issues from close-proximity relationships, going headfirst into an LDR is an interesting experience in romantic development.