What You Need To Make A Long-Distance Relationship Work, According To Experts
It's no secret that long-distance relationships can be tough AF. The problem is, because of their bad reputation, you might be hesitant to get into one — even when it's the only option for being with a partner that you really adore. It can be tricky to know whether or not you should make the leap into long distance or just break up to avoid the potential struggle. But some long-distance couples do make it. So how do you know if you should try?
Well, the first thing to remember is that it's so important to have the right attitude about it. If you're going to try it, you need to forget everything people say about long distance and really go for it. "Rule number one for making a long-distance relationship work is believing that it's the right answer," relationship coach and founder of Maze of Love, Chris Armstrong, tells Bustle. "As simple as that sounds, the number one killer of long- distance relationships is skepticism. Couples who 'try it' but do not have a lot of confidence in them will turn any snag in the relationship to a rationale for having the skepticism and thus the relationship is always going to be one foot out the door."
So to get into the right mindset, give it a thorough think over to make sure that you're ready to try and can feel confident in your decision. Here's what you need to consider, according to experts.
1. Be Honest About The State Of Your Relationship
Can your relationship handle it? "Relationships that already have a solid foundation have a greater likelihood to weather distance and time," Monica Parikh, a dating and relationships coach, tells Bustle. It's not always easy to take an honest look at your relationship, but it's so important. If you fight a lot or have trust issues, those are only going to be exacerbated by trying long distance. It's important to feel very strong in your foundation and, if you have any relationship cracks, it's crucial to feel comfortable addressing them before the relationship goes long-distance. You and your partner should have an open conversation about your relationship and any reservations you may have.
2. Think About What You Need From A Relationship
You have needs in a relationship — and you are completely entitled to those needs. But they may not be compatible with a long-distance relationship. That's OK. Think about what you need in a relationship and whether you can really get it if you're in separate places.
So what might be a problem? "[If] you need physical touch," Anita Chlipala, author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple’s Guide to Lasting Love, tells Bustle. "If physical affection is one of your top needs, you risk feeling more unloved without your partner being consistently physically present. You also risk not feeling as satisfied in a relationship without a top need being met." Quality time is another one you might not get in long distance. It's totally normal to want those things — and to need them. If you do, then long distance may not be the right fit.
3. How Good Are Your Communication Skills?
"Communicate, communicate, communicate," says Armstrong. "As in, do it often but more importantly, find predictable, pre-scheduled times to do it. This avoids any confusion about expectations and removes excuses." It's the only way to make a long distance relationship work. And sure, communication is important in every relationship. But with long-distance it's even more so. Your entire relationship is going to be based on communication. Over the phone, over WhatsApp, over FaceTime, or whatever you choose, it's going to be all you have. So it's important to have a solid foundation before you decide to try the whole long distance thing. When you're not physically close, things can build and simmer really easily. Make sure you have the communication skills to sort things up as and when.
So should you try long-distance? If you feel like your relationship passes the test and that you've invested too much to let it go, then sure — go for it. Just make sure you're being honest with yourself about whether you and your relationship can handle it. If not, it could be a long and difficult journey to realizing it's not for you.