Making the decision to be in an ldr is not easy. It takes a lot of courage, love and trust to do this. However, before starting the precarious but enlightening journey there are a few topics that you will need to discuss to see if you and your partner are on the same page.
What will be the length of the ldr?
Having a realistic view of how long you are planning to be long distance is important. It will give the both of you a timeframe for when to have your affairs in order to be together or to determine if you are willing to spend that long separated from each other. Aside from that, it will give you something to hold onto during difficult times. It can really help if you can count the days until you are together and seeing that final date getting closer and closer. Of course, in some cases this will not be possible, but if it is, do make use of it as it will be a great help. This way you can both work together to close the distance.
How often can we visit each other?
Take the time to discuss how often you will visit each other. This can be different for every one depending on financial, geographical and social circumstances. If you are just a train ride away, you obviously will have an easier time meeting up than somebody who has to cross the globe to see their partner. Again, just like counting down the total amount of days until you permanently reunite, seeing each other after set intervals can help during difficult times and alleviate anxiety knowing that you will see the other person soon (usually). It also greatly helps create a deeper bonding the more often you visit each other.
What do we consider cheating?
Cheating is and will always be a sensitive subject in relationships. Talk about it with your partner and what you consider cheating. Some are more sensitive than others are and few even have open relationships. Now the latter is not common but it boils down to the same thing: you two need to discuss what the boundaries are in your relationship beforehand. Everyone has their own interpretation and if you are able to define it, it will prevent a lot of fights and misunderstandings in the future.
What is our financial position?
Take the time to talk about your finances. This touches on many aspects of an ldr as it provides you with the opportunity to visit each other, prepare surprises or finally buy a place together to start your life. You have to be honest what lies within your means as to get a clear view on what you are capable of realizing. Lying to your partner or yourself will come around and bite you in the end, so just be straight about it.
Are we ready to handle the distance?
Being in an ldr is difficult; it can be an emotional rollercoaster with its ups and downs and most likely tears. It is very important to be honest and know yourself well. Is this really something you can handle? Or will you drive yourself crazy every minute of every day? Talk about this and try to find a way that work for both of you. Perhaps your partner can calm you and help you get a good view on your abilities to handle the situation.
How can we make it work?
Discuss how you guys are planning to make the ldr work. What is necessary to make both of you capable of getting though this difficult period? How often to visit, talk, video call and how to solve problems. Anything that might be important to your relationship. A bit of predictability is usually welcomed as it can act as a guideline. It is important to stay close to the agreements you made, especially in times of distress. If you agreed to video chat every Sunday afternoon, stick to it. Make space in your agenda as it sometimes takes an active effort, as it shows your involvement. However, if something is systematically not working for either one of you, discuss it to make amendments to the original plan that both of you can work with, but do not just change without telling your partner, as this may raise questions and cause anxiety with the other person.
What is/are our goal(s)?
Have goals together, this can be a visit, closing the distance, perhaps something even further into the future. It can be something small as well, like learning a new language together or providing a contribution to a shared project. Sharing a goal is a great way to bond with each other despite the distance and keeps the interaction fresh, especially when it is something that is under constant development. It gives a sense of unity and belonging, and it will be something you will be proud of once you finally realize it! It is a way of intertwining your lives even from a distance.
How to communicate?
Communication is important in every relationship but even more crucial in an ldr because you have the distance between each other. The majority of interpersonal communication is non-verbal, also known as body language, which is what makes an ldr so difficult; a lot of our body language gets lost over the phone or computer. Video chats come the closest, but that still will not replace the action of a hug for example, which is a powerful way to show affection. This is why you have to be more explicit when talking to each other and not shy away from topics that you may hold very close at heart. You connect through sincere, heartfelt conversation. On top of that, you may have to become a little creative if you want to express certain…..desires to and with your partner, although not everyone is a fan of doing so over electronic devices, but that is between every couple.
How to deal with jealousy?
Some people have a bigger tendency to be jealous than others. Jealousy can also be a trigger if you have had bad experiences with cheating in previous relationships. If you know that you are someone who is quickly jealous, be open about it and talk about which things trigger you. However, you still have to be reasonable towards your partner though. It can be discussed, but this does not mean that your partner needs to change him or herself completely if you are excessively jealous. This relates directly to how much you trust the other, despite your experiences surrounding the subject.
What kind of support do we have?
Having support in an ldr is important for general morale, most importantly from your partner. You will find so many people that will talk negative about your ldr, so having each other’s back and supporting each other is a good way to stay strong and build a healthy relationship. However, it can be very helpful if you have friends and family who support your cause, and may lift the burden slightly from your partner. They should not be the determining factor though, as you two are still the most important people in this matter and should always be there for each other. Even if the rest of the world disagrees, you can find comfort and happiness in each other.
Discussing these points will give you and your partner some clarity as to what to expect and to do in the relationship. You can discuss and change these points later on if deemed necessary, but be open, clear and honest about it, as the way you handle this might be determinant on how the relationship develops.