A lot of people say long-distance relationships don’t work, but with solid communication and common goals, even two people separated by an ocean can stay together. How can you make your long-distance relationship work?
If your relationship is long-distance right from the beginning, one important piece of advice is to establish boundaries early on so that both of you are on the same page when you go out separately with your friends. Jealousy can be hard to manage in any relationship, but it can cripple a long-distance one. Will you date other people while you’re apart? While it’s important to work with your partner to set expectations you can both be happy with, don’t push yourself too far out of your own comfort zone just to appease him or her.
There are several different approaches people take in their long-distance relationships, along a continuum of exclusivity.
Open Relationship with Full Disclosure
In this type of arrangement, both of you agree to date others but remain straightforward and honest with each other about any encounters you have. If you sleep with someone else, for example, you would inform your long-distance partner (whether you tell them before or after the encounter is up to the agreement the two of you have).
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
There’s an understanding that each of you might have one-night stands, but they go undiscussed.
Keeping Options Open
You and your partner are physically exclusive, with the understanding “If you find someone else you’re interested in, break it off with me first.”
You and your long-distance partner are in an exclusive relationship, with no intention of looking for someone else.
Long-distance dating may go through different stages as you get to know each other better or if your circumstances change. Even if you’ve been together for years before the going to a different city, state, or country for college or the military, for example, it’s still important to discuss how the long-distance relationship will go, and whether you’ll remain monogamous. Communication, as they say, is key. And once you reach an agreement, you’ll need to accept it: Don’t tell your partner they can date others, then become angry when they do. If you find yourself feeling that way, it’s time to reassess what agreement you would be comfortable with, and restart the dialogue with your partner. The different types of long-distance relationships, and advice on how to manage jealousy and insecurity when you’re far apart, will be discussed in greater detail in future blog entries.