You’ve met someone who lives far away. You have fond feelings towards each other, and now you are in a long-distance relationship. But getting to know someone long-distance can be challenging. So what can you do?
- Get to know yourself and what you want from a relationship.
- Learn about your partner.
- Check that you and your partner are compatible.
- See that you and your partner want similar things from a relationship.
- Make a plan on how you will go from a long-distance relationship to living together.
In the beginning, it helps to know what you want from a relationship and what it takes to make it work over a long distance. If you’re planning to have a serious romantic relationship, then at some point, you will want to move in together.
Whatever your intentions, you can still spend a couple of months getting to know someone online to see if your conversation flows. If you are getting on well, you should meet to see what it’s like being together in real life.
Until you meet a person, all you have is your idea of what they are like based on the information they provide. After visiting each other for a few months, you may decide to move in and see what it is like living together.
Whatever you decide to do with your long-distance relationship, remember always to have fun and keep your relationship interesting and exciting.
The moment you or your partner lose interest, you should reassess your relationship. While it’s OK to try to make your long-distance relationship work, it’s equally important to keep it interesting.
To make your long-distance relationship work, you need to know how long it will last and how you will manage your communication and physical intimacy.
1. Get to Know Yourself and What You Want from a Relationship.
Before you consider a relationship, it’s always a good idea to get to know yourself as much as you can. The journey of self-awareness and self-development is a lifelong endeavour. However, there are basic things that you should know about yourself to create a healthy relationship.
- What are your hobbies and interests?
- What are your life goals and ambitions?
- What are your values and beliefs?
- What are you looking for in a partner?
- What do you want from a relationship?
When you know what’s essential for you, you can plan your life around these things. When something is less important, you can be more flexible about it.
Knowing what’s important to you will help you set the boundaries in your relationship. If you are vague in expressing your values to others, it will be harder for them to understand what is crucial for you and respect your boundaries.
At the beginning of a relationship, it’s more likely both people compromise on their values. Compromising isn’t a great idea as it can give rise to negative feelings, resentment, and conflict somewhere down the line.
To maintain a healthy relationship, it’s important that each partner dedicates a certain amount of time to do what they love. Hobbies and interests are the very things that bring excitement to one’s life. If you can maintain an exciting personal life, you will have more things to share in the relationship.
When it comes to beliefs, having a relationship will challenge these beliefs. Overall, it’s a healthy process as it will allow you to see and reflect on your beliefs and choose which ones contribute to your life and which ones make your life harder. As long as you have trust and good communication, your partner will be an ideal person to give you a different perspective on your life, views, and beliefs. This, of course, goes both ways.
Having specific parameters will also help you narrow down your search of potential partners.
Let’s say you’ve come across a person with whom you click and with whom you really enjoy spending your time talking while in a long-distance relationship and doing fun things together when you visit each other and go on holidays together.
Now, it’s time for you to get to know each other better.
2. Learn About Your Partner.
By now, following the first step, you would know everything that is important for you and all the things you love doing to share them with this person. At the same time, you can also ask different questions to learn more about them.
When you are clear on ‘everything’ that is important for you and your life, you are in a better position to know the kind of person that can contribute to your life and share your interests and excitement.
- What are your partner’s hobbies and interests?
- What are your partner’s life goals and ambitions?
- What are your partner’s values and beliefs?
- What personal qualities are important for your partner?
- What does your partner want from a relationship?
Maybe you don’t need to be forward and direct right away, but these questions can give you a direction for your conversations, so you can find a flow and get to know each other.
To help you along, take a look at this workbook that takes you step by step through different aspects of your communication.
3. Check that You and Your Partner Are Compatible.
Combine all the above to see if both you and your partner have common interests, shared values, beliefs and want the same from a relationship.
The clearer you are on your goals, the easier it will be for you to stay on track towards reaching them when you are in a relationship.
When you begin a relationship, it’s easy to lose track of your personal life goals. You will need to make some life changes and contribute a part of your time towards making a relationship work. In a long-distance relationship, one of the benefits is that you have your personal space to yourself, and it’s also easier to manage your time.
When you’re single, you can dedicate all of your time and effort to your life goals. When you start a relationship, you will need to balance the time you spend towards your goals and the time you spend to make your relationship work.
Check that you have common goals, values, and beliefs regarding your personal development and your relationship.
It’s great to know your personal goals and ambitions when it comes to a relationship. Still, you also need to know your partner’s goals and ambitions. When you understand each other’s goals, you can help one another stay on track and work towards them.
This will allow each of you to develop as individuals and support each other’s journey separate and together. Once you know what your partner wants from life, you can see how you fit in that process.
Have a look at this workbook on setting goals in a long-distance relationship.
4. See that You and Your Partner Want Similar Things from a Relationship.
When you’re starting a long-distance relationship, it helps to know what you want from a relationship in the short and long term. Long-distance relationships can be confusing and challenging to navigate. Knowing your relationship goals will help you keep on track.
For example, if you are not looking for a serious relationship, you may not need to have deep conversations about living together and having a family. In this case, you may want to have a long-distance relationship that is a schedule where you visit each other occasionally and have fun together going on trips.
On the other hand, if you are looking to have a more serious relationship and potentially build a family with another person, you need to be upfront about it.
Once you know what you want from a relationship, you also need to know your personal goals.
Being on the same page is essential to avoid confusion and to help you build an understanding, which is necessary for the relationship, particularly in a long-distance one.
For example, if you’re looking to have a family, but the other person isn’t, you may have difficulty getting on the same page when you develop feelings towards each other. You will be having different ideas about your relationship and the future.
5. Make a Plan on How You Will Go from a Long-Distance Relationship to Living Together.
By this point, you should have a clear idea about what is that you want for yourself, from your partner and a relationship.
You’ve also established what the other person wants and whether you have enough things in common to have fun and keep the relationship interesting and exciting.
To make a new long-distance relationship work, you need to understand that long-distance is a temporary phenomenon. You can maintain a casual relationship over a long distance with no problems. However, if you are considering having a more serious relationship, it’s worth taking the time to work on your communication. Effective communication will help you stay emotionally connected and regular visits will help you develop and maintain physical intimacy.
As your relationship and connection grow, you need to start making specific goals setting a timeline and having a plan for different stages of your relationship. An important step is to spend enough time together before closing the distance.
Some long-distance couples tend to spend months in a so-called serious relationship, talking about marriage and children without seeing each other.
So, the very first consideration when you begin a long-distance relationship is to plan your first visit. Personal goals, relationship goals and circumstances are the key players in making a long-distance relationship work.
The dating part of a relationship is a temporary situation for people to get to know each other. With this in mind, it’s OK to date online and visit each other every few weeks.
It may be that visiting each other every 2-3 months is what both of you want, and that’s also OK. The important part is that both of you want and are happy with the same thing.
Once you’ve got to know each other, spent time together and decided that you love being together, the next step is to move in together for at least a few months to see how you get on. Thereafter, you’ll know if your relationship is working or not.
Marriage is something else altogether. If marriage is important for both of you, go for it. If you are happy living together, that’s also perfectly fine.
If you are serious about making your long-distance relationship work and want a more hands on approach, this workbook is what you need:
Make sure you are with the right person.
- How do you know if he or she is the right person for you?
- Are they interesting to be with?
- Are you feeling fulfilled by spending time together?
- Do you have common goals, values, and beliefs?
- Do you get on well?
Here are some questions that you need to be clear about:
- What are your personal and cultural beliefs?
- What are your hobbies and interests?
- What is very important for you, and what are the things you can be flexible about?
Get to know each other.
- Do you have common values?
- Can you understand each other?
- Are you ok with your partner’s beliefs and values? Are they ok with yours?
- Share your personal goals, ideas, values, and beliefs.
- Talk about your relationship
- Consider how your personal goals, values, and beliefs fit with those of your partner.
- How do you contribute to each other’s lives?
- Can this relationship fulfil your goals and contribute to your personal development?
- Do you understand each other?
- Is it easy for you to talk and discuss your opinions, particularly those that are different?
- Are you interested in each other’s point of you?
- Do you want the same type of relationship and the same goals?
- Do you want the same things in life and in a relationship?
- How can you tell if your relationship can work?
- Do you have the same relationship goals?
If you want to raise children together, have a conversation about the future of your relationship. Consider what it would be like to raise your children together.
- Do you agree on your values and believes enough to raise your children in harmony?
- What school are they going to go to?
- What values do you want them to help?
- What kind of upbringing and lifestyle can you see for your children?
If during this process you discover that your goals down the line or your beliefs can get in the way of your relationship, you would have to compromise your values, or you may choose to end this relationship. Take a look at this article to help you decide when to let go of a long-distance relationship.
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