The Internet offers many opportunities to meet new people from across the world. Existing couples can also maintain their relationship online. But what are online long-distance relationships really like?
Long-distance relationships online offer many possibilities and opportunities for couples to have their relationship even if they live in different places. Online relationships have many benefits that can be great for some couples. But if you don’t approach them in the right way, they also can become very hard.
Long-distance relationships are different from regular relationships in that they don’t offer the amount of physical closeness needed for a healthy romantic relationship.
In this article, we’ll see what it’s like having an online relationship, what you should and shouldn’t do, and how you can make the most of it. Once you know the advantages and disadvantages of having an online relationship, so you can decide if it’s for you.
Are Online Relationships Real?
Online relationships are real to an extent. If you’ve never met a person with whom you are having an online relationship, then you are in a relationship with an idea of a person more than with the actual person.
Until you meet in real life, for the most significant part, it’s your imagination that constructs your relationship and what it would be like. When you do meet face to face while being in a long-distance relationship, you will get a feel for what it’s like to be with that person.
It can be a casual holiday type of relationship. If you want a more serious relationship, you should try living together, at least for a couple of months. Only then can you get a real feel and draw an understanding of what it’s like to have a relationship with this person.
Another reason why couples find themselves in a long-distance relationship is when one of the partners has to be away for study or job relocation.
Having an online relationship, in this case, is slightly different from starting a new one. When you are separated while being in the relationship, you already know the real person and learn what your relationship is like. So the main problem you will be facing in this scenario is knowing what you are missing out on.
The downside of having an online relationship with someone you already know is that there is a risk of growing apart if this long-distance relationship is going to last for a long time.
The benefit of a short term long-distance relationship is that you have a lot of time to catch up on your personal life. It also allows you to look at your relationship from a different perspective. This perspective can make it clearer for you if your relationship is healthy. It can also bring up problems that were there but could have gone unnoticed.
Are Long-Distance Relationships Possible Via Online Means?
But just because long-distance relationships are possible doesn’t make them healthy, and it doesn’t mean that they are for everyone. Couples who fight in regular relationships will also fight in long-distance ones.
It would be incorrect to say that long-distance relationships are harder than regular ones. Having an online long-distance relationship presents different problems with couples encounter in a relationship while living together.
The two main aspects that are affected by distance are physical intimacy and communication. Lack of physical intimacy that comes with having an online relationship can become a problem if it lasts for a long time.
Communication, in online relationships, is purely written and verbal. It means that whatever you don’t say, isn’t communicated. This is different from communicating with a person that is in front of you.
When you’re talking to somebody face-to-face a lot of the communication is done through body language. You can pick up on the slightest change in posture and behaviour to give you an idea of what the person is feeling and their intentions. When you are in a long-distance relationship, online means don’t offer you the luxury of picking up on these more subtle signals.
So to have an effective communication via online means, you have to express yourself through words very clearly. You also need to make sure that your partner understands what you’re trying to say. If you don’t check that they understood everything as you’ve intended, it’s very easy to have a misunderstanding that can quickly grow into an issue.
Can Online Long-Distance Relationships Work?
Online long-distance relationships can work for some couples. The key to having a successful long-distance relationship online is to decide if this is something that can work for you.
In a minute will have a look at some advantages and disadvantages of being in a long-distance relationship. But first, you should be clear on why you want your long-distance relationship to work, and for how long.
Having a relationship online isn’t the same as having a typical relationship in real life. If you are starting a long-distance relationship online, you don’t really know that person until you meet in person. If you are a couple in an existing relationship, you can maintain emotional intimacy via online means. But this usually only works for a short while.
Long-distance relationships are romantic relationships. In a romantic relationship, you expect a certain degree of physical intimacy. Online relationships are great to get to know each other and connect on the emotional level. But sooner or later will come a point when you will want to be physically together.
That’s why online relationships can work for a short while, but they aren’t sustainable long-term.
To make a relationship work online, you need to have a plan and a timeline. The timeline will be your guide that will help you navigate your long-distance relationship online until you get a chance to meet each other and possibly moving together.
Some couples try to make their long-distance relationship work no matter how they feel about it. When you have a long-distance relationship online, it should be a healthy relationship. It means that having this relationship should bring you joy and fulfilment.
If you find yourself struggling because you can’t physically be with that person, you need to reassess. Two healthy options are to understand why your long-distance relationship isn’t working and fix it, or maybe it’s time to end it altogether.
Starting a Long-Distance Relationship Online?
Starting a long-distance relationship online can be a lot of fun. You can get to know a person who lives in different parts of the world. With online dating websites and apps, you can filter through thousands of profiles and find the person who fits your specific criteria.
The first obstacle in starting a long-distance relationship online is to get a feel for the person you are trying to start a relationship with.
When you meet somebody in real life, you get a certain feeling that either resonates with you or not. In the first few instances, you can tell whether you enjoyed being with that person. While it doesn’t mean that you can have an actual relationship with that person, you get a real feel of what it’s like to be next to them.
When you’re starting a long-distance relationship online you won’t get this feeling until you meet them. Online relationships are perfect for getting to know about the other person. You can talk to a few different people and find the ones that share your values and beliefs.
You can start a relationship with a person who has the same interests as you. But until you actually meet them in real life this person is going to remain an idea in your head.
If you spend too long having an online long-distance relationship, you may start idealising this person. You may have a great online connection, which can be fun and exciting. While online relationships can be fun and exciting, it’s easy to get carried away and create a fictional character of the person you are getting to know.
While there is nothing wrong with having somebody to talk to about different things, don’t confuse that with a real romantic relationship. Because in reality, what you are our friends and what you have is friendship.
Talk about very intimate things and even have virtual sex online. But ask yourself if this is what a real romantic relationship is for you?
How to Have a Long-Distance Online Relationship?
To have a long-distance relationship online, you need to know what long-distance relationships are and what they aren’t.
Long-distance relationships are romantic relationships where a couple is temporarily separated by geographical distance. While you can have a long-distance friendship, most commonly, long-distance relationships refer to a romantic type of relationship.
The difference between long-distance friendship and long-distance romantic relationships is the expectation of physical intimacy. You don’t expect physical intimacy in the friendship, but you do expect it in a romantic relationship. That’s why long-distance friendship can be almost unaffected by the distance and can last for a very long time with no problem.
If you want to have a romantic relationship with someone who lives far away from you, you should have a plan of how often you can see each other and when you will be able to move in and live together.
If you don’t have a plan for being physically together, your relationship Will either fail after some time, or you might find yourself in a toxic long-distance relationship.
How to Make a Long-Distance Online Relationship Work?
To make your long-distance relationship work online you need to have a plan and a timeline for how you would like your long-distance relationship to develop through different stages.
First, you should take into account that if you want to maintain an intimate connection with your partner, your long-distance relationship shouldn’t last a long time. Secondly, to make it easier to find a way to visit each other as often as you need.
Many couples in long-distance relationships don’t have that luxury of visiting each other as often as they would like. That’s why long-distance relationships are associated with struggle and hardship. Couples try to make their long-distance relationship into something that it’s not, a real romantic relationship.
The reason couples try to make their long-distance relationships work online, even though they are miserable and unhappy, is because of the commitment and promises they made to each other. There is also an element of attachment that makes people stick together.
But at the end of the day, it comes down to you. You are the only one who can tell whether or not having an online long-distance relationship is worth it.
You should understand why you are staying in this long-distance relationship:
- Are you happy with it?
- Is it healthy for you?
- Would you feel better if you find a way to live together?
- Is it best for everyone if you end it?
There are other options where you can have an open long-distance relationship or you may break. There are other options. You can have an open long-distance relationship, or you could have a temporary break with an option to get back together later if you choose to.
Long-distance relationships are great. They can work online very well. The main thing to remember is that if you are having a long-distance friendship, keeping it going online is effortless. But to maintain a long-distance romantic relationship online only really works for a short while.
Distance affects two aspects of a relationship more than others: physical intimacy and communication. When you maintain a long-distance relationship online, physical closeness is reserved for special occasions when you visit each other.
Communication relies completely on what you say through the texts, phone calls, and video calls. A big part of human communication happens through body language and behaviour. In an online interaction, what you don’t say in words, can’t be picked up by another person.
Lack of physical intimacy and misunderstandings can strain your long-distance relationship. And after some time you may find yourself in a toxic relationship, that doesn’t contribute to either partner’s well-being. If this happens, you can try to push through in an attempt to survive your long-distance relationship because of your commitment, attachment, or the sense of obligation. But is it a healthy relationship and is it worth your time?
If you are looking for a partner who shares your values and beliefs, take a look at this workbook; it will help you get clear on what you want from a relationship and who is your special someone:
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you keep an online relationship long-distance?
You can maintain an emotional connection in your long-distance relationship by keeping in touch and talking about things that matter.
Should I travel to meet a guy I met online?
If you are serious about your long-distance relationship, you both should visit each other. Not because of the fairness of it, but to understand each other’s background and culture. Visiting your partner’s home will help you understand their history, values, and beliefs.
Do long-distance online relationships work?
Romantic long-distance relationships can work online, but only for a short while. When you are in a romantic relationship, you expect physical intimacy. So if you don’t get it, after some time you will feel disappointed and sexually frustrated.
Are long-distance relationships possible via online means?
Long-distance relationships are possible because of online means. You can meet new people online or maintain a relationship with your existing partner. Online relationships can be great fun, but they also have their limitations. You can make your long-distance relationship work by working on your communication and maintaining an emotional connection.
Are long-distance relationships worth it?
Long-distance relationships are worth it for some couples in certain situations and only for some time. They have their challenges and aren’t for everyone.
Should I start a long-distance relationship online?
You can start a long-distance relationship online as long as you know why you are choosing an online relationship over a regular one that’s face to face. There are many reasons people search for love online. It’s not good, nor bad; you just need to know what you expect out of a long-distance relationship. Once you do, you can set more realistic expectations and navigate your long-distance relationship with more awareness.
What’s the hardest thing about long-distance relationships?
The hardest thing about a long-distance relationship is the lack of physical intimacy. Another challenge of a long-distance relationship is maintaining effective communication using mostly online means.
How do you keep an online relationship long-distance?
To maintain an online long-distance relationship you need to maintain an emotional connection through effective communication. You also need the time and money to visit each other regularly. Lastly, to make your long-distance relationship work you need a goal, a plan and a timeline.
How long can a long-distance relationship last without seeing each other?
A long-distance relationship can last a long time without seeing each other, but it can leave you feeling miserable and deprived of physical intimacy. You should visit each other as often as you can. If you aren’t in a position to do so, make a plan for how often you can visit each other and how long your relationship will last long-distance.
When should you meet in a long-distance relationship?
You can take some time to get to know each other online. But once you know each other’s interests, values, and beliefs, you should meet to see how it feels to be together.
How do you know if your long-distance relationship is serious?
Your long-distance relationship is serious if you’ve got to know each other online, met in real life and spent a few months living together. If after all that you still like each other and are ready to move in together full time, you both are serious about your relationship.
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