You may be in a long-distance relationship already or thinking of starting one. If you are to make it through, you need to have a timeline.
A long-distance relationship timeline is a schedule for when you and your partner plan the events in chronological order. Having a timeline will help you stay on track with your long-distance relationship. Without a timeline, you risk getting stuck in a long-distance relationship that lasts indefinitely.
Long-distance relationships are challenging for many couples. The longer they last, the harder they get. A plan can reassure you what you want from this relationship. A timeline can help you to keep track of your plan.
For example, you can use the timeline to manage your long-distance relationship until you can move in together.
What Is a Long-Distance Relationship Timeline
A timeline is a schedule for doing things in chronological order. Using a plan and a timeline, you can create a graphical representation of your long-distance relationship.
Your long-distance relationship timeline can become your romantic story of what and when things happened.
Before you create a timeline, you need to set goals for your long-distance relationship. Then, you can make a plan to achieve these goals. Once you have a clear plan, you can create a timeline outlining all the things you need to do and set specific dates and times for doing them.
A timeline is a tool that can help you achieve your relationship goals, but you still need to do what you’ve set yourself to do and follow through with your plan.
You may have several goals related to your long-distance relationship. Each goal can have its own plan and timeline. Let’s have a look at two examples of common goals in long-distance relationships:
- Goal: you and your partner want to make your long-distance relationship work.
- Plan: having effective communication and visiting each other regularly.
- Timeline: setting the frequency of your communication and the dates for your visits.
- Goal: you and your partner want to move in together.
- Plan: having the money and the opportunity to relocate. Your plan should include a trial period of moving in together before the final move.
- Timeline: set specific dates for finishing your job, finalising your rental contract, visiting your partner’s place or a new place, trial moving in, and final move if both of you are happy with everything.
The more detailed you make your timeline, the better it will be, remember to be realistic as to what you and your partner can do. You can use the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) strategy to set up your goals.
Does a Long-Distance Relationship Need a Timeline?
Yes, you do. Couples in a long-distance relationship often overlook a timeline. Many couples see their long-distance relationships as a regular relationship that is ongoing indefinitely.
Long-distance relationships are temporary; that’s why you need to have a goal and a date to move in together. A romantic relationship requires physical intimacy which is limited for long-distance couples.
During your long-distance relationship, you should use this temporary period for getting to know someone or to maintain an existing relationship while you have to be apart.
Why Do You Need a Timeline for Your Long-Distance Relationship?
Having a timeline can reassure you that you are on track with the goals and objectives of your long-distance relationship.
Without the timeline, it’s easy to get stuck in a relationship without a sense of direction.
When you have a timeline, you have an idea of when things are going to happen. It gives you more clarity and certainty about your relationship.
What Happens if You Don’t Have a Timeline for Your Long-Distance Relationship?
If you don’t have a timeline, you risk getting stuck in the limbo of a long-distance relationship without knowing where it is heading.
When your communication is limited to online means, texts, phone calls and video calls, it can be hard to judge the state of your relationship.
This situation happens gradually, which makes it hard to pinpoint the exact time your long-distance relationship goes from healthy to toxic. If you can, set a timeline for your goals before starting a long-distance relationship.
It will make it easier for you to check whether or not you are happy in this relationship. It will also help you navigate your long-distance relationship through different stages and become aware if something is not quite right.
How to Set a Timeline for a Long-Distance Relationship
- Learn about the seven stages of a long-distance relationship.
- Set your goals and objectives for your long-distance relationship.
- Agree with your partner how long your distance will last and set a date to move in together.
- Make a plan to manage your relationship over a long-distance.
- Agree on the frequency and means of your communication and how often will you visit each other.
- Make a plan to have weekly recap sessions on how you are feeling to see if there are things that you need to change.
If you are starting a long-distance relationship, it is a perfect opportunity to set your timeline and get it right from the very beginning.
Having a timeline can also be useful if you are already in a long-distance relationship. It can help you reflect on how your long-distance relationship is going and decide if there’s anything you need to change.
If you need some help and guidance on creating a timeline for your relationship, check out this workbook:
How to Keep to Your Long-Distance Relationship Timeline
As you go through your long-distance relationship, there will be occasions when what you’ve said in your timeline may not happen.
Maybe you will miss your recap meeting, or have to postpone the visit. You might be feeling emotionally overwhelmed and uncertain of where your relationship is going. You may also have your doubts about whether or not you would like to continue your long-distance relationship.
Here are some tips on how you can keep to the timeline in your long-distance relationship:
- You can set a date and time for a regular recap session with your long-distance partner to check if you are on track with your relationship goals.
- A regular recap session can help you keep on track with your plan and discuss any changes that could come up.
- Review your plan and timeline to see if there are any changes you need to make.
- Talk about your feelings: Did they change, or do you feel the same about each other and your relationship?
- Communication: do you talk enough, too much or too little?
- Visits: are you happy with the frequency of your visits, or do you need to find a way to see each other more often?
- Talk about your struggles, doubts and concerns.
To keep to a timeline of your long-distance relationship, you need a certain degree of dedication. Things hardly ever go according to plan. So while you need to have a plan and a timeline, be prepared that it will change.
As time goes on and your feelings change, your plan must change with them. It will give you stability and the reassurance that you are in touch with your feelings and in control of your relationship.
Does the Timeline Change as You Go Through Your Long-Distance Relationship?
Everything changes in the universe, “the only constant is change” (Heraclitus). This is also true for a long-distance relationship timeline.
Your feelings and circumstances change all the time. Some changes are small and can go unnoticed. Other changes are more significant and can impact the course of your life and your relationship.
Keeping on top of your feelings will allow you to notice if they change. Here’s how you can stay in touch with your feelings:
- Take time to observe how you feel about different aspects of your relationship.
- Recognise if and when your feelings change.
- As your feelings change, observe the new feelings you have.
- Connect your feelings to your needs. In other words, why are you feeling a certain way?
- Share them with your partner and ask your partner to share their feelings with you.
If your feelings change, it can affect your goals.
For example, you may love each other profoundly and may work towards a common goal of moving in together. However, if your feelings change or you develop feelings for someone else, then moving in together may no longer be your objective.
Recognising your feelings will help you stay in touch with yourself and keep true to who you are and what you want. If your feelings change, you should be honest with yourself and your partner and adapt to this change.
At the same time, if you don’t keep on top of your feelings, you won’t be aware of this change and will end up moving in together with the person you no longer love.
If you are making an effort to achieve a specific goal, make sure it is something you really want.
Circumstances also can and often do change.
For example, you may set a timeline to move in together in six months. Still, halfway through you got a fantastic job opportunity that you wanted for a long time and would be fantastic for your career. In that case, if you planned to move to be with your partner maybe now, it will be your partner moving to be with you.
So, how do you manage this change? A timeline can help you keep an eye on this change, but what do you do when this change happens?
How to Adapt to a New Timeline in Your Long-Distance Relationship
You may find yourself in a situation where your feelings or circumstances have changed. If this happens, use your timeline to figure things out. Here’s how:
- Go back to your timeline.
- Pinpoint this stage of your long-distance relationship.
- Make a note on what has changed.
- Note your personal feelings and ideas.
- Share your feelings, ideas, and preferences with your partner.
- Give your partner the time to process this information.
- When your partner is ready to talk, be there to listen to their point of view.
As long as you’re together, take the time to express yourself and hear each other. Doing so will help you to maintain a healthy relationship and be honest with yourself and your partner.
Suppose you are having problems with your long-distance relationship. In that case, there are ways you can try to fix them, provided both of you are willing to make an effort and hear each other out.
For example, the solution may be seeing each other more often, moving in together, taking a temporary break, or ending your relationship altogether.
Suppose you discover that the change in your feelings and circumstances means that its time to end your relationship, don’t be afraid of it.
It’s always better to break up than staying in a relationship that isn’t working.
Long-distance relationships don’t have to end with fights and negative feelings. A relationship can end for many reasons. But there are ways you can end your relationship on good terms, still caring for each other.
A long-distance relationship is a fun way to meet new people online or to keep in touch with your current partner. They can be great for a short period. But having a romantic relationship with the person you cannot be close to, can be increasingly difficult the longer it lasts.
Online communication alone isn’t enough to fully understand each other. Miscommunication can result in confusion and lead to unnecessary, yet frequent arguments and fights. Before you know it, you are full of doubts and insecurities from the uncertainty that the distance brings into your relationship.
So, how do you know if your long-distance relationship is going in the right direction?
To know where your relationship is heading, you need to maintain an effective, clear and honest communication with your partner. A long-distance relationship timeline can help you ask the right questions at the right time.
Having a timeline for your long-distance relationship can reassure you that it’s going in the right direction. It can also help you see if there are some issues that you should address.
You can use your timeline to keep track of your long-distance relationship. It allows you to stay in control of your relationship while taking into account your feelings and circumstances.
First, you need to know what you want from your relationship. Once you know, you can make a plan for how long it will last, when you move in together, and how you will manage the distance until then. You can use the long-distance relationship timeline to keep track of the goals and objectives of your relationship.
The timeline for your long-distance relationship is part of the plan that you should make together with your partner. You can use this timeline to navigate your long-distance relationship. It involves visits, talking to each other, and finally moving in together.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a good timeline for a relationship?
A good timeline helps you to easily see what you need to do and when to make your relationship work. For a long-distance relationship, you can use it to set the frequency of your communication and the dates for your visits. Every couple should make their timeline based on their needs and circumstances.
Is there a set timeline for a long-distance relationship?
Long-distance relationships shouldn’t last longer than a few months unless the couple has the means to visit each other as often as they would like. You can talk to your partner and create a timeline that works for both of you. Keep in mind that your feelings and circumstances may change and you may need to adjust your timeline.
Do I need a timeline for my long-distance relationship?
Yes, you do. A timeline will help you keep track of your relationship. In the time of uncertainty, it will reassure you that your relationship is heading in the right direction. A clear timeline also allows you to make necessary changes to your goals if something unexpected happens.
A timeline can help you navigate your long-distance relationship through different stages and keep it healthy along the way.
Does a long-distance relationship need a timeline?
Yes, long-distance relationships need a timeline. The lack of physical intimacy due to the distance can turn your romantic relationship into a struggle. Unlike a regular relationship, a long-distance relationship should be a temporary phase. Because this is a temporary period, you need to have a goal of moving in together, a plan to get there and a timeline for when you will be able to make that move.
Do long-distance relationships work?
A long-distance relationship has a greater chance of working out if you have a goal, a plan and a timeline. The two most significant aspects you should learn to manage well are communication and physical intimacy. Both of these work differently when the distance is involved.
Why don’t long-distance relationships work?
Many long-distance relationships fail because couples don’t realise how distance affects their relationships. Without working on effective communication, you end up with confusion and unnecessary arguments and fights. If you don’t visit each other regularly, you will start feeling sexually frustrated, and you may also grow apart.
Can distance kill a relationship?
The distance affects a relationship in many ways, but what kills a relationship is the inability of couples to adjust to the changes that come with being apart. The longer the long-distance relationship lasts, the harder it is to maintain. Without a clear goal and a timeline, you can get stuck in a perpetual cycle of struggle.
When to let go of a long-distance relationship?
When your relationship isn’t working, and you have no willingness to fix it, it could be time to let it go. There are many reasons why long-distance relationships fail. The first thing you could do is to identify the reasons why it isn’t working to see if it’s within your power to fix the issues.
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