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How to Make a Committed Long Distance Relationship Work

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I've been in a committed long distance relationship for over a year. I live in Seattle, and my girlfriend lives in Southern California.

View from the Seattle Space Needle

View from the Seattle Space Needle

Everyone has told you long distance relationships never work out, but you can't help it! You see this person in the rest of your life and you feel like you need him or her. What do you do?!

This article will cover things from starting a long distance relationship to what it's like being in one. I'll discuss what it takes to be in a long distance relationship, so hopefully by the end of this article any questions you may have lingering in your head will be answered or clarified.

Before I begin I want to note:

  • Everything in this article is based on my personal experiences, and the opinions expressed here are my own. Everyone is different and some things may or may not work for your relationship.
  • This article is focused on the relationships that are thousands of miles apart, but what I have to say can be applied to various distances.
  • To avoid a disruption of flow, I will be referring to the significant other as a woman, so I don't have to keep saying things such as "He/she" or "him/her." Instead I will just be using the feminine pronouns ("she" or "her").
  • There is some adult content. I hope I don't offend, but this is an article about committed relationships, after all.

Over 1000 miles!

My Story

I am currently in a committed long distance relationship and have been for over a year. I met my girlfriend while I was visiting Southern California. I am from Seattle, Washington, so my girlfriend and I live over a thousand miles apart.

While I was in California, we shared a few days of intimacy and decided to exchange contact information. After frequently talking to each other on the phone for a couple of months, we decided to be exclusively together.

I plan on moving down there after I take care of my obligations in Washington. I had originally planned to move to Los Angeles before meeting her and have discussed it with her. This was one of the things that was a factor in choosing to endure a distanced relationship. As I've said, we've been together for over a year, but it definitely was more difficult than I had previously imagined.

Questions to Consider

Compared to most relationships, in my opinion, a long distance relationship isn't too different, but it is not for everyone. You have to put more effort and be more open-minded because the lack of physicality, which I will go more into later in the article. With that being said, there are some factors to consider (as there would be in any relationship):

  • Physical separation: Can you live without her being there physically? Not just for sex, but also she can't be there to hold you if you're upset, hold your hand, sleep next to, etc.
  • Fidelity: Can you both be completely faithful to each other? Fidelity really comes into question because in a long distance relationship it is easier to get away with.
  • Finances: Can you afford to visit each other from time to time? You have to sacrifice money, time from work, your friends and family to visit each other.
  • Motivation: Can you keep things exciting and interesting? In any relationship, when both partners are no longer excited about being together, the relationship will fail.
  • Communication: Can you handle days of not communicating? This may happen more often than you think because you both have your own lives to live.

Fidelity and the Physical Aspect

In my opinion, the physical need is what ends most committed long distance relationships. I think that's the biggest problem because relationships emphasize the need for it. There's no hand holding, cuddling, kissing, and other intimate gestures. Also, I think it is safe to say that while being in a long distance relationship, you will not be having sex as much as you would like. You have to put in a lot more effort in other parts of the relationship to compensate for the physical aspect.

Many people think they can be happy without the physical aspect of a relationship, but when they are in the middle of a long distance relationship, urges can become seemingly insatiable. This can lead to a break up, or worse, infidelity.

You really have to consider how long you can wait for physical interaction with your lover. Then you must consider if you can afford to visit them as often as you feel is necessary. And if you can't, will you be able to wait and stay in control of your urges? Remember that life can get in the way of seeing each other, but seeing each other is a must.


Keeping Things Exciting

Having excitement in any relationship can be difficult after being together for awhile, but is even more difficult for people in long distance relationships. After awhile it seems like all you ever do is just talk, so how do you add some spice to the relationship while being so far apart?

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The best way to do this, in my opinion, is by sending her presents. Usually, they are things she needs, but doesn't feel like investing in them at the moment. For example, she didn't have a car charger for her phone, so I got her one as a surprise. I told her that I got her something and to check for a package on the estimated date of arrival. I save the more intimate and thoughtful presents for important dates, such as anniversaries and other celebrations. Remember to remember those special dates!

Another way to spice things up is by using technology. You can have date nights through a webcam. Being able to converse through a webcam is definitely more interesting than on the phone. You get to see the person you love, how they smile, all their gestures, and all of the other sweet things you love them for.

Another date night idea are movie nights. My girlfriend and I both have Netflix accounts, and watch shows and movies together while being on the phone. It might seem counter productive to watch something while on the phone, but it's nice to be able to share an occasional comment about the movie or show. For example, we like to watch The Walking Dead together and I enjoy hearing her reaction when the characters are in extreme danger.

And finally, and to be direct, phone sex is a sexy way to keep things interesting. And if you trust them enough, you have cameras and webcams, so be creative *wink.* I only recommend this if you completely trust your significant other. Even then, you can never be sure what will happen or what they will do with the things (pictures, videos, etc.) you've sent them. You should try your best to really figure out what kind of person they are before sharing nudes or other personal things about yourself, because if you unfortunately break up, they may still have those pictures or videos. That's something to really think about.



Communication is the most important part of a long distance relationship. In essence, that's all you and your partner have. You have to be able to talk about anything and everything. If you talk about the same things often, it will get stale and be less interesting. You have to listen to each other, so you can have more to talk about later and you will understand what is going on in each others life. For example, when my girlfriend tells me about her friends and coworkers, I try to remember who and what they did so when she brings them up again I can follow along without her having to repeat herself. It gets hard because I don't ever get to meet them, so I can't put a name to a face, which helps me remember things about them.

As I've said earlier, there will be times when you and her won't be able to talk for numerous reasons. You both have a life to live and sometimes don't have the time to talk, unlike normal relationships where they can come home to each other or, at the very least, have lunch together while on break from work.

This is where having a strong connection really counts. If you and your partner are passionately connected, you will be more understanding about each other's situations and can better handle not hearing from each other for periods of time. You know you have a strong connection if you can tell how she is feeling by just listening to her. In a long distance relationship, you don't have other elements (such as body language) to tell you how she's doing.

Final Words of Wisdom

If you do choose to get into a serious relationship that is separated by thousands of miles, you will run into questions that can only be answered after being together for so long. These questions need serious self contemplation and should be considered when you feel troubled with your relationship:

  • Do we have a strong and real connection?
  • Can I keep putting out the extra effort and tolerance to keep this relationship alive?
  • Is this person worth it?

When I've gotten into big arguments with my girlfriend, I always asked myself these questions. I feel that if the answer to any of these questions is constantly "no" it might be time to move on, but I am grateful because that has not been the case for me.

I hope I didn't scare away a chance at a serious relationship by writing this article. My goal was to shed some light on what to expect in a long distance relationship and what people can do to compensate for the distance. It's a tough type of relationship, but with the right person it can be worth enduring.

If there are any unfortunate changes in my relationship or some new insight I discover, I will be sure to update this article. Thank you for taking the time to read it and if there is anyway I can improve this or future articles, please let me know!


dashingscorpio from Chicago on November 09, 2013:

KDomingo , best of luck with your move to LA!

KDomingo (author) from Seattle on November 08, 2013:

Thanks for the comment, dashingscorpio! Very informative and I love how it gives specific scenarios which are likely to befall any relationship, but can be extremely critical to a long distance relationship.

dashingscorpio from Chicago on November 08, 2013:

You've made some excellent points. I voted this hub up and useful!

At least in our era we have things like Skype, Google Hangouts, webcams (which allow you to see the person you're having a conversation with), cell phones capable of sending video clips, email, phone conversations, as well as traditional snail mail.

Immaturity and having "unrealistic expectations" often lead to the failure in Long Distance Relationships. I can't tell you how many 18 or 19 year olds go off to college (believing) they are going to maintain relationships with their high school sweethearts over the course of 4 years.

How many social school activities on campus are they going skip before deciding to partake in fraternity and sorority dances/parties, even meeting fellow students for study sessions or simply in the cafeteria for meals and assorted other activities can open the door for someone that young to want to "live"/have fun during their college years with people who are (actually) on campus with them. Most of these "high school sweethearts" break up after one or two semesters. It was unrealistic from the outset for them to believe they could keep this up for 4 years. They just lacked the maturity beforehand to realize it.

Most people also run into issues with Long Distance Relationships because they can't or don't set up scheduled visits with each other. A flight from LA to Seattle is only a two hour flight. If it's possible a couple could take turns making the trip one weekend a month.

Another major challenge is resolving conflict or disagreements in a LDR. It's a lot easier for your mate to shut down and avoid you if they're upset with you and vice versa. Even after you cool down and decide that whatever it was is not a "deal breaker" odds are there will be no "kissing & making up" sessions. Apologies would be via the phone or email.

One of the dangers a lot of LDR couples have is they confuse "calendar time" with "actual time" together. A couple who sees each other for 2 nights per month in a 12 month period will often say, "We've been together for a year." The reality is there actual physical time together will have been 24 days. Odds are if they lived in the same town most couples would not consider getting married after only spending (24) days together. However in the case of a LDR or online relationship it's not uncommon to hear of couples who become engaged who have spent even fewer actual days together!

Your statement: "I plan on moving down there after I take care of my obligations in Washington. " is what is oftentimes missing in LDRs. Most of these couples do not have a "light at the end of the tunnel".

Long distance relationships were meant to be temporary!

A long distance relationship without “a light at the end of the tunnel” is likely to fail. It’s the counting down the months, weeks, and days until you are finally done with the inconvenience of being in a long distance relationship that keeps it strong.

The only reason for being in a long distance relationship is the belief she or he might be “the one”. If you’re just passing the time with someone you might as well do that locally.

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