Long-distance dating

I haven't seen her in six months but I know what we have is real.

Dating long-distance or online can be a little more complicated than dating face-to-face.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t work.

Going the distance

There can be a lot of reasons why you’re in a long-distance relationship (LDR). Your boyfriend or girlfriend might have moved away, or maybe you met while you were on vacation in another city. Whatever the reason, making a LDR work depends on both people wanting it to, despite the space that separates you.

The ups

People might tell you that a LDR is not a good idea, but let’s look at some of
the positives:

  • It’s easy to keep in touch with the help of email, text, and instant messaging. Software programs that allow you to see and hear each other through your computers, such as Skype, can help keep your long-distance phone bill manageable.
  • The time that you spend together during visits is extra special.
  • Dating long-distance gives you plenty of time to do your own activities and still have a relationship.

The downs

Of course there are some
negatives to LDRs, too:

  • You could miss each other lot.
  • When you really need a hug, your partner isn’t there to give you one.
  • Not everyone communicates well through email or the phone.
  • You might not always know how the other person is feeling. Most couples learn to read each other through facial expressions and other nonverbal cues. With only each other’s words to go on, you may misinterpret messages, or get confused.
  • Couples who weren’t always long-distance might find the change really difficult, and in some cases it can lead to growing apart.

Making it work

Half the battle of making a LDR work is commitment. Here are some tips if you’re both willing to give it your best effort:

  • Know what you want. Talk with your partner about how often you want to talk, write, and visit. If you plan on dating other people, let your partner know.
  • Communicate. Be in touch with each other often. You might have to plan when you’ll talk and try harder to make time so you can meet online, but the effort will help you feel that you’re part of each other’s lives.
  • Remember yourself. Just because you’re in a LDR doesn’t mean your life has to go on hold. See your friends and make time to enjoy your life (and that doesn’t mean watching your inbox and waiting for the phone to ring!)
  • Visit. Try to get together in person when possible. Communicating face-to-face is totally different from communicating long-distance, and you need quality time together for the relationship to work.

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Last reviewed September 2013 by the Kids Help Phone Counselling Team

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