Coping with Long-Distance Relationships

"You know you have something special if someone hundreds of miles away is honest enough, and respects you so much, to be true only to you and wait until the day you can be together." --hackx

Some of us just aren't lucky enough to fall in love with the guy next door. No, we make it hard on ourselves by carrying on with someone hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles away. Surviving on phone calls, emails and occasional visits, we somehow carry on because ... well, he's special. Here's real advice on making a long-distance relationship work (and some real admissions on how hard it can be) from iVillagers who are doing it every day.

The Problems We Face
Long-distance relationships are never easy, that's for sure. Without seeing him regularly, sometimes we wonder whether we're doing the right thing, whether we can really trust that other person. Rena07 voices the fears and frustrations of every woman who's been in a long-distance relationship when she asks, "How do you know if he still thinks of you? How do you know if he still loves you? Or if he ever did? How do you know if he's being faithful? How do you know if he's the right one?"

To which annabelee responds, "What do your heart and instinct tell you? What do his actions and words tell you? Nothing is ever certain, but these questions should reveal a lot. Long-distance relationships require a lot of faith and trust, because you're apart so much." She also points out that there are ways one can judge his interest and intentions, even from afar: "I can understand having doubts once in a while, but if it's a constant and overwhelming feeling, something may be wrong. Maybe he isn't giving you the assurance you need. Does he call when he says he will? Does he talk about the future? Does he send cards, flowers, etc., to remind you how much he thinks about you? All these little things and actions help build your trust and faith in him and the relationship. If everything seems fine, it might just be jitters or insecurity that you have to work on."

Keeping Communication Going
Staying in touch regularly seems to be the biggest hurdle to long-distance relationships -- and the single biggest way to make them succeed. Everyone insists: You've got to talk to each other. And, happily, some women are able to give tips on how to make that happen.

"We try to communicate by chat as much as possible to keep costs down, but we always end up calling on the phone," Zerlina says. "We would talk forever on the phone if it wasn't for the distance and money. Sometimes it is hard because we don't have that human touch and affection every day or even every once in a while, which is needed."

"I think writing letters is more personal than email and talking on the phone," says hackx. "I also think making care packages and sending them to your loved one, filled with things they can keep and remember you by, is a nice thing to do -- and it gives you something to do to keep your mind off of things for a while."

Closing the Distance
Eventually, we all want our relationships to "go somewhere" -- and with a long-distance relationship, that often means that one person or the other has to go somewhere. It's not an easy decision to face.

Rmh77's situation encapsulates the problem. "We are very happy, and I can't imagine anyone who could be more right for me, but I'm just so torn," she says. "I will have to leave all my family and friends and try to find a job there. I guess I'm afraid, because I'm terribly close to my family. Should I be engaged before making such a decision to move 2,000 miles away?"

Obviously, no one can make the decision for another person, but there was advice for rmh77. "You should have a very strong commitment (engaged is best) and a financial plan worked out for yourself," says Grace698, who is also in a long-distance relationship and considering the big move. "If it doesn't work out, you don't want to be stranded." But as
medocina, speaking for the romantic in all of us, points out, "If you are sure about it, it's worth it to try it, don't you think?"

In love with someone hundreds of miles away? Talk about it on the Long-Distance Relationships board!

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