Question: Do I continue long-distance?
I have asked myself that same question. I have been in two long-distance relationships — both with people I have met online. That was a horrible idea, and now I am inventing a time machine to fight my younger self for that decision. Yeah, I picked the rotten eggs in a fridge full of snacks. That doesn’t mean a long-distance relationship could never work. I heavily believe it must be under certain conditions to work out.
How did you meet?
Did you meet each other online or in real life? A relationship with someone you meet online could work, but it helps a lot more when you have seen their physical body, and you get a sense of their true personality.
People online are almost precisely like onions. It’s fine until you start peeling back their layers, and you’re left in tears. You must gauge if you know enough about this person to continue a relationship with them. Do you trust them? Would they cheat on you or be two-faced? If you have gotten to know them in real life, or know enough about each other, then the relationship can at least work in that regard.
What is your love language?
Something that people don’t acknowledge when getting into a long-distance relationship is the love language of both parties. If one or both people in the relationship have a love language that translates to physical affection, that will make long-distance harder for them. Someone’s needs are going to need to be met.
Sometimes it hurt when I couldn’t physically spend time with my partner. Having access to hugs, cuddles and kisses does a lot. You have to ask how much that means to you.
More importantly, ask yourself if you can go months without physically feeling love and being alright with it. The defining point of relationships is loving people for who they are, but we would all be lying if we didn’t have those days when you wanted to cling to your partner and never let them go. Phones and computers are too small and fragile to have that same effect.
How is the relationship currently holding up?
If this relationship is newish or a couple of years old, you could be going through a burnout phase. Eventually, in all relationships, the spark that comes with “Oh my goodness, someone loves me” dies off, and this bizarre, boring period starts. The excitement you felt when starting the relationship isn’t there.
A relationships’ strength is defined by how well you can survive through a rough patch. If other things are causing you enough worries to ask this question, then you need to figure out why. Is it about a lack of trust, a problem with communication, or are you falling out of love? Some problems are fixable, and some aren’t. Starting with what makes you question the relationship’s strength will help.
Do you have the time for it?
Being long-distance is a heavy time commitment. Both parties need to find what times work best for them to do something as simple as talking to each other. Participating in an activity together, like playing a game, doing online quizzes or being a little crazy and planning an online dinner date, can seem impossible.
If you fear that spark is dying out, you will want to spend more time with that person. This could be taking time away from school, work and self-care. Suppose you are considering whether or not to continue your long-distance relationship. In that case, you need to figure out if you can handle the stress from your regular day-to-day life and maintain a relationship.
Yes, my advice is very situational, and you may relate to all of these, some of these or none of these. You need to ask yourself if you are willing to commit to a literal human being. Relationships alone are very hard, but being in one where there’s distance from the person you love is harder.
You can do long-distance and spend physical time with them when you can, but both parties need to be very secure in the relationship. A new relationship might be harder to navigate, but it is both of your calls to continue it.
I like to think about this with the help of a popular quote: “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it was never meant to be.” If something can’t work right now, that doesn’t mean it will never work. If long distance doesn’t work, but it was meant to be, you will get together again when the time is right.