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7 questions to ask before you decide to do long distance

Talk it through before you take the plunge

by Sarah Ashley Jolly, MPH

Here are some questions you and your partner should ask yourselves if you’re considering a long-distance relationship (LDR):

1. Where do we see this going?

The first question you have to ask yourselves is whether the relationship is built to last. Do you each feel fulfilled? Do you support each other’s individual life goals? If both of you don’t see a long-term future together, it might be a good time to decide that even if you enjoyed your time together, it’s time for a clean break rather than struggling to make an LDR work.

2. How often will we be in touch?

Talk about your expectations around the frequency and mode of communication. Texting or calling? How often? Too much can feel suffocating and not enough can leave you wanting. And one person’s too much might be the other person’s not enough. The only way to work these things out is by talking it through.

3. How often will we see each other?

Long distances = seeing each other less often. That can be brutal for some people and awesome for others. It might be hard to know how well each of you will do with not seeing each other as much, but figure out how much your budgets and responsibilities will realistically let you get together. Would the burden of travel be on one person more than the other? Can one person afford more financially in terms of travel? Does one have a more flexible schedule? Are there roommates to take into consideration?

4. What do each of us need to feel loved?

With less face-to-face time, the ways you express your love for each other can get thrown off. If what you need is talking to feel connected, you might adjust to an LDR just fine. If you’re the type of person who needs regular cuddles or quality time in bed together, it might be harder. You might have to get creative about trying to meet each other’s needs—like sending a surprise weighted blanket to your cuddle-loving partner, for example.

5. Do we trust each other?

Trust is super important in any relationship, and for people with trust issues, LDRs can be particularly challenging. Having less of a window into their partner’s day-to-day can make some people wonder who their partner is with and what they’re doing. A bit of jealousy is normal, but it can quickly get toxic. If you’re thinking of entering into a LDR, it may be a good time to talk to a couples’ counselor to work through any trust issues before you do.

6. Should we consider an open relationship?

Many couples in LDRs consider open relationships in order to meet their physical and emotional needs while they’re apart. For an open relationship to work well, there needs to be lots of communication about what each partner considers okay. Some people are okay with just sexual activities as long as there aren’t romantic feelings. Others have limits on sex but not other physical closeness. Every couple gets to define what will work for them.

7. What are your thoughts on exchanging pictures/videos/etc.?

Here’s a big area where trust comes in. Know before you press send.

Sarah Ashley is a sex educator living in Washington, DC. You can find her talking, tweeting and taking polls about sex, love, and smashing the patriarchy when she’s not practicing yoga or trying to avoid overdosing on caffeine.

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