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Long Distance Relationships

ApollohApolloh Registered User regular
edited March 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey all,

I've been dating this girl for about two to three months and we have really grown close. Hitch in the situation is that she's leaving for an exchange program to Vienna in two days and is going to be gone until mid-May.

At first we thought we were going to break it off before she left, but we developed feelings for one another and decided to stay together while she's in Vienna.

My questions are really: Do any of you think that long distance relationships can work? There's a specific return date and it's only for a few months. If you don't think so, why, and if you do think so, i would appreciate some tips on how to go about keeping the relationship going.

Apolloh on
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Posts

  • JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    The two main things working in your favour are a) it's only for a short while, and b) you have an end date to which to aim for.

    And yes, they do work. I had a long distance relationship for two and a half years, with periods of 11 months in between seeing each other, and we're now married.

    Vivixenne's blog http://ldr-insight.org/ is full of wonderful and sage advice for long distance relationships.

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  • FantasmaFantasma Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Unless you can travel to show her how much you care, you should not continue with the relationship. Her absence will be short compare to what I witness almost daily, but unfortunately, there will be many men interested in her, and as you probably already know; young women love to explore.

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  • KazakaKazaka Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Having the return date concrete is very helpful, and like you said, it's not multiple years or even one year.

    It's probably doable in this scenario. Just maintain contact.

    I don't know if the lads in Austria are particularly debonair, so you should be safe on that front.

    re: exploration of young women, how serious do you think she is about the relationship?

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  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Apolloh wrote: »
    Hey all,

    I've been dating this girl for about two to three months and we have really grown close. Hitch in the situation is that she's leaving for an exchange program to Vienna in two days and is going to be gone until mid-May.

    At first we thought we were going to break it off before she left, but we developed feelings for one another and decided to stay together while she's in Vienna.

    My questions are really: Do any of you think that long distance relationships can work? There's a specific return date and it's only for a few months. If you don't think so, why, and if you do think so, i would appreciate some tips on how to go about keeping the relationship going.

    3 months is not very much time at all. Just wait it out, keep in frequent contact with her, and pick her up from the airport when she gets back.

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  • tehmarkentehmarken BrooklynRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    If you both want to stay in a relationship, just keep in contact through e-mails and use Skype to call and see each other. Long distance isn't a big deal unless there's already doubts in the relationship. And especially for such a short time period.

    Figure out the time difference, set up some times to be online and chat with each other, and it should be a cakewalk. Send pictures back and forth of stuff you're doing.

  • KyleWPetersonKyleWPeterson Registered User
    edited February 2011
    General rule of thumb is that time away for commitment should equal time together before departure.

  • spacerobotspacerobot Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Four months is not very long at all... it's definitely do-able. I served in the Peace Corps, and every person in my group who had a girlfriend/boyfriend when they joined, broke up with them while they were serving. The Peace Corps is two years though. Four months should be simple.

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  • RuskRusk Registered User
    edited February 2011
    General rule of thumb is that time away for commitment should equal time together before departure.

    I came here to post exactly this. Not always true, but a good rule of thumb.

    Since you've been together about as long as you'll be apart, I think you can manage it. Long distance relationships aren't easy, but the return date is not too far away. Just make sure it's a decision you're both happy with. If neither of you are having doubts, go for it. Just make an effort to stay in touch (e.g. Skype).

  • DBReedDBReed Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I was in a long distance relationship with my girlfriend for two years while we were both in grad school. It was a pain, but we made it through. Like others have said, knowing that the long distance thing will eventually end is really important. One thing that my girlfriend and I did was to have a different method of communicating with each other for each day of the week. On Monday we would write each other a letter, on Tuesday we'd text each other, Wednesday would be email or Skype, and so on. It worked well for us.

  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Fantasma wrote: »
    Unless you can travel to show her how much you care, you should not continue with the relationship. Her absence will be short compare to what I witness almost daily, but unfortunately, there will be many men interested in her, and as you probably already know; young women love to explore.
    This is all wrong. in fact it is a little insulting to assume that because people are far away they will cheat on their partners.

    A long distance relationship is no different to a regular relationship. You simply need to apply effort into it. As long as you make an effort to communicate effectively it will not be hard at all.

  • ApollohApolloh Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Kazaka wrote: »
    Having the return date concrete is very helpful, and like you said, it's not multiple years or even one year.

    It's probably doable in this scenario. Just maintain contact.

    I don't know if the lads in Austria are particularly debonair, so you should be safe on that front.

    re: exploration of young women, how serious do you think she is about the relationship?

    I'm the first guy she's ever said that she loved and her friends have confirmed that.

    We both seemed confident when we made the decision to do it, and she said that she was comfortable making that type of commitment, otherwise she wouldn't have even entertained it.

    She was also the first person to suggest staying together.

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  • PopesnaxPopesnax Registered User
    edited February 2011
    I'm in almost exactly the same boat you are - my girlfriend's in Scotland on an exchange program until this May.

    We decided to try and stick it out, and so far we're still together. We skype weekly and keep in touch over facebook, and that seems to be working sort of okay.

    For my sake as much as yours, then, I certainly hope long-distance relationships are workable. If you two really like each other, there's certainly no reason not to try.

  • flowerhoneyflowerhoney Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    My boyfriend and I dated for three months before it was time to pack up and go to college in separate states. Two years later we're still together and very happy!

    Here's some things I've learned along the way:
    - always be open with each other and be extra proactive when it comes to communicating. Think she hasn't been paying you enough attention? Let her know. Feel like you're going to be really busy and won't be able to contact her as much for a week or two? Let her know. Frustrated or saddened by a certain behavior? Let her know. And it doesnt just have to be bad news, just make sure you keep the information channel completely open.

    - This might not be a big deal since she'll only be gone for 3 months, but it really helps if you can visit each other as often as possibly without causing bankruptcy or money panics. Might not really be an issue for you though

    - skype. What a genius piece of free technology, not only can you use the chat function but you can also make free video calls from computer to computer! If that's not the coolest thing ever, I dont know what is. It doesnt have to be skype per se, there are other variations on this idea and they're all amazing. Find out when there are convenient times for you to talk and discuss!

    good luck!

  • tehmarkentehmarken BrooklynRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    As with all relationships, being open and honest is the best. If you start having doubts during the duration, talk with her about it. If you get suspicious of her, talk about it without being aggressive or accusing. If she gets suspicious of you, talk about it without being overly defensive or insulted.

    My girlfriend and I have been together almost 8 years, and probably half of that time has been spent apart. Every summer between college semesters we lived at least 400 miles apart, and while I had a 6 month internship, and then we spent a year and a half apart when she moved to Japan to teach (and then I followed in the same job).

    With the internet, the only real differences between a close and long distance relationship is that you can't be physically together, and the time differences may limit communication. But emails and skype can still keep you solidly communicating as much as you want.

  • LilnoobsLilnoobs Alpha Queue Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Why even bother?

    If she's only going to be gone just a few months, and it's an exchange program to another country, and you've only been dating 2-3 months, I would say break it off and let things go where they go. The relationship is going to be a safety net for her, which is most likely going to limit her activities in Vienna. You may get jealous for silly things, and later on she may be resentful towards you because of how much she 'wasted' her time in Vienna.

    In short, I advise just be friends and see where it goes from there. You may find yourself (and her) losing interest in each other without the physical connection (don't underestimate the physical connection), and then it'll be a few months of stagnation. And if you don't, great all the better.

  • ApollohApolloh Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    A safety net? That seems a little inconclusive given what i've said.

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  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Lilnoobs wrote: »
    Why even bother?

    If she's only going to be gone just a few months, and it's an exchange program to another country, and you've only been dating 2-3 months, I would say break it off and let things go where they go. The relationship is going to be a safety net for her, which is most likely going to limit her activities in Vienna. You may get jealous for silly things, and later on she may be resentful towards you because of how much she 'wasted' her time in Vienna.

    In short, I advise just be friends and see where it goes from there. You may find yourself (and her) losing interest in each other without the physical connection (don't underestimate the physical connection), and then it'll be a few months of stagnation. And if you don't, great all the better.

    There are a lot of assumptions here that are really poorly supported by everything the OP says.

    I say go for it. You're not sacrificing much, and the worst thing that happens is that one of you has to end a <6 month conversation via Skype.

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  • LilnoobsLilnoobs Alpha Queue Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    admanb wrote: »
    Lilnoobs wrote: »
    Why even bother?

    If she's only going to be gone just a few months, and it's an exchange program to another country, and you've only been dating 2-3 months, I would say break it off and let things go where they go. The relationship is going to be a safety net for her, which is most likely going to limit her activities in Vienna. You may get jealous for silly things, and later on she may be resentful towards you because of how much she 'wasted' her time in Vienna.

    In short, I advise just be friends and see where it goes from there. You may find yourself (and her) losing interest in each other without the physical connection (don't underestimate the physical connection), and then it'll be a few months of stagnation. And if you don't, great all the better.

    There are a lot of assumptions here that are really poorly supported by everything the OP says.

    I say go for it. You're not sacrificing much, and the worst thing that happens is that one of you has to end a <6 month conversation via Skype.

    Please, do tell.

    OP has been dating 2-3 months. Check. Person is leaving for another country. Check. The trip is a few months (equal to the length they've been dating). Check.

    Imagine yourself going to a foreign country OP. It's frightening. So what do you think she'll do? Talk to you on skype at night, or go out with some strangers in a foreign land? And would you be okay with that (in either scenario)?

    Just be friends. If it's really true whatever you and her are feeling, you'll be waiting when she comes back and she'll come back. Why do you need to be in a romantic relationship right now?

  • Baron DirigibleBaron Dirigible Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Jesus Christ, people can go out and enjoy themselves in a different country without fucking random strangers! Is it so difficult to understand that she might, in some mysterious way, be interested in keeping this relationship, and that she won't feel her time was "wasted" if she's not sleeping with hot Viennese studs every night?

    You're offering terrible advice that makes a lot of assumptions about their relationship which, yeah, go against everything the OP's saying. Seriously, "most likely going to limit her activities in Vienna"? Here's the extent of how her activities will be limited: she won't be sleeping around.

    Meaningless sex does trump a growing relationship, however. I'll give you that.

    [edit: to actually give the OP some advice, I really recommend sending a postcard / letter / small gift at some point. I'll also join in the chorus of people who have been there before -- my girlfriend's coming back next week after being away for almost four months. We'd been together a lot longer before she left (just over two years), but I think that might've made it harder in some ways since we're both so used to each other's company and our routines. I can't speak for how you two will handle it, but I think it's definitely worth trying.

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  • ApollohApolloh Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Please, do tell.

    You're assuming that i'm limiting her options by staying in a relationship that we both agreed we wanted to be in. You're assuming that her feelings aren't genuine due to the timeframe of our relationship in general. You also assume that because we aren't within physical proximity with one another, that when a guy falls into her lap, she's going to leave me in the dust, which as another poster pointed out is a pretty paranoid and flimsy rationale.


    Imagine yourself going to a foreign country OP. It's frightening. So what do you think she'll do? Talk to you on skype at night, or go out with some strangers in a foreign land? And would you be okay with that (in either scenario)?

    Man, if she doesn't go out at night while studying abroad in Austria then I have picked the wrong girl. I'm totally okay with it. There is no way in hell i want to limit her options. That doesn't equate to her cheating on me in any way.

    Just be friends. If it's really true whatever you and her are feeling, you'll be waiting when she comes back and she'll come back. Why do you need to be in a romantic relationship right now?

    It's not that i need to be in a romantic relationship, it's that both of us want to be. We were half expecting a month and a half ago that we were going to break it off the day she left for Vienna and just call it there. Hell i was pretty much championing that idea, but we grew really close: the dates were great, we enjoyed each others company to the point where staying together in the long term wasn't so much about worrying whether or not we were going to hurt one another as a chief concern, but that we would enjoy sharing in each others experiences. I mean besides, if i didn't think I was "friendly" with her on a communicative level, i never would've brought the relationship this far.

    EDIT: And goddamnit i'm not trying to sound like the guy who makes a thread question he already knows the answer to, so i'm sorry if i'm coming off that way. I legitimately am interested in peoples opinions on this, and the tips so far have been great, thank you. Especially the blog linked.

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  • Hank_ScorpioHank_Scorpio Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Blake T wrote: »
    Fantasma wrote: »
    Unless you can travel to show her how much you care, you should not continue with the relationship. Her absence will be short compare to what I witness almost daily, but unfortunately, there will be many men interested in her, and as you probably already know; young women love to explore.
    This is all wrong. in fact it is a little insulting to assume that because people are far away they will cheat on their partners.

    A long distance relationship is no different to a regular relationship. You simply need to apply effort into it. As long as you make an effort to communicate effectively it will not be hard at all.

    Physical companionship and sex are vital parts of any relationship. Long distance is completely different from a real relationship. Completely. Especially when the couple has only been together for 2-3 months. 2-3 years, that's different, but it would still be difficult.

  • exisexis Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Reading this thread makes me sad. Apparently being overseas means you are having endless sex romps with foxy foreigners. I really wish someone would have told me years ago, I feel like I missed out when I travelled.
    Lilnoobs wrote: »
    Imagine yourself going to a foreign country OP. It's frightening. So what do you think she'll do? Talk to you on skype at night, or go out with some strangers in a foreign land? And would you be okay with that (in either scenario)?

    I don't really get what this has to do with anything? If she wants to be with OP then being in a foreign land or being next door doesn't have any real effect.

    I've been with my girlfriend for 10 months, 6 of which have been long distance, with visits roughly once a month. She goes out with her friends, I go out with mine. Sometimes they're even of the opposite sex!

    @OP: This is definitely do-able. You're right that having a definite end-date helps hugely, and in the grand scheme of things, four months isn't a lot of time at all. I was here asking the same (or a similar) question six months ago, and right now I couldn't be happier that we chose to stay together.

    Try to talk regularly. Before she goes sort out some method of reliable communication (Skype, phone cards, email, etc). Don't schedule calls way ahead of time - you want to have breathing room. But given that you'll be in different time zones, it'll probably help to just send a text/IM/email of like "hey what's up, chat later?". Just make sure to keep it low pressure.

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  • KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    My husband and I were across the country from each other for 9 months fairly early in our relationship. Like you, we both assumed that we would just break up when I moved, but we didn't and 9 months later (after he graduated) he followed me and a couple of years later we got married. May really isn't that far away at all.

    Is there any chance that you can go visit her once in the middle? We did visits every month when we could afford them and every other when we couldn't and that worked well for us. We talked every day and made a point to let each other know when we wouldn't be available the next evening. We both did a lot of stuff so each day we would figure out the best time to talk the next day and our conversations in no way inhibited our social lives.

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  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Blake T wrote: »
    Fantasma wrote: »
    Unless you can travel to show her how much you care, you should not continue with the relationship. Her absence will be short compare to what I witness almost daily, but unfortunately, there will be many men interested in her, and as you probably already know; young women love to explore.
    This is all wrong. in fact it is a little insulting to assume that because people are far away they will cheat on their partners.

    A long distance relationship is no different to a regular relationship. You simply need to apply effort into it. As long as you make an effort to communicate effectively it will not be hard at all.

    Physical companionship and sex are vital parts of any relationship. Long distance is completely different from a real relationship. Completely. Especially when the couple has only been together for 2-3 months. 2-3 years, that's different, but it would still be difficult.

    No it is not "completely different", and the fact that you don't call it a "real relationship" speaks volumes on your knowledge of the subject.

    Just because you don't get to bang doesn't mean it's a real relationship. In fact it's more so because at times you have to sacrifice something for the relationship and you do it anyway because it's worth it. The second you don't want to sacrifice something for the relationship you need to stop and wonder whether or not you are happy in it.

    To be honest OP I am very surprised there hasn't been more negative posts in here. Because everyone likes to go on how they tried a long distance relationship and it didn't work. Therefore none of them too. But if you applied that logic, people will not longer pick up bars, because shit, I've tried to pick up women at a bar plenty of times and I'm not living with any of them at the moment.

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  • LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I left my boyfriend to go to Uni in another part of England, pre internet, pre mobile phones. We wrote letters, phoned each other, and saw each other when we could. We had been together for a year, I was at Uni for 3 years.

    Its our 30th wedding anniversary in August.

    I had other friends whose relationships ended while they were at Uni. If its meant to be, it will work out, if not, it won't.

    Go for it, wholeheartedly!

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  • ApollohApolloh Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I definitely feel like i want the commitment, i think that this girl is worth it.

    We traded contact information and she gave me an itinerary of her trip and when she will be able to communicate with me on a regular basis; she's in Berlin for a week staying in a hostel with her travel group and then settling in Vienna the first week of March.

    Sooo it's gotten off the ground pretty well i guess!

    EDIT: It should be noted i guess in the OP that we both wanted to be in a long distance relationship, and that i'm asking if people thought it was going to work or not.

    Just to state my intentions a little more clearly.

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  • InkSplatInkSplat 100%ed Bad Rats. Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Just thought I'd pipe in with another long-distance relationship success story. West Coast to East Coast for about 3 years, and now we've been living together for almost 3 and will be married in November.

    So it can definitely work, but it can also suck. However, 3 months isn't very long at all, and if you can't pull that off, then I doubt it would have worked in-person anyway, honestly.

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  • Brainiac 8Brainiac 8 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Apolloh wrote: »
    Hey all,

    I've been dating this girl for about two to three months and we have really grown close. Hitch in the situation is that she's leaving for an exchange program to Vienna in two days and is going to be gone until mid-May.

    At first we thought we were going to break it off before she left, but we developed feelings for one another and decided to stay together while she's in Vienna.

    My questions are really: Do any of you think that long distance relationships can work? There's a specific return date and it's only for a few months. If you don't think so, why, and if you do think so, i would appreciate some tips on how to go about keeping the relationship going.

    Long distance relationships can work if both parties are serious about working at it. My wife and I (while dating) lived about 3000 miles from one another. I was in Florida and she was in California. We talked daily and visited here and there for about a year and a half.

    It wasn't easy and it took a lot of work on both of our parts, but in the end, we are now going on ten years of marriage with two kids. So yes, it can definitely work.

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  • MagicToasterMagicToaster Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I ran into an old friend while I was in Japan some years back. We kept a loooong distance relationship for about a year and a half. We are now married.

    Can long distance relationships work? The success or failure of a relationship is not in the distance, but rather the commitment that both are willing to endure. To me, the key is to work together towards one goal with an end date to the distance part.

    If you believe this girl is woth waiting for, go do it! I found a great girl whom I felt that the distance issue was a sacrifice worth making and I must say it was one of the best decisions I've made.

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  • LilnoobsLilnoobs Alpha Queue Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Spoiler:

    My bad, I thought you wanted advice. Can long distance relationships work? Sure, they can. Can long distance relationships fail? Sure, they can. Is that all you were looking for?

    Given the limited knowledge you've given us, can your relationship work? Sure. Do I think it's the best course of action? Nope.

  • ApollohApolloh Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I am honestly surprised at this thread. I thought i was going to get tirade after tirade about how these typically don't work and that i should move on.

    This is all very encouraging and with how our relationship has been going exponentially more so, especially with peoples' comments towards the time frame of it all.

    EDIT: No man, of course i'm looking for advice.

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  • Akilae729Akilae729 Registered User
    edited February 2011
    I was in a LDL with my girlfriend all four years of Uni and we are about to move in together in a few months.

    It's totally possible but its A LOT OF WORK. Sometimes it was almost unbearable and both of us are kind of uncomfortable talking on the phone now because we did it so long and don't really want to go back to that.

    Go for it man. Hell, even if it turns out to not be your thing, doesn't hurt you to give it a shot.

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  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Fantasma wrote: »
    Unless you can travel to show her how much you care, you should not continue with the relationship. Her absence will be short compare to what I witness almost daily, but unfortunately, there will be many men interested in her, and as you probably already know; young women love to explore.

    ...are you serious?


    Anyway, as others have said if both of you actually want it (as opposed to just thinking you want it) you should go for it. From my experience these kind of things can more easily fail when it's a total life-change instead of just a very long vacation.

  • CorvusCorvus Caw? VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    It can totally work, but you guys haven't been together very long, so there is always a chance that things don't last long term once she's back and you guys really get to know each other more long term.

  • exisexis Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Corvus wrote: »
    It can totally work, but you guys haven't been together very long, so there is always a chance that things don't last long term once she's back and you guys really get to know each other more long term.

    Much like any relationship.

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  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Blake T wrote: »
    Fantasma wrote: »
    Unless you can travel to show her how much you care, you should not continue with the relationship. Her absence will be short compare to what I witness almost daily, but unfortunately, there will be many men interested in her, and as you probably already know; young women love to explore.
    This is all wrong. in fact it is a little insulting to assume that because people are far away they will cheat on their partners.

    A long distance relationship is no different to a regular relationship. You simply need to apply effort into it. As long as you make an effort to communicate effectively it will not be hard at all.

    No different? You mean except for the sex life. And the cuddles. And eating dinner together. And holding hands. And...

    There are differences, it's a matter of whether or not you're willing to endure the differences and if you think it'll be worth it in the end.

  • ApollohApolloh Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Definitely going to miss the sex.

    But hey who doesn't?

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  • LilnoobsLilnoobs Alpha Queue Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    mrt144 wrote: »
    Blake T wrote: »
    Fantasma wrote: »
    Unless you can travel to show her how much you care, you should not continue with the relationship. Her absence will be short compare to what I witness almost daily, but unfortunately, there will be many men interested in her, and as you probably already know; young women love to explore.
    This is all wrong. in fact it is a little insulting to assume that because people are far away they will cheat on their partners.

    A long distance relationship is no different to a regular relationship. You simply need to apply effort into it. As long as you make an effort to communicate effectively it will not be hard at all.

    No different? You mean except for the sex life. And the cuddles. And eating dinner together. And holding hands. And...

    There are differences, it's a matter of whether or not you're willing to endure the differences and if you think it'll be worth it in the end.

    Anyone who says long distance relationship = 'regular' relationship are just fooling themselves. Just ask them this question,

    would you rather be with your s/o in the living room

    or talking with them over skype?

    Any healthy relationship would prefer the person being there, ergo, one is more ideal than the other; therefore, they are not the same.

    That said, with a strong base, usually distance can help strengthen a relationship, especially if it was just base on the phsyical--that will become quite apparent early on. But to say they are the same is pretty dumb.

  • CorvusCorvus Caw? VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    exis wrote: »
    Corvus wrote: »
    It can totally work, but you guys haven't been together very long, so there is always a chance that things don't last long term once she's back and you guys really get to know each other more long term.

    Much like any relationship.

    Well, duh, but that is not what I meant.

    When you take a newish relationship where everything is still in the "wow, this is new and awesome" stage to long distance, it delays the progress of the relationship a bit. You're still in a relationship for the distance period, but because you aren't spending time physically together (and I don't mean sex here), things don't progress in the same way. You don't necessarily start to realize all the little things that might annoy you about each other when you're not with each other, for example.

  • ApollohApolloh Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    So everything is smooth sailing so far, made it through the first week with good communication and no problems, which is good seeing as her only time she has where she can be online until she hits Vienna is in her hostel.

    What's nice to know is that she has also been enthusiastic about setting up chat times and skype dates, so i'm not the only one doing heavy lifting here.

    Is it cool if i keep this H/A thread alive in case i need future advice? And periodically update with how it's going? If it's not kosher here i understand.

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