How to make it work long-distance?


#1

So there’s this girl I just kinda started seeing. The thing is she’s several hours away. Has anyone started off a successful relationship long-distance? I enjoy spending time with her, but I’m also kind of wondering where it’s going given that it’s long-distance. I’m in school right now, and things can get pretty hectic. The driving and scheduling are also taking a toll on me. How often would you have to meet up in order to keep it going? I know it’s different for every person, but I just wanted a rough ballpark. Any advice? Thanks.


#2

I don't believe you can. If there was an already-established relationship that was being temporarily interrupted by a distance situation, I would give it a better chance. But you haven't even gotten to know her, nor she you, and you won't now because both of you will be on your best behavior for the duration of your visits. I think you should let this go, finish school, then move back and try to start over when you can have a real relationship with her. At best, right now you two are pretending to date each other, for whatever reasons you have for that.


#3

Perhaps instead of adding the “dating” pressure to the situation, you both try to form a relationship with phone calls and such and just get to know each other. If you don’t have the worry of “being the boyfriend,” then you guys can focus on being a friend first. Good luck!


#4

My dh and I met the summer before I started my senior year of highschool, in July. By late August he had to leave for college. We kept up with email that school year and some Instant messaging. Since we started our relationship eating dinner with each others families we mostly saw each other on holidays and would split them between families. (dh would come to mass and lunch for thanksgiving at my house and then we would head over to his house for the afternoon dinner). etc. So lets see, thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and spring break. And sometimes longer weekends if we had them. We generally sent an email every day or instant messaged. One year we “scheduled” time to instant message because our email writing had dropped of. It obviously worked out for us.


#5

I met my husband on a Catholic dating site and we were long distance (as in across the country) until we married. We corresponded for several months, met in person and made trips every month or two for a year, then were engaged a year.

The main difference being we were older, established, and had income to support a long distance relationship and we were in the position of discerning marriage and moving forward.

You, being young and still in college, are not in a position to move a relationship forward to marriage right now. So, I don’t see the point in expending all this energy on a relationship that will be in a holding pattern for a long period of time. I also don’t see the point of dating anyone seriously until you are in a position to progress in discerning marriage.

Is she your age? Also in school? Does she see dating as a vehicle for discerning marriage or “something to do”? How do you view dating’s purpose? Are you ready to commit time and money to this relationship and to move it to a more serious stage?

These are questions to ask yourself.


#6

I also met my husband online, on a Catholic message forum. He lived in England. We were long distance for a little over a year and a half, nearly two. We traveled back and forth to see each other as often as we could, and did all of our marriage prep either online or on one of his visits here.

I will be honest with you - it is brutal. You have to want it enough, and you have know you are doing it for the right reasons, and not only to just keep the relationship going. We knew we wanted to be married and so we stuck through it - through immigration and moving him 3,000 miles over an ocean. But we knew it was really right.

Now your situation is a bit different - a few hours would have been a dream to us. But it is still difficult. I agree so much with 1ke's comment (I typically agree with most of what she says) :) :

You, being young and still in college, are not in a position to move a relationship forward to marriage right now. So, I don't see the point in expending all this energy on a relationship that will be in a holding pattern for a long period of time. I also don't see the point of dating anyone seriously until you are in a position to progress in discerning marriage.

Is she your age? Also in school? Does she see dating as a vehicle for discerning marriage or "something to do"? How do you view dating's purpose? Are you ready to commit time and money to this relationship and to move it to a more serious stage?

These are questions to ask yourself.

You need to think about where you want this to go long term. If you think she could be "the one", then consider it. If not, then move on and don't take up the time for either of you.

~Liza


#7

My husband and I met on a Catholic dating site and were long distance for 4 years before we were married. We were across the country from each other, not just a few hours away, and we only saw each other a couple of times a year, for a couple of weeks at a time. We emailed or spoke on the phone almost daily. We did break up a couple of times, because of the pressures of being long distance, but we remained in contact and got back together shortly.

My best advice would be to communicate with each other deeply, pray separately and together for God's guidance in your relationship, and enjoy the time you do get together, without pressuring each other too much.

When we met with our deacon before were married, he commented that it was very rare for him to see such excellent communication between a couple looking to marry. I'm sure being in a long distance relationship for so long helped us in that respect. (we had only been living in the same state for a few months at that point!)

It was a hard road getting here, but we are happily married now for almost 2 years. A long distance relationship can absolutely be successful, but it requires a lot of dedication, prayer, and sacrifice.

Also, I agree with the pp's advice: hubby and I entered our relationship with a strong view toward marriage. Its just not worth it otherwise.


#8

DH and I met on avemariasingles.com and we lived 4 hours away from each other. We both were in college and both had jobs. Tough, yes. Do-able, yes. But for the right person it will be worth it. We talked on the phone a lot and we messaged on the computer for a while before we met in person. We made a point to see each other in person about every 2 weeks for a day or two at a time. I missed him terribly in-between visits, but I loved him and I wasn’t about to leave him just because we lived far away.

If you are only a few hours away like we were, it can totally work. Really long distance like cross country or different continents is a different story, but a few hours isn’t too bad. Good luck to you in your relationship. :thumbsup:


#9

I got my first boyfriend right before I went to college. We lived 30 minutes away but went to schools that were 2 hours from each other. I drove to see him every other weekend (he never visited me, though :frowning: ) and we talked on the phone for about two hours every day. We ended up breaking up after 3 years over religious differences (he was an athiest), but not because it was a long distance relationship! I think long-distance relationships can definitely work. It can be a great benefit in some ways because physical attraction can’t drive the relationship if you hardly ever see them in person - you stick together because you love the other person for who they truly are.
What helped me though, is knowing that after we graduated we would be closer together. If you two permanently live far away, it might be more difficult to think how it would work out long term. I would give it a shot, though. If it ends up working out one of you could move closer to the other, or you both could relocate to a new city you both like.

Good luck!


#10

I met my husband on Catholicmatch.com. I lived in Florida. He lived in New York. After a couple of months talking on the cellphone and chatting online, he eventually moved down here to Florida. It can work but it is very, very difficult. Both of you have to want to make it work. It is a good test to see if you two can endure the hard times. However, since you are still in school, I would hold off for a little while longer. Keeping up a long distance relationship takes a lot of work and time and energy. You need it right now for your studies so I suggest that you try to get to know her through a friendship but don't develop anything else until after your studies.


#11

For those who met online, how soon did you make it exclusive? After the first meeting? After the second meeting? Thanks.


#12

Why are you in such a hurry? Pushing a relationship faster than it should go NEVER works out well.


#13

What makes you think he is in a hurry? Just asking questions about what to expect and how to plan is not pushing things, it is being responsible and realistic, and understanding that this is not a normal situation. I think he is being very insightful by asking questions like this - instead of rushing headlong into something with no idea whatsoever of what he could encounter.

~Liza


#14

For me, my husband and I knew after 10 days of chatting online but it was confirmed when he visited me the first time.


#15

We changed our facebook statuses to “in a relationship” after the 3rd date.


#16

I'm in a long distance relationship, I live in Scotland, my girlfriend in Washington, we are separated by 8 time zones! It took me a long time to be willing to take on such a tough relationship, but when we met we just had so much in common and it was hard to imagine saying goodbye. It is difficult, but my two cents are:
1) Communication - we speak every day. Invest in Skype and/or a good mobile phone price plan.
2) Prayer - we pray morning prayer together online. It's such a good way to remind ourselves that we have the same purpose in this relationship.

But I won't lie to you, keeping a long distance relationship going is hard. If you don't have enough in common to make it work, you'll know soon enough. That's no reason not to try though :D. All the best.


#17

Thank you, Liza. I’m not in a hurry, but these are rather special circumstances, so I wanted to know the etiquette so as not to give the appearance of rushing things. I’m meeting up with her again this weekend. Depending on how this meeting goes, I’m thinking of having “the talk” afterwards. There’re a few things that I have to consider.

[LIST=1]
*]Is it too soon? I would like to at least get some sense of where it’s going, since I’m investing quite a bit of time and effort into it. That said, I don’t want to make things weird by doing it too soon.
*]If it’s not too soon, how should I initiate it?
*]If I initiate it, I would probably have to do it over email, which may not be the best option. Any suggestions?
[/LIST]

Thank you!


#18

The way I see it, dating is about discernment. Its not about how long you can keep the relationship going. Its about whether or not you can visit each other enough to get an accurate picture of who that person is and to prayerfully discern your vocation this way. If you're looking for just emotional satisfaction, than I don't think it can work and I don't even think that's the right approach to dating.

I met my husband on Avemariasingles. At the time, we lived about 5 hours apart. We corresponded strictly through email from November till April. He suggested he was interested in meeting me in person in Feburary, but we made plans for after he was done with his semester. I did give him the stipulation that we needed to talk on the phone a bit before meeting. So we had phone dates for awhile. We arranged the first time to talk and he'd start our bashfully asking me to arrange another phone call later on and we'd schedule it for a week later. Eventually he realized we kept scheduling for the same time and day of the week, so things became a little more casual and we just started expecting each other around that time.

I then found out he had come up to visit his parents during a break. This meant he was only 3 hours from me. So I asked him what he'd say if I just drove over there. We already had a date of when we were going to meet, but to me it was just taking too long. I ended up bringing my brother along as "body guard" and he brought his mom along and we met in a public place, found we still liked each other and discussed the whole distance thing and whether or not we should take the effort to continue seeing each other on weekends especially considering the drive time, the cost of gas and the fact that he was planning on studying abroad in Oxford after the summer. We ultimately decided to go with it.

So we saw each other every weekend and sometimes on extended weekends. We usually slept overnight at our parents' places and kept strict rules on curfews and separate sleeping quarters. It was the best we could do as it was just too far to not spend the night and motels would have made us go broke. Then when he went to Oxford, we corresponded on the weekends through Skype. It was early morning for me and nighttime for him. We'd email each other throughout the week. I have to say during his Oxford time, it didn't feel so much like discerning new information, but just staying in some contact and praying about what I had learned over the summer about him. He also spent his time in Oxford reconsidering the monastic life. I didn't know at that time that he had decided by the end of the summer that it was either marry me or join a monastic community.

He decided for a multitude of reasons to only spend one semester in Oxford instead of two. When he returned to the States, he stayed with my parents for awhile and in front of my family on my birthday, he proposed to me. We still were pretty much long distance (he lived when closest to me 3 hours away) for most of our engagement till I finally moved about 4 months before our wedding.

Now, my sister lived even further from her husband. We're from Wisconsin and her husband lived in Florida. Her husband was actually a friend of mine who had come up to visit me in 2007. My sister only happened to meet him on chance. She wasn't even supposed to be home that weekend at all, but as soon as she met him, she was hooked. However my mom was convinced I would eventually marry this guy (haha!) and she just became concerned about having a crush on some man who would eventually be her brother in law. They became long distance friends for awhile and eventually their long distance correspondance continued to grow in its interest. So after about two years of long distance friendship and intense interest, they decided to have her fly down to Florida to see if the interest was still there in person. They immediately saw each other and decided "yea we're definitely dating now." They somehow made arrangements to fly to visit each other every 2 or 3 months. After about dating this way for 6 months, he proposed to her. Again he moved up just a few months before their wedding.

I don't think they made the wrong decision at all. I think overall though that you have to pray about it and see where God is guiding you with it. Some people just couldn't do the long distance thing. Some people would think my sister and I were foolish for marrying men who we got to know over a distance. How can you really know someone that way, they ask? But, I think it can work if its God's will.

My husband and I started corresponding online in Nov of 07 and officially started courting in April of 08, and got married in April of this year. My sister met her husband in October of '07, officially started courting him in December of 2008, got engaged in July of 2009 and got married in June of this year. Everyone felt sorry for my parents as our weddings were only 8 weeks apart. So we're still newlyweds, but that's just how we went about it.


#19

[quote="ThereIsThisGirl, post:17, topic:210640"]
Thank you, Liza. I'm not in a hurry, but these are rather special circumstances, so I wanted to know the etiquette so as not to give the appearance of rushing things. I'm meeting up with her again this weekend. Depending on how this meeting goes, I'm thinking of having "the talk" afterwards. There're a few things that I have to consider.

[LIST=1]
*]Is it too soon? I would like to at least get some sense of where it's going, since I'm investing quite a bit of time and effort into it. That said, I don't want to make things weird by doing it too soon.
*]If it's not too soon, how should I initiate it?
*]If I initiate it, I would probably have to do it over email, which may not be the best option. Any suggestions?
[/LIST]

Thank you!

[/quote]

These are difficult questions. It was what made me very hesitant about dating my husband. We wanted to keep things on a more casual level without any pressure, but the amount of investment made to see each other forced a sort of deeper level commitment from the get-go.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you on this one. Pray about where you are in your life currently and where she is as well. Sometimes its just not the right time to date, but you have to let God guide you on that one. I used to think there were some strict rules to follow that would lead you to the perfect marriage, but while there is wisdom in other people's experiences whether they are good or bad, utlimately God's guidence ends up being the best.


#20

My fiance and I discerned our entire relationship long-distance–12 hours away, during my first year of law school! :eek: It can be done…! We discerned dating for over six months, and then we started dating long distance…and now we’re planning a wedding long distance! :smiley:

It’s never too early to be praying together, and it’s never too early to be honest about your intentions! You’re dating/courting with an eye towards marriage, right? Well then tell her you’d like to pray about where the relationship *should *go the next time y’all see each other. Tell her your thoughts (i.e., I like you but I want to get to know you better, I’m unsure about the pressures of school, etc.) and allow her to voice hers. Trust me, she’s already thought about this… (she IS a woman, after all!). If she’s not sure of her thoughts yet, ask her to pray about it and arrange a phone date for the following week to discuss what you’ve gotten in prayer. Maybe pray a novena?

The only word of caution I would give is that if you are both relatively young in college (freshmen/sophomores), then it might be unrealistic to look at getting serious with anyone, depending on how comfortable the both of you feel with dating for a long time and/or what standard of living you want to have when you get married. I rarely dated seriously until I was older because I couldn’t stand the idea of dating for 2+ years without any possibility of getting married (my parents wouldn’t allow me to marry before I graduated college)–maybe with prayer, both of you will be able to see how you feel about those sorts of timing issues.

But best of luck and don’t worry–if you let God lead you, it will all be for the best. :thumbsup:


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