It's accepted wisdom that LDRs - Long Distance Relationships - are a nasty idea and one must stay away from them if one can. However I know /me counts surrpetitiusly about 5 or so couples who are/were in an LDR and most of them are doing very well, thank you. The biggest geographical gap amongst my acquaintance was the UK - Australia.

I think LDRs are possible if approached maturely and conducted carefully, and provided there is much true love to hold it all together. And I have some practical advice, too.

I am eminently qualified to give it, since I'm now married to someone I met through the 'net and with whom I spent the first 2 years on different contienents. We were even in different countries for 5 months after we got married!

The one essential, unshakable, absolutely necessary rule of LDRs is:

Communicate, communicate, communicate!

Whether it is by phone, IRC, mail, email, fax or carrier pigeon, make sure that there is contact between you at least every other day, even if you're on different sides of the world.

Some of the reasons why this is paramount are:

  • That's the only way you'll get to know one another well enough for the relationship to transcend the LDR stage and endure.
  • It's incredibly easy to misunderstand a person who's far away and you can't see what they're doing - make sure you never leave anything hanging, as the insecurity the separation brings with it will make you blow it out of all proportion in two seconds flat.
  • It's good to know you're not alone. That the other party misses you too. Sounds corny, but it's a big help, because when you haven't seen the other person for very long, and none of your friends have ever even met them, you start thinking maybe you imagined the whole thing.

If you have any other friends that are in an LDR, stick with them - there's strength in numbers, and in knowing you're not the only one crazy enough to be doing this. We had our own mailing list with all our LDR friends on it, and an IRC server set up specifically to let two of them talk to each other, but we got to use that too.

Throughout our relationship, my reasoning was this: "if I've found someone for whom all this pain and longing are worth it, that means I love him very much indeed." Don't stay in an LDR becuase you think you'll never find anyone who'll love you on sight or up close or for real or full time or at all - when you're trying to find love is a bad time to be feeling sorry for yourself.