Falling in love with someone abroad often feels magical, showing that love indeed knows no boundaries – literally and metaphorically speaking.
However, it may not be all sunshine and rainbows regarding long-distance relationships. There are some not-so-loveable conditions you’ll have to come to terms with if you’re going to pursue the relationship.
I first got interested in long-term relationships when I got in one myself. I never expected to date someone miles away from me, but you never know what tomorrow brings. I was (maybe slightly still am) desperate to make things work cause I fell head over heels for this boy, so as any writer ever does, I went on to do my research and consult with my buddy Google.
While reading about other people’s experiences with long-distance relationships, I have come across many diverse couples from different parts of the world wanting to keep the spark glowing in their relationships.
Every couple is different, but I’ve noticed something so painfully common for all of them – there comes a time when they face certain situations that they don’t seem quite well-prepared for. I instantly recognized myself in their experiences, and I’ve realized that as much as we would like to turn a blind eye to those bumps on the road, there are some harsh facts that we JUST. CAN’T. IGNORE.
Today, I’ll share my not-so-pleasant findings on long-distance relationships with you – no sugar coating. But, before you give up on your boo from across the ocean, I advise you to keep reading to find out what you can do about those challenging long-distance relationship facts.
Harsh Fact #1. You Feel Sad And Lonely Very Often
When you get into a new relationship and have just confessed your love to each other, you can’t help but be all over each other. You don’t want to leave each other’s side; you want to do everything and go everywhere together – basically, if you could crawl under their skin, you would!
You want to see your partner, not let them go when it’s time to leave. The first few weeks are sensational and crucial in cultivating and nurturing your newly found love.
But that’s just impossible when there are miles between you.
Knowing that you can’t have it all despite you two loving each other so much is just gut-wrenching. Accepting that you can’t play with their cheeks at least until after a couple of weeks or months (or sometimes even years) is not something our minds and hearts easily grasp.
Physical touch is the primary way your brain comprehends and confirms someone’s presence, especially a dear one. And if you don’t get that frequently, it feels like you have a hole inside your heart. At times, it’s like petting a robot with a huge craving for an emotional response.
Constant remembrance you’re not with them
When you go about your daily activities, working or schooling, and see other couples having fun, it reminds you your loved one is not there. Loneliness hits you hard when you attend a party or see a cute couple having dinner or your friends enjoying trips with their beaus.
Their photos on social media or stories they tell you about their love lives make you yearn for the same, which goes on to crush you. When you remember you’ll have to wait for months to experience a few days or hours’ worth of something remotely close to that, you can’t help but be anxious and sad.
More free time equals more love-based anxiety and stress
You get more time to zoom in on the loneliness during your free time. Perhaps your boyfriend or girlfriend is working around your lunch breaks or in another time zone. You sit down with your food, wishing you’d be eating together or at least having a video call at that moment, but you can’t.
Over time, you begin feeling insecure and wanting reassurance, and if you can’t get it consistently, you begin doubting everything. Things may be working out well, but the long-distance amplifies your fears and uncertainty and may even lead to a long distance breakup.
Sexual frustration in a LDR also comes into play. Physical connection helps to strengthen the bond we have with our significant others. If we don’t get down and dirty over an extended period, we begin losing an essential aspect of our spark with them. Think of it as a way to express and reassure the other person of your love and then imagine not being able to do it for a long period.
It’s quite frustrating, isn’t it?
As adults, we tend to place a reasonable amount of importance on sex to strengthen our love and feel loved and fulfilled as individuals. If we get it on a minimal basis, our love becomes stretched with time and may end up snapping.
Having to choose between your love and your friends or family
On many occasions, you may also be forced to choose between your friends or family and your partner.
Maybe the only time your partner is free is about the same time your family sits together for dinner or a get-together. Maybe, when your love is out of work or the day they’re free is just around when your friends want all of you to have a fun day or night out. Things can get quite murky if it happens often.
You want to be with the person you love and care for, but you also want to spend time with your family and friends. If these two keep making you choose, you may end up feeling disappointed with your partner or losing touch with your family and friends, which can be overwhelming.
What can you do about it?
Some heart-warming things you can do to keep the loneliness at bay include:
- Sending photos of the places you visit
- Tagging them on social media posts and leaving a breathtaking message
- Leaving voice notes when you are free
- Sending care packages with their favorite snacks and sentimental stuff
- Ordering their favorite meal for them when you know they’re home (Yes, you can order from anywhere in the world)
- Getting them a subscription box with goodies every month to remind them of you
- Planning surprise visits
- Sending the good ‘ol love letters
- Watching movies together via Skype regularly
- Leaving your partner emergency notes when you visit that they can read when they miss you or feel overwhelmed
- Sending them your perfume
- Sending flirty and sexual messages spontaneously
- Sending a warm gift like a pillow or blanket to remember you when going to sleep
- Organizing with friends in their neighborhood to check up on them when you feel they’re struggling
- Creating routines where you do the same activities together online, like cooking around the same time
- Planning vacations together and fantasizing through your buildup period before meeting up
- Keeping countdowns of when next you’ll see each other and sending them updates
- Playing online games together
- Organizing laundry or cleaning services from them through your phone
- Continuing to make plans on things you’ll do when you meet or begin staying together
- Sending pizza, flowers, or chocolate (if they love them) to their residence or workplace
- Using a long-distance couple’s app (like the “App for Two”)
Harsh Fact #2. Long-Distance Relationships Can Get Expensive
If you and your darling live in different countries that are on different continents, it can get quite pricey to plan meetups. You may cough up a couple hundred to several thousand dollars to see them in person and spend time. Traveling costs can add up with time and weigh you down financially in the long run.
Also, consider that you may want to carry a thoughtful gift for them. That may also cost you an arm and a leg if the traveling charges are high.
Moreover, when the time comes, and you two decide to settle together, the moving costs can be a real burden.
If one of you decides to move to the other partner’s country, you will have several aspects of the physical move demanding a lot financially from you. The visa application costs may be exhausting if you live in a country where the application fees and other related charges add up to huge amounts pretty quickly.
Furthermore, when you get the visa, you may have to resign from your current workplace to start a brand new life in another country.
First, your income source will be cut and have you reaching your hand out to your savings account (for God knows how long). Second, you don’t know how soon you will get a job to save again and take care of the expenses in your new home.
You may also be faced with extra expenses in the new country that you didn’t have in your native country, which can be a stretch too.
What can you do about it?
- Plan weekend getaways and vacations in cheaper countries if you can
- Wait for off-peak seasons to travel so you can save money on flights and trains
When you decide to live together as spouses
Before deciding on the big move, you and your partner need to discuss finances thoroughly. It helps to plan how you two will survive the first few months of living together and how things will be before the moving spouse transitions and gets a new job.
If you are the spouse who will be moving and the breadwinner still, you will need to figure out how you will manage to take care of the family before you get a new job. You will also have to plan how you will cover the moving expenses if the other spouse is not financially stable.
Having clarity about finances and taking well-calculated steps throughout the moving process will help you avoid financial difficulties.
Consider putting proper systems in place to cover every step, that is, before moving, the moving process, and the period after arrival that will require money. Also, remember to be disciplined about making the systems practical; life will be much easier and more convenient for you two.
Harsh Fact #3. When You Move in Together, That’s When New Problems Can Start
If you ask most married people about their perception of their spouse (their then boyfriend) during the dating phase, you may need a tissue and ice cream afterward. What they tell you may break your heart and make you want to cry.
A boyfriend or girlfriend is quite different from a husband and wife – it’s like night and day. When dating, you only meet for a couple of hours, and everyone returns to their apartment.
When you marry, you will see each other’s faces almost 24/7. When you are in bed and turn over to the other side to avoid feeling exhausted, bam! There’s your wife or husband’s face, probably drooling their way through dreamland.
As we all know, someone coming to your personal space and staying there till death do you part is not easy as it sounds, even if you’re in love.
New challenges can come up when you begin living together, and they can change your lives entirely. Some of the changes may include personal beliefs about hygiene, home planning, daily routines like meals, accommodating friends or family, and even finances.
If you are moving to another country, far complex challenges may await you, like having to learn a new language. Also, finding your feet in your new country with different cultural and social beliefs may be laborious.
That happens even in ‘regular’ relationships when partners spend a lot of time together when dating and have regular sleepovers. But, if you’re in a long-distance relationship and decide to move in together, this is the first time you’d be able to see how your partner functions day-to-day, their habits, the good, the bad, and the in-betweens. I don’t mean to scare you, but you should expect heads to roll…
What can you do about it?
You will have an easy time if you and your partner plan beforehand. Discuss everything – the changes you both will go through, the potential problems, and how to solve them. Explore your options and discuss them at length to come up with a solution that favors both of you. If a solution requires one of you to sacrifice, be willing to compromise for each other.
Regarding moving, a much deeper discussion should be held about who should move to the other person’s country, state, or neighborhood. While moving within the country is not a simple walk in the park, moving from one country to another is far more daunting.
That is why it goes a long way to make certain considerations, as you discuss, to determine who is best placed to jump on a plane with a one-way ticket. Some of the factors you should consider to make the decision are:
- If either of you has dependents who require you to be there with them physically (A sick parent or relative)
- Whose move would be easier and whose transition may demand more in all sense
- Who has better-earning prospects
- Why do you want to be together (is it based solely on an emotion or a long-term perspective?)
- Where the best place for both of you to live is
These considerations will help clear the mist for you on who is best favored by circumstances to move to the other partner.
Other Challenges You Could Face in an LDR
Some other potential hurdles in long-distance relationships are:
- High possibility of infidelity – When you have long periods without physically meeting with your SO, the bond and closeness you two have may slowly fade away. And when you meet new people who express their interest in you, it might be easy to want to fill that “absence hole” with the new person. Before you know it, you have shared physical intimacy with the new person without your long-distance love knowing.
- Extreme negativity about LDRs from friends and family – Few people within your circle might have tried their luck in long-distance relationships and failed miserably. And they may try to impose the fear and negativity on you of pursuing the same. As you keep conversing with them, you may be tempted to cave in to their persuasions to drop your potential soulmate.
- Discomfort with the needed sacrifices – Often, LDRs require sacrifice beyond the “normal close relationships.” You may have to spend extra money to meet the other person. You may also have to deal with jet lag, travel sickness, or anxiety just to make things work. It gets to a point where you start questioning your efforts and how worthy of them the relationship is.
In essence, LDRs are not easy to build and maintain. They demand a certain level of tenacity to make them fruitful. To begin your steps toward success, you should first be aware of all the difficulties involved. Here are some questions you should ask yourself before dating a foreigner.
Determine the specific challenges that currently apply to your case and the potential ones that might arise in the future. Make close and considerable evaluations and then decide to do all you can to make them work if you feel like you just met the one you have been looking for all your life.