6 Tips for Long-Distance Relationships

How to know if it's time to take it to the next level

Dear Monica, I have been dating a guy who lives in a different city. The time has come to make a decision about moving forward or not. How do you gauge whether or not to take things to the next level? — J.P., Ardmore

Long-distance relationships are exciting and fun, but they are also a lot of work. Certainly, it is not the same relationship as dating someone just around the corner. The relationship requires real commitment of time, money and emotion. Here are some points to consider when being involved in a serious long-distance relationship.

  • Are your finances stable? Long-distance relationships require a lot of travel and in the beginning, a possible hotel stay or two until you move to the next level. Can you afford it? Don’t depend on him to pick up the tab.
  • Time away is a major factor. Do you have to leave work early on Friday afternoons or come in late on Mondays? Long distance relationships usually require lengthy phone calls at night and lots of emails during the day. The time commitment for these relationships can be even more involved than local ones.
  • Do you need spontaneity? The reality is that you can’t meet each other for take-out Chinese or a movie. Before beginning a long-distance relationship, you must consider this.
  • How well do you know your partner? It’s difficult to get to know your partner on a day-to-day basis when you don’t live in the same city. Everyone is on their best behavior if they only get together twice a month. It is easy to get caught up in the thrill of spending a weekend together, but the experience can feel more like a string of vacations  rather than sharing actual day-to-day living.
  • Are you thinking of marriage? If the prospect of being together on a full-time basis is in the picture then inevitably somebody has to move and change jobs.
  • Make sure that you are both on the same page when it comes to the future. A lot of people enter into long-distance romance because of the decreased commitment factor. If it does not require being together 24/7 and imposing on your lifestyle or time, it is easier for those commitment-phobes to stay in these relationships. You and your partner should have the same goals for the relationship.

Monica Mandell, Ph.D. is the Director of the Philadelphia office of Selective Search, the premiere (off-line) upscale matchmaking firm for the most eligible singles. Please send your questions to: [email protected]