How do you manage a long-distance relationship?

I recently took a huge leap of faith and traveled 500 miles to spend a weekend with a great man I met online. As it turns out, it was the best weekend of my life, and leaving was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. We click in every way and neither of us wanted to let go when the time came for me to get on my plane and come home.

I know many Dopers’ long-distance relationships have survived and evolved into the real thing, and I need to know how you managed it.

It’s only been two days since I left and already we’re missing each other horribly and thinking about each other all the time. If we were in the same town, we’d be going out every night. Or staying in every night. Going back to chatting over MSN or the phone is just painful after we’ve giggled together snuggled on the sofa, but it’s all we can do for now and we spent 3 hours talking last night.

How? How can I manage this without going crazy? He’s coming to see me in a month, which will be wonderful, and we’re trying to figure out some places that are halfway between us so we can meet there and spend some weekends together somehow. But how do we get through the in-between times without losing our minds?

Talk on the phone a lot. Email. IM each other. Mostly, though, just have faith that if this was meant to be, you will survive and flourish as a couple.

I married her. :smiley:

Brynda has the right idea. If this is the right one for you both, you’ll manage to keep it alive until you can be together. I had a long-distance relationship with a woman from Florida while I was in Canada, for two years. We’ve been married for seven years now.

My wife and I did long distance for a few years before we were married. I was in NYC, she was in Washington DC. This is before we were online. We spoke just about every night, if just to tuck each other in. HUGE phone bills. Oh well. I can’t remember how often one or the other visited, but probably no longer than 1.5 to 2 months without seeing each other. She was going to school so we’d spend the summers together. It was hard because we were both pretty broke but we got through it. I guess one thing that helped was that we knew she would be gone for a set period of time.

AT&T has a $19.95/month unlimited long distance to other AT&T customers. :smiley:

I’ve been dating the love of my life long-distance (Virginia-California) for almost 7 months now. We both have the same cell phone service, so we talk for free. We e-mail each other several times a day on work days, and talk several times a day on weekends. We get fairly cheap tickets on JetBlue. We send each other little gifts. It’s hard, because we miss each other terribly, but so far have managed to see each other about once a month…

LUCKILY, we don’t have to do it that much longer! I am moving to California to be with him in 2 weeks! :smiley: I am so fortunate - my boss is allowing me to telecommute, and next year, he is getting transfered here, so we’ll be back in this area eventually for good.

Thank goodness I don’t have to keep doing this because I miss him so much I feel like I am going to explode! (Plus with all the money we save on plane tickets, we can take some nice trips!)

Like I said, I know how fortunate I am… my cousin (and best friend) is dating a guy who lives in England. They are in love, and he was ready to move over here, but he couldn’t get a visa. Now it will be another 6 months before they can be together for good. And plane tickets, especially this summer, are SO expensive! I feel so bad for her!

With commitment, honesty, and trust.

Oh yeah, and having the same wireless provider helps*.

*many thanks to T-Mobile and their free mobile to mobile

Free off-peak calls (thank you Orange), EasyJet and Ryanair, IM, holidays together. In the past two and a half years, I’ve taken two days holiday that weren’t to be with my SO (a funeral and a graduation). All the others have been to spend time with her.

She’s coming to Cambridge soon (albeit temporarily) so we’ll get to see more of each other. :smiley: Can’t wait.

Do you work in Marketing?

I’ve been in a LDR since last September, or January, depending on whether you count from when we started chatting online (MSN Messenger) or when we first met. I fly down to see her about once a month. Between times we chat on MSN and occasionally over the phone. Admittedly it’s not as good as being physically together, but we’ve managed so far. I’m due to retire soon, and will be moving down to where she lives ASAP after that.

There’ve been a few rough times. Once when she was taking me to the airport she started crying because I was leaving, which set me off because I didn’t want to leave either. And sometimes while we’re chatting we end up talking about how much we wish we were together. But she once said that the time we’re apart makes the time we can be together that much more special.

Fortunately, no…though I’ve been told I have a knack for bullshit ;).

Above post was in response to Fromage A Trois’s post.

Commitment, honesty and trust is right… and to that I’ll add communication.
Mr. Armadillo and I were long-distance for nearly four years while we did our undergrad studies. He was at Georgia Tech and I at UC Davis. We spent a lot of time on IM and he got a cell phone with free nights and weekend minutes and free long distance. We flew back and forth at every break between sessions, which was roughly every three to four months. The day after his last final was complete, he packed his car and drove across the country to me.
One good thing that developed through this situation is that we learned to communicate like few other couples I know. It’s so easy to just get mad and hang up the phone and leave the other person wondering what you’re doing and where you are. It’s hard work to talk through everything and learn to say what you mean with honesty and clarity. Remember that you don’t have the advantage of non-verbal communication.
Mostly though, we couldn’t imagine lives without each other, so there really was no other alternative. What, it was inconvenient, so we just call it quits then go on with the “dating” search knowing that your true heart and soul exists, they’re just a little too inconvenient to wait for?
I was and am so in love with him I have no words to describe it. Six years later it’s still as strong as the day I saw it for what it was. I won’t kid you, those years were really, really hard, but we got through them because we had to.

Our wedding is on Sunday, June 19th :slight_smile:

Sometimes it does seem like you will lose your mind because you miss him so much. There are a few things you can do to ameliorate your longing.

Send him little things in the mail. I sent my husband cards and letters when I knew I wouldn’t see him for a while. I tried to suprise him.

Talk to him everyday. Email him, send a picture, text message him. IM him and set up a camera, and talk through a microphone. Or just call. Back then we didn’t have free mobile-to-mobile (oh how I wish we had!) and that must be a godsend.

Let him know that you miss him without making him feel guilty about not being there. Tell him about your day.

See him when you can!

We had a long distance relationship for very nearly three years. It was hard, and lonely, but I found out how strong my love for him was and vice versa. I found out how loyal and trustworthy and dependable he was – and how I was too. Long distance relationships don’t always work, but when they do you know that the person you are with is absolutely perfect for you and has all the admirable qualities you have ever wanted in a husband.

Ah, you could be me - or rather, my girlfriend. She came to me for the pre-christmas week (Bless plane delays of longer than a day! Ah, heaven!) and I came to her in February - now we’re meeting up again, together, in France in just around 20 days. Can’t wait.

But, for the waiting:

Phone. Seriously. If money’s an issue - as it was for me, what being trans-country and all - I’d recommend pre-paid calling cards. I can’t remember your location, but if it’s europe-europe, I’d go with a card called “Eurocity” - 600 minutes for around £8.

MSN and IMs. Tell him/her all the little details of your day… Believe me, being on the recieving end is a great feeling.

And in the end, just working the hell out of yourself. What I mean is, at night, when you’re talking, come physically - but not mentally! - exhausted. If my workload’s been light, one day, I’ll go work out just to have my muscles ache. Why? Because there’s few things better than capping the nights of a long day than a very long, snuggled phone call.

[sub]One thing that’s important though, don’t diss the rest of your friends. Make a point of keeping your friendships intact and your social life/act together. Seriously.[/sub]

I’ll tell ya what not to do.

My girlfriend and I were very much in love and living a great life, except for some financial difficulties we both had. She had to move 1200 miles away to live with her parents while she dealt with some of her debt and got herself back on her feet, since I was unable to help her do those things. We tried, oh how we tried, to make it work. We’d burn the hell out of our unlimited night and weekend minutes, email every day, and talk on IM.

The problem was that there was no end in sight. We couldn’t afford plane tickets to see each other even rarely. She was originally supposed to be gone 3 months, but about in the 6th month she told me there was still no end in sight and she might not be home at all.

It kind of took the wind out of my sails. I stopped calling her so frequently. I stopped replying to her emails as promptly as I should have. But the worst thing was when I met a new girl. My girlfriend gave me permission to date other girls as long as I told her, but I didn’t feel right about it. Me and this new girl hung out a LOT, and I considered breaking up with distance girl to pursue something more local. I never even kissed new girl, although we did cuddle on the couch during movies and other innocent stuff like that. I used to tell girlfriend about new girl, and she used to get really pissed at me.

So I stopped telling her about new girl. I didn’t stop hanging out with her though.

After 10 months of the long distance thing, girlfriend came back and quickly learned about new girl and how I struggled with the decision to stay with her or go with new girl. It made things suck when they should have been at their happiest. We broke up for good about 8 months later, and I still blame most of the break up on the mistakes I made while we were long distance.

It’s a touch spot. Good luck.