How to decide an end date in a long distance relationship

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Everyone always says, “Don’t stay in a long distance relationship unless you have an end date.” I have learned that while practical, having a set in stone end date isn’t for everyone. Every one’s circumstances are different and we have to keep that in mind.

Having said that, setting an end date if you can manage one, is a really practical way to look at the solidity of your relationship and to see if the prospects you have of being together are actually realistic.

Often, people don’t understand the weight of setting an end date and think that it’s just setting a date for when you would like the long distance of your relationship to end. But there’s a lot more thought that should go into it than just that.

Once the gravity of setting an end date kicks in, many long distance couples are unsure of where to begin. This article, which briefly outlines the steps you can take to set your own end date, will be useful for those couples.

While this is by no means an extensive list, this article should help couples in long distance relationships by giving them somewhere to start when deciding when to set their end date.

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1. Examine your circumstances

Each long distance relationship is different. Before you decide an end date take into account your own personal circumstances.

  • Why are you in a long distance relationship?
  • Are you going to a school, college or university?
  • Are you working separate careers in different locations?
  • Did you meet online and just aren’t able to be together yet?
  • Are you both actively saving money until you can afford to close the distance?
  • Are family issues holding you back?

Sometimes your circumstances will give you the answer you need when deciding the actual date for your “end date.” If you graduate in 2 years then you know that the date when you close the distance will be somewhere around a 2 year time frame.

If your jobs are the reason you are torn apart; How long do you plan to work away from your sweetheart? Maybe you’re on a business trip or a special assignment for your job. Often you will generally know when that assignment ends so you can plan your end date for around that time as well.

For couples who may not have circumstances that can help them determine when their end date will be, coming to this decision will require a lot of thought and discussion.

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2. Talk about it

Talking about your personal obstacles as a couple is the best thing you can possibly do. As I said before, deciding an “end date” is a really big decision. It requires a lot of change, a lot of work and a lot of compromise.

You need to ask yourselves questions such as:

  • What is keeping us separate?
  • What will we need to do to make this happen?
  • Do you have any responsibilities that may keep or delay you?
  • Are we willing to make any compromises to make this work?
  • Will we move to a new location together, or will one person move to be with the other?
  • Where will we live?
  • How long are you both willing to wait to be together? 1 year? 3 years? 6 months?
  • How much money will we need to close the distance?
  • How long will it take us to save up the funds?

Don’t get intimidated by the prospect of asking these questions -everything doesn’t have to be intricately planned out from the start. But the truth is, the sooner you talk about it, the sooner you can smooth out the details of it until you have a somewhat formulated plan. Discussing these questions together can really give you a feel for how soon you and your significant other will be able to close the distance.

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3. Count up the costs

As all long distance couples know, just visiting one another can take a huge toll on your pockets. There’s train, plane and bus tickets, luggage charges, hotel rates, and many other lovely charges.

While it is so worth it to visit the person you love, a lot of us just end up completely broke by the time our visits are over. And that’s just visiting one another! Closing the distance? That’s an even bigger change and it will most likely cost a lot more than a routine friendly visit. You both have to really take this knowledge into account when deciding your end date.

Here are some questions you should both discuss together:

  • How much will it cost for one or both of you to move to a new location?
  • Is moving to a new location something either of you can realistically afford to do?
  • How long will it reasonably take for you to save up money?
  • Will we be able to save up extra money if unexpected things occur?
  • Will you be able to get a job in the new location?
  • Will you be able to afford the cost of living in the new location?
  • How much will it cost to get your personal items get to the new location?
  • Will you hire a professional moving company?

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4. Leave room for change in your plans

No matter how diligent your plans, things can always come up or go wrong. Talking about potential hitches in your grand plan to be together is a wise thing to do. Sometimes it’s necessary to have a back-up plan, or even two. It’s a good idea to save up extra funds in case unexpected expenses or emergencies arise.

Here are some unexpected change in plan scenarios that might be applicable to you:

  • If flying to your new location, what will happen if there are flight delays or cancellations?
  • If driving, what will you do if you get a flat tire or in an auto accident?
  • How will you deal with your personal items being lost, or damaged?
  • If you will be renting or buying a home, how would you deal with sudden damage to your new residence?
  • What happens if you’re on your way to your rental and there is another tenant there?
  • How will you deal with a sudden rent increase?
  • How will you deal with any delay in your plans?

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5. Decide who will make the move

Talking about being together can be a really exciting thing. One day we’ll go to the park together, or eat out at a cafe everyday or listen to 80s songs in our pajamas with crazy hairstyles. Everything about being together at this point is through rose colored glasses.

Sometimes in the midst of all the “one days” and “some day soons,” we forget that one or both of us might have to make a really huge change to actually be together. Long distance couples who live countries or states apart have to decide who will move where. Which of you will be willing to leave everything they know for just one person?

It’s easy to just assume that the other person will be the one making the huge change -especially if you haven’t talked about this in depth. But when you start talking you might find that neither of you wants to leave your friends or family. What then?

Closing the distance will require a lot of sacrifice and compromise on the part of both you and your s/o. Don’t leave questions like these up in the air for too long. Talk about it.

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6. Consider the emotional costs

As I mentioned before, closing the distance means that you finally have that person you’ve loved for so long in your arms -but for some of us it also means that you will have to leave behind a lot of comfort and security.

Before you decide to move to be together -whether one person is moving to be with the other or you are both meeting/moving somewhere in the middle, consider these questions:

  • What am I leaving behind?
  • How will I cope with being away from my friends and family?
  • Will I make friends easily?
  • Is the culture different from my own?
  • How will I deal with culture shock?
  • How often will I visit my family?
  • Will I be able to afford to come back to visit my family at all?
  • Will my family be able to afford to come see me?
  • What about births, special occasions, deaths or medical emergencies?
  • Will you be able to rush home easily if these things occur?

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These questions will vary according to circumstance and sometimes the list of questions will grow, but it’s very important that you discuss them together.

Hopes and dreams can easily crash and burn when you don’t do your best to really think and plan things out. And that’s something you really don’t want to happen.

Again, nothing needs to be initially set in stone. Everything starts out with a rough plan, so don’t get discouraged if it feels or seems overwhelming the first time you really talk about it.

If you’re finding it hard to set one end date, there’s no rule that says you can’t have more than one! Some couples even have multiple end dates: The soonest they could close the distance, the most “realistic” well thought out date that they could close the distance and the longest “things didn’t really work out as soon as we thought” date.

Be flexible and open with one another. Talk about your dreams, hopes and expectations and eventually you’ll be that much closer to being together!

If you’re in an LDR, I’d love to hear how you set your own end date. You can share your tips with us by commenting below!

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9 comments

Defeating the distance, one day at a time — Josie Bungert April 3, 2014 - 5:36 pm

[…] something to look forward to even if school is kicking your butt or other issues at college arise. The light at the end of the tunnel is always a great thing to look to, and can save your […]

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10 Signs it’s time to end your Long Distance Relationship - LDR Magazine April 21, 2014 - 4:26 pm

[…] and your partner no longer feel the urge to visit one another anymore or worse –aren’t actively working towards an end date when you can finally and permanently be together, that is a big red warning sign that maybe your […]

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How We Decided to Close the Distance - LDR Magazine November 29, 2014 - 4:01 am

[…] that you are in a long distance relationship. Another thing is taking the leap and actually decide to eliminate the distance and live […]

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Dieula Marie August 2, 2015 - 1:56 am

I have been in LD relationship for 4 years, my boyfriend and I are so deeply in love, but right now i feel the pain. i miss him so much and more than ever in my life. we have not met during this 4 years but we do communicate online everyday. I talk to my boyfriend on how I feel. He shows me that he understands my concerns and feelings but we both know that it will take another couples years for us to meet. we both are not sure when or the exact dates. My boyfriend keeps telling me is going to try his very best to come to see me but nothing really happen. Although I know we both are not financially stable, sometimes I felt he is not trying his very best. In my part I just can’t because things are getting very complicated since i have left my country. i m in college, and have my mother to taking care of. Any Advice will be appreciate.
Do you think it is worth to stay in a LDRs without knowing the exact date that we both can occasionally meet again?

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CRS August 18, 2015 - 2:00 am

Hi Dieula, I’m in a similar situation.
My LDR boyfriend and I have been together for over three years and sometimes is very difficult. We dated for about four months before I moved to another state and country. I have visited him twice, but he never came to visit me. He plans, but something comes up, and he doesn’t make it. His major problem is money. He lost his job in October of 2013 and ever since he’s been struggling to survive. I kind of understand that, but sometimes it just bothers me. What I don’t like about him is that he doesn’t like talking about our future together because he says he can’t really make plans with me when his financial situations are really bad, however he plans it on his own what I think it’s unfair. He’s been telling me since I left that he really wants me to live with him( he never used the word “marriage” though), but when, how, I have no idea. I’ll be 30 in one day, and I don’t want to waste more three years of my life waiting for him to decide whenever is the best time for us to live together ( since he doesn’t use the words get married). I do love him, but I want someone who can love me, marry me, and have children with me before I get too old – for me it’s important to have kids before 35 for my own and their own safety. I’m just so confused.

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Elizabeth November 3, 2015 - 3:46 pm

I’m in mid 50s and my boyfriend is turning 60. We live 4 hrs. apart and he travels through my town about once a month. He is planning to retire next year. We had our first date 2 years ago. We met online and exchanged e mails for one month prior to our first date. It started slow just seeing each other about once a month then progressed to about 2 times a month. We have traveled together, we’ve been on two 2 week vacations and several weekend getaways. The first year I went to see him 4 times and he came to see me the rest. After a year I said I could not be making the trips so frequently. My car has 90000 miles, he makes probably 6 times what I make, and I am on a budget. So starting the second year he came to visit me more and I have only made one trip to see him. Everything has been going good. He travels alot on his job, and was combining some of business trips with scouting out future retirement locations he had heard about. He would frequently say things like “I can see us here someday”. In January I asked him what he was looking for and that led to me telling him I want to remarry someday. He said he could see me moving to his hometown next year and he asked if I would and I said yes. This February he said he loved me for first time and he says it every day now when we text or call. That made me very happy because he had never said the words before. We had even talked about how we would spend retirement;vacation time with our kids on the beach that we would have his kids for one week and mine for another. More frequent talk about “us” and the future. During our second year I have become restless and wanting to know more about where we are heading because if we are not going to end up together Im at the age where I cannot wait too long to change careers or possibly move to another state to be near my other child. Im not particularly fond of the town I live in, my previous husbands job brought us here. We have another trip planned in 5 months. I have dropped hints about looking for another job, not liking where I live, thinking about selling my house, and now it seems he does say anything anymore about our future. Five weeks ago we were on a weekend trip for a conference/vacation and he had set up an appointment with a realtor in Florida and we looked at some homes. I felt somewhat uncomfortable not knowing if it was for him or us. He also seems undecided about whether he will stay in his hometown or move to a new location after retirement. He changes his mind on that a lot. Anyway during that weekend I brought up our relationship, and it ended up I said it depends: am I going to be your wife next year? He said that he needed to be sure, I said are you not sure, and he said he was not . It hurt me so much I couldn’t enjoy myself the rest of the trip. We did not have a very happy time. It was very uncomfortable for me and there was no intimacy for us. After the trip he continues to text and calls and ends with love ya. he had shoulder surgery after our trip and is recuperating and will be back to see me in 2 weeks. I have set a deadline for after our trip in 5 months because I don’t want to end up in a ldr for too long. He knows what I want and he seems to either have cold feet, has changed his mind, or never had any intention of us being together in the first place. Its hard for me just to not care about a end date but he is also a good guy and I would hate to lose him. Would love to hear anyone’s thoughts.

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Lillian May 5, 2016 - 9:55 am

lI think 6 months is enough being apart before moving in together. I wasted 5 years of my life with future fakers, eveven married one of them and it was a fraud. I dont waste my time anymore. If someone truly loves us they will move mountains to be with you. I promise!

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Lillian May 5, 2016 - 10:10 am

I have been in a LDR now for 6 weeks. He knows I wont wait for many many many months having it like this. He agree not to wait too long before he invites me over. He wants me to see how it is to live in his country with him, so he will make it clear and to know I know I want to be there with him. I cant say loud enough that if someone truly loves you he will move mountain to be with you. There are no excuses or anything that can keep him away from you. If two really loves each other things are not complicated. Really it isnt.

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Nancy Buzenes February 27, 2018 - 1:09 am

Yes it’s be 3 months on 285th I love him will everything I have. I feel he does too.
But he suposably working on our future but won’t 5all about when how long just keeps saying soon.
That’s not good enough for me
I am starting to cry for him I miss him so much we talk everuyday sometimes 2 to 3 x a day he talks about me being his wife. ECT ECT but I guess I am trying to protect my Heart is so conning to be broken. But now it be better on end than later please advise please

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