When it comes to any relationship, there are always important decisions to make. When to move in together, when to get married, whether or not to have children – to name just a few. But in a long distance relationship, these decisions are even more important, and can often be even more difficult to make. This is through no fault of our own, but the circumstances we find ourselves in. It is one of the more difficult and stressful aspects of long distance dating.
There are even some decisions that are unique to couples with miles between them. These usually revolve around who will sacrifice what for the relationship, who will make the ultimate move, and even when to apply for visas. So, it is important then to ensure that you are making decisions fairly; that what you are choosing is right for you both. We have put together this guide to show you some of the things you should consider when making such decisions long distance, and hopefully to help you with the process.
Discuss options with your partner
As soon as you know that a decision needs to be made, the first step is to explore all of your options. Where possible, you should try to talk over all of your options with your partner. It is possible that they have considered some that you have not, or even have a different view on which is the most appropriate solution. It is rare that you will ever be put in a situation where the answer is clear cut, so to discuss all avenues open to you, and how you feel about them both is an important step.
This will negate any feelings of resentment later in the decision making process. Even if it is a decision that affects only one of you, such as whether or not to take a promotion, you should try to include your long distance partner in that conversation so that they do not feel isolated from your life. There is no worse feeling than your knowing your partner has not taken your feelings into account, or even worse, does not value your opinion.
Consider the impact on you both
Any decision that you make will have an impact on both of you. Quite often, long distance relationship decisions will have a significantly greater impact on one partner than the other. The most obvious example of this is when it comes to discussing who will make the move to close the gap. In this scenario, one partner will have to leave pretty much their whole life behind and start afresh, while life continues as normal for the other.
In cases like this, try to take account of all of the factors you can think of. Who wants to move? Is it easier for one partner to move than the other? What will you do to make your partner’s transition into a new town, country or even continent easier? Make sure that you weight up the pros and cons of your actions and decide on the outcome that makes you both the happiest.
Be mindful of the effect the distance has
Distance has an unfortunate way of amplifying emotions. Not being together for important events or decisions can be especially difficult, and it is important to consider this when you and your partner are trying to come to a decision of your own. We all struggle with feeling alone, isolated and sometimes even stressed by the distance. In times when you are discussing important issues, such as the next step in your lives, these emotions can be amplified even further.
So, try to make sure that you remember this. Think before you say anything that you might regret, and try to be empathetic with your partner’s point of view. There are always two sides to any story, and something that you might not think much of, may mean a great deal to your partner. So long as you both stay calm, rational and empathetic throughout the decision making process, you will make it a significantly easier task.
Learn to compromise
Compromise is a word that all long distance couples should be familiar with. It is an integral part of a long distance relationship. You may already have to compromise on how often you can see or speak to your partner, how much you spend in order to save up to visit them, or even which life events you are able to be with them for. And in most cases, new decisions will lead to new compromises.
Once again, the most prominent example is when deciding who will make the final move. It is obvious that one of you will be leaving friends and family behind to live with your partner. So, to make it work, you should ask yourself what you can compromise on to make that move easier on your partner. Perhaps you set aside more money so you can visit their friends and family more often, or perhaps you work less so you are able to spend more time with them while they are settling in. The important thing is to make sure that whatever decision you come to, you try to meet in the middle where possible, and compromise wherever you can.
Decide which is most appropriate for you both
Finally, as you finish discussing all of your options with your partner, this is what any decision in a long distance relationship boils down to. Which option is most appropriate for you both? This is where you must take into account all the factors you have discussed, and try to make a reasonable decision that you are both comfortable with. Sometimes, one decision may work out better for one partner than the other. But instead of resenting it, bear it in mind for the next time you have to make a decision.
If your partner has moved across the globe to live with the other, then it is only fair that you try to make an effort to provide them with company. If you are taking a promotion which will mean you’ll have less time to speak throughout the day, then try to make sure the time that you do get to yourselves is extra special. At the end of the day, others may question the decision you reached, but all that matters is that you and your partner are both happy with it.
So, those are our top five tips for making a decision in a long distance relationship. A lot of what we discussed is similar to how you would make decisions in a close proximity relationship, but there are just more factors to take into account when you have extra miles between you. Some of the most prominent include time differences, travel expenses, and closing the distance. But, so long as you bear this advice in mind when going through this process, and so long as you communicate openly and effectively with your partner, you should be able to make the right decisions, that leave you both happy and satisfied.