10 Questions To Ask Before Starting A Long-Distance Relationship
It's a regular day and you realize that you're constantly thinking, feeling, and imagining one person that has been captivating your mind for weeks, if not months. You want to start a relationship but recognize that distance would be a part of the equation. You start to question yourself as an individual and you wonder; how they would feel about being with you, without having you physically present?
You wonder how the relationship is going to work, what are the big plans, and the future intentions? Even more so, you begin to wonder what are the individual goals that you both have for the next 5 – 10 years? In light of this, we thought we could help you out by providing 10 questions that you should ask your significant other before starting a long-distance relationship:
Question #1 Ask your significant other (and yourself) if in the next five years do you see yourself getting married and having kids?
These questions can be asked in any order; however, we believe that an important step in solidifying your relationship is to understand each other's needs. You and your partner need to be aligned in what your relationship is striving to achieve and know how to mediate if you have opposing answers. Marriage and kids are huge responsibilities and should not be taken lightly. Is this something you can both find a middle ground to compromise or is it a deal-breaking situation if you cannot agree on the answer?
The second part of this question is to understand the timeline in which you’d like these series of events to occur. If you are older, significantly younger, or even the same age as your significant other, you may have the same goals, but the timing of those goals may differ. This could cause small amounts of friction that can gradually grow into a harsher consequence, especially if you wanted kids first and marriage second but your partner wants the opposite.
Question #2 Where do you want to live in the next five years?
Some people thrive in a long-distance relationship and will continue their long-distance relationship even past 5, 10, 20 years, which works amazing for them. For others, a distance relationship is a temporary state, and the goal is to eventually live and settle down completely with each other. If you do not plan to be in a long-distance relationship for a long period of time or for the rest of your life, then you need to understand where both and your significant other plan to be in the next 5 years. You both need to have a clear idea of where you see yourselves in your career, after you’ve finished school, and or which one of you will move (if moving is necessary)?
This is important because you need to start pivoting your life so that it can not only accommodate a long-distance relationship in the moment but also you set up the foundation for the long-distance to end. There needs to be a consensus on what will happen next in order for the foundation in both of your lives to be laid.
Question #3 How long is this long-distance relationship going to last?
Some couples, as mentioned earlier, can be in a long-distance relationship for a long / permanent period of time and both individuals can thrive in the distance relationship. However, if you are not like that then you must understand how long is TOO long. Are you going to continue the long-distance relationship after one year, two years, three years? Or until one or both of you become uncomfortable with how long you've been in a distance relationship? A follow up question to this one is:
Question #4 How much time can you spend without seeing each other?
Both you and your partner need to know each other's mental pain and tolerance levels. Can you go 2 months, 6 months, a year without seeing each other? Can you both function healthily within that distance and how long are you willing to keep separating? Your relationship should add to your life rather than being an unhealthy distraction that drains your emotional well-being. Although, you may miss your partner, your stress and anxiety about the relationship should remain at a controllable and healthy level to you.
Whether you and your partner have decided to see each other every other weekend or every 6 months, this should be an agreed-upon timeline that both aim to stick to as much as possible. When you have milestones and goals set up for your relationship it makes the journey much easier because you both know where you are going and how long it will take to get there. With a distance relationship, knowing when you will see each other again gives you something to look forward to and keeps the momentum of the relationship stronger.
Question #5 Are you open to an open relationship? & What counts as cheating?
Everyone is different, therefore, every couple in a relationship will have varying degrees of what is acceptable and unacceptable. Some couples need to engage in physical activities and need to satisfy their sexual frustrations. In this case, the relationship may be leaning towards a long-distance open relationship, while others may want complete monogamy. However, it is important to make a decision that feels right to both you and your partner. All aspects of your relationship should be defined by both of you and most importantly you don't need to tell anybody if you don’t want to.
Keep everything comfortable between you two but understand what counts as cheating for each person. Does liking the opposite sex's photos on social media count as cheating, does flirting with other people count as cheating? Is cheating only physical or can it be both physical and emotional? These questions will help you understand each others’ mindsets and comfortability. Trust is a major factor in any relationship; therefore, it is best to have this conversation so both parties are not assuming what is or is not okay in the relationship. You will not be around your significant other in person to verify or check anything they’ve said to you, therefore, you need solid trust and open lines of communication to help bridge the gap that distance causes.
#6 Do you trust each other?
Following our previous questions, this one may seem rather simple and have an easy answer but we still think you should take some time to think it through. Trust in any relationship is one of the fundamental components of having a healthy and strong connection. However, insecurities, doubts, and circumstantial experiences can plague the mind, especially when you think your significant other is moving oddly. Add distance to this equation and a lot of scenarios can become amplified, this may cause you to overreact and place a burden on your significant other even though they’ve done nothing wrong. Can you put aside these trusts issues and firmly believe in your partner?
On the other hand, are you or your significant other displaying or acting in a manner that could be negatively interpreted by the other person? Do you both make each other feel secure in the relationship by utilizing open communication with transparency to further the level of trust that you both share?
Question #7 What counts as lying?
Now, this is similar to our previous questions but runs in a separate direction. We want to explore how you and your partner communicate and what needs to be understood before starting a long-distance relationship. What counts as lying? The definition of a lie is to make an untrue statement with the intent to deceive the other person. But what about being forthcoming? Transparent? Slight omission of the truth? What counts as lying and how much can your partner simply say “Well you never asked, so I never told?” To some, these are minute details that can be easily fixed or ignored. For others, it counts as lying if you aren’t forthcoming with information.
Moreover, it is also the responsibility of the receiver of the truth to be able to take the information that their partner has given them. For example, if your partner is being truthful and honest about a situation, your negative reaction to their honesty can make them feel as though telling you the truth is too difficult and they want to avoid that.
Additionally, timing matters. Some people like to be told a situation just after it happens, others don’t mind if some time has passed as long as it's been told. A long-distance relationship consists of a lot of questioning and answering periods “What did you do today?” “Where did you go?” What happened?” this is because without being around each other you have no idea what happens in the other person’s life and you’re only way of knowing is through open communication.
Question #8 How do you feel about texting all day, every day?
There are relationships, regardless of the distance, where couples want to text, video chat, or call all day/every day. On the other hand, there are other couples who prefer to have their space and will speak at the end of the day or whenever they have a free moment. Both methods, or even a mixture of the two, can work seamlessly and it is just a matter of preference between you and your significant other. As always, communication is key, therefore, it's essential that both you and your partner understand and agree upon the method of communication and what you expect from each other.
For instance, reassuring your partner of your schedule and what it means if you do not get in contact with them right away or even after several hours. However, as mentioned above this is not for every couple, as the same experience can see a multitude of reactions from different people. Therefore, you need to know what works well for both of you. If messaging all day works, then let it work. If messaging late at night or early morning works, then let it work. One or both of you may need to change some behaviors to match your significant other, especially if you have a large time zone difference.
Question #9 What do your family and friends think about long-distance relationships?
To be perfectly honest, a lot of people do not believe in long-distance relationships and think that they won’t work out. An important question to ask yourself, your partner, and those closest to you is how they perceive long-distance relationships and in addition, how do they perceive you in a long-distance relationship. With a distance relationship, you will no longer be with your partner and will most likely be surrounded by family and friends. If the family and friends of you or your significant other do not believe in your relationship, because of the distance, they may begin to say negative things about the relationship, your partner, or both.
If you and your partner are not careful, you may begin to believe in their words and start to emotionally distance yourself from your significant other. The overall question becomes, can you withstand negative commentaries and believe in the relationship you have emotionally invested in? If possible, try to speak with your loved ones and bring awareness to how important this relationship is to you and what you expect for them in how they treat your relationship.
Question #10 What habits are you willing to change?
Long-distance relationships are a lifestyle. They require a lot of communication using technology and a lot of traveling which can be exhausting. There are emotional blocks that physical distance can bring, and it becomes ten times harder to solve an argument when the other person is not around you. As with other relationships, long-distance is a commitment and should be something that adds joy to your life. You don’t want to feel as though your relationship is preventing you from doing something or even worse if you have regrets because of the relationship. Your relationship may require that you stay up late in order to speak with your significant other (due to time zone differences), this would cause you to either be super tired in the morning or wake up later than you normally would.
This may seem small but it’s the little things that we need to constantly change that can eventually become the burden that we hate. In the beginning, everything may be alright, but in times of stress or frustrations, you may start thinking that you have changed things more to fit the relationship than your partner has. It is important that you keep a realistic approach to your relationship and build habits that you know you can maintain, rather than putting yourself in a position where you can’t sustain your new habits, and this places additional pressure on the relationship.
We hope that these 10 questions act as a guide that will lead to meaningful, deep conversations between you and the person you love. Even if you’re already in a relationship, it’s still a great idea to speak to your partner about some of the challenges or differences you both may have.
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