Navigating Long-Distance Relationships (LDR)

LDR, how to navigate Long distance relationships.
Navigating LDR (Long Distance Relationships)

In the age of online dating, long-distance relationships (LDRs) have made a comeback, though it’s different from the old pen-pal dating, e.g., Sarah, Plain and Tall. With technology, at least we can see and hear one another in real time. Online dating sites have made it very easy to see people we’re interested in who live quite a distance away, but, there are many things to consider before hopping into an LDR. 

Seeking God’s Guidance on LDRs.

Absolutely a Christian should be seeking God’s guidance for any relationship, and LDRs are no exception. In a way, if the relationship growth is intentional, a LDR may grow more quickly because so much time will be spent talking instead of activities. It may be tempting to just have enjoyable conversation, but try to get in in-depth discussions often so you know whether all the hurdles an LDR brings are worth it. 

It’s likely that one or both parties will determine what is too far early on in the relationship and work to keep emotional distance if the other person is too far away.  One might even just not interact with another who is outside their comfort zone. That’s better on each person’s heart than becoming close and then deciding an LDR is too difficult to navigate. How far is too far? There are many variables. 

Meeting for the first time.

In today’s LDRs, time together will, at first, be mostly via text, email, and video chats. Because scammers and cat fishers abound, find ways to check the other person out, so you know they are for real and on the up and up. If those go well, then the time comes to meet.

Will you choose to meet at one of your home territories or will you meet at some neutral place. Like a vacation spot?  Meeting at a neutral spot might allow you the freedom to get to know one another without the pressure of scrutiny from all your friends and family.

Regardless of which one you choose, for safety consider having a non-pressuring friend or family member with you, and have separate lodging if you meet at a neutral place. Be sure others at home know where you’re going, the name and contact information of the person you’re meeting, etc.

Expenses and time available for travel, as well as time away from commitments at home need to be factored in.  If time has to be taken off work, that adds to the expense of an LDR. The farther the travel, the higher the expense. And, these expenses will probably come up time and time again.

Where to stay

Once you progress to visiting at the other’s home, where will the one traveling stay? Early on in the relationship, it may be safer or more comfortable to stay at a hotel, rental, or even campground. As the relationship progresses, it may work out to stay with the other person’s friends or family.

From a Christian perspective, it’s good to remember that staying in the same house with the other person will bring a lot of temptation which might be tamped down by having someone else in the home – someone who doesn’t think sex outside of marriage is okay.

Regardless of where the couple expects to live, consider the benefits of both traveling to the other’s home base to meet their family and friends. This helps you see the other person in their normal environment.

Interactions with family and friends.

As with nearby relationships, getting to see how the other interacts with their family is important. People often let their guard down around friends and family, so you’ll be more likely to see the real person. Also, friends and family might “spill the beans” or tell interesting stories you wouldn’t hear otherwise.

In an LDR, it’s helpful to see if you can get along with the other person’s friends and family. The one who moves will most likely be leaving their nearby friends behind. We all need friends, and it’s logical that the first friends the one moving would make would be their spouse’s friends. Do you like their friends? Do you like their church?

Some couples have decided they will move to a new place so they are starting life together on even ground – neither having a home-field advantage.

Whoever moves may be leaving more than friends behind – they may be leaving family behind. How often will visits home be made? How will holidays be divided up among the family? If that family comes to visit, how comfortable are both of you with having them stay in your house. Or will you want them to get a hotel?  

Spending time together in a LDR

Getting time together can be difficult in a LDR. Though video chat can help, we all need actual time in the presence of the other to get a good idea of who that person is. Short trips to the other’s home may not be enough to get an understanding of the person as they normally live their life.

Having at least 2-3 weeks at least one time at each other’s home territory will give you a better idea how the person reacts and interacts with others. As well as their interactions with you when they are more comfortable around you.

Long distance dating worked for Cedric & Carly

Somethings to consider in an LDR which doesn’t come up in a nearby relationship are differences in climate, geography, cultures, or even laws. Especially if it’s a different country. If one is used to the beach and the couple will end up living in the desert. The beach person needs to think about such a drastic change and if they are really comfortable with it. 

Changes in cultures or countries can lead to confusing situations.  Decide ahead of time to ask before getting angry if a cultural norm has been broken.

Many people have navigated a LDR to happiness.  Just as with close dating relationships, some don’t make it to marriage, but the cost will probably be higher for an LDR. Judge the value of traveling this path based on the person at the end of the road. They just may be worth the cost.

God bless,

Debby Sapp

Certified Clinical Herbalist, Certified Women’s and Family Health Educator, Doula

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