4 Things No One Tells You About Long-Distance Relationships—Here’s the Ugly Truth

Things No One Tells You About Long-Distance Relationships. Girld with brunette hair sitting outside at a cafe table FaceTiming on her cell phone.
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Not even a week had passed since moving across the country before the curiosity kicked in, “How’s long-distance treating you?” friends and family pried. “It’s going great!” I’d respond with a blind hope, convinced that 2,777 miles had nothing on my relationship. I mean, if Lily Collins and Sam Claflin could make it work living on separate continents in Love Rosie, then surely a single continent relationship would be a piece of cake…no?

While the months chipped away, so did (what felt like) the foundation of our LDR. Arguments ensued, tears flowed and the distance between us, once just an idea, now felt palpable. I didn’t want a one-syllable answer when I asked, “How was work today?” I wanted the whole enchilada gosh darnit! No amount of “Oh, that’s going to be tough” could have prepared me for the rollercoaster I strapped myself into.

Finally reaching a rewarding state where we’ve figured out what works for us, I’ve realized that there are several things I wish I knew about LDRs. From bouts of loneliness to jealousy, here are four things no one tell you about long-distance relationships that I learned the hard way.

1. There’s Nothing Romantic About Logistics, But They’ll Save Your Relationship

Whether it’s an enticing job opportunity or a dire family matter that’s pulling you away, I’ve learned that talking brass tacks before jetting off with boxes in tow can save you both a great deal of confusion, exhaustive arguments and even money. As uncomfortable as it might be, discuss your expiration date early on—i.e., find out if the physical separation is a temporary or permanent situation. If you’re in it for the long haul, think long-term: How often you’ll visit each other, who will travel when and for for how long? It turns, “When will I get to see you?” to “I can’t wait to see you in three weeks!” Suddenly, you’ve unlocked peace of mind, opening the door for anticipation, excitement and a shared goal of reuniting.

2. It’s More Expensive Than You Think…

As someone who left New York City to save money (hello, I’ve got a future house to buy and a bucket list to fulfill), I admit that I was a little in over my head about the whole monetary thing. LDRs and travel are a package deal, baby. This means your future is chalk full of $300 roundtrip plane tickets, $30 Uber rides here and there, $150/night hotel bookings and $120 split dining bills (ya know, if you treat yourself). Basically, there’s no escaping the costly details. To avoid financial stress, create a plan to alternate visits, split costs and even meet in the middle for a romantic getaway.

3. Even “I’m NOT the Jealous Types” Will Be Tested

Easily broken and hard to mend, trust is a fragile component to any relationship (arguably more so for LDRs). While spending every waking minute together is clearly not possible (sorry lovebirds), it’s necessary to discuss what might happen when insecurities and jealous thoughts pop in. If he’s grabbing a drink at the bar with the boys or she’s going out dancing with friends and won’t check her phone often, staying cool as a cucumber isn’t always the easiest thing to do.

While these thoughts aren’t exclusive to long-distance relationships, they’re exacerbated when you’re a distance away as situations will naturally feel uncontrollable and out of reach. (It can happen to anyone, including those who swear they’re not the jealous this writer.) You may find comfort when your boyfriend tells you about that flirtatious girl in the café line, or their PSL order is all the jarring news your brain can handle today. But a little jealousy isn’t a dooming feeling to have in your relationship. In fact, it shows how much you care about a person. But to keep this yucky thought from running amuck, make sure there’s room for both people to express their feelings without receiving shame or guilt.

4. Nerves Are Normal

Let’s face this ugly truth: intimate moments are few and far between in LDRs, so you get used to being alone and independent fast. Feeling awkward or nervous when you reunite is completely normal—especially in the bedroom. After all, you’ve gone all those weeks, or even months, without any (erm...intimate) physical touch from them, so you may need to slow down, take a minute and let your brain register. Not to mention, all those thoughts running through your mind right before a visit, like, Did I forget to shave? Does he notice my pants fit me a little tighter? Should I kiss him now? Yeah, that’s a normal symptom of the sitch. Personally, I feel jittery every time I see my boyfriend after a long stretch of time, but I found that expressing how nervous I’m feeling can actually be a good thing and an endearing turn-on.

Remember, relationships are complex in nature. Whether you’re a seasoned LDR pro and know the ropes, or you’re a novice (like me), you’ll come to find that there’s constant room to work on yourselves as individuals and collectively as a couple. But I’ll let you in on a little secret, the reward is even better than the movies. Roundtrip ticket…booked.

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Associate Fashion Commerce Editor

Stephanie is a natural savant in the fashion, beauty, and dating & relationships beats. She graduated with a bachelor of arts at the University of San Diego, where she majored...