Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Is it too Soon to Start a Long Distance Relationship?”

I met a great guy about six weeks ago and we began dating, exclusively, immediately. He’s 31 and I’m 25. Just when things couldn’t be going any better, I found out he will be headed overseas in February for work. He will be gone for about six months, possibly longer. For various reasons, it would be nearly impossible for me to visit and he is not allowed to come home. It’s practically a deployment.

At the time he leaves, we will have been together for four months. Is it too soon to consider having a long distance relationship? We have discussed our options already and have decided to decide together at a later date. What should we do? — LDR Already?

No, it’s absolutely not too early to discuss having a long distance relationship. My relationship with my now-husband began as an LDR, so we didn’t even have the benefit of months together before introducing distance between us and I’d say we still managed to be pretty successful as a couple (as evidenced by five and half years together, two and a half years of marriage, and one cute baby). In order for you and your boyfriend — and anyone else considering an LDR — to be successful, you need several things, including an end date, which it sounds like you have.

Six months isn’t very long at all. If you really like this guy and have potential for a future together, six months is just a drop in the bucket. But that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to make it work. You have to want to make it work and you have to be on the same page. Take a look at my “15 Tips for Surviving a Long Distance Relationship” article and in addition to establishing an end date, pay particular attention to number three: establishing ground rules. Will you two remain monogamous while you’re apart or will you date other people in the interim? It’s extremely important you agree on this point. And while it sounds like you won’t be able to visit each other (tip number four), hopefully you can use technology (like Skype) to keep in close contact while you’re apart.

One other thing that will benefit you as a couple is focusing on your present. Don’t let the threat of whatever may or may not happen in the future ruin what you’ve got right now. Enjoy the time you have together and try not to worry too much about the day he leaves and how you’ll get through six months (or more) apart. These months you have together are a gift and if you treat them as such and try not to fret about what the future holds, you’ll have a much stronger foundation to withstand the distance between you.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

11 comments… add one
  • avatar

    silver_dragon_girl December 21, 2011, 8:48 am

    Absolutely agreed with Wendy. Go for it, but make sure you’re both on the same page about everything. If he seems lukewarm about the LDR, I would advise against trying it. But if you’re both committed and eager there’s really no reason not to. Six months is totally doable. 🙂

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  • avatar

    Sonia December 21, 2011, 5:08 pm

    I’m also in an LDR that has always been long distance (4 years and going strong) It’s tough, but you will need to just talk about it, not just now, but all the time. Like any realtionships, you need to keep the lines of communication open and as things arise, address them.

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    WatersEdge December 23, 2011, 8:35 am

    My husband and I were together for less than 2 months before we became an LDR. These things happen! And 6 months isn’t that bad, really.

    On top of Wendy’s advice, I’d like to add, if he’s wary of an LDR, don’t push the issue. I’ve known a few couples who “weren’t staying together,” but then stayed in contact because they missed each other so much and were back together pretty much right away.

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    bethany December 23, 2011, 9:37 am

    Since there’s a clear end date already set, I’d say go for it! it’s not like he’s moving away for an undetermined period of time.
    But like the others have said, if he’s not into it, don’t try to force it to work.

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  • avatar

    Valerie December 23, 2011, 11:10 am

    Definitely go for it! My now husband and I became an LDR after about 4 months of dating also (he was sent away for 5 months). We knew that it was coming from day 1, but we just focused on the present (excellent advice, Wendy!) and continued developing our relationship as if his impending assignment away wasn’t happening. We reassessed our relationship about 2 weeks before he was set to leave and decided that we were both in it for the long run and we discussed how we would proceed. 6 months apart is definitely do-able if both parties are committed to keeping up with the relationship. These kinds of situations are what Skype was made for! Good luck, LW! 🙂

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  • avatar

    ChemE December 23, 2011, 2:43 pm

    Like everyone else said, I’d see how receptive he is and if you are willing to try it out. It’s completely possible.
    My husband and I did long distance while he served his term in the Marines. We dated for about 6 months before he shipped out. We managed being on opposite sides of the country and a deployment through our 4 years. We did see each other at least every 3-4 months, and never longer (except for the last time right before he was done, saving up leave time so he could leave sooner) and at first we wrote each other letters, but once he was done in Iraq, we got cell phones and talked almost every evening.
    I won’t lie and say it’s easy, it depends on whether you trust each other and the rules you agree on beforehand. But if you agree, there’s no reason not to!

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    6napkinburger December 23, 2011, 2:47 pm

    I did exactly this. Exactly. down to the 4 months.

    4 months into a whirlwind relationship (a whirlwind start, exclusive since the first moment of meeting, basically) I was to go away for 4 -5 months. The same amount of time we had been together. Were we crazy? Was I going to miss out on enjoying the place I was because I had a boyfrined back how? What should we do? LDR? Don’t ask don’t tell? “we were on a break!”? Could our relationship survive a messup? Should we make sure that if a messup occurred, it wasn’t a horrible breach of trust? We talked about it all.

    And we came up with — just do it. full on LDR. And you know what? It wasn’t that hard. I mean, it was hard. It sucked. And we had one visit in the middle, which you don’t get to have. But skype REALLY helps. When you can see them and smile and you don’t ahve to say “what” because you can see them talking, and skype sex, and all that… it’s doable. And its free.

    We thought we had found the “one”; we thought that we were done, and what was 5 months in the span of a lifetime together? So if you think you found a keeper, if you think he’s the real deal, and you KNOW he thinks you are, then do it. If not, it kind of doesn’t matter what you do, you know?

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  • avatar

    Cathinka December 23, 2011, 5:13 pm

    Go for it. I met my boyfriend two months before I moved across the contry to study, never regretted staying together.

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    Kerrycontrary December 23, 2011, 9:35 pm

    Do it! Especially if you think this is someone special. You don’t want to look back and say “what if”.

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    GatorGirl December 23, 2011, 10:37 pm

    As everyone else has said, do it! Follow Wendy’s advice on ground rules etc, but if he is on board go for it!!

    My BF and I only had 6 months in the same town before going long distance- for 3 years! We just celebrated our 4th anniversary last weekend and will be getting married in the fall. If you know, you know.

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  • theattack

    theattack December 24, 2011, 3:00 am

    I’ve been in an LDR for a year and a half (plus I’ve had plenty of experience with this before too). The most important question you should ask yourself is just about how serious you are with him. You don’t have to decide if he’s the one or start picking out china patterns. You just have to decide if you want to give it a shot for now. If you would want to continue dating him without the distance, then it’s worth a shot at least. But the thing about distance is that you can’t be very casual. The nature of a monogamous LDR does require more of a commitment than other casual relationships, because it requires more effort. Is he worth the effort to you?

    And I can tell you with certainty that if you two make it through the distance (at least with no infidelities or crazy indiscretions), then your relationship will be much, much stronger when it’s over. If your relationship can handle distance, you will know that you can handle most anything together, and it will be a true confirmation of your love and commitment (whatever level of commitment that is for you).

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