Long distance relationships (LDR) are getting more common in this day and age. People move abroad for studies, work and so forth and this opens doors to new experiences and even new people, with whom some we eventually fall in love with. But it is also normal for people to not settle in a place permanently and after some time move on to another location This can be tricky when we are leaving someone behind (or are left behind), but sometimes it can be beyond our control: visa runs out and we have to leave, we go to further our studies, we get transferred for work etc.
I for one can speak from experience. I met my wife while I was studying in Australia; she had been in Australia since her teens with her entire family. At that point of time I had little to almost no thought of coming back to Malaysia till I felt the call of God to return to serve. This led to us having to be in a long distance relationship for 3 years (we have been dating for 7 years) up till the point we got married. Below are some of the things I believe can make a LDR work.
1. HAVE A STRONG FOUNDATION
Building a relationship and trust takes time. My wife and I were dating for 4 years before I had to go - so we had time to get to know one another. When I was in college I got into a LDR too, but we were only friends for a month or two and together for a month before she had to go off. Sometimes, it may be wiser to not get into any serious commitment if one party has to go somewhere soon. This is not to say that it will not succeed, but it does make things harder.
2. HAVE AN END GOAL
Ultimately, nobody wants to be in limbo in their relationship forever. You would want to be together eventually and having an idea of when that would happen helps A LOT. This goes without saying that obviously both of you have to agree on a same place (which sometimes requires one party to compromise). Having a clear timeline and an agreed location is something that can get you by during the hard times and a goal to work towards to.
3. HAVE YOUR OWN LIFE
This is quite important, as you really do not want your life to be centred around Skype calls and FaceTime sessions (especially if you live in opposite ends of the Timezone). Keeping busy not only takes your mind off missing your partner, but it is a good opportunity to pursue your own interests.
4. GIVE EACH OTHER SPACE
This is related to (3.) and trust has to play a big part in it. Being in a LDR naturally means that you cannot keep track of your partner's whereabouts or activities; and being extremely suspicious and investigative would not help your relationship. Having said that, if you struggle with being secure about your relationship, a LDR is definitely not for you. By all means make plans to stay in touch via Skype and FaceTime - but apart from that let them (and yourself) live!
5. PLAN VISITS
This is probably more of a "good to have" rather than a "need to have." Visits are always good, and flights are a lot more affordable than they have ever been. Frequent visits are not always possible as I understand budget and schedule constraints, but I do advise planning once or twice a year.
LDRs are never the best thing in the world, but I have survived it and now that I am married to her I can say I have succeeded at it! Hope you got something of this article and if you are in a LDR I pray you guys will make it. :)