Tips for Long Distance Relationships
by Dr. Randy Gilchrist, LDS Psychologist
www.LDSdimension.com FREE Online Dating
As single members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, it is preferable to date fellow active members that will hopefully, ideally, lead to an eventual temple marriage. However, unless you live in an area where there are many fellow local single members—Utah, Idaho, Arizona for example—it may be difficult to find, date, and marry an active member. Therefore, unless you are able to move to such an area, many single members have become willing to expand their dating zone beyond driving distance to plane distance.
The main advantage of being willing to engage in a long-distance relationship is that it immediately broadens your potential pool of eligible dating partners, giving you a much better chance to date and marry sooner, and of course to find a better match. Online dating makes such long-distance introductions easier than ever before to find and begin. The main disadvantages of long-distance relationships are the cost and time involved, communication difficulties/misunderstandings, as well as the insecurities and frustrations that naturally follow when apart from each other. Accordingly, here are some tips and ideas to successfully navigate this kind of relationship:
Long Distance Relationship Tips:
1) Budget: Plan your trips early. Figure out the most affordable plane tickets or driving options. If needed, you might need to limit or cut out other expenditures to support the monetary commitment of long-distance dating. However, in case plans change or there is a break up, you may consider buying insurance on the plane tickets so you can get refunds if needed.
2) Have regular communication when apart: As long as both partners are feeling strongly into the relationship, try to maintain some form of communication with each other daily to compensate for not physically being able to see each other. Text, email, Facetime or Skype, even old-fashioned snail mail letters are all options. Regular communication will help keep bonds strong and growing, as well as help lessen the natural insecurities and even paranoia that can happen when apart. Technology today allows for a far greater ability to stay connected long distance than ever before. Take advantage of your options.
3) Regular Visits: If you are able to visit each other one weekend a month at least, that would be ideal. However, budget issues and other time issues/responsibilities (kids, work, etc) may make this difficult to achieve. So, if you can’t visit each other at least once a month, please at least try to visit every other month. If you are not able to physically meet every other month, it is my opinion that that is not enough face-to-face time together to really nourish and nurture a long-distance relationship. In such cases I recommend finding someone else to date. However, of course, this is not a hard and fast rule, and individual situations may vary.
4) Keep Your Sexual Boundaries: It is very understandable how long distance get-togethers can and often do involve violations of the law of chastity. Long distance couples rarely see each other and hormones, passions, and other feelings can erupt and put you both at risk of moral problems. Understandable, but not excusable. So, to minimize your risk of getting into trouble and needing to confess to the bishop, be careful with the places you allow yourself to be with your partner. Be careful with and minimize being alone in private together (where, of course, trouble is most likely). For more ideas and information about maintaining sexual boundaries, see: https://www.ldsdimension.com/articles/keeping-the-law-of-chastity-while-dating-156/
5) Be Honest: Some people in long distance relationships are “open”, meaning, it is understood that either side can date other local singles while dating each other as well. Other long-distance relationships are “committed”, meaning, both sides agree to only date each other. The important thing here is that whatever your arrangement is, be open and clear about it. Communicate and decide together. Even more important here is to be honest about what you are doing. If you agree to date others, there is no need to discuss dating specifics with others unless at any point you decide to be committed to the local partner—at which time there is a need to break up. Conversely, if you agree you are a committed couple, stay faithful and do not date others. Broken trust in a long-distance relationship is difficult to recover from and may upend the entire thing.
In Genesis, the Lord says “it is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). It is good to be looking to date and marry as a single member of the church. And this may require becoming open to long-distance relationships to give the best chance for members to connect. Follow these ideas to give yourself the best ability possible to make such relationships a success. It can definitely be worth it. Because “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11
P.S. If you can questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|2019-02-11||Randy Gilchrist||Dating, Healthy relationships|
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to email@example.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).