I have been in a few long distance relationships over the last decade of my life and I have been through most of the issues and experiences associated with them. Be that as it may, all long long distance relationships have one goal, to bridge the gap between each other. In saying that, how long should you date long distance before moving?
You should date long distance for at least a year before moving because it takes a few months for people to show their true nature and for the foundation of a healthy relationship to develop. Impulsive decisions to move for a long distance relationship that is new mostly results in heartbreak and logistical issues down the line.
Ordinarily, this process would take place faster if a couple were dating in the same city and could see each other weekly.
They would face certain challenges sooner and progress through the honeymoon phase in a few months until they reach a point of knowing whether their relationship is for the long haul.
Unfortunately, this isn’t really available to people who are dating long distance.
And as much as texting or calls bridge the gap in distance, it cannot replace valuable time spent in person.
Moving cities or countries is a huge deal and you should know your partner well enough before deciding to take the leap.
The last thing you want is to find yourself in a new place with a partner who is horrible and a relationship that has died soon after you arrive.
Leaving behind your home, family, friends, job and surroundings should come as a natural progression of a long distance relationship and not a spontaneous or impulsive decision.
By planning for this move appropriately, even if the relationship fails, you will be okay and you’ll survive because you’ll have plans in place.
On the flip side, dating long distance for years before moving can have its downsides too.
As I’ve said before, determining whether or not you are truly compatible for a long term relationship with someone requires time spent together in person.
There’s no way around it.
Talking about it is much more different than actually living it.
I do believe that long distance relationships can work. I really do. I’ve been in my fair share of long distance relationships.
When I examine why they failed, it was generally caused by us rather than the distance.
One could argue that perhaps the distance affected the way we behaved within those relationships and you would be right.
But, I think the effect of distance is overrated.
Long distance relationships usually fail because the parties within the relationships fail themselves or their relationship.
If you enter a long distance relationship with a goal, a plan and a rational outlook, much of the challenges can be overcome with communication and effort.
Be that as it may, you need to meet your long distance partner for a significant amount of time before moving.
I would recommend having spent at least weeks in total time spent together over the course of the year before moving.
The first 3 – 5 trips to each other are not a good indicator of the dynamic between the two of you.
During that time, you will both experience the honeymoon phase that is drawn out due to the nature of your relationship.
It’s only after a handful of trips together do you start having more of a real relationship and experiencing each other outside of the best version that is projected during those early days of spending time together in person.
You’ll have some arguments in person that may spill over into the time when you’re both apart by the distance.
How you navigate those situations and come back from it will greatly influence the date in which you should move.
The one exception to all of this is if you previously knew each other and spent time together in person before entering a relationship.
That makes a big difference because you would already know each other quite well.
You’d probably have a good amount of trust that existed and it wouldn’t be like you’re relocating to be with someone you’ve only met a handful of times.
In this case, you could move in half the time, so long as you have made proper arrangements and you have a backup plan on what you can do if the relationship doesn’t work out.
Other than that, I would highly recommend that you wait at least a year before moving to another city or country.
Here’s a quick checklist to use when trying to determine when to move for your long distance relationship.
- Are we in love?
- Does this relationship have a future?
- Do we have a similar vision for a life together?
- Can I find a job in the place that I’d be moving to?
- Do I know my partner well enough to move for them?
- Does he or she want me to move as much as I want to?
- Can I afford to take care of myself if the relationship fails?
- Is it safe for me to move?
- Do we know each other for at least a year?
- Can I trust him or her?
- Am I moving because I want to or because my partner is leaving me with no choice?
If you use this checklist, I’m pretty certain that you’ll come to the right conclusion on when to move.
Related post: 12 Long distance relationship problems & how to fix them
Things to consider before moving for your long distance relationship
1. Accommodation and living arrangements
Given how big of a step this is for your relationship and yourself, it’s imperative that you have proper living arrangements planned before the move.
Make a decision on whether you’re staying together or in your own place.
Find out whether you’d be staying in the company of others, like his or her family members.
It can be quite jarring and stressful to live in a house with your partner’s family when you haven’t spent much time with them.
I think it’s important to establish some relationships with them beforehand to improve the transition to their home.
Additionally, be sure to find out what your partner’s expectations of you are.
The last thing you want is to end up in another country with a partner who treats you like a child or like a slave.
2. Work and finances
Despite moving for a relationship, you do not want to be in a different place without any money of your own.
Relying on your partner can lead to many issues, including codependency.
That, in and of itself, can ruin a healthy relationship.
Attempt to find yourself a job or side hustle that can create an income for you in that area.
Additionally, have a little savings pocket that you can rely on in case things don’t work out and you need to hold up in some place for a while until you can move back home or find a new place to call home.
3. Lifestyle compatibility
Life in different countries or with someone else can be drastically different than what you expect.
It could be something you absolutely love or it may be something that you can’t handle.
Thing is, before moving to your partner, you should already have an idea of what their lifestyle is like and whether you can handle it.
The reverse is true as well.
As long as the two of you are open to creating a lifestyle together that works for the two of you, things will move along much better than just adopting one or the other’s entire lifestyle.
4. Trust and honesty
If the average relationship within the same city requires an enormous amount of trust and honesty to survive, I would say that a long distance relationship requires double that amount.
This is why you should place integrity at the top of your list of requirements for a partner.
Without high integrity, your relationship is a ticking time bomb whether you’re long distance or living together.
Upping and moving to your partner is not a feeble matter. It’s a huge investment of love and faith into someone and into the relationship.
Be sure that you’re doing it with someone who is honest and trustworthy.
You’re not going to change him or her just by moving closer.
Knowing that you can trust your partner will create the safety you need and deserve to make such a big move for the relationship.
As I’ve said above, you will not change someone just by spending more time with them unless they want to change.
Even then, you can’t make them, you can only influence or inspire them to change.
By saying this, I am of the opinion that commitment will be tested long distance.
Those who are truly committed will remain faithful whether you’re separated by distance or not. Otherwise, the chances of the relationship surviving is slim to none.
The reason I bring up commitment is because I want you to be sure that you’re relocating for someone who is as committed to your relationship as you are.
If you’re willing to relocate your entire life to the relationship, they should make you a priority when you do and not treat the relationship casually.
6. Relationship goals
I don’t know where you stand on the topic of marriage but it’s something that I consider in all my relationships.
I would not enter a relationship with someone unless I have the intention of marrying them.
Moving is one big step but there should be more to it.
You ought to be moving to a relationship that has loads of room for growth, maturity and a future.
It would be fruitless to move only for someone who is casually dating you and not actually interested in developing a long term serious relationship with you.
People who are struggling as individuals tend to fail at goal setting.
They undervalue the importance of goals and how it provides direction, inspiration and healthy expectations of them to grow.
Similarly, a relationship needs goals for the very same reason.
Have a good and honest conversation with your partner about where this relationship is headed.
If they’re on the same page about relationship goals, then it’s worth the move.
Related post: The only long distance relationship advice you need
If I was forced to put a number on how long should you date long distance before moving, I would recommend 12 months as an ideal period of dating before relocating.
This gives you ample amount of time to truly connect with your partner, develop a deeper bond and assess their commitment to the relationship.
If by the end of a year the two of you are still desperately wanting to be together and the relationship has been progressing as best as it can amidst long distance, then it’s worth moving because you would have a pretty good idea of who your partner is by this time and the quality of your relationship.
With that being said, I hope you found this article on how long should date long distance before moving to be insightful and helpful. If you have any experience or thoughts regarding this topic, please feel free to share them with me by visiting the comment section below.