Dear Anon-O-Box: How Do I Prevent Long-Distance Relationship Disasters?

Dear Anon-O-Box,

I was in a LDR for over a year and we’d discussed me moving there in late 2011. Not moving in with her (I’ve seen that blow up) but me moving there. When I got a layoff notice last month I decided now was the time and focused my job search there.

Last week I got a great job offer there, accepted it, and this week she dumped me?

How do you work a LDR so that you don’t wind up moving where you know no one after the deal is broken?

- LDR Disaster

e answers:

Dear LDRD,

Ouch. My apologies for the untimely dumping.  But congrats on the great job!

You either picked exactly the right person or exactly the wrong person to ask for advice regarding long-distance dating. Allow me to tell you about my various experiences with moving to/for a significant other so you can learn from my failure. :-)

LDR #1: I’d been with S for a bit over a year. We had plans to move to NC together from NY after I graduated, since his parents lived there. We broke up shortly before graduation and I decided I’d move anyway. With a mix of a poor job market, no car, and no money, it turned out to be an awful move for me. I dated a bit there (thank goodness, or there were nights I wasn’t going to get dinner!) but only ended up with one friend outside of work. Then I met D…

Lesson: Moving to a city when you don’t have a job there is generally a Really Bad Idea.

LDR #2: Moved to FL to be with D (and escape the crap life I had in NC). We dated for nearly 3 years, during which time I landed a job teaching, which I kept for 6 years. I also joined a social group for an interest my boyfriend and I didn’t share, which introduced me to lots of people, who became my social circle after D & I broke up.

Lessons: Jobs are good. Use Meetup.com and other websites to connect with like-minded people. Building a new social circle can take time, but you need to start somewhere. You can also start the process before you move to a new city. I know quite a few Friendly Local Game Stores that have a forum for customers to chat and schedule games.

LDR #3: I was dating M, who lived halfway across the country from me. We flew back and forth to see each other on long weekends. I loved him and wanted us to live together, but not where he lived.  I said I’d move anywhere else. He could move to me, we could move to Austin, or Phoenix or anywhere. But it became clear he wasn’t going to leave his hometown. Things fell apart and we broke up.

Lesson: Communication is key. I feel like we both stopped talking about the moving issue because we weren’t ready to hear each other’s thoughts on it. From what I’ve heard from other folks in LDRs, they seem to go out with a whimper, mainly due to a lack of the constant stream of communication that happens when you see each other more frequently.

LDR #4: Oh yes, my current relationship with DaveTheGame started when I was in NC and he was in MD and now I’ve been up here a little over a year living with him.  So far, so good.  I have an awesome day job with amazing people and while a good portion of my social circle overlaps with Dave’s, it’s expanding outward to other folks like any healthy social circle should. I have high hopes for this relationship though!

Tips To Live By For Long-Distance Relationships

  • The obvious ones:
    • Don’t move to be with someone you haven’t met in person yet. (Don’t laugh, people have done it!)
    • Unless you have at least 6 months of emergency savings, don’t quit your job and move before getting a new job in the new city.
    • Moving into your own place is the best idea. It gets awkward really fast if you move in together and realize two months later you have to break up.
  • Have an end game and talk about how you plan to get there. Will your partner move to you? Will you move to them? Will you both start fresh in a new city?
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. I have two friends in an LDR who have a nightly appointment on video chat so they can check in with each other face-to-face before going to bed.
  • Expand your social circle with people that aren’t mutual friends with your partner. Meetup.com is a great resource, but so is your local game store or comic book store.

How About You, Readers?

If you can share your valuable lessons about being in a long-distance relationship or moving in with someone who was previously a long-distance love, please leave a comment!  LDRD and I would love to hear your stories.

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