Starting a long-distance relationship is a big decision. You have to feel really strongly for someone in order to be okay with missing out on typical relationship-y stuff, like having a weekly date night and snuggling on the couch watching Netflix shows whenever you feel like it. That being said, there are totally ways LDRs are amazing, especially since you get super close with your partner when you talk on the phone and video chat on the reg. Still, an LDR is a major commitment when it comes to time and emotional investment, so it鈥檚 important to have some specific conversations before jumping into coupledom-from-afar. We鈥檝e rounded up the best advice from relationship experts on what needs to be brought up before you make the leap.


1. How will you deal with feeling disconnected? Whether you鈥檙e starting from a distance or you鈥檙e already in a relationship but one of you is moving, you鈥檙e going to feel disconnected from your partner at times, says Rhonda Milrad, the licensed clinical social worker who founded Relationup, an app that provides live relationship advice. 鈥淭he truth is that you don鈥檛 always feel as close to someone in an LDR as you do when you see them every day. With this disconnection can come feelings of insecurity, jealousy and fear,鈥 Milrad shares. Being unable to get together whenever you want can make it even harder to deal with these feelings when they come up, so you need a plan. 鈥淵ou have to be able to manage these feelings and not let them get the better of you and result in accusations and fights,鈥 she encourages.


2. When will you talk? This is one of the biggest, most important discussions you should have. Do you have enough time to communicate to keep your relationship going, and, if so, when will you do it? 鈥淵ou need to keep up connections that are both being spontaneous and scheduled,鈥 explains Milrad, framing communication as 鈥測our life line.鈥 Though having a busy schedule can make impromptu texts or calls hard, establishing habits around when you鈥檒l make time for each other can make things a lot simpler. She suggests, 鈥淐reate rituals throughout the day or week that involve different ways to connect: texts, sharing on social media, sending random photos, emailing updates about whatever and, most importantly, designated times to Skype, FaceTime or speak on the phone.鈥

Black woman using digital tablet on sofa

3. Will one of you eventually move? Another crucial conversation to have is about whether your relationship will eventually be *not* long-distance. It might seem weird to bring it up early on, but according to licensed marriage and family therapist Lisa Bahar, it is essential: 鈥淚f this is not discussed, it becomes an underlying issue that gets worse over time.鈥 Imagine putting tons of effort into a relationship and then finding out that one of you isn鈥檛 interested in eventually bridging the gap 鈥 definitely not ideal. 鈥淲hen this occurs, resentment builds due to assumptions or expectations,鈥 notes Bahar. 鈥淎rguments and fear of bringing it up become a problem, and the overall relationship can be stressful. I have seen this happen.鈥 For example, sometimes one person in a long-distance relationship will assume that the other is going to move to their location, while the other is expecting the opposite. Occasionally, people realize well into a relationship that they really don鈥檛 want to move and have no interest in following through, leaving their partner in the lurch. Ideally, it鈥檚 best to be honest about how real your desire to move is before you commit to a partnership. Even after you have things figured out, you should continue to check in on these plans throughout the relationship to make sure you鈥檙e still on the same page.


4. How will you cope if you feel sad? One of the realities of LDRs is that sometimes you鈥檙e going to have a bad day. 鈥淭here is a sense of loss when you don鈥檛 have your partner present for celebrations, important events and everyday life events,鈥 explains Milrad. 鈥淵ou will feel lonely and alone at times, and you need to be able to recognize that these feelings are part of the package of a being in a long-distance relationship.鈥 Knowing what to expect and having a self-care plan for how to deal with those feelings will make a huge difference when you鈥檙e inevitably confronted by them.


5. What are the ground rules? LDRs have a tendency to breed jealousy in a way that close distance relationships just don鈥檛. It can be tempting to wonder what your S.O. is up to, since you鈥檙e not physically with them very often. A good sense of trust is essential. 鈥淚t is important to have the clarity and honesty to discuss the rules and boundaries of the relationship,鈥 explains Audrey Hope, celebrity relationship expert. 鈥淵ou have to get real with your goals and your intentions. If two people are clear and honest, their long-distance relationship can be a great, exciting adventure!鈥 Some people might not be capable of being a completely open book, though. 鈥淣ot everyone can handle the faraway love connections,鈥 Hope warns. 鈥淵ou need an inner strength, a love of oneself and a deep confidence to trust in being with someone who is not in your immediate space.鈥 While these qualities are important in all relationships, they鈥檙e even more so in LDRs.

Have you ever been in an LDR? Tell us how you dealt with the logistics and challenges @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)