Living together after a long-distance relationship

Posted by Jordan, 16 Aug 14

"Part of trust is being secure, not just with you as a couple but also within yourself." - The Art of Charm

The Cheat Sheet:

    Your perfect partner could be online right now...

    What are you looking for?

  • How long-distance becomes full-disclosure and why it's good. (17:00)
  • How to work backwards when you go from long distance to being in the same city. (22:10)

  • The benefits of long-distance. (41:00)
  • Why admitting you miss her is so important. (48:05)

  • Women and plants: the correlation. (53:00)

  • Why women dig it when you remember details about their lives. (54:40)

  • And so much more...

Most people will tell you long-distance relationships never work. But what if you've met an incredible woman and the only way you can be together is long-distance and you want to give it a shot? What do you do then?

In this episode, I talk with Kim Seltzer, a trained therapist, about how to navigate the waters of a long-distance relationship and how to make it work. We talk about the 3 phases of dating, what factors to evaluate when considering moving in with someone, behaviors that are red flags in you and in the woman you're dating, why trust is so vital and how to communicate to keep your connection no matter how far apart you are physically.

More About This Show:

I put myself on the hot seat for this one! With Kim, I talk about my long-distance relationship that is soon to become a same-city relationship. My girlfriend is moving back to LA and we're talking about moving in together.

Because the majority of our relationship has happened while we've been in different cities, I had a lot of concerns and questions I wanted to bring up. Like even though it's practical, is it really a good idea to move in together if we've almost always been in two different cities? What if this relationship isn't moving on the timeline I would've picked?

It isn't all about me though; we also talk about some basic relationship issues like communication, trust and red flags to look out for when dating.

Although we've talked about it before on the show, the topic of moving in together seems to be common. Kim and and I speculate the reason so many couples who live together first eventually divorce may be because there's really nothing to signal the significant event of marriage.

When you live together you just separate your stuff, you move out and you're done. Going from this I-always-have-an-out option to marriage is a tough transition because there's really nothing that signals that big change. But if you don't live together first and then you marry and move in together, the massive change all happens at once because of the wedding ceremony (but not really of course). Suddenly it's real and it's forever and you take it more seriously than when you just lived together.

Another topic is the phases of dating, in response to my concern about the ideal dating timeline. The three phases, according to Kim, are:

  • Courting phase: This is the cat and mouse chase. This is when the guy gets girl, the girl wants the guy to chase her.
  • Pure dating phase: This is when you've been dating for a few months. At this point you're exclusive and you're figuring out if you're compatible for the long-term.
  • Full-blown relationship: This is when you're moving towards partnership, marriage, the forever kind of situation.

One thing Kim pointed out about these phases is that if you're good at one - like most guys are good at courting - you're probably weak in another phase, like the full-blown relationship. If that's you, working on yourself and listening to this show (attending one of our programs *ahem*), are all good ways to strengthen your abilities in the other dating phases.

Now if you're dating a woman and you want to evaluate yourself and her before moving into one of those latter phases, how do you know what to look out for? What are some red flags? Here are a few we talk about:

  • You must know what you both want. Communication is huge so you have to talk about what you both are looking for in this relationship.
  • And that leads into talking about the longer-term picture: do you both want children? do you both want to get married? etc.
  • Look at your values: do you see money, religion, and work the same way, etc? Does she have a career and want to keep it after marriage and you start a family? If not, why not?
  • Your social lives: is one of you more social than the other? This is especially challenging if you go from a long-distance to same-city/living together situation. Suddenly she has no one but you. It's something to think about.

Obviously those are all important considerations and factors to weigh when you're looking at your relationship, whether it's long-distance or you're in the same city.

And so much of that list is dependent on communication. As guys we're not the first ones to offer up our feelings, but that is one of the best ways to make sure the woman you're dating or your girlfriend (or wife) knows how you really feel about her. This is even more critical in long-distance relationships because you aren't spending time together and you can't rely on the physical aspect of the relationship to show your feelings.

There is tremendous strength in being vulnerable and showing her how you feel. Periodically telling her you care, you miss her and you're thinking of her are important in any relationship, but again especially when you're long-distance. Whether it's with a phone call, a text or a Skype chat will show her you care, you'll feel good expressing yourself and she'll feel good hearing those words from you. It becomes a positive circle that grows and strengthens your relationship, even if you live in the same city. This is actually critical if you are in a long-distance relationship, it is what will keep you together.

And it'll help if you start to feel jealous. The most important thing to remember about jealousy is this: if you feel secure in who you are, you can feel secure in a relationship and not be threatened by every guy who talks to her or she hangs out with. Jealousy needlessly screws up a lot of relationships because one (or both) of the two people aren't secure in their own self and it shows up in the relationship.

This is of course absolutely true of long-distance relationships. Any insecurity is going to poison the relationship than you can stop it.

While this episode was devoted to the topic of long-distance relationships, so much of the content applies to any and all types of relationships. Whether you're dating, in a relationship or in a committed long-term situation, I hope you found valuable content you can take action on to get what you want out of your love life.

Jordan Harbinger is a Wall Street lawyer turned Social Dynamics expert and coach. He is the co-founder of The Art of Charm, a dating and relationships coaching company. If you're interested in The Art of Charm residential programs, apply for a strategy call with a coach. You can also interact with Jordan on Facebook or Twitter.

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