We all know that any amount of distance between two people is not fun, but when it comes to the one that makes our palms sweaty and heart race out of our chest, distance seems worth it. Though, worth it and wise are two separate things.
Is it wise to continue to pursue a relationship with somebody that is hundreds of miles away from you? Is it actually worth the pain? Is it worth leaving family behind if marriage happens? These are the questions that all of us must ask ourselves before diving headfirst into love, joy, distance, and heartache.
My goal isn’t to answer the hard questions for you (everybody has a different situation), but to offer honest clarity from my four years of experience with long-distance dating.
The Pros and Cons of Long-Distance Dating
Pro: Experiencing New Cultures, Places, or Lifestyles
My Daddy was practically raised on a homestead. In return, I was raised on stories of great adventure and mayhem. Needless to say, falling for a cowboy wasn’t too far from my comfort zone. After all, I knew all about the lifestyle.
However, I quickly found out that knowing about a lifestyle is completely different than understanding it.
While there have been numerous questions answered, I still find myself learning something new every week. Not only has it instilled a deep appreciation for the different lifestyles of the world, but I have also experienced the beautiful views of states I may have never seen otherwise.
Con: Traveling Costs Money
Whether somebody else is paying or both lovebirds are contributing, traveling costs money. Depending on the distance, an outrageous amount. Unfortunately, that restricts how often visiting occurs.
While one may be able to visit more frequently than the other, that does not mean it’s without negative effects.
If not attentive, tension can slither into the picture. This can cause one to doubt the other’s dedication and commitment. Believe it or not, traveling can make or break the relationship.
When such thoughts overcome us, we fight back by asking a crucial question. Is this fear speaking, or is this correct evaluation?
Pro: Little Things in Life Become a Whole Lot Sweeter
How often do we forget to soak in the sound of one’s laughter? More often than we would like to admit.
Whether the little moments are experienced with near family members or a distant loved one, separation from anyone teaches us what cannot be taken for granted. It ingrains the mindset that today’s seasons will not stick around forever.
Con: With Distance Comes Sadness
Sadness may be one of the toughest struggles in long-distance dating. However, if we acknowledge this from the beginning, it’s easier to overcome.
Many will justify being sad in such a situation, and it’s agreeable to a certain extent. It’s okay to cry ourselves to sleep, but we should never allow sadness to rule over us longer than necessary.
If a relationship is extinguishing the light God placed in us instead of encouraging us to fight for the light, then it’s time to reevaluate things.
Sadness is present in every part of life. It is what we do with it that matters. Do we harp on it or do we give it to God?
Pro: More Time to Choose Boundaries Wisely
More time equals more opportunities to create an atmosphere for discussing boundaries. Although the conversation can have the tendency to feel awkward, it’s beyond worth it.
Discussing boundaries with one another can help both people to better understand each other, influencing a greater love for the other person. With greater love comes a bigger passion to respect boundaries.
Con: Sexual Temptation Still Exists in LDRs
I have heard it noted that long-distance relationships can help prevent premarital sex due to not always being near each other. If approached correctly, like choosing your boundaries early on, I second the thought.
However, the desire for physical intimacy does not disappear in long-distance dating. No matter the distance, these desires thrive in relationships. After all, we were created for this beautiful connection! It’s not a sin to anticipate the wedding night, but we mustn’t entertain any thoughts.
Keep in mind that when two aching hearts are given a reunion, excitement is going to be high. Everyone responds to this excitement differently. If you are thinking about entering any relationship, with or without distance, be prepared to fight a greater temptation. I don’t say this to strike fear but to prepare you.
Always remember that seasons of premarital sexual temptation can be defeated in Christ’s name. Commit to standing firm together! The goal is to respect God, yourself, and your beloved.
Pro: Teaches the Importance of Individuality and Teamwork
In many relationships where the two people are close in proximity, they grow as a team but never reach their full potential as individuals. This can cause unnecessary tension and more heartache if the relationship doesn’t work out in the long run.
However, in a long-distance relationship, it is easier to find a balance between these two vital points. Due to not having each other nearby, both are forced to become strong, driven individuals who can work as a team.
Con: It’s Easy For Them to Become an Idol
Like any kind of relationship, the person we choose to date can easily become our idol. Instead of pursuing God’s heart, we find ourselves chasing after theirs. Instead of worshipping God’s goodness and love, we began to worship their love. They become our god, and with that, we become unsatisfied.
God’s plan was for man and woman to fall in love, but a mere human cannot fulfill our desire for completion. That gift can only come from God. Without Him in our lives, we search for completion in that man or woman, discovering that no matter what they do, the desire isn’t met.
To combat this, we must remember that our highest purpose is to love and glorify God. If something is deterring us from fully accomplishing this higher calling, we need to examine it. Is it really a good thing? Is it a gift that we are destroying with our worldly sin, or is this person toxic?
Pro: Ignites a Stronger Trust in God
I didn’t notice how much the desire to control things was affecting my heart until distance knocked on the door. With that lack of control, I realized that I needed to learn to cling to God more than ever.
Long-distance dating will teach a soul to seek God’s guidance in a deeper and more profound way. With an open heart, it can revolutionize our relationship with Him.
Con: Fantasy Kills Reality
Planning the next visit and fantasizing about the new memories that will be made isn’t wrong. However, these imaginary scenarios can become wrong when they stray away from being Christ-honoring and real.
When we expect the moments we have with our boyfriend/girlfriend to be like the movies, it doesn’t only leave us dissatisfied but also leaves our partner feeling like they aren’t good enough. Without saying a word, we are pushing them away.
A rule of thumb: If you feel disconnected on the inside, it’s noticeable on the outside.
The dialogue won’t always go smoothly. The first kiss won’t be as imagined. A fun date idea may turn out not so enjoyable. That’s the adventure of dating a real human being! It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, and believe it or not, that is good news.
The goal of dating should be to decipher if the two can enter into a covenant of marriage. The desire to grow together should overcome the desire for perfection. If a relationship is playing out like an idyllic movie scene then it probably isn’t revealing the importance of reality.
Pro: Can Build a Stronger Trust Between the Two People
Relationships are built off of trust. Trust comes through faith, determination, and time. Be careful not to jump headfirst, but don’t withdraw your trust or the relationship will fall apart.
From the very beginning, distance forces us out of the norm, amplifying the above elements of trust. Therefore, it can help build a stronger foundation of trust between the two people involved.
Con: Has the Ability to Fuel Jealousy
Jealousy is often rooted in the fear that the one you love doesn’t have the strength to fight off temptation, or that they will start to fall for someone else. Evidently, long-distance dating can amplify that fear ten times over.
In jealousy, it’s incredibly easy to jump to assumptions and/or overreact. If possible, we should always pray through our emotions and thoughts before approaching topics of jealousy.
Check out this post by Dating at a Distance for 5 steps to take when dealing with jealousy*. While it is directed toward women, it can easily apply toward men. Simply flip the gender. 😉
Pro: Strengthens Communication Skills
Communication is key in any kind of relationship. In long-distance dating, communication plays an even bigger role.
Consequently, distance reveals if communication is your strength, and presents the opportunity to strengthen communicational skills. Building these skills goes further than romance and a strong foundation for marriage. It can support other areas of life as well.
Con: Communication is the Only Way to Connect (until the next visiting day)
Our communication skills may increase within the process of long-distance, but as mentioned, it’s the only way to connect. For those with the Love Language* of Words of Affirmation, this could sometimes work in their favor. However, those with the Love Language of Physical Touch may experience times of feeling unloved.
Both people must be willing to go to God and ask for guidance in loving one another accurately amidst the distance.
Because no matter a human’s primary language, they still need every language spoken over them. One day they’ll need a hug, a distraction-free conversation, for somebody to break a nail for them, a random gift, and to be told that they are awesome.
Although incredibly rewarding, love is a difficult thing. Distance makes it even harder. The fear exists, but God knows the right path for you. Lean into Him, and the answer will be revealed.
Distance isn’t all bad, though. No way! It teaches the true meaning of perseverance, trust, and love. It also teaches us that dating is about so much more than mere romance.
I don’t know about you, but I have fallen in love with the lessons distance has taught me. There is nothing more special than reuniting with the one you can laugh and cry about anything with.
Already in a long-distance relationship? What has been the hardest (and best) part? How can I pray for you? Be sure to leave a comment!
*Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I am not endorsing any resources in their entirety. This means that not all content by the author and/or speaker aligns with Biblical truth. I am not in control of what they believe. I do my best to link to concrete resources, but the only infallible endorsement I provide is the Holy Bible.