Six ways to keep a long distance relationship alive

So, you met the love of your life when you were on the road? He or she is the one, and you are already thinking about the color you’ll be painting the baby room? This is obviously pretty damn awesome if you can just drive to see him or her, but what do you do if you met when your homes are thousands of miles apart?

Here are six ways you can keep the fire burning, and get a chance at making a long distance relationship survive.

Technology is your friend

Ten years ago, calling your loved one meant racking up a massive phone bill. I remember paying over $900 for one month of daily calls when I was phone-dating my (now) wife. Thankfully things have changed, and a call abroad doesn’t need to cost you a penny. Services like Skype allow you to make good quality phone calls, no matter where either of you are.

Of course, don’t stop at phone calls – Skype and many other online services allow for video calls, and lets be honest – seeing each other is always going to be more fun than just chatting on the phone. With social networks like Facebook and Twitter, you can both be more connected than ever. Just remember to keep the really kinky stuff to phone calls.

Start keeping an eye on your mileage account

The day you leave each other, you’ll need to start planning your next trip back to spend some time together. This means spending every single frequent flier mile you ever collected, and raiding the accounts of family members (in exchange for some modest payments of course).

Keep a close eye on fare sales, or mileage award promotions. If your dates are flexible, try and book saver awards instead of full fare awards. Sometimes it makes more sense to pay for a cheap ticket and save your miles for any emergency last minute trips.

Compromise is a two way street

If being with your new love means flying half way around the world, you are going to need to make some pretty tough decisions – who will fly when, and where? Do you both want to meet somewhere in the middle (which will usually involve a hotel), or are you going to alternate who flies out?

As early as it may be, spend your time visiting each other wisely – this is the time you start deciding how the future will look. If you live in Europe and your girlfriend or boyfriend is in the U.S., you’ll need to start thinking whether you’ll ever fit in, the same situation obviously also applies the other way around. The last thing you want is for the two of you to become inseparable, but neither wants to relocate.

There is more to life than each other

Yes – it’ll be pretty obvious that the two of you are in love. But remember that your life is more than just yourself and your new love life. Friends, family members and even coworkers will have to get used to the idea of you moving away.

If you managed to convince your loved one that he or she is the one that needs to move, introduce them to your friends and family before they start packing up. Do you really want to have someone pack up their life to be with you, only to realize that all your friends think he or she is a douchebag?

Brush up on your immigration rules

If there is one entity that will do its best to keep you both apart, it is the government. Especially if you want to bring your lover to the United States, you’ll need to be very, very careful how you handle things. Simply flying to the country on a visa waiver and telling the agent you are here to spend some time with your girlfriend or boyfriend could result in being pulled aside and sent for a long interrogation. Immigration officials are always on the lookout for people who say they’ll come here for 90 days, and never leave.

Don’t carry papers about immigration, don’t print anything that could give the officer the idea you are here to stay. All this also extends to your emails (they have the right to check your computer). So, if you happened to quit your job before you got on the plane, you’d better make sure you don’t have those emails on your laptop.

Be prepared to defend yourself, up to the point where you may need to have the immigration official call your employer back home so they can verify you have a job to go back to.

This all sounds scary, but too many people think a trip to spend time with their new love will be treated the same as a casual vacation to the country.

If you do come here on a visa (waiver) and decide you never want to be separated, get yourself an immigration attorney. Don’t rely on information from bulletin boards or untrained friends – the next steps you take will determine your future together. Screwing things up when you are on a visa (waiver) could mean deportation and being banned from entering the country for many years. A good immigration attorney will start around $1000 for the basics, though in most cases, your initial appointment will be free.

Be realistic

This one is bound to hurt, as the end result may mean you both come to the conclusion that it’ll never work. I know a lot of people who got into a long distance relationship, and they did everything they could to keep things going, but eventually had to accept reality. Long distance relationships suck – they miss the one thing a relationship need to stay alive. No matter how often you can call or video chat, sooner or later you’ll want to be together again when things like a job get in the way.

I’m by no means telling you to quit – I think anyone in a long distance relationship needs to do everything in their power to make it work, but accept the concept that it may not work, just like any budding relationship.

Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? How did it work out for you?