You may not be the right person to ask, but I thought I’d give it a shot. I’m writing a story about a long term relationship that also happens to be a long-distance relationship. However I’ve never had a long distance relationship work out. I want to write this so it sounds somewhat realistic, but it seems like the odds are staggeringly against such a relationship. Do you have any advice about how I could write my couple?
This question would probably be better suited to a relationship counselor or therapist… but I’ll do my best to help. I’m sorry to say, but what everyone is saying is correct. This is coming from someone who has been involved in two separate long distance relationships and watched both of them fail. I’m sorry to say, but I don’t have much experience in one that has succeeded for very long. So a long term, long distance, relationship (depending on your definition of ‘long term’) might be a hurdle for some readers to overcome. Mine lasted about 1.5 years at best, personally.
My advice to you is pretty much the same advice that I would give someone who’s entering into a long distance relationship. There are a few prerequisites that I would recommend before getting too serious:
- Frequent communication: Don’t let your characters go for too long without talking to each other. Probably a few days at most, though I know some people would say 24 hours is enough. Maybe that’s a little clingy, but if you’ve gone for over a week without speaking to the person… without any outstanding reason such as work, then are they really together?
- Establish a game plan: Okay obviously this isn’t something you’re going to do early on, that’s just psychotic. However, as things get more serious, if there is no plan to close the distance between the two of you, then likely you’re pretty much dealing with a pen pal, not an actual relationship. If the goal of the relationship is commitment and some kind of domestic partnership, there has to be a plan on the table.
- Trust and lots of it: Relationships require trust. Long distance ones even more so. If one of your characters is constantly wondering whether the other is being faithful or get’s highly suspicious of a friend of the opposite sex, it’s going to crash and burn real fast.
There are more essentials out there, but these three are the biggest ones in my opinion. Honestly, you might do better having it an on again, off again, relationship… or perhaps an open one, though I’m not a huge fan of those. In any case, I’d say you’ve got quite a bit of work ahead of you to make this something this work. If your story is set in modern times, skype and other remote tools are going to be essential.
Hope this helps, but lets open this up to our readers. Does anyone else out there on wordpress have any advice for our friend Lilly here?
Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.
I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
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