While the long-distance relationships, or LDRs, of years past may have raised some eyebrows and garnered some scoffs, today's physical gaps are mediated by technology. Video chat and other communication channels make it easier to keep in touch with loved ones who live far away.
Technology has also made it easier to spark romance. For people who live in rural areas with smaller dating pools, apps make it easier to find somebody with whom you share chemistry, even if you have to expand the geographic radius in your profile settings.
The fact is, partners in an LDR have a great shot at success. When it comes time for the next step in their relationship - moving to the same city - they may opt to go straight to cohabitation. They don't have to, of course. Living alone in the same town could be a great way to try out sharing a ZIP code.
Those who select cohabitation, however, will have plenty of company. As the US Census Bureau reported, the number of unmarried cohabitating adults now totals 17 million.
If you're currently in a long-distance relationship, but you hope to join their ranks, here are our top three tips.
1) Talk with your partner about what you need
It seems simple, but the tricky part is getting all the details right. Still, as long-distance partners, you've probably honed your communications skills quite a bit.
When you talk about moving in together with your partner, make sure you cover:
- What you want from a living space.
- Where you see your relationship going.
- How moving will affect your personal life.
Both partners need to have a clear understanding, for instance, of whether or not this relationship is headed toward marriage and children, or somewhere else.
If you're the kind of person who needs a lot of elbow room, but your significant other is looking for cozy quarters, you'll have to work out a compromise.
Lastly, for partners who are moving, this will impact their career and their access to a support network. Make sure everybody's on the same page when it comes to how you'll address these changing circumstances together.
2) Get personal
If you haven't lived together yet, it's likely that you'll encounter some unexpected quirks from your partner.
Start talking now about:
- How you plan meals, shop for groceries and cook.
- What your sleeping habits are like.
- Your schedule and strategy for handling household chores and cleaning.
- Daily routines for how you start and end the day.
Maybe you already have a sense of all of these things, but start thinking about how your day-to-day lives will intersect, and be prepared to compromise.
It might also help to get together for a longer visit before you move, so you can get a sense of what it's like to spend more time together.
3) Nail down the logistics
During that longer visit, if you're on the right track, you can also start putting together your plan. View some potential homes together, maybe decide on what works best, and take some measurements.
Once it's time to get into the details of the actual moving, contact your local Atlas agent to see how they can be of assistance.