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When Is a Long-Distance Relationship Ready for Marriage?

Learn what you need to do before getting engaged.

Before embarking on this next step, there are aspects of your relationship that you need to figure out as a couple.

Relationship Advice
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Photo: Samuel Lippke

Long-distance relationships are famously difficult, though it is certainly much easier now than in past decades. However, even with texting, video calls, and social media, nothing quite replaces the feeling of spending time with your significant other in person. As with any relationship, if things continue to go well, with time you will likely want to move towards engagement and marriage. In fact, being long distance may make you or your partner extra eager to solidify this commitment; however, before embarking on this next step, there are aspects of your relationship that you need to figure out as a couple. 

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Photo by Fully Alive Photography

Some long-distance relationships are temporary – often due to a job or school – while others began far apart from the start – such as meeting on vacation or even online. If the only time you have spent together are weekend trips to each other’s home, it’s important create an opportunity to spend a longer period of time together before getting engaged. It’s easy for the honeymoon stage to last years if you only see each other a few days each month. This is even helpful if you started your relationship in the same location, especially if it was many years ago, as people do grow and change in ways that aren’t always obvious. You know how when you meet up with friends from high school and college, you tend to revert back to how you were at that age? The same thing can happen with long-distance relationships, so you’ll both want to make sure you truly understand the people you each are. 

Whether or not your long-distance relationship was always that way, you’ll want to make sure there’s an end date to you being apart – before marriage. Perhaps the most important discussion you two can have before a proposal occurs is where you will live when you’re married. It is very easy for resentment to build up if one person feels pressured to be the one to leave their home, so make sure you’re both on the same page. Couples counseling can help, even if you have to do it virtually. 

Trust is crucial to every relationship, but it’s especially vital when you’re not seeing each other every day. If the reason you want to get engaged is so the other person won’t be tempted to stray, it’s probably not the right relationship for either of you. 

For more advice, learn what to do with your spouse on your wedding day and what mistakes to avoid in the first year of marriage