When Tuomas and I started dating I searched the internet for any and all dating tips in general.
Mainly because I knew the honeymoon phase wasn’t going to last forever and wanted to be prepared, and it was exciting to read new things.
Of course I read the LDR tips but it never felt that it was enough. Even after reading forums or joining Discord groups I felt that most couples were lost or in failing relationships.
That’s when I started to look at close proximity relationships dating tips and I found the The 5 Relationship Stages.
After reading the article I tried to apply everything I learned into a LDR format and shared with my partner to help make our relationship stronger no matter the distance or time zones.
The Main 5 Stages of a Relationship consist of:
2. Power Struggle
5. Bliss Stage
I know these stages are written out in numerical order but I want you to be flexible with them.
Instead of thinking of the phases as a straight line point a to e, think of them as a rotation, they are always going to occur throughout the relationship, both in long and close distance relationship.
It’s more of how you and your significant other handle them. Just remember to act as a team and you’ll do fine.
1. Romance Stage/Honeymoon Stage
This stage happens for LDRs quite a bit. Initially you’ll go through a honeymoon phase where you’re getting to know each other then you have another when y’all actually meet up.
The honeymoon phase is truly magical but it can also be a bit blinding so here are some things to keep in mind.
Maintain your identity
When you start dating try not to spend every waking moment connected to the other person. I know you really want to be connected to them in every way.
However,a HUGE part of being successful in a LDR or any relationship is making sure you don’t lose who you are as a person while getting to know someone else.
Which means keeping up the things you normally do; hanging with friends, gym time, and downtime. Trust me if this person really likes you and I mean really really likes you, they will respect you and your time with others.
Talk about your deal breakers now
This might be because I just binged watch 90 Day Fiance with my family, as they asked me a million questions about our relationship based on what was happening in the show.
I get it, they are just looking out but trust me, your girl asked all the complicated questions before even meeting up in person.
So I asked my significant other what his plans were after he graduated, did he want to have kids, was he a serial killer. You know you got to figure these things out, spoilers he wasn’t a serial killer.
Meet-ups are weird, they are their own anomaly that we’re all navigating through right now, hence the need for this section.
Meet-ups have two stages, well at least for us. We have the initial, omg-you’re-actually-here-let-me-toss-my-phone-into-the-river phase, and then we have the omg-I-am-leaving-let’s-just-cuddle-phase.
Those two phases will have a lot of emotion in them, so just protect yourself and only go as far with your significant other as you feel comfortable. Ain’t no one wanting babies or other results of sex without emotional support from their partner.
2. Power Struggle Stage/Make it or Break it
During this stage you stop seeing your partner as perfect. Instead, you start noticing their flaws as well as start seeing them as the imperfect human being that they actually were the whole time
Cue glass shattering 😱
When you start noticing someone’s imperfections it doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. It just means reality has set in and you’re naturally progressing in your relationship.
So this is where some people hop off the ship and could be considered as the make or break it phase.
This always make me think of Sex and the City, when Miranda was dating the guy who peed with the bathroom door open. Spoilers, they argued, neither side budged and they broke up.
At the end of the day, it was a thing he liked to do and she wasn’t about it. So when should you make it or break it?
If this person is sending you any red flags, hiding information about themselves, refuse to do voice/video calls then you should definitely break it.
Long distance relationships contain an unfathomable amount of trust, and if you don’t trust the person how can you even meet-up for the first time?
Another time it would be good to break it is if you are not on the same page about things, this could be defining the relationship with one another or if one wants marriage and the other doesn’t.
Think back to the deal-breakers I was talking about earlier. As far as quirks go, if the person just really grosses you out on a level that neither you or I could imagine then yeah break it.
If this relationship is something you and your partner both want then make it. This is when you start seeing your partner as a member on your team, with you being the star player. This person is the Ron to your Hermione and you know if you get in an argument y’all will still have each other’s back.
Just remember communication is the most important thing, openness and honesty will help you succeed during the power struggle phase.
This includes being honest about your feelings and sometimes opening up about your past so that way your partner can understand your thoughts better.
Relationships are messy things, there are times where it’s not going to be perfect and that’s okay, it really is.
3. The Stability Stage/ The Outcome
The stability stage is literally the outcome of the first two stages. It’s when y’all understand how to communicate to each other. This stage also show that you and your partner understand how to settle disagreements with a situation where you are both happy in the end.
During this time it is easy to get complacent. Since everything is going smooth why change anything?
That’s definitely the worst attitude to have
In order to avoid complacency, this is a great time to get to know each other more, plan more meet-ups, and start talking long term goal here. Let’s face it, if you’re in a LDR at some point meet-ups will happen and closing the gap will be in the conversation.
4. The Commitment Stage
I’m sure there is a beautifully worded proverb out there about stagnant water being poisonous, if not there should be one.
Mostly because if there is complacency in the relationship the waters will eventually get stagnant and ruin the relationship.
Between my fiance and I our schedules are often not perfectly aligned to do a video call every week. So we reserve one Saturday a month where we have a date and a video call.
Most importantly, the effort we make to have dates and really spend time together doing what we love together shows our commitment to each other.
This is what secures the commitment stage to me, every time we work hard, save up money in order to see each other lets me know my partner is committed to me.
The time spent together during the meet-ups should reassure you as to why you love this person and want to continue a relationship with your partner.
Closing the Gap
I feel that people who choose to be in a LDR want a level of commitment and devotion you really don’t see in close distance relationship.
Partners are moving across the state, country, continent, and halfway around the world for each other.
For us the start of this stage was our engagement, I needed to know that this is what we both wanted and that we were both ready to close the gap.
5. The Bliss/Co Creation Stage
If this was a blog for same city or close relationship couples, this stage would probably consist of getting a pet, creating a family, or starting bigger projects together.
But we’re here for the LDRs so I have a few alternatives for you.
Raising a plant together
As much as it would be super cute to get a pet while my Snowman was here, it definitely would not be cute taking care of it all on your own and then moving it to another country. But if that’s what you want to do more power to ya.
My alternative would be to raise a plant together. The first time my fiance visited me I was just moving into a new apartment. While at IKEA trying to make my apartment all cute and shit we saw an Aloe plant, and it’s been our plant ever since.
I take pictures and send it to him (yo for real I love plants) and we bond over it. He has a brown thumb so I wouldn’t subject any plants to that torture on his side.
Y’all could totally both have plant babies together!!
The other amazing part about raising a plant together is you can learn more about plants together as well. Which is the entire point of this phase, creating together.
If plants aren’t your thing I understand (wait actually I don’t, who doesn’t love plants) there are plenty of other things y’all would be able to co-create together.
For example, going to a paint night together, and both create works of art, swap each other painting then bring it back home with you that way you have something of theirs.
Or do a DIY project together, whatever it is you are creating together. Which help create more memories with your partner.
Closing the Gap
Lastly, closing the gap and creating a new life together, I can’t give you a time frame at which this should occur. For us it was 3 years, he needs to finish school and I needed to work for a period of time before I could financially make that move.
Trust me I wished I started saving up 2 years ago but I had to snowball some credit cards out of my life.
Again I have to be financially prepared.
Remember how I say these stages are intertwined and forever following that loop? Don’t forget it!
Life happens and any time that power struggle stage will come up, we will most likely have one when the gap closes.
Why? Well it’s the nature of change, we’re stepping into a new life together we now have to re-learn things because we will be transitioning from an LDR to a CDR (can I make that a thing? Close Distance Relationships). We will be literally going full cycle again!
That’s life though, ever changing and ever growing. Closing the gap is definitely scary and a move only the serious should make.