Mid-Distance Relationships Have Their Own Unique Set Of Issues - Here's How To Deal

There are many reasons people find themselves in mid-distance and long-distance relationships. Maybe you met someone on a dating app who doesn't live nearby or the struggle of finding someone to date in your hometown has taken its toll — especially if you're looking to find Mr. or Miss. Right, and not simply wanting to date whoever is available. 


If you live in a smaller community, you may be avoiding the same dating circles as your friends and exes. Perhaps you feel like you don't fit in with the people in your own community, and there's nothing wrong with that. If it's time to date outside your hometown, you have a couple of options — long-distance or mid-distance dating. 

If long-distance dating is something you've tried in the past but weren't a fan of, or you've been afraid to date someone who is impossible to see at least a couple of times a month, then mid-distance dating may be the perfect option for you. Unfortunately, mid-distance dating has its own unique issues that you may want to consider before diving in too deep with someone who doesn't live in the same area. Luckily, there are ways to deal — here's how.


What's the difference between long and mid-distance relationships?

So what's the difference between a long-distance and a mid-distance relationship? Well, it all has to do with distance, of course. Surviving a long-distance relationship is not for the faint of heart, as it usually requires that your significant other lives on the other side of the state, at minimum. Many long-distance relationships have partners living in different states or even different countries. This makes it so you have to nearly take vacation days to spend actual time together.


For a mid-distance relationship, a one to three hours drive is more likely the obstacle. It's easier to get together more often, but not as often as you could if you lived in the same town or the next town over. You still have to plan out visits, but you're not so far away that you need to take vacation days just to have some time with your honey. Even those who live in the same larger city may have a half an hour's drive to meet up with their partner, so you're definitely looking at a distance further than that to qualify as mid-distance. While there is a difference, both require determination from both parties to keep things running smoothly.

Is a mid-distance relationship right for you?

Just as not everyone is cut out to withstand the struggles of being in a long-distance relationship, mid-distance relationships aren't easy to navigate either. You're closer, so it feels like things will be easier when it comes to spending time together — but you're still not close enough to be there for all the moments you want to be there for.


There are unique issues and obstacles you will have to work around with mid-distance dating that only begins with the distance being a problem. The commute, for one thing, will cut into the time you have to spend together. You won't have shared friend circles and may feel awkward when you're visiting them and spending time with their friends.

It may also cause issues if your work schedules don't coincide in some way, especially once you factor in commute times to get to each other. It's not all bad, though. There are some things you can do to help make your mid-distance relationship a happier one. 

Use technology as much as you can

When you can't be together all the time, you can still stay in contact as often as possible. With today's technology, there are endless ways to keep in touch. While sending long love letters via email is nice, that doesn't have the same feel as having an actual conversation. Texting is a good option when one of you can't take time to actually talk on the phone, and it feels like a more immediate conversation.


You definitely want to schedule times when you can video chat, especially in private. All romantic relationships require some form of intimacy. While that doesn't have to revolve solely around touch, it's important to be able to see each others' faces and read that loving body language that exudes when someone truly cares. Determine how often you want to keep in touch, as not all relationships require daily check-ins.

One of the negatives of mid-distance relationships is missing out on milestones, like anniversaries, birthdays, and even small things like celebrating your partner's raise or promotion at work. However, just because you may not always be able to be there in person doesn't mean you can't be there via video!


Do things together apart

Just like celebrating wins and events via video chat, you can also do things together through technology — even when you can't be in the same place physically. The same long-distance date ideas apply here. Even movie date nights are still possible with platforms like Zoom. Many streaming apps have watch party options, including Prime, Hulu, and Disney+.


If you wish your partner could go with you to the store to pick out the perfect dress for a friend's wedding or a sundress for the company picnic, they can still go with you as long as you take your phone. You can video chat with them or even snap mirror selfies to send and get feedback on.

Feeling peckish after all of that time in the dressing room? Take your video chat date to a mall restaurant for a meal. Even if your significant other is having a snack at home, it can still feel like you're noshing together. You don't have to skip regular date nights just because you're not together. All you have to do is schedule digital dates and enjoy your time together, apart.

Set regular in-person dates

If you don't live so far apart but can only see each other occasionally, try to have something on the calendar monthly — or even weekly — if you can swing it. Even if you only have time to see each other monthly, and the visit is brief, you can still make the best of that time. Some time is better than no time! You could also consider meeting in the middle sometimes, which may cost more if you're making it an overnight stay, but it will possibly give you and your partner more opportunities to see each other in person.


Plus, when a date is on the calendar, and you know you'll be getting together in person, it helps take the edge off the rest of the time apart. This will also help you when it's time to say goodbye after a visit. Having things scheduled makes it easier to plan what you'll do with the allotted time, too. Of course, we all know things sometimes get in the way. If either of you has to cancel, be sure to immediately reschedule the time so you can both feel comfortable knowing it won't be too long until you're holding hands again.

Set your boundaries

Since you'll both have different friend circles that don't co-mingle, there will be times of jealousy or FOMO (fear of missing out). You don't want to be the type of person who tells your partner they can't have friends, but you also want to know that you can trust them. Trust is another important aspect in relationships, and without it, your connection can break down pretty quickly.


Get to know their friends when you do visit, so you can see how they interact and know whether there's anything to actually be jealous of. You also need to check your feelings about the fear of missing out. You and your partner should still be able to have lives outside of your relationship. It's important to set boundaries so that both of you know what is considered cheating — like, is it cheating if your significant other goes out with a single friend?

Is it "emotional cheating" if they share info with one friend in particular about your relationship? Your partner can't know your boundaries if you don't share them. You should also talk about what things you only want to do together and what things are okay to do apart. Perhaps your main go-to on dates is going to the movies —  is it okay to see a movie without your significant other? These are things that should be discussed so both of you feel comfortable. 


Don't slack on communication

Staying in touch, even if it's a daily text, is vital. When you're not reaching out regularly, miscommunications can happen easily. If your partner messages you and doesn't hear from you for over an hour, is this cause for them to be concerned? Did you set boundaries on being unable to contact them during work hours? 


Keeping the lines of communication open can look like letting your partner know your work schedule, messaging if you're going to be unavailable for a bit, and making sure they know how long and why. Being open and honest can help deter ugly emotions like jealousy. You also want to make your significant other feel appreciated — even more so when you can't show them in person.

In this type of relationship, it's even more important to keep talking about everything, no matter how mundane you may think it is. Also, when something comes up that bothers you, don't put it off. Let your partner know that you need to discuss something important and schedule a time when you can both stay focused on the topic at hand.


Make things equal

It can get expensive traveling to see your significant other, from the cost of gas and upkeep of your vehicle to paying for meals when you're not at home to cook. Then there are the date night things you often do, like going to the movies, visiting the hot tubs, or enjoying drinks at a nearby bar. All of these things quickly add up, but you can share the costs and responsibilities to make it more even.


Be sure you're both putting in the same travel time to help keep expenses even — if you visit your partner one week, have them come to you the next. When it comes to meals, consider eating at home (at either place). And when you're going out to eat or do other activities, you can split the costs of these expenses, or you could have one person pay when the other person visits to help offset costs.

Find new ways to be spontaneous

Just because you can't go on a last-minute road trip together doesn't mean spontaneity can't be a thing. Of course, if you're spending a weekend together already, that road trip is still a possibility. There are other things you can do, like an impromptu visit (though not a surprise one unless it's been okayed previously and you know your partner's schedule that day). If you can't be together, spontaneity still isn't out of the question.


You can be spontaneous via text and especially through video chat. Have fun with sending and receiving intimate photos to get things spiced up, then make plans for a video chat (be sure you're partner is at home and alone, though).Don't give away the secret, but get decked out in something sexy and answer the video call in a sultry voice. Just because you can't be together and touch each other doesn't mean you can't have a little naughty fun on video chat and touch yourselves!

Pack a bug-out bag of sorts

Packing for visits can be tedious, but you can also have a prepacked bag of the things you need (especially if you're worried about leaving stuff behind). Having double the toiletries ensures you don't have to spend extra money on visits, and it means a little less packing each time you head out.


Even if you start with travel-size items, you'll still have a good start on not having to pack and unpack weekly. You may also want to consider having prepacked clothing that you wash and pack for your visits as well, just to make it easier.

If you have a special date planned, you'll just need to toss in that special outfit, but you won't have to pack a whole bag because it'll already be ready! Of course, if you're tired of packing and unpacking, talk with your partner about taking over a shelf in the bathroom and a drawer in the dresser — of course, you'll need to offer these up at your place too.

Don't forget those acts of love

The five love languages are just as important in mid-distance relationships as they are in close proximity ones. Once you know your partner's love language(s), you can be sure to implement them in your time together and apart. 


While physical touch will only happen when you're together, you can put special emphasis on it at those times. Quality time doesn't require you to be together in person, as you can still give them your time online and on the phone. Consider something like sending gift cards as acts of service since you can't always be there to help when it's needed (and when you are there, do the dishes if your partner cooked!).

If affirmations of love are their love language, send texts reminding them how much you care. And gifts is probably the easiest one with things like Amazon Prime, where it's easy to directly send something to someone else right from your own shopping cart. Of course, even those you can do at a distance should be done when you're in person too. Words of affirmation can sometimes come across as acts of affirmation (show them you love them, don't just tell them).


Commitment is still important

Figure out your level of commitment, for both of you — and stick with it. Talk about it so you both know where you are at. If you're not on the same page relationship-wise, it could cause issues down the road. Is your relationship monogamous or open? What happens if one of you finds someone more local that interests you? These may not all be easy questions to answer, but the answers can help you determine the lasting power of your partnership and help you set boundaries as well.


There will already be some tough times ahead in learning to work around each other's schedules, plans, friend groups, and more. Just know that even relationships between two people in the same town or same home aren't always easy things to navigate. If you want to make your relationship work, you have to stay committed to doing so. 

Prepare for the emotions

It won't be easy to be apart after your times together, even if you only had time to grab some coffee halfway between the two of you. It's never easy saying goodbye to someone you're building a connection with, and you're likely to cry your whole drive home — so be prepared. Keep a box of tissues in your vehicle. If your partner visits you, keep some by the bed where you'll likely want to spend a little time alone in your own misery.


Of course, it's important that you don't wallow in that loneliness for too long. Come up with a routine that keeps your mind off missing your significant other too much, like having coffee with friends that evening or watching a movie that always makes you laugh. While the roller coaster of emotions is bound to come, you don't have to let them win. Think about the next time you two will see each other, and let that motivate you to get on with your life.