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Success Tips for Long-Distance Relationships

The Internet has changed dating. There's now hope for singles living in small towns and remote areas or in cities where meeting someone to date is difficult.

By using the Internet, those singles can reach out geographically to meet other singles in all parts of the country and the world. People who otherwise wouldn't have met are doing so.

And because of this, large numbers of singles are becoming involved in long-distance relationships, which brings a new set of concerns and issues of which singles need to be aware.

Monica Jones lived in Mission Viejo, Calif., when she met her husband Greg, of Gulf Breeze, Fla., on the Internet. Monica considers herself to be the queen of long-distance relationships and shares sound advice for people considering relocating to be near a new lover:

1. Meet in person within a month so you won't invest a lot of time, money and emotions into someone who may not be what you're looking for. Face-to-face chemistry is unpredictable.

2. When you first meet, have a back-up plan-to stay at a hotel or return home sooner if the visit doesn't go as planned.

3. Meet and spend quality time with his family, friends and children.

4. Don't be in a long-distance relationship with someone you can't trust. Wondering if he or she is telling you the truth will drive you nuts.

5. Try not to go weeks or months without spending time together. People can change in that amount of time, and you may not be able to recognize the change via the phone or computer.

6. Have different methods of contacting each other -- the person's home, work, cell and pager numbers, and e-mail address. He or she should be willing to give all of these to you.

7. Before moving, spend several weeks with the person at different times of the year.

8. If you decide to move, discuss expectations beforehand. If it doesn't work, you both should have an exit plan. This is like a marriage pre-nuptial agreement, instead it covers moving to be together.

9. Have at least one back-up plan if the move doesn't work out. Make sure you can return to your old life if you need to. Don't co-mingle assets until you are in a committed relationship, whether it's marriage or another arrangement.

Most long-distance relationships don't work, and few work out as well as Monica's and Greg's. But if people follow Monica's advice, and move slowly, and are honest with each other, they can have a beautiful life together by overcoming the miles between them.

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