Long-Distance Relationships Can Be a Costly Affair
A long-distance relationship may be distancing you from your financial goals.
I knew writing about this would bring back some anxiety, so I prepared myself with a large bowl of carrots. (Fun fact: food calms nerves. It’s because your body understands that it must be safe. No one eats whilst being chased by velociraptors.)
I’ve now read online about long-distance relationships, or “LDRs,” for over an hour. Sure enough, I have just one and a half carrots left. I wouldn’t say I’m shaking with anxiety, but it’s bringing back some memories.
I dated a girl long-distance for nearly three years.
We were in college. Our lives just never synced up. During those years, it didn’t seem too bad. But you won’t find me in an LDR ever again.
I met the girl when I was visiting a friend. Her school was 400 miles away from mine. From a financial perspective, the relationship started off really well. We weren’t always going on dates, going to concerts, or doing other things that cost a lot. It was chill. Talking on the phone or Skype was basically free.
But as the relationship got serious, it became a major pain. Driving is expensive, whether that is obvious to most people or not. Hotels get expensive. Shipping gifts gets expensive.
The opportunity cost of saying “I miss you” becomes unbelievable. If I had a nickel for every time I said that during those three years…
My carrots are gone.
Spending money on relationships can be great. When you’re in a good relationship, it’s actually a fantastic investment. You’re having fun and you’re investing in your future. But going long-distance dramatically waters down your investment.
Most of the money you spend is just to get to a shared location. And then you begin spending money as if you are living close. Thus, an LDR is always far more expensive than finding a local love. Don’t let those first few weeks on Skype fool you.
It’s never a matter of if the subject of money wears you out. It will. Especially if you’re among the 75 percent of college students who have been in long-distance relationships. Money is tight. In my long-distance relationship, I think we went about three months before talking about the costs of visiting each other.
What can be enormously helpful is to split the cost of travel in long-distance relationships. No matter who travels, split the cost down the middle (surprise visits aside). It makes sense. Because both of you benefit from seeing each other. So why not share the joys and the pains?
When the money is even, you may still find yourselves growing apart. When you don’t see someone every day, it’s easy for this to happen. If it gets to the point of being beyond repair, it’s time to cut loose. Stop investing your time and money once you realize this. Don’t throw good money after bad.
You’re probably wondering how much I spent in three years. I started keeping track, but it felt weird, so I stopped.
Sarah Bettencourt, the social media manager at CentSai, remembers spending $6,000 on flights and credit card interest to see her boyfriend in college. They hoped they would be able to use the reward miles at some point.
Melanie Lockert, a regular blogger on this site, confesses to a long-distance affair – New York City to Portland, Oregon – that lasted nearly two years. Her advice? “Being in a long-distance relationship can add up quickly when it comes to transportation costs. If you fly to see your sweetie, be sure to sign up for airline mileage programs. After a few trips to see each other, we’d inevitably have enough miles for a free flight, which helped lower costs.”
If you’re wondering why the girl and I broke up – it was a combination of a lot of things. Though her deciding to work for an airline didn’t help…