What we -- and our partners -- expect out of a long-distance relationship goes a long way in determining our happiness and the success of those relationships.
"Long-distance relationship" can mean different things to different people. It may mean "heart-wrenching tragedy" to one person, while for the other partner it means "year-long vacation."
If a couple doesn't share the same expectations before the separation occurs, it can spell doom for a long-distance relationship. For one half of the couple, it may be viewed as a test of the relationship's strength, with an eye toward reuniting as soon as possible. The other, however, may view the separation as a fresh taste of life all on one's own. A boyfriend or girlfriend who wants to talk 10 times a day isn't going to appreciate a partner who thinks it's ideal to check in every few days. Even over a scratchy phone connection, it won't take long for someone to realize that his or her S.O. doesn't share the same feelings about the separation.
Not only do expectations matter when it comes to navigating the pitfalls of long-distance relationships, they also matter when it comes to determining where the whole thing is even going. Is the separation somehow moving the relationship ahead a step, or does the distance mean it's moving in a less hopeful direction?