Monday, November 13, 2006

Costs of a Long-Distance Relationship

The latest issue of Women's Health magazine has an article about long-distance relationships featuring this interesting statistic:

$278: Average total amount long-distance couples spend a month to keep love alive

That is quite a lot of money. For the last couple of years, I have been "seeing" someone long-distance myself, and I suspect my average monthly spending might be even higher, but you know what? I have no idea how much I've spent. Yes, despite my totally anal approach to keeping financial records, I do NOT have a Quicken category called "LDR," "Sweetie-pie," "Too-Infrequent Nookie," or anything like that.
Of course it's something my honey and I have joked about-- I've spent a lot of money on travel, telephone calls, gifts, etc., and there are times when I've grumbled to myself about how much it was costing me. (We've both spent a lot of money, but I've spent more, because I make a lot more.) At one point the relationship even made me consider leaving New York, which was part of the reason I didn't buy an apartment sooner. If you add in the amount of extra money I'm probably paying because I missed the lowest interest rates and found the place I'm buying when prices hit their highest, then my long-distance costs would truly be huge. But I can't quite bring myself to try to add up the number. It just seems wrong. You have to draw a line somewhere and love is something you just can't put a price tag on.
And yet the financial aspect of this relationship can't be ignored. As with any long-distance relationship, or any relationship at all, you wonder where it's going to go and if it has a future. As discussed the other day, financial compatibility is something to consider carefully in any relationship, and in a long-distance relationship, there can be even more at stake. To be perfectly honest, lately I think I've been starting to get to the point where the honeymoon is over and I wonder if my relationship will ever really work out. But I keep having to check myself: am I considering all the various reasons it might not work out? Or am I just being cheap!?!

19 comments:

DMC said...

4 months of phone calls with phone bills as high as 300+ a month and then an airplane ride out.... then we moved in together a month after that- so 5 months total.

It was financially better for me to move to her since I was just starting out in life and she was more established in her location.

mapgirl said...

Gosh. I don't know what to say. If I tallied my last relationship and what I spent on it, I know it would run into the low thousands. 4 X-C plane trips (including one ticket that went unused) for me, 1 Xmas present, 1 PSP for me so we could play video games together (not something I would normally buy), groceries, dinners out, Bauhaus tickets, etc. I'll have to go home and think about this.

Of course, now I'm seeing someone who lives very close to me, and I get into a car accident on the way home from his house last night. It's probably going to cost me way more than the LDR did.

Tiredbuthappy said...

I did this for about 18 months. I was living on the East Coast, he was living in Europe. It was expensive, but worth it.

mOOm said...

I am in an LDR at the moment. Main extra cost is flying - I might drive if I owned a car. She drives here. I don't consider the money cost at all. Time to travel etc. is more of an issue. If we lived together we might travel more together anyway to other places etc. Both of us are bound down by job-visa issues to our locations as neither of us is American and we live in the US. I just wait and wait to get my green card. I will likely quit my job at that point - by then hopefully she will have foudn a job somewhere - she is a grad student now - and I will move there - but can't do anything without the grreen card- 3 years 1 month waiting for it so far (before this relationship started).

Bitty said...

Hmmm. As I was reading the post, I thought the fact that you decided to go ahead and buy the condo (a decision made a YEAR ago) seemed to answer the questions you raise at the end about it "working out." (Although I realize you've always talked about possibly renting the condo out later.)

Consider, too, that in-town relationships have their costs, and they might be higher because they're daily rather than periodical.

(An aside: I'm beginning to hate the fact that I switched over to Blogger Beta. Seems now I have to sign in every time I want to comment on someone's blog, including my own. And in the signing in process, the comment gets lost. In the good old days -- that would be Saturday -- I didn't have to do this. Maybe when Beta is standard, this will end?)

Single Ma said...

My last relationship started LD (diff cities) for 2 yrs, lived together 3 yrs, then LD again (diff states) for another year. I'm thankful for the experience but I'll never do it again. Not only is it expensive but it requires way more nurturing and communication than a regular relationship. In a nutshell, it was emotionally draining, which is more expensive than financially draining.

Personally, I think LDRs only work if the two people have a *solid plan* to be together one day. One person must be willing to make the sacrifice and start over, so it takes a lot of selflessness and patience, both of which I lack immensely. LOL

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mOOm said...

When I realize I didn't log on with my Google account yet, I copy my comment, sign in and then post my comment again.... I guess one can just sign in first and then write...

Anonymous said...

We're both grad students (no expensive presents) living only 6 hrs apart (no X-C flights), but our monthly costs are over $200 a month. I'm sure it would be way more if not for cecll phones with free in network calling.

Hard to say it isn't worth it though.

Anonymous said...

"For the last couple of years, I have been "seeing" someone long-distance myself"

Damn, so much for that fantasy...

Liane Corinaldi said...

Love your blog. I've added it to my fab reads on my blog lianecorinaldi.blogspot.com. Hope you don't mind. Long distance relationships are tough. Even short distance relationships are tough. You can't win either way - you're going to get into spats. That's why I say date yourself and see the opposite sex occasionally. But hey this is coming from a post long relationship survivor. I may be a little bitter.

MOMM said...

My now DH and I were in a LDR when we were dating - it was about 10 months of daily phone calls and only one trip to visit. The phone bills were HORRIBLE. But I was in college and he was in the beginning stages of the military, thus we had virtually no other bills.

Anonymous said...

Wow, $278, not bad. Same city relationships are so expensive, but then again, there's a lot more nookie (lol did I just say that?).

Issy said...

Wow! Can you break the costs down?

One area you shoudn't be paying out for is telephone calls. There are loads of discount long distance plans available, and if you have Skype or similar you can even talk for free.

My own long distance romances were very short-lived but I recall them being quite pricey for the few weeks they lasted!

Great blog

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful blog you have here! I'm in an LDR right now. It's brand-new, so every day I wake up feeling thrilled with life. I suppose I'm the kind of person who wouldn't care about the price tag associated with keeping this LDR alive and fun. I'll check in with myself next year to see if this is all a dream.

Anonymous said...

i've been in a long distance relationship for almost 13 months and have another 6 to go.

i've spent less than $50 on long distance and i speak to my boyfriend almost every day.

Skype is the answer.

bugbear said...

To me, long distance relationships aren't really relationships. They are inherently limited in their capacity for true intimacy. But sometimes they might the best we can do with where we are in our lives.