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How close that image is to reality depends on how much the other person is present as themselves (rather than putting their best foot forward), how observant you are, and how firmly your feet remain attached to the ground even when in love.
I’ve been in both realistic and unrealistic LDRs where I had not met the person.
Meet them at the airport by all means but do not get into a private vehicle with them or let them transport your luggage in a private vehicle.
This can help set realistic expectations and avoid some miscommunications, frustration, and anxiety.
It can take real effort to rearrange schedules and make time to talk, especially when things get busy or there is a time difference involved.
You might be dating a complete monster and you will never know until you are actually with that person, and this is the god honest truth, every person is entitled to their unconventional way of living their life, are you going to be okay with that with this person. You need to know who you're talking to and this is key -- something you gradually do: When you learn about this person, remember it.
That's how you should look at every intimate relationship in all honesty, however it's especially important in Long Distance relationships. You need to want similar things and/or want to help the other in providing for their needs.