He lives in Alaska and she works in Hawaii – which are like two worlds apart. They first came in contact with each other on social media. He kept liking her updates and soon became an ardent follower of hers. Later he started leaving some comments, she replied him back and it led to a more deeper conversation. They became good friends. It wasn’t long before they started feeling ‘naughtily and crushily’ obsessed with each other. Soon they fall in love. A long distance relationship is born.
Different people have different ideas about long distance relationships. What does it really mean?, When is a relationship said to be “long distance”? Do distance relationships really work? If yes then how do long distance relationships work?
WHEN IS A RELATIONSHIP SAID TO BE A LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP?
“Long distance relationship” is a general term used to describe a romantic relationship between two partners who are geographically isolated from each other.
There are many different instances that can best be described as a long distance relationship. But the underlying factor is; both partners are unable (not unwilling) to see each other face to face on most of the days. Be careful not to get it mixed up. Relationships where both partners are close to each other but rather lazy or have not enough will to see each other frequently cannot be said to be distance relationships in the actual sense. Although they may feel more like one. In a distance relationship, the both partners are willing to see each other as often as possible but the long distance between them is the only hindrance.
DO LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS REALLY WORK?
Caroline Brealey, CEO and Matchmaker of Mutual Attraction, describes long distance relationships as a ‘challenge’ – even for the strongest of relationships. No one ever said long distance relationships are that easy to maintain. But if you unwittingly find yourself in one, you’ll have no choice but to make it work.
Sometimes people may have already fallen so deep in love with each other before the distance creeps in and tries to part them. In any case being in a long distance relationship is not easy. But who says it is not possible to have a long distance relationship that works out perfectly. With the right zeal, love, commitment and communication, a ‘distance relationship can attain a more stable point than even a no distance relationship.
WHY LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS SOMETIMES DON’T WORK OUT
It is no secret that long distance relationships are no easier to maintain. Many of such relationships also fail for the same reasons no-distance relationships fail. But there are whole lot of peculiar factors that are constantly working against such relationships.
Perhaps, having a prior knowledge of these factors will help you in walking through them with ease.
Here are some of the most common reasons why many long distance relationships fail.
1. Lack of physical contact
This goes beyond just coital intimacy. Physical contact with your partner is what helps in maintaining a more deeper connection – as it heightens emotional intimacy. So many unspoken words are communicated through the power of ‘touch’. And if it’s lacking, as in the case of long distance relationships, then things may not go that smoothly.
2. The burden of communicating
If you have been there, then you will know what it feels like. Having to call, face-time, chat or Skype every morning, midday and before bedtime feels like too much a burden. The moment you two geographically become worlds apart, you start feeling the urge to stay in constant touch so as to make up for the distance. But soon this mode of communication becomes too tasking and rigorous. Many couples grow tired of each other and the relationship ends in ruins.
3. No real tests
Because your partner is never physically present, you may never get to see their real face – if it’s a smile or a frown. You may never get to know who they really are, what they love and what they dislike, their temperament or their reactionary attitudes. Electronic communication gives more room for people to fake it for too long. In the end, no one is going to congratulate their partner on realising that they are not who they have been pretending to be.
4. Strain on finances
As the saying goes “love is costly”. Sometimes even a date down the street can be expensive – if you want to make it special. How about booking a flight ticket from Alaska to Hawaii every weekend or having to refill a full tank of gas. Not to mention what the hours lost on calls, Skyping and chatting would have earned if put to good use – probably some good extra pay. All these eventually give rise to internal conflicts that very often lead to breakups.
5. There is a social life disconnect
In a long distance relationship, both partners can never be socially equal or on the same page all the time. The fact that one partner is not around shouldn’t put the other’s social life on a hold. For example, talking and chatting everyday shouldn’t mean one person must have to at all times seek the permission of the other to maybe have a nice time out on the beach with colleagues. This is where jealousy and resentment may creep in. Seeing nice pictures of a significant other having a good time with friends may not mean a big deal to many, but not everyone would take it the same way.
6. There is no way to tell if your relationship is progressing or not
There comes a time when your love life starts feeling like a limbo – neither going forward nor going anywhere at all. And because your partner is not physically present, you cannot tell for sure. On a day to day basis, it’s same routine. It would be just a matter of time before you get too bored to continue.
HOW TO MAKE A LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP WORK
1. Develop a communication schedule
Do you really have to spend 12 hours on the phone everyday? It really doesn’t matter how many hours you spend communicating each day. What’s more important is the quality of your conversation. Remember also, less is more. Stressing yourself in trying to keep up is only going to get you bored and it will not be long before you exhaust your energies.
2. Manage with what you can afford
Do not push yourself into debts or unplanned spending to finance your frequent travels just to prove a point to your partner. Travel at your convenience and make sure you plan adequately for it. But if you cannot afford to travel every other week or month, then you shouldn’t wear yourself out. It’s no fault of yours. Your relationship should be a source of happiness for you and not the other way round.
3. Do away with routines
Don’t make Skype, social media or any other means a permanent way of communication. Understand that whatever means you choose to communicate, the fact that you are communicating is what’s important – not the means. When you become so acclimatised to a particular routine, it can result to so much more when one person fails to live up to expectations.
4. Free your mind, it’s a relationship not a job
Don’t work yourself up trying to live up to the status you have imagined your relationship to be or to the expectations of your partner. If you want to visit once every two months and stay for a couple of days, do so. If you have something more important clashing with your appointed time, you can reschedule it at a more convenient time. It is a relationship not a freaking job.
5. See the distance as an opportunity
The distance may be an advantage but only if you utilize it properly. You can take this time to carefully study your partner and learn other things about them that may have not been easy to decipher if they were closer to you. The saying “distance is the real test of love” may as well be just true.
6. Be fun and creative
Using the same modus of communication only creates room for tiredness and boredom. Be creative, be fun, talk dirty if possible. Stir up things and constantly carve out a mental picture of how good things can be when you eventually get together. Being completely honest with each other would most certainly help in actualising this.
7. Be positive always
The wait can be tiring and frustrating sometimes. But rather than sob all day, be grateful that you have such a good friend who loves and cares so much for you. Be optimistic, understand that you are on a road and there are sweet fruits at the end of your journey. Be thankful that you feel such love for someone and that someone loves you back.