The Modern Long Distance Relationship

My husband and I after six months of being apart

My husband and I after six months of being apart

Long distance relationships are not what they used to be; nowadays with the aid of technology it’s easier to maintain a close bond with your significant other despite the miles between you. The first hand experience I have with long distance relationships stems from my personal experience. After a year of dating, my high school boyfriend ended up moving away to Puerto Rico, while I stayed behind in Florida. A decade later we are now married, and our relationship will  remain long distance for the next four months until my college graduation. I must be candid and admit that these last ten years weren’t strictly smooth ones; three out of the last ten years were hell for both of us. However, we came through the worst of it, and are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

From my experience, being honest and answering two questions as a couple, will help to ensure a relationship lasting despite the distance. The first question, is whether it is important to establish a date when the relationship will no longer be a long distance one; if the answer is yes, then it is vital to agree on the date when the relationship will no longer be a long distance one. If a decision is mutually agreed upon,  the proper steps must be taken to ensure that the agreement is honored by both parties. It is easier to endure the time apart if a couple can countdown to when they are reunited.

With internet services, such as Google Hangouts, Skype, Facebook, and other social messaging outlets, communicating and staying in touch is easier than ever for long distance couples, which is shown in one of these 5 steps:

 

Having a long distance relationship is an alternative many college students consider rather than just breaking up. This allows both people to fulfill their academic endeavors without completely sacrificing the relationship; according to the  Huffington Post this is benefit # 5  out of the total 9 (exclusive) benefits of a long distance relationship:

5. They force you to be independent in your relationship.
We all know those people who lose themselves in a relationship. They become an extension of their significant other and, to be honest, lose that special “spark” that made you want to be friends with them in the first place.

Couples in long distance relationships rarely have that problem — because it is difficult to live vicariously through your significant other when you don’t share a zip code. Living apart from your significant other or spouse is a great way to preserve the essence of who you are even though you are in a relationship. You have your own friends, jobs, and social life. This is especially critical for younger couples (high school and college age) who haven’t yet cemented their independence in the “real world.”

 

“Idealization”, is a major risk that long distance couples may face,  as explained by an article posted by the Pacific Standard:

In June, researchers at Cornell and the City University of Hong Kong published a paper showing that long-distance couples feel greater intimacy than those who live in the same place. They found that members of these couples reveal more about themselves, and perceive their partners to be more revealing as well.

This is a form of “idealization,” or the tendency to view your partner and your relationship in an unrealistically positive light. It is a hallmark of long-distance relationships, a reason why many geographically remote partners feel more connected to each other than those who wake up in the same bed do. This effect is likely familiar to the three million married Americans and up to one-half of American college students who are currently geographically separated from their partners. Given these numbers, it’s also worth noting the flip side of idealization, which is that it contributes to making long-distance couples more likely, whenever they do manage to align their geographic trajectories, to break up.

Despite this, it is entirely possible to make a long distance relationship work as long as both partners are committed. As long as each partner is firstly honest with his or herself, and then with each other, both people can make sure that they are on the same page while helping to avoid wasting each other’s time. Ultimately, as long as the will to make it work burns brightly within each person, there are excellent odds for the relationship to be strengthened by the distance. The common sentiment is that if the relationship survives the distance, it can survive anything.

One of the tools for success includes continued and persistent communication, according to Dating Don’ts: How To Do The Adult Long-Distance Relationship :

1. Communicate early and often. Communication is crucial in any relationship, from your best friend to the people at the laundromat, but in a long-distance relationship clear and constant communication is essential. Think of all the times anything you say is misinterpreted or taken out of context. A sideways comment said out of frustration or stress can be bad, but is usually explained away face to face. That same comment over the phone or sent by text message or Gchat has the potential to develop into a giant bomb of hurt feelings and misunderstanding. Talking as much as you can about everything from how your week is going to the status of your relationship to the plot twists on “House Of Cards” is healthy for any relationship, but its especially important if you’re miles apart.

Another wise choice for couples who are long distance is to strategically utilize tools such as Skype and vacation time.  You can still stay connected by doing activities together:

Long Distance Movie Night

Long Distance Movie Night

 

There is even a new technology being developed by Indiegogo that allows realistic kissing between long distance couples:

 

 

 

 

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