With the advent of the internet, the instances of long distance relationships is on the rise. More and more people are entering into a serious relationship which people who live physically far apart but whom they consider to be their soul-mates. Is this advisable? More than anything a long-distance relationship is one of the most difficult to work out. They may say distance makes hearts fonder but what I say is distance makes hearts more confused. There is always a sense of insecurity in a long-distance relationship which leads to many problems. Some people who are in long distance relationships say that the main difficulty is the little doubt in the bottom of your heart as to whether your fiancée is really committed to you. A telephone is a poor substitute for your beloved. After all you never really know if he means it.
A long distance relationship is any relationship between a "committed" couple in which both parties live at least three hours apart and CANNOT see each other on a given day if they need to. They also can't see each other every weekend even if they want to. In other words, if they have a disagreement, they cannot just run to their cars, drive an hour each way, kiss and make up or tell each other..."See you this weekend!" It is more complicated than that and distance keeps them apart unless they make specific plans to be together.
Why? There are specific reasons why and they can be confronted. The reasons why long distance relationships fail at such a high rate are:
- People FORCE communication to occur every day, usually by phone. They also e-mail too often and "say" things in writing that they can never take back. They can apologize, but never take them back. Plus, no matter how hard people try to avoid it, e-mail can be misinterpreted and then the couple spends their time trying to rectify what was "said."
- Daily phone calls cause HUGE PHONE BILLS and ARGUMENTS over mundane topics as the two people usually have nothing new to talk about as they just talked the day before. Even from a long distance away, they begin to smother each other and the passion begins to escape from the relationship.
- Human beings crave physical affection. People miss the other person's smile, eye contact, scent, touch, kiss, touch, and most aspects of physical intimacy. No matter how much a couple tries, physical interaction cannot be replaced by a phone call, letter or cyber anything.
- Absence does not make the heart grow fonder, PROXIMITY does! After too long a period of time, we as human beings will begin to seek ways to meet our needs, wants and desires much closer to home. This does not have to be a conscious effort, as sometimes it happens almost by accident. We don't want to disappoint or hurt our significant other and feel extremely guilty when we do.
- They "surprise visit" each other and then get JEALOUS and upset at what they THINK they see and what they THINK they hear. Most couples are not mature enough to deal with the fact that their significant other now has new "friends" that they know nothing about.
- They find they're missing "the college experience." Are students not going to attend mixers, dances, overnight retreats, or major campus events because they know their significant other would "freak out" if they attended them with their new "friends?" College goes by in the blink of an eye and long distance students find themselves having to pass on events out of fear of
confrontation with their significant other or find themselves having to hide the truth a bit.
- They simply grow apart and develop new interests. When we are on our own, we find ways to compensate for losses in our life. This is not done out of spite, it is our most basic survival instincts kicking in.
- Reunions are passionate. Separations are emotional. Often couples get back together and focus SOLELY on the physical aspect they have been missing and craving. This is like putting a Band-Aid on an amputation as it doesn't feed any aspect of the relationship except physical desire. Thus, the rest of the relationship doesn't get nurtured.
- People begin to "forget" the other person's wonderful qualities and attributes because they are not being reinforced on a regular basis. We like to be around people who are healthy and who care for us. Our significant others from so far away cannot do these things for us.
- People try to control each other from a distance, exclaiming such predictions as, "I know you're going to find someone else and cheat on me!" Control develops out of Fear and Fear develops from a lack of faith. People often fear that they will lose what they have or never get what they want. The more a couple tries to control each other, the farther apart they will drift and the less attractive the relationship will appear.
- Finally, in a cruel twist of fate, if a couple survives the long distance part, they still may break up when they reunite and move back closer to each other as they have gotten so proficient at being apart they find they are no longer good together in the same place. They got so used to being apart that they have lost the ability to be together.
This doesn't mean that every relationship is bound to a tragic end. If you are in a long distance relationship and determined to make it work, there is definitely sure to be happiness for you. Here are some ways to start.
- Don't talk everyday. Let some time go by so that you actually look forward to hearing each other's voice or seeing their words on your screen. This way you won't spend time thinking of what to say and rather concentrate on each other. Many times the cracks develop because of trying too much.
- As much as possible, share the costs of being apart. Money matters can be a huge burden to young men who feel the pressure to keep the relationship together and pay for everything. Though it may sound mercenary, money also plays havoc in a relationship especially when you yourself are struggling to eke out a living on a scholarship and evening job.
- Be careful how much you open up your heart and feelings and time to those people closer to you (in proximity, not feelings). If you allow someone access to your heart, they just might take a nice long walk through your emotions and your long distance partner will notice a change in you. The chances for infidelity emotional or otherwise are too many in a long distance relationship but in the long run, they just aren't worth it.
- Don't see each other every weekend. Let some time go by so that, again, you look forward to seeing each other.
- When you do reunite, don't let it all be about the physical. Feed the rest of the relationship that needs nourishment as well.
- Get out and enjoy the college experience so that you don't feel cheated. Enjoy the school that you have chosen to attend. Revel in your friendships. Learn who you are. Don't let your love life mar your other relationships in life which are important too.
- NEVER argue over e-mail and try not to argue over the phone either. It is best to have intense discussions in person the next time you see each other so that nothing is misinterpreted.
- Don't surprise visit each other. People are creatures of habit and don't like their patterns messed with. Plus, what if you don't have time to spend with them when they visit because of commitments? It will seem as if you don't care and that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
So if you are in love with that absolutely divine person who lives at the other end of the world, go ahead and snare him/her. Best of luck.