“Christina, long distant relationships don’t work out. Maybe 10% of them do, but let’s be realistic,” -Uncle Tam.
“Don’t you think the distance between us might be too far?” I swore I asked this at least 10 times within the first two months of dating this one gentleman. “No, because we’re both driven so we have more time to accomplish our own goals. We won’t have that distraction that we want to see each other every day because…we can’t see each other every day.” I wasn’t quite sold at first… but he was persistent to assure me we’d work out.
Although I am no longer with him, there was a successful outcome: I would say I highly prefer long-distant relationships. As romantic as I am, I cherish the time I have to chase my endless list of aspirations. I’m definitely not saying I wouldn’t be able to achieve my dreams if I had a lover consistently by my side! I’m simply saying that being with a geographically closer partner would tempt me a lot more; I’d easily (and guiltily) put aside some of my duties to spend time with him. Study ahead for chem lab or spend a night indoors watching Star Trek? Hello, no brainer: let’s turn on that Netflix! (Yes, I’ve been guilty of ditching Chem studies for a Star Trek viewing…)
Seeing my romantic partner once every one or two months is ideal to me-by that point, I would’ve missed him enough to make the time we spend together that much more exciting and memorable. Richard Smith, the other-half in a LDR with a girl whose 6 hours away, agrees: “It forces you to make an effort to [keep in touch. If you’re dating someone nearby, it gets easy to take the relationship for granted, and to maybe not put in as much work as you should].”
Despite the constant negative stigma associated with LDRs, the Journal of Communication published in 2013 that a growing number of social science studies may support that LDRs are stronger than those who live in closer proximity.
LDRs bring about individuality and more likelihood for personal growth. Couples who spend constant time with one another eventually synchronize their personality and behavior-they think, dress and act exactly like. Although this isn’t necessarily completely bad, it doesn’t allow much room for personal growth. Psychalive.com supports this notion: “In a [LDR], you have time to discover the person you are. You have time to think about your own values, your own goals, and your individual persona.”
A study lead by Crystal Jiang and Jeffrey T. Hancock asked 63 heterosexual dating couples (age 18-34, but average age 20 and mainly college students) to independently complete online surveys every day for a week. 80% of these participants labeled their relationship to be serious, with the average length being 22 months and the LDRs being eparated for an average of 17 months.
Investigators asked these individuals to track their interactions with their partners: how often they communicated, how long they talked and what they used to do it-phone calls, video chats, instant messages, email, texting or seeing each other face-to-face.
Despite having less interaction than the couples in closer proximity, the LDR individuals reported “experiencing greater intimacy” and being more open with their partners because they felt their partners were truly listening to them.
“You always hear people say ‘long-distance relationships suck’ or ‘long-distance relationships never work out,’” Jiang says. “Indeed, our culture, particularly American culture, emphasizes being together physically and frequent face-to-face contact for close relationships, but long-distance relationships clearly stand against all these values.” Crystal Jiang, an associate professor of communication at City University of Hong Kong, proclaims.
Buzzfeed details in a hilarious article the positivity of a LDR and here are the few reasons listed:
- Communication becomes sacred. You’ll value any and all messages from your partner infinitely more.
- And, thankfully, you’ll be so eager to catch up that you won’t bother with awkward small talk.
- If things go well, distance helps trust grow exponentially.
- Being separate means you can master being independent and in a relationship.
- You never have to feel guilty about taking “me time.”
- That moment when you first see each other again-priceless.
- Even the most routine things become amazing.
- Science says distance does actually make the heart grow fonder.
What’s your take on LDRs? Have you ever been in one or have you witness someone close to you participate in one?