Long distance relationships

Going the distance: How feasible is long-distance love?

 

iStock-1027701870 copy.jpgMaybe you met someone abroad. Maybe someone from abroad met you. Either way, you’re wondering if those romantic feelings can lead anywhere at all because of the distance. Of course distance can pose some unique challenges compared to dating a local single, but you might be surprised to learn those extra miles could be the fastest track into your next serious relationship.

Does distance make the heart grow fonder? The short answer: Yes.

 Two scientists, Crystal Jiang, City University of Hong Kong and Jeffrey Hancock, Cornell University, compared intimacy levels among couples in LDRs and local relationships. Surprisingly, the distance couples reported much higher levels of intimacy.

Researchers attributed the additional closeness to two unique characteristics. Firstly, the people in the LDR disclose more about themselves—more details, more vulnerability—that promote a higher rating of closeness versus the everyday chit chat from couples who live together. Secondly, distance couples tend to idealize their partners. Without opportunities to see their partner’s off days, people in LDR’s can hold on to that idealized version of their love interest longer.

In theory, my heart might grow fonder, but in reality won’t there be communication issues?

Ironically, couples communicating across distance enjoyed a greater sense of closeness than local couples. In one study published in the Journal of Communication, researchers found that although couples in LDRs weren’t always in constant communication, the overall quality of the communication was rated highly. After analyzing the diaries, texts, calls, and video chats, researchers learned that couples in long distance relationships shared more personal details.

Additionally, The Journal of Communication reports that the communication style between distance couples was rated less “problematic” than couples living closer—probably attributed to the fact that distance forces time between an emotional response and a reaction.

So, how much does the distance really matter?

Apparently, not that much. One study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy reported that couples living apart were just as happy as couples living in the same city. Even before the realities of distance set in, distance couples “perceived a lower likelihood of breaking up with their partner” when researchers wanted to measure commitment compared to locally-based relationships.

Ultimately, when these same participants were polled four months later about their relationship status, the break up rates between distance and local couples were the same.

Perhaps, we’re spending too much time wondering how the distance will make things harder rather than how it can help us get more intentional about connecting. If the chances of making love last are the same, why not see where those loving feelings take you?

 

7 Practical Ways to Make Your Long Distance Relationship Work

 

iStock-925386886 copy 2.jpgMaybe you’ve met someone on vacation or you’ve decided to look for love in more than one (local) place—and found it. Either way, you want to see where the relationship is going, and you don’t want distance to get in the way. To make the best of your long distance relationship, we suggest these 7 practical ways to help make that (temporary) distance a mechanism to bring you closer.

 

  1. You spearhead constant communication.

Naturally, you and your long distance partner will share bigger life events, but it’s talking about the small stuff—the daily minutia—that will make your relationship feel “normal”. Ask the small talk questions and try to track the recurring characters. The goal is to get enough information so that you can hear updates without having to ask the who, what, or why each time.

 

  1. You make being accessible a top priority.

Work schedules and sleep schedules across different time zones can make connecting more difficult, but not impossible. A little bit of planning can bridge the gap.

  • Send What’s App messages before bed so that your partner can wake up with you.
  • Spend one lunch break, breakfast, or dinner together via skype. Yes, that’s right. Pull out the computer with your glass of red.
  • Download WhatsApp or Facebook messenger to avoid unnecessary costs associated with international messaging fees.

 

What it looks like: One client went for a 30 day meditation retreat in northern India. Although she prepped her partner well before her month-long departure, she sensed his skepticism and slight resentment over her plans. To bridge the gap and stay true to her break from technology, she wrote him a letter or post card almost every day detailing her thoughts and realizations. His inability to communicate back left much to be discussed upon her return. Instead of creating distance, the month apart ultimately brought them closer together.

 

  1. Try different types of communication.

Spice up your communication style with something new. Take a break from the texting or phone and opt for a video call. After so many texts, you can miss important nuances and forget the little personality quirks that make your partner unique. The point is to make distance seem more like a slight inconvenience than a real barrier. The phone calls will give you insight to tone and mood; the video chats will help you decipher the real emotion. Even snail mail might help you see a more serious, intentional emotional side.

 

  1. Be romantic.

You won’t be around to make her coffee or buy her flowers, so find new ways to make her feel loved. Coordinate a flower delivery—out of the blue—to show that yes, you value romance and will make that happen regularly once you’re together. Use this temporary time apart to provide a preview of coming attractions.

 

What it looks like: One client started dating a man shortly before he fielded a work assignment in Germany. Whereas she wasn’t interested in dating across continents, he had different plans. Shortly before Valentine’s Day, the man got in touch with the client’s closest friend to figure out the perfect romantic gesture. Together, they decided the client needed a anti-stress holiday. He reserved a hotel room and a spa day for both women and arranged for a bottle of champagne and cheese plate to be delivered shortly after they arrived. The thoughtfulness and surprise factor was all the client needed to wait out his return.

 

  1. Always have a meeting in the works.

To survive the hurdles of distance, it’s easier to have a goal—like a meeting that’s right around the corner. Have the next meeting in the works before you end up apart. Whether it’s a short trip or a long holiday, all that matters is that you two know you have definitive plans to be together.

 

  1. Get a credit card with travel perks.

It’s as obvious as it sounds, and yet lots of couples miss out on the perks. Find a card that pays you back in miles or upgrades or lounge visits. If you’re anticipating time apart, get a card that’s going to make it even easier to get together.

 

  1. And, finally, remember just how little time you’ll be apart in the grand scheme of things. Something special is worth the wait. If you’re meant to be together forever, one week, one month, or one year, will hardly matter. Linx has brought so many couples together who are separated by cities, states, and countries. Couples have navigated these waters by following the aforementioned tips and ultimately overcoming distance, to say “I Do!”  💍 ❤️