The very words long distance romance conjures up passionate images of lovers torn apart by war, long, handwritten love letters sealed with kisses. The truth is not so enchanting. Normal relationships already require a lot of nurturing; add long distance and you invite a whole host of troubles completely unique to lovers separated by miles. Here are three potential problems with location-challenged love.
Going it alone, practically speaking
It may seem obvious, but committing to a person half way across your state, or across the globe, is a lonely endeavor. You’re missing out on the daily togetherness that really helps you get to know someone, and learn to trust them. When problems arise, there’s only so much your special someone can do from miles away. Add a time difference and it gets twice as tricky. Doing it for a little while is one thing. Month after month or year after year with different points of reference (one of you is going to bed as the other is waking up for example), and alienation from each other (not to mention your individual realities) is bound to set in.
Perpetual honeymoon equals decreased intimacy
One of the biggest draws of long distance love is the extended honeymoon period that physical separation can inspire. Months, even years in, emails are romantic prognostications about love as opposed to practical missives like “honey, can you pick up milk?” The trouble with extended honeymoons however, is that they never allow long distance couples to advance to the later stages of a relationship. Translation? True intimacy isn’t achieved via a phone line, text message or Skype session. Love is in the details of the day to day.
The power of projection
Finally, the biggest, most dangerous pitfall of all when it comes to long distance love lurks in the minds of the lovers. It’s scientifically proven that our brains are chemically altered when we fall in love. The resulting euphoria (which is extended, as noted above), translates to reduced powers of perception regarding the object of our affection. We feel too good taking notice of the little things about our lovers that in closer quarters would be identifiers of compatibility (or incompatibility). Likewise, in the absence of time spent physically together doing non-romantic things, i.e. just co-existing, we’re much more likely to project our fantasies onto the person we’re involved with from afar. We imagine what they’d be like in our worlds or what we’d be like in theirs without really knowing. It is more about escapism and fantasy than reality. As such, your distant lover becomes your perfect definition of love, and that much more likely to disappoint you in the end.