In a world that’s growing smaller by the minute (thanks to technology!), long distance love is on the rise… but can it really work? The answer is yes. While love across the county – or even the international date line – does have a different set of dynamics, it has its upsides, too.
If you’re contemplating embarking on romance from afar – or are already in the throes of if – don’t stress. Whether or not the relationship works is up to you. It’s your willingness to face the facts and make the most of them. Let’s start with the good news:
While you may find yourself wanting to spend more time with your sweetie than the distance between you affords, you’ll also find yourself growing more comfortable in your own skin – if the relationship is a good one. Why? Because long distance love gives you plenty of time for yourself, your friends and your family. And what better time to strengthen your sense of self than while you’re experiencing the blissed-out, in-love buzz that makes the whole world seem rosier?
Also consider that the disappearing act many couples pull in the early relationship stages – the one that alienates the people who are close to them, doesn’t happen here. Poorly rearranged priorities that wind up setting you back (you know, when getting things done moves to the bottom of your list and lounging in bed staring at each other takes the top spot), are also skipped.
In other words, you get the rush of new love without sacrificing your individuality, your friends and your family. As anyone who’s had an all-consuming love affair knows, there’s something to be said for that! After all, two strong individuals make the best kind of pair. In long distance love, there’s no room for getting lost in the other person – or losing yourself.
There is also a prolonged honeymoon stage in a long distance relationship that increases your sense of romance. And who can blame you for feeling all warm and fuzzy? There’s something storybook in the idea that two people can share a love strong enough to overcome distance and live happily ever after, right?
Which brings us to the bad news.
There are plenty of downsides to long distance love, starting, of course, with a shortage of time spent together… However, the single biggest obstacle in this scenario is getting caught up in fantasy. While it may be true that you won’t get lost in the other person if you’re communicating across time zones, it is still completely possible – and incredibly common – to get lost in your idea of who the other person is… an idea which has little basis in reality.
Truly getting to know someone across the miles is a difficult task, no matter how good you are at texting, IM, emailing and even phone calls. After all, phone sex isn’t the real thing any more than phone calls equal intimate dinners. It’s easier to keep blinders on when you can’t see the object of your affection in the flesh on a regular basis. However, in long distance love, your other senses need to come into play even more than usual. Knowing the difference between your gut instincts and your deepest desires is key. Hearing what you want to hear and projecting your desires onto your far away lover will do nothing but lead to disappointment.
As in any relationship, honesty and authenticity are the orders of the day if you want your relationship to have a chance of surviving the miles. You both need to be open about your intentions (is this going to be something serious?), honest about your emotions (sharing your good days as well as your bad ones) and happy for – rather than jealous of – your partner having a life while you’re apart. This doesn’t mean you should settle for them seeing other people (unless that’s what you agree to), but petty jealousies and the desire to control your mate’s activities when they’re in a different locale (you know, the old “call me at exactly 9pm or I’m going to wonder where you are and my mind will start racing”) will do nothing but drive an emotional wedge between you – one that can do more than the distance itself.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that long distance can only go on for so long… In other words, if the ultimate intention isn’t to find a way to spend more time together (and wind up living in the same place), you should really consider if this is the relationship for you. Or, are you just taking what you think you can get? Only you know what will work for you – but set the romantic fantasy aside and be honest with yourself. Isn’t the best part of having a life partner actually having a partner present in your life?
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