You can be essentially anywhere in the world within a day.
It takes roughly 24 hours to get from London to Sydney. Compare that to a mere century ago, when that same journey would have taken around a month!
Living in the age of the Internet, platforms such as Skype and FaceTime would appear — at least on the surface — to make long-distance relationships (LDR) perfectly viable. If your partner really is ‘The One’, what’s a few measly hours (or a few thousand miles) of distance? Love involves sacrifice — everyone knows that.
What is LDR and can it work?
How do you know that you’re in a long-distance relationship? What is the true meaning of LDR?
A long-distance relationship is defined as an “intimate relationship between partners who are geographically separated from one another”. The definition does not set an exact distance as it’s different for each couple. Basically, you should only consider your relationship “long-distance” if that distance prevents you from easily interacting and seeing each other face to face.
And that’s exactly where LDR can cause problems. Speaking via a screen can only satisfy you up to a point — and can never fulfil the craving for physical proximity and intimacy we all hold deep inside.
So okay, maybe they are The One — but maybe they’re not. Before you endeavour on your long-haul romance — before taking that train, boarding that plane — just take a moment consider some of the issues that can arise.
1) Ready and willing?
Relocating, whether across the country or across the world, is a huge decision. Do your career and personal ties and commitments truly allow for such a massive upheaval? And can these things be healthily maintained once you’ve settled in your new home? If they can’t, they might only add more stress down the line, such as financial worries if your job has suffered as a result of the move, or the lack of support from your family who no longer live nearby. Stress is not a good base upon which to build a relationship.
Money might seem inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but the cost of travel might take its toll over time. You don’t want your logistical issues to cause you to feel undue resentment towards your partner. Even if you’re single and going on numerous long-distance first dates, multiple date nights in big cities such as London and New York can quickly tot up.
Some people genuinely prefer long-distance relationships; for them, seeing their partner once a week, once a month, that’s enough. But you have to ask — is that really conducive to a healthy, happy relationship for both parties? After all, the key to an authentic, stable romance is the capacity for physical intimacy, which itself creates a deep, profound sense of trust and attraction.
Long-distance relationships create a void — and not just a geographical one. The greater the gap between the two of you – and the longer it exists — the greater the risk of the relationship eventually collapsing. Loneliness, lack of emotional and physical support, infrequent sex — all of these problems can create an immense strain that even a strong relationship can struggle to withstand. You don’t need a Ph.D. to understand why statistics show that affair rates skyrocket when couples live apart for prolonged periods. In times of stress, we reach out, rightly or wrongly, for support — wherever we can find it.
Everything else aside, this is the most vital point to consider. Are you truly ready?
The thing is, seeing one another just on weekends or once a month might not cut it. You need to spend a lot of time with a person before you can safely determine if they really are the right one for you. This might involve travelling together, even living together.
It’s important to see each other in a myriad of contexts; only then can you get to know their true character. How do they treat strangers? How are they around their friends and family? Are they charitable, kind, warm, funny, reliable? Plus, seeing each other only infrequently can create a sense of longing which in turn produces a fantastical, idealised image of your partner — which may come crashing down when reality comes a-calling.
Distance doesn’t have to be a barrier to love
If you’re siingle and considering long-distance dating, just stop to think: have I really exhausted all my options? Are there genuinely no more geographically proximate suitors for me?
If you’re in a relationship and long-distance dating is unavoidable, talk through the points raised today. Relationships are hard as it is; adding in logistical nightmares and geographical separation can serve to only exacerbate your struggles.
That said, if the two of you are tenacious, strong-willed and self-sufficient — and bound by an incredibly strong bond — there’s no reason why any distance should be a boundary to romance.