Long distance relationship is becoming common in the U.S. and in other countries. This kind of relationship is common among college students, military personnel, and people who work out of state or out of the country.
High school students who go into a relationship are usually physically separated once they go into college. In most cases, these college-bound students in a relationship choose different majors or are admitted in different colleges. They are then bound to be involved in a long distance romantic relationship until they finish college four or more years later.
Military personnel often times are assigned to out of state, or worse out of the country, posts. Spouses of military personnel assigned to far away posts do not necessarily go with the husband or the wife. At times, they are forced to stay behind because of employment, children’s education, and other important reasons. The military personnel and the spouse will then be consigned to a long distance relationship for as long as the assignment holds or the spouse who stayed behind decide to follow the military personnel spouse in the place of assignment. However, not all spouses and families are allowed to follow the military personnel spouse. Spouses and families cannot follow military personal spouses who are assigned in war zones, high-risk areas, and special assignments that cannot provide accommodations to spouses and family such as assignment in a military ship or submarine.
There are many instances when a spouse gets a job or is assigned to work out of state or out of the country. The other spouse usually follows but it is not always easy to do that. Moving to another state or country entails a lot of work and expenses. Sometimes, the option that the couple chooses is for the other spouse to stay behind and take care of the family and the house that they built together. Even if the out of state or out of country assignment will involve a long period of time, uprooting the whole family from the place where they are already established is something that is not easy to do.
The internet is another reason behind the rise in long distance relationship. Online dating has been so popular that people get involved in a relationship with someone they met only online. At times, there is physical meeting but the relationship is usually carried out with the partners separated by physical distance.
Quick Facts and Statistics
Research has shown the following facts and statistics regarding long distance relationship in the U.S.:
- About 2.9% of marriages in the U.S. fall under long distance relationship.
- It takes only about 4.5 months to determine if long distance relationship works or not.
- About 70% of long distance relationships fail when partners don’t decide to get close to each other.
- There are 14 million people who claim that they are in long distance relationship.
- Ten percent of marriages in the U.S. start from a long distance relationship.
- Thirty two percent of relationships among college students are long distance.
- Forty percent of long distance relationships end up in break-up.
- Seventy five percent of engaged couples have been involved in a long distance relationships.
- Couples in long distance relationships lived an average of 125 miles from each other.
- Couples in long distance relationship visit each other one and a half times each month on the average.
- Couples in long distance relationship call each other through the phone once every 2.7 days on the average.
- Couples in long distance relationship decide to move together after an average of 14 months of physical separation.
It’s now a lot easier for people who are involved in long distance relationship to be stay connected because of the following:
- Modern communication technologies – According to Pew Research, 91% of American adults own a cell phone, making it very convenient for people to communicate regardless of the physical distance. The advent of cell phone technology helped the popular internet dating services increase the number of people involved in long distance relationship. Added to the ease of communicating using the cell phone are other technological means such as Skype, Face Time, Messenger, and VOIP-based calling services such as Tango, Vonage, Viber, and Voxer.
- Social Media – In addition to verbal communication using modern technology, partners in long distance relationship also stay connected with each other through the various social media such as Facebook, and Twitter.
- Email – Couples in long distance relationship stay connected even when they are busy working by sending emails to each other. The Huffington Post reports that 85% of the world’s population communicate through email.
Maintaining a long distance relationship is beset with problems, ranging from the mundane to the most serious. Some of the common problems partners in a long distance relationship encounter are the following:
- Expenses – Because of the desire and the need to communicate with one another, partners in a long distance relationship are confronted with the high financial burden of maintaining the relationship. Technological means of communications do not come cheap and the partners have to pay the price of keeping the line of communication open.
- Jealousy – It is the most common of the emotions that adversely affect long distance relationship. An individual in a long distance relationship can easily feel this once the partner starts communicating less, always thinking that such partner has been spending time with another individual.
- Loneliness – Physical distance usually results to loneliness for both partners because of the inability to communicate longer because of time and work constraints. Failure to have intimate relationship when one feels the need for it is a surefire formula to feel lonely.
- Boring Conversations – Partners in a long distance relationship stay connected through conversation through the cell phone or other technological means. This type of conversation is not as intimate as a face-to-face conversation and often times the partners reach an awkward situation when there is nothing more to talk about. Frequent and prolonged silences in a conversation is a sign that the partners are beginning to lose interest with each other.
- Uncertainty about the relationship – Partners in a long distance relationship are never sure of what is going to happen to their future. The physical distance needs to be bridged and the most common solution is moving together, which is easier said than done when one has to consider the primary reason why they are physically separated. Unless both partners can come up with a viable option for them to be together, such feeling of uncertainty will remain and may eventually destroy the relationship.
- Fear of the partner’s fidelity – Great physical distance between partners often times give rise to the fear that the partner may start looking for another one even if such fear is unfounded. Just a simple failure to make a phone call as promised can easily create an ugly monster in one’s mind that the other partner has been seeing someone else.
Making Long Distance Relationship Work
It takes two persons to make a romantic relationship work. One partner can exert all the efforts in the world to make the relationship work but if the other partner will do the same only half-heartedly, the relationship is bound to fail. The following could help partners in a long distance relationship keep the fire burning:
- Defining the relationship – Partners in a relationship must be on the same page with regards to the kind of relationship they have. Are they simply dating (when they get the chance to be physically together, just seeing each other, boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, or engaged. One must not mistakenly expect more than what is to be expected in the relationship. Partners must also set the parameters of their relationship, as in they are exclusively dating and must not entertain other person during the relationship. Defining the terms of the relationship will avoid any wrong expectations and will maintain a healthy relationship.
- Defy the physical distance – Partners can do things together in defiance of the distance barrier. Relationship is more than talking and many people make the very common mistake of equating long phone conversation as “relationship”. There are many things that partners in long distance relationship can do together as if they are physically together. They can watch, at the same time, a TV program and call each other when they want to make comments about what they are watching. They can either laugh together or cry together while watching a show at the same time, regardless of the physical distance. This can easily be done by turning on Face Time or Skype while they watch a TV program.
- Communicate more frequently – Partners in a long distance relationship must communicate with each other frequently during the day. A spontaneous but brief phone call, a text message, or an email when least expected can add color to the relationship. Sending the partner a short video clip while you are making coffee in the morning makes the relationship more intimate despite the great physical distance.
Long distance relationship can work and it does work, as had been proven by millions of people who were able to bridge the great physical distance by being creative and imaginative in maintaining a happy and healthy relationship. As long as the partners love and trust each other, every problem and difficulty could be overcome for a story book ending of living happily ever after.
Can You Handle a Long Distance Relationship?
After years of waiting, I have finally found “the one”; that one special guy who turned my world upside down, who was able to bring that sparkle in my eyes, and made me feel all giddy and amazing inside… a glorious moment indeed! Suddenly I found myself walking on air, everything was much brighter, jokes seemed funnier and everybody seemed to think I was a completely different person; and they are right because I do feel like a whole new other person – I’m in love and I feel so alive!
But after a few months in the relationship, while you I was still basking in sunshine, my boyfriend announced that after years of hard work he has been promoted to his dream job. He has been assigned to one of the most coveted branches of his company… in another country! As the news finally sunk in… I felt the world closing in on me. I could hardly breathe and I was trying my hardest to smile and say the words “Congratulations honey! I am so proud of you!”.
Finally, I did it and my boyfriend was immensely happy since he found a keeper in me, a partner who was supportive of his ambitions and secure of herself. Nevertheless, both of us knew that the inevitable was coming, we were about to somehow make a long distance relationship (LDR) work… but, could we?
Do Long Distance Relationships Work?
If you are a firm believer that, yours will be different as you and your boyfriend will somehow prove to the world that with the right formula, you can still keep the love and the relationship alive, even when you are literally oceans apart.
So what exactly is the right formula? Since a relationship occurs between two people; for me, it is basically a mixture of characters and there are those whose values or character somehow fit and can endure the challenges of LDR.
1. Commitment and devotion
On top of the character list is commitment and devotion considering that the number one struggle in this kind of relationship is not being able to see, touch, feel, and be physically close to the one you love. This could be tolerable for a short period of time but there are those who cannot stand not being able to hug, cuddle, and be intimate with their partners whenever they feel like it. Hence, when frustration sets in and another guy in your office is trying to fill in the “void” and being especially attentive to you, the only defense that you have between falling for this ‘new’ guy and staying faithful to ‘your’ guy is your level of commitment and devotion not only to the person but to the relationship that both of you built and nurtured over time.
If commitment doesn’t mean that much to you then better to end it now when both of you are still lucid then probably you still have the chance of staying friends that marking your relationship with a stamp of betrayal.
When you are in a long distance relationship you cannot always count that you and your boyfriend will always be in the same page, I mean literally, especially if there is a time difference between where you are and where he is. This means that there will be times when you are high with emotions and you would want him to know how you feel and then your phone call and text messages gets unanswered and your emails unnoticed because you are fully awake and your boyfriend just tucked in after working hard the whole day. In cases like this, you need to chill and learn the art of being patient because if you don’t you would most likely lash out to your boyfriend and nag without ceasing once he finally gets to read your messages or return that phone call. You are mad as hell for “ignoring” you while your boyfriend is dumbfounded as to the reason you are acting like a crazy person when he just woke up.
Yes, patience will save you a lot of unnecessary arguments and it will also give you the time to be clear-headed and rational during your limited interactions. And yet…it is also a given that both parties exert effort to keep the relationship alive.
The Question is: how much time and effort should you put in?
You may not be married yet and you haven’t really taken his name but the moment you agreed to be his steady girlfriend you are his, and he is yours. There is a special bond between the both of you. Since you profess your love for each other it means that you will honor and respect each other.
The moment you feel like practicing your flirting skills with a cute guy friend, stop yourself because, although some may see this as “harmless”, that is disrespectful to your boyfriend. Turn the tables and ask yourself if you will feel okay if your boyfriend will flirt with another girl while he is physically miles apart from you, guess not, huh?
Keep in mind that resisting the urge to flirt does not only mean you respect your boyfriend and your relationship but it also means that you respect yourself enough to be a classy lady.
Characters That Destroy
If the values previously mentioned help people make long distance relationships work, selfishness, neediness, and pettiness will surely help in destroying not only LDRs but all kinds of relationships as well.
When your motto is “me, myself, and I” and you are always concerned about how to satisfy yourself, how you can get the things that will make you happy, what your partner can give you and what you can take, then it is certain that your relationship is doomed.
Remember that you are two in the relationship and if you ignore the needs of the other and you just focus on yourself then you don’t need a partner, just get yourself a mirror because unless your boyfriend has no self-respect, you cannot expect your relationship to last.
Before considering moving forward and working on long distance relationship, know who you are first, what you are made of as this will determine if your “love” even has a chance of working or if you are just prolonging its inevitable death.
So does a long distance relationship work? let me know what your thoughts are.