Long-distance relationships are not a walk in the park, but when it comes to love, it’s not always black or white. When talking about love relationships it’s easier to take one of two postures, a romanticized vision of how the books and movies tell us love is supposed to be; or a very negative heartbreaking vision that claims love is just a temporal mental state. This article is none of these, instead, this is an objective vision of long-distance relationships that can help clear out some doubts for those considering getting on board in one.
Human relationships are messy, unstable and full of emotions.
A long-distance relationship (LDR) is no different from other types of human connections, the only thing that changes is the ways of interacting. In the past, long-distance relationships could be considered unsustainable, imagine receiving a letter of your loved one, handed in by a pigeon every two months telling you the latest events of the day, but ending up receiving an outdated message from two months ago that doesn’t even match his/her current situation. Those were hard times. Nowadays technology has made it easier to communicate, allowing us to get reliable and real-time updates about the state of our loved ones. Don’t get me wrong, technology doesn’t do all the job, this is just a small part of it, yet a good starting point.
The first thing to clarify is that LDRs are a two-way street, and are most definitely not a walk in the park.
Certainly, any relationship is a two-way street, but distance emphasizes imbalances that we could otherwise overlook. The main and almost only difference between long-distance and close-by relationships is the inability to simultaneously share the same physical space. However, this may not be a disadvantage, but an advantage for the maturity of the rapport. Communication is the foundation of any relationship, yet the different schedules and duties of an individual sometimes make it hard for couples to keep up with this. When in an LDR communication is the only thing that can make the relationship live and thrive; in other words, talking is all there is, so talk you shall.
From here we can refer to the most valuable attribute of an LDR, which is indeed communication. Talking can build trust and connection but, beware of spending 2 superficial hours by the phone babbling about how cute your dog is, disregarding a fundamental factor that can give a firm structure to an LDR, exchanging deep thoughts and building plans and prospects for the future. Without direction we are just drifting boats, sharing a common goal can be the ultimate tool an LDR needs to continue moving forward with hope and bliss.
Now let’s state the obvious, LDRs are not for everyone and there are a lot the disadvantages to them. Some of the most relevant difficulties are: missing memorable moments, not finding enough time to talk to each other, having to make concessions, different time zones (in case of transatlantic relationships), not being there to comfort each other or to celebrate important events, and my favourite one of them all, jealousy. This sheds light on another relationship’s basic, trust. Insecurities will always exist, and indeed you can never really know what happens thousands of miles away out of your sight, but then again, something one meter away from you may be happening without you being aware of it. The only thing you can do is to take the word of your partner and trust him/her. The question is, will you allow jealousy to control you and let it destroy what you have been building? If your answer is yes and you can’t control the mental pictures, then perhaps an LDR will bring you more pain than joy, and nobody should purposely live tortured. However, there is a side note to this, trust is built and insecurities can be trained to prevent them to get the best out of the relationship. Furthermore a word of advice, during hard times you should allow good vibes only. Stay close to your community, surround yourself with fun people that you can rely on and that will keep you positive throughout this contingency.
On a brighter note, for every disadvantage of an LDR there are advantages, and opposite to the common belief, LDRs can actually bring some assets. For starters, distance can help prioritize emotional closeness over physical contact, which in consequence may help build a stronger foundation for a long and healthy relationship. Another advantage is the awareness and appreciation of time, every minute counts and every moment is invaluable. Moreover, the advantage that I consider to be the most important of them all, individual development. When a couple decides to take different roads while maintaining a relationship, it often means that despite their desire to be together, their personal goals and self-love are stronger, and that’s always a good thing. If we are not happy and accomplished individuals there is no way we get to be successful partners. LDRs remind us that we are individuals with hopes and dreams to fulfill and emphasize the notion of avoiding getting lost in a relationship before finding ourselves first.
So to wrap it up, I’m not stating long-distance relationships work or not, but I am positive there is at least a 50% probability of them working out or failing; and if you are really in love, 50% is pretty optimistic percentage of success. What’s the worst that can happen? Disappointment, heartbreak and hopelessness exist either way at the end of any relationship. It is an everyday effort in which concessions must be made, time and effort to achieve goals must be spent, and feelings will be hurt. It is up to you to take the risk, only you know what may be waiting on the other side of the road.
This said, I would like to clarify that I do not believe in long-distance relationships, I believe in the connection between two people, and in the importance of not letting that connection break. You may now be wondering, what makes me an authority on the matter? Nothing really, but let’s just say that I graduated with honours after an 8 year in-depth study on LDRs. There are no rules or best practices for a successful long-distance relationship, you build them along the way according to what best fits both of you. The only thing I can state is, trust your shared dreams and common goals and watch the relationship strengthen, or weaken; and if it does weaken, well, you tried, and now you know you were walking on the wrong path. Most importantly don’t build regrets, never wonder if it would have worked. Fight just for what it’s worth, and if it’s true love it will certainly pass the ultimate time and space test.
In a highly technological and globalized world, it’s every time more likely to find ourselves involved in a long-distance relationship, and opposite to the popular belief, love is not all you need to prevail.