Long Distance Relationships: Are They Worth it?
A long distance relationship is rarely an ideal situation for a couple, but sometimes life just happens in a way that means long distance is the only option. Often, going to university or getting a job in a different city is what will cause a couple to part, also opportunities such as a year abroad or travelling, and there are also the few that meet in a situation in which their relationship forms over a distance. Whatever the reason, long distance is generally not enjoyed, but it’s something couples continue to do.
I spoke to a number of people about their long distance relationships, many of whom were in the university or year abroad situation. When I asked about why they had chosen to do the distance thing (as someone who was always slightly cynical about it), simply the fact that they were in love was why they didn’t want to end the relationship. Being put in the situation of looming distance means you have to make a decision; to stay together and work through it, or call it quits before things get tough. It seems this is when you evaluate the relationship- how you feel, the future you think you have and the decision is based on that. Generally speaking, you would assume relationships that already have a solid foundation are more likely to withstand the distance, and also those that have a clear end in sight. For example, a year abroad at least has an end point in which you know you will be reunited so for the sake of a year, it is considered worth the effort.
That being said, there are probably more than a few relationships that begin and only ever are in a long distance situation. Sometimes a holiday romance turns in to something a bit more serious, but being at opposite ends of the country can be a bit of an issue. On one hand, there is an argument that, what is the point of bothering if you are only ever going to see each other a few days every few weeks. On the other hand, it’s arguably slightly easier to handle the distance thing because you’re not used to having that person as part of your everyday life anyway. It’s an odd situation and not ideal, but if you meet someone and you like them, sometimes you just think, why not? If the relationship naturally just progresses despite only ever being in that distance situation, then you’ve probably got a great story to tell about your relationship origins.
Long distance is inevitably getting to be more bearable with the increase of communication platforms, such as FaceTime and Skype. It definitely isn’t the same as having your significant other with you, but it is also better than only being able to talk on the phone or messaging, and it has opened up the avenue of cyber-sex which is likely to help a lot of frustrated couples out! Of those I spoke to about their individual situations, most said FaceTime was something that made the distance bearable, alongside messaging throughout the day and just keeping the communication going. A few had regular FaceTime’s organised, others played it by ear, but however they organised themselves, FaceTime was cited as pretty integral to helping the distance work.
Distance is hard. Nobody wants to spend a long time apart from their special person, but – generally – it is worth it. I expected to hear a tonne of awful stories that would put anyone off trying long distance. I did hear about a couple of bad experiences, however I was quite surprised to get generally positive stories. Some managed to slip into a good routine from the get go – especially quite laid back couples – some suffered nasty break ups but managed to reconcile and others seemed to just bumble along, taking it day by day. All relationships have ups and downs, regardless of how often you get to see each other, but there is no denying that distance is tough. I would conclude the best ingredients for a functioning long distance relationship are equal effort coming from both sides, a huge amount of trust and, fundamentally, communication. There is a lot to be said for the couples who make it through; they are often super strong following their period of distance. And there’s something about seeing your significant other after a few weeks apart that those non-distance couples will never get to experience. It makes it all worth it.