Technology Has Made the World a Smaller Place
Long distance relationships used to be the exception to the rule. Today, more and more romantic relationships are between two people who live hundreds -- if not thousands -- of miles apart.
It's not that couples didn't have to live apart at times due to circumstances such as military duty or one partner moving ahead of time to a new locale when a new job or job transfer required such a relocation. That sort of long distance relationship has gone on throughout time. The more recent phenomenon are couples who first meet and already have physical distance between them.
Real-time communication -- the instant communication that the Internet and cell phones allow -- is the number one reason for the current surge in long distance relationships.
But the real question for you is: Could a long distance relationship work for me?
Long Distance Love Statistics
Statistical information is one way to objectively evaluate the ups and downs of long distance relationships, LDRs.
Keep in mind that statistics are useful tools in your decision-making process, but numbers cannot take into account you and your partner's individual personalities or the dynamics of the relationship. Factor in all the things you know about yourself, including your patience and tenacity.
Long distance marriages increased 23 percent from 2000 to 2005, information obtained from the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships by WebMD. The average distance between partners is 165 miles. The average number of personal contact between LDR partners is 1.5 times each month.
Half of all college students are in long distance relationships, according to USA Today.
Will a Text Message Replace an Embrace?
Keys to Making a Long Distance Relationship Work
The University of Maryland Student Counseling Center provides insight into some of the key elements important to sustaining a LDR. In many ways, the important elements of a traditional relationship are the same of that of long distance love.
The first important aspect of a long distance relationship is effective communication. Without this element in place, no relationship is destined to be fulfilling or enduring. In between the periods of time together, verbal and written communication is going to be the substance of your relationship.
Make a commitment to the relationship, whatever type of relationship the two of you decide is right for you. Trust in each other and the security of your partnership will be imperative. An LDR may not be suitable for anyone who is prone to jealousy or mistrust; those miles between you would not be kind to your state of mind.
Be ready to take the risk of a LDR. There are more road blocks along the way in this type of relationship, but that doesn't mean you can't or won't succeed. If you're looking for a sure thing, a long distance relationship may not work for you.
Adopt and maintain an openness to the possibilities of where the relationship may take you, something that is also true in traditional relationships.
Set realistics expectations for the relationship. In the beginning of a romantic relationship it is easy to allow dreams to take the place of objective thinking. Push back the webs of romance so you can more clearly determine what a reasonable expectation is for this point in time of your LDR.
Special Concerns For Long Distance Dating Relationships
Many people in long distance relationships find trusting each other in terms of fidelity is more prevalent than when couples live together or in close proximity to one another. Both partners are walking a fine line, needing to maintain some independence from each other, but also some dependence.
Managing a social life with your romantic partner elsewhere presents its own concerns. You may be tempted to hole up at home to avoid seeing other couples together -- or to avoid temptation.
It is important that you don't cut yourself off from the rest of the world. Doing so won't strengthen your romantic relationship or allow you to experience all that life has to offer.
Things move more slowly in a LDR. Moving forward in a LDR takes longer than in traditional relationships and break-ups tend to move slowly too.
There is less spontaneity in an LDR because time together is more occasional. Because "together" tme is such a premium, such time is usually planned in advance.
Couples in Long Distance Relationships Spend Time Together in all Sorts of Ways
Coping Skills for Long Distance Relationship Concerns
The best strategy for a healthy, fulfilling relationship is to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Don't spend lots of time alone with your thoughts. Go to the library, see a movie, go to the coffee shop.
You need other people in your life in addition to your partner. Find positive people, people who will support you in your extra efforts to maintain the LDR.
Join social groups or continue to interact in those to which you belong. Not only will you be interested, but you will be interesting to your partner. Imagine how dull your conversations with your partner would become if all you do is vegetate at home.
Find outlets for your emotions. Journal, blog, write letters you may or may not send.
Understand that your partner needs his/her own social outlets too. Be open with each other about any feelings of insecurity or jealousy.
Experts say that people in long distance relationships tend to avoid conflict when they are together. Conflict avoidance can slowly build a wedge between you and your partner, slowly leading to resentments that can fester and damage your LDR. Effective communication is the best remedy for this; maybe the two of you can work out a system where conflicts can be handled between contact visits, allowing your physical time together to be more enjoyable.
Share the small triumphs and trials that make up everyday life with your LDR partner. Weaving each other into the fabric of each others' life is what gives depth to a relationship.
Relax and enjoy.