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What is a Long Distance Relationship?

A couple may face a long distance relationship if called upon for military service.
Partners in a long distance relationship can keep in touch via online chats or through email.
There are many couples that have long-distance relationships for several years before they can unite.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 13 August 2014
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A long distance relationship is a romantic relationship, where each member of the couple lives at a distance from the other. There are also long distance marriages, where a married partner may have to live or work in another city, perhaps returning home every few weeks. In most cases though, long distance relationship is considered a separate thing from long distance marriage.

With the great increases in Internet connectivity, a number of relationships may start out as a long distance relationship. You may meet what seems like the perfect person online, and then early dates may be composed of telephone calls, online chats, texting and emailing. These relationships can be great, but they do come with some risks. It’s hard to say whether a person communicating online is truthful, and eventual meetings between such couples can be disappointing if a person has lied or exaggerated.

Experts on these Internet relationships suggest taking such relationships very slowly, and doing some comprehensive background checking on a person prior to moving to another part of a country. Even first meetings should be conducted in public places to protect yourself from becoming a victim of crime. Make arrangements to spend some time with a person prior to making a commitment to move. With precautions, these long distance relationships can work out, and there are many happy couples who met online.

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At other times, a couple suddenly faces the prospect of a long distance relationship. Perhaps one person is called up for military service, or finds an exceptional job far away. Some relationships can’t survive one member of the couple leaving, while others thrive. Contact between the couple is a very important part for survival of a long distance relationship. Daily communication is now possible in so many forms. Another of the factors of success for a long distance relationship is the way in which each member of the couple perceives the situation.

Some relationship experts suggest long distance relationships work best for people who became accustomed to long family absences as children. Such people may be equally comfortable with “absence” as adults. Yet if long absences caused problems in childhood, long distance relationships may be harder to maintain. People who have always been especially close to family, both emotionally and physically, can sometimes have a harder time maintaining distance relationships, or commit to moving away from family at a later date.

If there have already been trust issues in the relationship, like cheating or lying, the person who has been lied to or cheated on may feel this is likely to occur again in a long distance relationship. Generally, the foundation for a good long distance relationship is a good relationship, meaning that both members of the couple are stable folk who trust each other, and who have many ways to fill up their time in each other's absence.

There are certainly many people who have long distance relationships for several years before the couple can reunite. If the relationship is solid before the couple parts, it can remain steady. When a relationship is fairly new, or when a couple treats the distance as a factor too difficult to take, it can be challenging for these relationships to survive. Generally while both people may deplore the distance, both people must be pretty okay with it, and not obsessive or disturbed by it.

There are some suggestions to help couples at a distance feel closer. First, pursue your life to its fullest: have fun, maintain strong ties with friends, keep up with hobbies you have, and continue to develop and grow as a person. Second, keep in touch and pursue some things you enjoy doing as a couple, even if you each must do them separately. You could read the same book, watch the same movie, or work on the same Sudoku puzzles and then discuss the results. Even if you don’t get to do these things at the same time, it can really help to know you’re still doing them “together.”

One important suggestion is to not expect too much during the first few days of a reunion. It’s not uncommon for a reunited couple to fight a bit when they’re together again. Keeping lower expectations instead of building fantasy expectations about a reunion may help minimize arguments or disappointment.

Lastly, if a long distance relationship is a committed one, have an endpoint in sight. The couple can look to six months down the line when one member will be out of school or a year down the line when someone returns from active military service. If you find one member of the couple won’t commit to possibly moving at a future date, then perhaps commitment to the relationship will not survive long distance.

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Discuss this Article

travel28
Post 3

NewsGuru- Thanks for the good tip. I also have some things that I have learned from my own experiences in long distance relationships.

If possible, I suggest seeing your long distance partner at least once every two months. I know this can get very expensive, but it is essential if you want the relationship to last. Talk with your partner and see if you can take turns visiting one another and footing the bill. If you do not regularly see each other, it can feel like you are having a relationship with your phone rather than with a real person.

NewsGuru
Post 2

MuffinMaker- There are a few things I have learned about how to make a long distance relationship work. I was in a long distance relationship for 2 years. Even though the relationship eventually ended, it was fulfilling and successful for a number of months.

One thing I would suggest is having a life outside of your relationship. If you are completely wrapped up in your long distance partner, you will be spending a lot of time online and on the phone. This can begin to feel very hollow and lonely.

Develop your own interests and focus on being independent. Find a fulfilling career and create a large group of close friends. Explore your talents and maybe try volunteering for a cause you are interested in. Having many things going on in your life will help you become less dependent on your partner for fulfillment.

MuffinMaker
Post 1

Does anyone have any tips for making a long distance relationship work?

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