1000 miles seems pretty far….but really it’s not.
I’m here to dispel the number one myth about long distance relationships (LDRs). I’m not going to say that they’re easy to maintain, because they are not. I’m not going to say that people don’t cheat when faced with a LDR, because they do. But as it turns out, LDRs are not relationships doomed to fail due to the unfortunate circumstance of distance. Recent research from all across the country shows that people in LDRs have higher conversational quality, love for partner, fun with partner, dedication to partner when compared with people who are in geographically close relationships (GCRs). Additionally, people in LDRs have lower problematic communication and lower levels of feeling trapped than people in GCRs.
This doesn’t mean that LDRs are, by any means, easier or less problematic than GCRs. In fact, the psych community probably has a handful of explanations for these findings (my best guess is cognitive dissonance), but at the end of the day – as long as you’re happy in your relationship, that’s all that matters. Am I right?!
Some of the conclusions I drew from the research on how to maintain a successful LDR are as follows:
- Catch yourself before you start idealizing your partner. I don’t mean in that “Oh she looked so perfect last summer in that red dress” kind of idealization; I mean the kind where you only want to talk or think about the happy things so you forget that she is really obnoxious sometimes. Don’t forget that she keeps nagging you about getting your paperwork in to the office even after you’ve asked her to stop for the fourth time. Don’t forget that she’s always ready fifteen minutes early and will stand by the door with her hands on her hips giving you the death glare when you’re inevitably late for dinner with your parents. These characteristics aren’t pretty, but they’re certainly a part of every day life with your girl. If you choose to forget them while you’re apart, they’re going to be twice as apparent (and annoying) when you two come back together.
- Don’t be your own downfall. As it turns out, men may contribute to the dissolution of LDRs more than women do. Continue to talk about emotional topics, even if it’s harder over the phone when you’re so far apart. Less self-disclosure is related to less relationship satisfaction, and expectedly, less successful relationships. Also, specifically for men, qualities like pessimism about the future, low self-esteem, and tendency to be anxious or depressed are related to reduced relational stability and security.
If your chick is worth the time and energy that goes into a LDR remember to continue to have tough, emotional conversations (the good ones and the bad ones) and be constantly working on yourself. Taking some time to boost your self-esteem (by going to the gym, taking an online class, learning to cook, etc.) will help you feel better about yourself and will help your relationship succeed in the process. LDRs are not easy but they’re also not impossible! I’d have to assume that when Frank Sinatra said, “The big less on in life, baby, is never be scared of anyone or anything” he was talking about LDRs.