by Admin on July 14th, 2010
filed under Relationships and Dating
Rules are made to be broken, particularly when it comes to dating. And one dating rule that I’ve always stuck by is that I don’t date anyone who doesn’t live in the same city that I do. Relationships are hard work as it is sometimes. Adding distance to the mix only makes them harder.
It’s not that I’m unwilling to work hard, or that I don’t think I have the chops for it, but if I could make a list of all my relationship needs and wants, a good majority of them wouldn’t be met in a long distance relationship. So why bother? I’ve never had a problem being single, so what good is being in a relationship that’s not going to satisfy me?
But not everyone’s like me (hallelujer!). Some people have lower sex drives…in fact, I’d probably say most people do. And of all the other needs I have that wouldn’t be satisfied in a long distance relationship, some people aren’t bothered by them. Or at least they’re more willing to work past them.
Long distance relationships are fairly common these days with online dating, military deployments, job transfers, school changes…you name it. Some of them work, some fail, and there doesn’t seem to be any magic formula to success.
My two friends Christopher and Joshua have one of the more enduring long distance relationships that I personally know of: 9 months and counting between Illinois and Wisconsin. They originally met on Facebook, and had a long distance courtship that preceded their relationship, exchanging text messages and emails before they met. Going on like this for a while with just a handful of face time before they decided to start dating.
Setting parameters is an important step in any relationship, but especially when dating long distance. All the best relationships in the world are based on contracts. How many times have you cheated on your employer? Exaaactly. I think there should be more contracts when dating. Imagine all the drama we’d avoid if our tricks were required to sign off on one or two nights of marathon sex and a promise to leave quietly at a predetermined time. When dating, contracts are often unwritten and unspoken—more easily broken. This is especially true when distance is a factor. Chris and Josh—along with many other long distance couple it seems—made a point of having those conversations detailing exactly what they expected from each other in terms of complete integrity and monogamous commitment.
But what is it that has kept Chris and Josh from landing in the pile of long distance nearly-made-its? I thought the answer to that might lie in the things they do together. Some couples like to watch the same movies, then talk about them and share the experience even miles apart. But apparently that’s not the case with Chris and Josh.
“We just text and talk to each other when we can to not feel so distant. The romance and passion never die, because we just long for each other,” Chris said.
One thing that does stand out about this particular long distance relationship though, is that they make a point of seeing each other as often as possible. Usually around every two weeks, and with a fair balance of taking turns on who visits who. This is more easily done because they live in states that border each other. Couples that live farther apart might have more difficulties seeing each other that often.
But make no mistake. Even a short distance is far from easy to deal with.
“Sometimes you feel more lonely than when you are single in a long distance relationship because that person is not there physically when you need them. You start to feel hurt emotionally because that person becomes just an idea,” Chris said.
One of the most important things for them is that they communicate well, not taking each other for granted and avoiding petty arguments because they value their time together as the precious commodity that it is.
Most people will give you the usual lines about what it takes to make a long distance relationship work: trust, honesty, mutual sacrifice, commitment. And while that’s unarguably true I’m sure, I would add that knowing there’s an end to the separation is probably what keeps a lot of people going. Chris and Josh have plans to live together in the not too distant future. Absence alone isn’t what makes the heart grow fonder; it’s the anticipation of seeing that special someone again. When you’re dating someone so far away, I can imagine that knowing you’ll be together again permanently someday makes the hardships of the distance easier to endure.