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Monday, January 12, 2009

Long Distance Relationship Benefits

Long distance relationships are not usually something people choose, but they are a fact of life in modern societies where people move around and travel a lot. The saying “absence doth make the heart grow fonder” is usually built-in to long distance romance. Need space? You have it in abundance when experiencing long distance love.

Long distance dating has many benefits:

Every now and then you get to leave your normal life behind. You hop on a train, plane, or automobile and can immerse yourself in someone else’s world (Or alternatively, someone you like drops into your life for a finite time, you play and have fun and then they leave).
You are required to make no major adjustments to your life, no need to make space in the closet or to do somebody else’s laundry.
When together, in your space, in theirs, or in some vacation spot, you know your time is limited. So usually both partners are on best behavior. You both want to make the most of the time and are attentive to each other’s needs for affection, romance, and physical intimacy. It’s hard to pack in a month’s worth of sex, play, and romance into one weekend. But it can be fun to try.
While it’s hard to say goodbye at the end of a weekend, there’s an advantage to long distance relationships. When they leave, you have back your space and can settle into your own habits, your own rhythms, and your own lifestyle without any day-to-day attention to the needs of a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Many long-distance couples find this arrangement to be the best of both worlds, living life without constant attention to the needs of a partner, yet having a person with whom you connect periodically for romance and fun.

One sure-fire way to undermine the advantages of this arrangement, however, is when long-distance relationships start to mirror a relationship with someone you live with. Cell phones, Blackberries, email, and the rest of our communication technologies make is possible to not go a minute without contact with someone on the opposite side of the world. This can be comforting and reassuring at times when you need that immediate contact. At the same time, it can undermine one of the main advantages of a long-distance romance: DISTANCE!

The distance piece of a long-distance romance may be hard at times but it’s also what allows each party to feel a sense of autonomy and freedom from obligation to constantly be on alert to the needs of another. Of course, in the case of an obvious crisis, a parent’s hospitalization or getting laid off from a job, it makes sense to reach out to one’s intimate partner wherever they are. But that’s different from texting, emailing, or calling 5, 10, 25 times a day, just to touch base. If it works for both of you, that can be OK. But if one of you starts feeling a pressure to answer and conflict emerges over the question “Where were you?” … pay attention. An imbalance may be emerging over needs for contact and space.


Rori Raye said...

In my opinion - you're single until you're married. And a "long-distance relationship" is simply a "dating" relationship. It is impossible and against the interests of any woman who wants marriage and a close, long-term, committed relationship to become exclusive with any man, period, before that commitment is realized, but it's especially off-track to become exclusive with a man who is not even close by physically.

Many of us, on the other hand, cannot handle real intimacy - and so a long-distance relationship fills the bill. But let's call it what it is. I get so many letters from women in pain over their "long distance relationships." If we've chosen such a thing - then we must want it, if even in a subconscious way. I wish, for all women everywhere, to change your attitude and never find yourself in a place that feels 'stuck" without the commitment and quality of relationship you want

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