Do long-distance relationships work? There are a number of couples that would say yes but Ian Isherwood, an online dating expert in Kenya, says he would not consciously enter a long distance relationship. He has been in two serious long distance relationships and shares why they hardly work.
A long-distance relationship (LDR) is: “a romantic relationship between two people who live far apart and so are unable to meet on a frequent basis.”
The world might feel smaller thanks to modern technologies, but long distance relationships are as hard today as they were before we replaced love letters and voice calls for bright LED Skype calls and instant messages.
Crazy, stupid, love
No one chooses a long distance relationship by choice. Most couples are forced into an LDR because they physically can’t be together for one of many reasons, the two most common being work related and family. Such as army personnel who are deployed for long periods of time, or having sick and elderly parents who need looking after.
Choosing to not physically see each other for a long period of time can and will put even the strongest relationship to the test.
I’ve been in two serious long distance relationships so I speak from experience when I say I don’t regret them, and if given the chance I’d do them again. They taught me a lot about my wants, my needs and myself. Ask me if I’d pursue or consciously enter a long distance relationship again and I’ll 100% say NO.
Have you ever heard anyone say, “Ohh, yeah I have the perfect relationship, my partner lives halfway around the world and I don’t know when I’ll see them next!”
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The truth is no one wants to only see their partner 3 or 4 times a year. No one wants to meet and fall in love with someone online who lives on the other side of the world and no one wants to constantly put themselves through an emotional roller coaster. But when you are in love you are willing to try anything.
Here are 6 reasons long distance relationships do not work and why you should think twice before committing yourself to such a roller coaster ride:
1. Unnatural communication
– You grow apart and eventually get used to not being with each other.
– No quality time together.
– You don’t feel like you are a part of each other’s lives.
– The whole relationship becomes just words. No actions to back them up.
– Trust is not as easy and jealousy might become a strong reality in your life.
– Trust can’t be built or grown when you are apart, if anything it withers slowly.
– Relationships are all about intimacy. It is almost impossible to feel or experience a real level of intimacy through a computer or phone screen.
2. Circumstances change you
– New aspects or circumstances in your life are bound to make you grow and change is inevitable. You won’t be the same person that your partner left behind.
– Living two separate lives creates distance. It’s impossible to include your partner in your day-to-day life and therefore you don’t grow together.
3. No sex
– It may not be the most important aspect of a relationship but it is still extremely important as a relationship grows. And although there might be ways around it there is nothing that beats the live experience of being with the one you love.
– One of the main reasons so many LDR fail is because of the lack of sexual intimacy.
4. Financial strains
– You have to spend ridiculous amounts of money to see each other (Plane tickets, bus fare, petrol, time off from work to travel)
– If you can’t afford the constant travelling back and forth to see each other then there is no point in the relationship.
5. Too many sacrifices
– Dedicating times to spend Skyping and communicating with your partner puts a strain on your daily life. If the time zones are different this only adds to the sacrifices you make for the relationship.
– Your phone and computer become your partner, you end up spending to much time focused on your phone and not spent quality time with friends or family.
6. Unpredictable future
– No end date, nothing to look forward to.
– The unpredictability and enormous effort you have to put into just tires and drains you.
Yes, there are a large number of couples that have managed to keep things together during an LDR. Many even claim that it brought them closer or made their relationship even stronger. But these couples usually have years of solid togetherness, love, trust and the most important they have a deadline where they know they will finally be together and can have that normal face-to-face relationship we all love and crave.
It’s human nature to want physical contact, and I’m not just talking about the sex, I’m talking about everything a relationship is about: love, appreciation, support, quality time together, meaningful conversations, new adventures, gift giving, holding hands, hugging, kissing and sex.
Coffee dates, picnics, adventures, doing things together, meeting new people, creating memories and getting deeper into each other’s minds to see if this is someone you really want to spend the rest of your life with. This is done face-to-face, not through a screen.
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Make your own mistakes
No one teaches you how to live life, how to love and what do to when you fall in love with someone who does not live in your area. Pursuing a long distance relationship teaches you a lot about life, love and what really matters to you and the things you truly need in a relationship
“Distance is not for the fearful, it is for the bold. It’s for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love. It’s for those knowing a good thing when they see it, even if they don’t see it nearly enough,” an individual once said about long distance relationships.