#RelationshipGoals

by JACQUELINE DO

 

College: (noun.)  A community for individuals to develop lifelong connections and friendships

There may come a time—possibly upon starting university or graduating—where you will have to move thousands of miles away from your loved ones. You may then wonder what the distance will do to your existing relationships. Welcome to the world of Long Distance Relationships (LDRs)!

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What is it?

Long Distance Relationship, aka LDR: (noun.) A union between two or more individuals, in which they are separated geographically. LDRs may be platonic, or romantic in nature.

Challenges

Hesitation to continue LDRs is a common occurrence. For romantic relationships, the lack of physical closeness may deter couples from even continuing their relationship. For familial relationships and friendships, the college rigor and opportunities may jeopardize maintaining connection. If individuals do consider trying to maintain their relationship despite the distance, there are various challenges they may face:

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  • *Air hugs* and empathetic texts don’t always have the same effect as physical affection. We all have those days when we crave a shoulder to cry on, or to hug someone we love and trust, but this unfortunately is not possible for LDRs.

  • Technology can be your best friend, or enemy.…  With all its benefits comes its drawbacks. Technical difficulties and glitches can lead to miscommunications, which greatly affect LDRs [1].

“The constant need to check messages and communication outlets made the relationship filled with anxiety and neuroticism [2]”

  • Time differences suck.

  • Travelling expenses definitely add up [3].

  • Silent treatment most likely will not work [4].

What’s the solution?

Communication is cornerstone of successful relationships. A study found that more phone communications between partners lowered relationship uncertainty and increased love and commitment [5]. In a LDR, a small fight can’t be resolved by an affectionate hug or touch on the shoulder. Thus, it becomes vital to the relationship’s longevity that nuances are communicated, and that the silent treatment is avoided as it can easily and quickly lead the individuals to grow apart.

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Staying Connected

If you’re determined to make a LDR work, there are a plethora of resources that you can use to stay connected. It has been shown that LDRs with face-to-face contact (i.e. video chatting) lead to greater relationship certainty than those without face-to-face contact [6]. So, without further-ado, here are some applications that may ease the challenges of a LDR:

  • Rabb.It: Watch movies, TV, or surf the web with your significant other. You can even steal the remote from each other and initiate a friendly war!

  • Video-chat: For iPhone users, FaceTime affords quality video chatting. Other applications available to all users include Google Duo, LINE, and Skype.

  • SnapChat: Share snippets of your day with your loved one(s). A simple “Good Morning!” can be accompanied with a smiling face to start the day right.

  • Facebook Messenger or LINE: Both of these messaging apps afford chatting and video chatting capabilities. Feel free to add hearts over your head while you chat, too!

  • Snail Mail: There’s nothing more meaningful or romantic than receiving a handwritten note. It’s something that they can hold onto forever!

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Despite the Challenges

There are some benefits of LDRs that geographically close relationships do not afford.

Freedom: The distance from family and friends may afford the individual to grow more independent. Sometimes relationships falter when an individual feels limited in his/her individual potential and bogged down by daily annoyances [7]. With LDRs, you can work toward your own aspirations without feeling weighed down by domestic responsibilities.

  • I M A G I N A T I O N: Interestingly, a 2004 study showed individuals in LDRs reports higher relationship satisfaction than those who are not. Moreover, LDR couples idealize their relationships more and tend to overlook the negative aspects of their relationships, painting a more optimistic view of their future together [6]. It is important to note, however, that LDR couples should communicate their future plans and likely have the intention of finding their way back to each other geographically in the future.

Ultimately

If both you and your loved ones are interested in maintaining the relationship, putting in the little extra effort is worthwhile! Also, when given the opportunity to be physically together again, the reunion is all the more cherished and precious.

"As some say, distance makes the heart grow fonder."

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Resources

  1. “Intimacy in long-distance relationships over video chat.” Proc of the SIGCHI Conf on Human Factors in Computing Sys. (2012).

  2. “How Skype Is Sabotaging Your Long-Distance Relationship.” Time Magazine. (2014).

  3. “How Much It Actually Costs to Be in a Long-Distance Relationship.” LifeHacker. (2015).

  4. “Coping with Cupid: The Formation, Impact, and Management of Romantic Relationships in Organizations.” Admin Sci Quart. (1977).

  5. “Mobile Communication in Romantic Relationships: Mobile Phone Use, Relational Uncertainty, Love, Commitment, and Attachment Styles.” Comm Reports. (2010).

  6. “A relational uncertainty analysis of jealousy, trust, and maintenance in long‐distance versus geographically close relationships.” Comm Quart. (2001).

  7. “Relating at a distance: Negotiating being together and being apart in long-distance relationships.” J. Soc. Pers. Relatsh. (2008).