The Long-Distance Relationship

Love is full of cliches. When it comes to men and women, we’re told that we can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em, and that one is the loneliest number. But there is one sappy cliche that has remained sort of an enigma: “distance/absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Is that true? Is this concept a blanket statement, something that can be applied to anyone? Let’s talk about what the concept means to a couple who is in a dreaded LDR — Long Distance Relationship.

All relationships take effort, and this is especially true for romantic relationships. Regardless of whether you share a bed each night or live 400 miles away from each other, they require a lot of communication, consideration, and trust in order to survive. To me those are the basics — the foundation of a romantic partnership.

Now consider how much these three elements of a relationship change when physical contact and in-person interaction are rare. Communication — well, that’s pretty much all the two of you have got. If that wanes, there’s not much of a relationship at all. The two of you can’t sit and enjoy the intimate closeness of one another. You have phone calls, texts, internet chat, and FaceTime/Skype. Consideration — how does one successfully consider the feelings and reactions of someone who isn’t around? It is harder than it seems. Trust — this is the toughest of all. If there is an inkling of distrust in either person’s mind, this is a futile situation.

Being apart from one another all the time and maintaining the strong bond necessary for a healthy relationship. Is it impossible? Is the LDR destined to fail, time after time, no matter what? Maybe. There is something to be said for those who have the luxury of close physical proximity for months or years, and then find themselves in situations such as deployment to a different country with the armed forces, going on a long tour with a band, work assignments like offshore drilling, or even prison. In these circumstances there was a bond prior to separation, which could make it easier for a happy couple, or even harder for an unhappy one. (If there have been issues with any of the relationship’s fundamentals, distance could exacerbate them.)

I got lucky. My LDR began in late 2013 with someone I had known in a friendship capacity for several years. I was in Sacramento, he was in Southeast Los Angeles. Long story short, it wasn’t simple or easy, but we made it work for 8 months. If I hadn’t moved to Los Angeles almost a year and a half ago, who knows where we would be now. Definitely would not be co-habitating, or talking about marriage, or having weekly dinners with his son. My verdict is that yes, the LDR is very fucking hard, and no, it is not for everyone. Maturity, openness, and commitment are paramount for both parties. As a couple, the three fundamentals — communication, consideration, and trust — are supremely important. And it can’t be forever.

But sure, it can work.

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