In Defense of Long-Distance Relationships

When I started college, there were many things I needed to adjust to. Like anyone else, I adjusted to a new environment and the pressures of (mostly) independent adulthood. But unlike many other people I know, I also had to adjust to a geographically close relationship becoming long-distance.

In my senior year of high school, I started dating Erica, who was a college freshman. She lived close to me and commuted to school and we could see each other every weekend. However, now that I live in a college dorm far away from home, we can only see each other on breaks and three-day weekends.

I’m sure that this is an experience many people can relate to. Due to the nature of the Internet, people are able to stay touch even if they’re not geographically close, more so than ever before. By texting, video chatting, and communicating via social media, many college students maintain long-distance relationships (LDRs).

Despite the fact that LDRs are more possible to maintain now than ever, there are still many people who feel that staying together despite the distance isn’t worth it. They think that it would take too much effort to maintain communication in an LDR.

What these people fail to understand is that maintaining a relationship takes a lot of effort, regardless of the distance. Even if your partner lives close to you, you still need to make an effort to talk to them, to ask them how their day went, to console them if they’re upset or take care of them if they’re sick. This is the kind of effort that everyone needs to be willing to exert if they enter a relationship, and it takes the same kind of effort to text your partner every day to talk about your day or to say good night.

Many people in geographically close relationships (GCRs) take their relationships for granted. They think that because they see their partner every day, that overrides any need to really talk and connect with them. These tend to be the same people as those who say that LDRs aren’t worth the effort. What I would say to those people is that if you’re not willing to put that kind of effort into a relationship, it’s not worth it to be in a relationship at all.

Based on many studies of LDRs, I’ve come to theorize that long distance is what separates the strong relationships from the weak. A couple going long-distance needs to carefully plan how and when to communicate and then reliably follow those plans. If they can’t do it and they break up, their relationship was doomed to begin with, likely because they were taking it for granted. But if they can, and they stay together, it goes to show how strong their relationship was and strengthens it even more.

If you’re in an LDR or are about to be, my advice to you is this: Plan how you’re going to communicate. Send each other at least one message every day, even if it’s just good night. And, finally, as in any relationship, make sure to listen to your partner’s needs and reach a compromise that suits both of you.