The Advantages & Disadvantages of Long Distance Relationships

Partners in long-distance relationships use a variety of techniques to communicate.
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If you are in a long-distance relationship, you may feel lonely, but you are not alone -- a July 2013 study in the "Journal of Communication" found that approximately 25 to 50 percent of college students report having a long-distance partner, as reported by associate editor for Michelle Castillo in the article "Long-Distance Relationships May Be Stronger, More Intimate." There’s no denying a mobile society makes long-distance relationships more common today, but advantages and disadvantages of this romantic arrangement exist for both partners.

1 Bumps and Bruises

Licensed marriage and family counselor Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker reports in the Psych Central article "The Challenge of Long-Distance Relationships" that all couples face roadblocks and successes over the course of the relationship. However, the bumps in the road can appear more challenging to resolve for partners in a long-term relationship. For example, when one partner experiences a crisis, it’s more difficult for the other partner to provide support and reassurance. When both members of a couple recognize that obstacles dot the landscape of most relationships, and resolve to work through these, the relationship benefits, states Dr. Hartwell-Walker.

2 When You're Not Stuck Like Glue

The partner who does not experience a secure attachment is less likely to feel satisfied in the arrangement, reports Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in the "Psychology Today" article "Love from Afar: Staying Close While You Live Apart." Individuals who feel insecurely attached to their long-distance sweethearts may struggle with the discomfort of separation and may feel anxious and depressed. These individuals require a higher level of psychological reassurance from their partners. Providing reassurance and receiving reassurance can prove problematic across miles and time zones.

3 Warm and Fuzzy Thoughts

In the article "Study: Long-Distance Relationships Better Than Face-to-Face," Laurie Tarkan reports that in the aforementioned "Journal of Communication" study, researchers from Cornell University and the City University of Hong Kong found some advantages for partners in long-distance relationships. The researchers report that long-distance partners compensate for little face-to-face communication by continuing texting, video chat, instant messaging and cards or letters. The various forms of communication emphasize warmth and intimacy rather than details related to daily hassles. Long-distance partners may report feeling closer and may share more intimate thoughts and feelings.

4 Everything's Coming up Roses

Those in long-distance relationships tend to view one another through “rose-colored glasses,” romanticizing their partners' qualities. It’s easy to ignore your boyfriend or girlfriend’s glaring flaws when your sweetheart's lofty perch on a pedestal precludes an observation of the obvious. If you do find grounds to complain, you aren’t likely to vocalize or care. For example, when your love interest eats fries off your plate every other weekend, that’s okay.