When you find yourself smitten with a special someone, the challenges of exploring and nurturing a relationship can feel overwhelming. If you think that adding distance represents just another variable to navigate on the journey, you may be unprepared for some of the disadvantages associated with a long-distance relationship. About one-third of college students interact with a long-distance partner, according to Susan Krauss Whitbourne in the Psychology Today article, “Love From Afar: Staying Close While You Live Apart,” and must overcome the additional challenge of distance. Even if you believe that love truly conquers all, consider some of the disadvantages of a long-distance relationship.
They Take More Work
Couples involved in a long-distance relationship may actively work harder to establish to others that they are involved in a committed relationship. For example, in a conventional relationship, it is easy for coworkers and people in the community to know that a partner is part of a couple, according to psychologist Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker in the PsychCentral article, “The Challenge of Long-Distance Relationships.” The partners in a long-distance relationship must talk about their partner, share pictures and introduce their partner when available to reiterate that they are not available, suggests Hartwell-Walker.
At a Distance, People Change
Plenty of unpredictability enters into your daily life, and those changes influence your relationships with others. Perhaps one of the few sureties you can bank on is that you and your boyfriend or girlfriend will change, as you respond to new life experiences. For example, you change your mind about the college you wish to attend, move to a new apartment or experience a dispute with a best friend. It is more difficult to understand and respond to how these factors modify your partner and your relationship when distances loom between you.
The Connections Are Remote -- Literally
The partners in some long-distance relationships report positive outcomes, but the good feelings come with a price, according to researchers at Cornell University. Long-distance couples who achieve closeness work hard to compensate for the absence of in-person communication by regularly engaging in varied forms of communication such as telephone calls, texting, emails and video chatting. Both partners must invest time and emotional commitment to preserve connectivity, and to minimize the incidence of frustration.
You Need to Work at Staying Emotionally Connected
Sharing expressions of affection help build a lasting relationship, according to the article, “Ten Characteristics of Successful Relationships,” by marriage and family therapist Lisa Kift in Family-Marriage-Counseling Directory. Regular, small doses of affection speed the healing process needed after unsuccessful problem-solving, and strengthen the relationship. Partners need to take advantage of opportunities to express verbal affection throughout the day, and assure their partner that they are present in their thoughts.
- Psychology Today: Love From Afar: Staying Close While You Are Apart
- CNN: Married Couples, Don't Forget to Date
- Fox News: Study: Long-Distance Relationships Better Than Face-to-Face
- PsychCentral: The Challenges of Long-Distance Relationships
- Family and Marriage Counseling Directory: Ten Characteristics of a Successful Relationships
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