Pining after your loved one from afar can be romantic or it can be painful. It can also make it easy to sustain a flawed relationship. Thanks to distance, it's easier to keep up an illusion that your sweetheart is perfect. Plus, since you're often with each other for short time periods, it's easier to keep up the good behavior and maintain that magical feeling, argues psychologist Shauna Springer. If you and your boyfriend are separated, especially if it's by long distances that don't allow for frequent visits, it's important to evaluate if he's really a good match.
How Often Can You Meet?
Video calling, email and text messages can help keep you connected. Try to stay in touch electronically every day, says Rita Wilson, relationship columnist and director of policy and education for the Department of Psychiatry at Yale. Wilson also recommends visiting every two to three weeks. If you're far from your sweetheart, the lack of touch and real face-to-face communication can hurt your connection. Springer stresses that how your partner reacts in the heat of the moment and the corresponding body language is important not only to connect with someone but to truly know them. It's too easy to hide this online.
Is He Losing Interest?
Lack of face-to-face communication also makes it harder to see whether your boyfriend is 100 percent committed, explains Psychology Today Editor at Large Hara Estroff Marano. Even if the signs are there there he's not as into you, it's easier to ignore them and remain in your own fantasies. Do a reality check. For example, does he usually text, email or call? If he's a texter, he's investing only a minimal amount of time. Another strategy is to stop initiating every call or email. Step back and see how eager he is to get in touch. Be on the alert as well if your boyfriend is too comfortable with distance, says Marano. It may be time to request a change. Tell him that being apart really bothers you and ask whether he feels the same.
Can You Handle the Stress?
Long-distance relationships that work are those where both partners feel their needs are being met. Rachel Sussman, a licensed psychotherapist and author, points to the "loneliness factor" when couples are apart. When you're separated from your boyfriend, it's much easier to feel lonely and to second-guess the relationship. If the "loneliness factor" is severe in your relationship, which may be exasperated by extra-long distances, you need to consider whether you're willing to stay in a relationship where your needs aren't being met. That said, if you and your boyfriend are finding ways to cope with these stresses, you may be able to pull through.
Is He the One for You?
It's also important to be realistic about whether, distance or no, your boyfriend is indeed "the One." Springer recommends resisting the urge to cocoon when you two are together. Spend time with his friends. If you enjoy their company, that's a good sign. Also take note of how he talks about his exes -- be worried if he uses disrespectful and rude language. If his dating history includes a long line of bad apples, this is more a reflection on him than them. He may be projecting his own issues or have an inability to own up to past relationship problems. Assess his character as objectively as possible. Again, it's easy to live in fantasy land when you two are apart, so use the time you're together to get to know the real him.
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