Whether the separation is necessary because of different college choices, a summer abroad or a family move, long-distance relationships can be daunting. On top of processing the natural challenges of geographically close relationships, you face those obstacles unique to sweethearts separated by a significant distance. By understanding typical complications, and their fixes, you can safeguard your relationship, giving it the chance to develop into something even more satisfying.
Studies have found that those in long-distance relationships can experience greater stability than those in physically close ones. However, this tends to only hold true as long as the long-distance couple remains separated, according to Laura Stafford and Andy J. Merolla of Ohio State University in the “Journal of Social and Personal Relationships” report “Idealization, Reunions, and Stability in Long-Distance Dating Relationships.” You may inadvertently begin to idealize the other person, leading to disappointment and even shock when you're reunited. To solve this dilemma, try to keep up with face-to-face visits so you and your sweetheart stay accustomed to getting along in person.
You Don't Feel Like a Couple
In geographically close relationships, participants are seen together around campus and often hang out together with friends. In long-distance relationships, these aspects of social recognition vanish. Many outsiders tend to view long-distance relationships as inferior to proximal ones, assuming that the former do not allow participants to fulfill each other's needs, according to Stafford in her book “Maintaining Long-Distance and Cross-Residential Relationships.” Displaying photos of the two of you and telling your friends interesting tidbits about your significant other may help others regard the two of you as a couple, which may, in turn, help reinforce the relationship in your thoughts.
If your communication leaves something to be desired, consider the channels you use, according to the “Communication Research Reports” publication “Patterns of Communication Channel Use in the Maintenance of Long-Distance Relationships.” In the article, Marianne Dainton and Brooks Aylor, La Salle University communication professors, suggest that while communication via phone, Internet and letters are all helpful, phone communication is most positively associated with relationship maintenance while regularly touching base via Internet corresponded to healthy levels of trust. Most important of all, however, in terms of both overall satisfaction and commitment, was in-person interaction.
You Want to Be Together
Though you may find it tempting to change schools or otherwise alter your circumstances so you can be close to your long-distance love, this is not necessary, according to Monmouth University psychology professor Gary W. Lewandowski Jr. and psychology major Miranda E. Bobrowski in the Science of Relationships article “Relationships 101: Having Healthy Relationships in Your First Year of College.” Even when you miss each other greatly, the relationship can remain rewarding as long as you and your sweetheart make each other a priority and stick to your individual goals. In this way, you can continue respecting yourself and one another, and neither of you will feel that a major compromise has to be made in order to keep the peace.
- Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: Idealization, Reunions, and Stability in Long-Distance Dating Relationships
- Maintaining Long-Distance and Cross-Residential Relationships; Laura Stafford
- Communication Research Reports: Patterns of Communication Channel Use in the Maintenance of Long-Distance Relationships
- Science of Relationships: Relationships 101: Having Healthy Relationships in Your First Year of College
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