- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 08 April 2015
In a world of seven billion people, what makes being committed to one person worth forgoing every other option out there?
Maybe it’s the shared pint of Ben & Jerry’s on a Friday night in, or going to a bar and knowing you have someone to go home with. Maybe it’s a hug after a long, hard day or maybe it is just the fact that you always have your best friend there to be down for whatever.
So what makes it worth it, if you take all that away?
Today many people now find themselves in long distance relationships, whether it be military-related, job-related, or school-related. Couples are not looking to ask the other to sacrifice what they want out of life. Instead they are working hard to support each other to succeed. Even if that support has to come from half way across the country.
It is often said that “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” but that doesn’t mean it makes it any easier.
Relationships are hard. There is no way to sugar coat it. There are elements in a relationship that have to constantly be attended to and a pathway of open communication that must always be walked down together. Adding a couple hundred miles into that mix does not help.
Louise Moss, a senior psychology major, was in a long distance relationship with her boyfriend for two years, and recently they have had to revert back to long distance due to her boyfriend’s job relocation.
Moss said, “The hardest part is not being able to hang out on a regular basis and make memories.” An essential part that comes with being in a relationship, it seems silly that people would commit to someone, they maybe only see every few months.
“Other than the few difficult parts that come with long distance, if you love the person then I think you can make it work” Moss explained.
According to Dr. Gary Lewandowski, Psychology Professor and Chair, “[Long Distance] relationships can be difficult because you don’t get to see your partner as much and you may feel lonely. Don’t worry though, long distance relationships are generally no worse off than relationships with nearby partners.”
In fact, Psychology Today claims there is a growing amount of research pointing to the added strength that distance can give to a relationship.
As François de La Rochefoucauld, a noted French author, put it, “Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans fires.”
People are not going to commit to a long distance relationships if being with that person is not worth forgoing normal relationship aspects.
“The person you’re with definitely makes it worth the distance,” Claudia LaMarca, a sophomore communication student, said. “In the end any amount of distance is better than not being together.” Long distance relationships are strong because it goes a little bit farther than just having someone there.
In a long distance relationship, both people work hard everyday for a common love for each other. LaMarca has been in a long distance relationship since September when her boyfriend transferred to another school.
Regardless of geographical distance, keeping personal growth is a priority in any relationship. You want to grow together, but also grow as your own person. Long distance enables couples to grow individually; you have to learn to be independent to make it work.
Psychology Today’s article, “Distance is the New Closeness” said, “Moreover, very close geographical proximity to the partner may in many circumstances impede, rather than nurture, personal flourishing.”
Many years ago, long distance relationships might not have been as feasible as they are today.
With features like Skype, text, Snapchat, iMessage and social media, no one is really that far away anymore. A Skype date may not be ideal, but it has made going weeks on end of not seeing someone a lot easier.
According to several studies, as stated in the “Distance is the new closeness,” article published in Psychology Today, communication in long distance dating is often more intimate, more positive, and contentious than in geographically-close relationships.
Most couples working on their long distance love state their strategies involve a lot of openness and positivity. This communication ultimately leads to more intimacy than some geographically close relationships.
“What really helps make it easier is looking forward to seeing each other.” LaMarca said. The weeks and months away may be hard, but the joy of getting to spend even just a few days together makes it worth it. Ultimately long distance is hard, but being with the right person makes it a lot easier.
“It depends on if the connection with the partner is strong enough. If you love them you’ll do what it takes to stay with them,” said Connor Orr, a freshman student. Although having someone you can see everyday is nice, having someone you wait week after week to see can sometimes be even more special.
Going through this distance is only going to make these couples stronger in the end. And when you find that right person, distance really isn’t even an issue.