I once learned the secret to making a marriage last. It wasn’t communication or a “good” sex life, it was space. Couples that felt like they had a sense of privacy in their relationship as well as time for themselves were more likely to stay together. Reflecting upon those findings, it’s no surprise that research is suggesting that long distance couples fare better than those who are close.
So, perhaps we should stop feeling sorry for those with many miles between them, saying things like, “I don’t know how you do it.” Instead, we may want to ask them to share a little bit on what it is they are actually doing. Because, according to the research their relationship is likely to be much stronger than those who are “face-to-face” with the person they are in a relationship with.
Those of you who are in a long distance relationship struggling with the mileage that is keeping you from being side-by-side with your love, perhaps the findings of this study might make you feel better. You aren’t crazy for trying to make your relationship work; you’re actually making it work.
According to Medical Press, a recent publication highlighting the findings of Crystal Jiang of City University of Hong Kong and Jeffrey Hancock of Cornell University, noted that couples in long distance relationships felt a greater sense of intimacy. Couples who were what we would consider far apart were actually closer.
The rationale for the increased intimacy was that long distance couples disclosed of themselves more. Oftentimes, when you are in a relationship with someone who isn’t able to be with you face-to-face you tend spend a large amount of time on the phone, emailing or even texting. Technology becomes a facet for bringing you two together and keeping you connected. The telephone calls often result in deep discussions, stories and words exchanged over topics that may have simply been overlooked had seeing each other been a regular normal occurrence.
The article also noted that long distance couples also “idealized their partners’ behaviors.” That in itself might present a challenge in the event that a geographical divide ceases to exist and phone conversations get replaced with face-to-face ones. Even so, having a deeper sense of intimacy might result in a better ability to be more understanding of the imperfections of your mate.
While the article examined communication in the relationship more so than the actual quality, it brings some attention to the entire notion of long distance relationships. Despite the common belief that such relationships aren’t all that common, they actually are. And they aren’t necessarily doomed. There are married couples that, for some reason or another, must live apart as well as college students and other individuals choosing to be in a relationship that literally goes the distance.
In light of such findings, it will be interesting to see if the manner in which our society views long distance relationships shifts. At one time it seemed appropriate to believe that in order to have a strong healthy relationship you needed to have your partner in the same place as you. However, fostering intimacy is possible even when you don’t have the ability to see your partner in person and instead have to opt for a telephone call or Skype session.
The article goes on to note that couples in long distance relationships “try harder” — which means those of us who live in the same vicinity as our partners may stand to learn a thing or two. Having your partner close by doesn’t mean you should take things like the building of intimacy for granted. If you want a love that goes the distance then perhaps you need to live like there is some distance between you two. For me and my own relationship that means making more of an effort to have those deep meaningful conversations with my husband. Not the ones that make me want to pull my hair out but the ones that remind me of how great it is to be with someone who I can talk to about anything. Someone who wanted to know my story and has since become a part of it.
And so it seems, that the secret to a lasting relationship wasn’t all that far off. Space, makes a difference perhaps even more so when that space is filled with miles and miles between you and the person you care about. A little distance isn’t always all that bad. For more on the positives of long distance relationships visit Medical press.
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