Do Long Distance Relationships Work?

Do you think having a long distance relationship works? We just see each other once a month during his trip here where I live.

Dear ruby,

Long distance relationships CAN work, but they do not necessarily always work. But, then, if we think about it, not all relationships work, in the first place, do they?

If both parties want it to work, then it certainly can work, but the fact that it is long distance adds a monkey wrench into the whole situation by adding the complications of lack of time together, distractions that may turn into permanent relationship distractions, and a potential lack of cohesion in the relationship. However, comparing the long distance relationship to the local relationship, the same thing can happen when two people share their time with other interests, be it a heavy work schedule, different social groups, hobbies, etc.

Sometimes, distractions, like hobbies, can put a hindrance on the long distance relationship. And, sometimes, the distractions are not an issue (i.e. the two parties are so devoted to one another), but one party becomes unnecessarily jealous that a distraction "could" impact the relationship. THis potential paranoia is just as damaging, if not more damaging, than the existence of the potential distraction, and can serve to wedge a damaging result.

On the topic of distractions, that does not mean that a long distance relationship requires that the individuals do not participate in anything but eating, sleeping, and working while apart. That would be a ludicrous expectation in any relationship, let alone expectation for any individual.

With a long distance relationship, as with any relationship, communication is key. Talk about the relationship and be real with each other on expectations and the potential issues that may arise because of the long distance. Don't limit yourself to only talking about the long distance issues. Also talk about what to expect in the relationship, itself. For example, are you discussing potential marriage or long-term commitment? If so, do you intend to reside in the same house, in the same city? If so, what are your goals, in the future, to rectify that situation (changing from a long distance relationship to a live-in relationship)? On the flip side, do you intend to just have a relationship and never take it to the next level? You need to ensure that both of you have that goal, so there is not one person that is hoping for a more committed relationship. These types of things need to be discussed so that you each know what to expect out of the relationship. However, that does not mean that you have to sit down for coffee and decide the rest of your life, or scare each other off with a premature discussion of marriage.

The idea here is to identify your objectives, even generally speaking, with the relationship, so that each person knows what he or she can commit to the relationship and what you each should expect. That way, if you both have the same goals and objectives, you got a shot at making it, together, or apart.

Deborah E
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Deborah is a #1 Jazz Singer, as well as a lifelong musician, songwriter, and sound engineer. She is also a writer who pursues a love of positive psychology. She is a thesis short of having her doctorate in psychology.
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