The Economics of Long-Distance Love

The Economics of Long-Distance Love

High fuel prices mean less time together for LDR lovers.

My boyfriend and I used to have an NYC-DC long-distance relationship. Every other weekend one of us would traverse the eastern seaboard by car, bus, train and sometimes plane to spend 36 hours cuddling under the covers, eating banana-nut pancakes and watching downloaded episodes of Battlestar Galactica. When it was my turn I hopped the 6:20 pm Amtrak to get to the capital in time for a late dinner and spent Sunday afternoon squished into a Chinatown bus wondering why my driver was smoking a bong at the rest stop. (True story.) I only spent about $150 a month on travel; not so for today's couples. With fuel prices rising, traveling to see a long-distance mate is more expensive than ever.

According to yesterday's Washington Post, long distance relationships are the latest casualty of the economic downturn. LDR couples are seeing each other less frequently, cutting back on their social lives to finance their travel and performing cost-benefit analyses on their relationships. One woman interviewed for the piece said she's seeing less of her family to save money to see her mate; another opted out of a Memorial Day weekend visit in favor of a non-holiday weekend trip.

A WaPo companion piece lists tips for couples who are missing time with their other halves. Some are obvious: don't travel more than you can afford and stick to a travel budget. Others are more original: plan a virtual Saturday night together. "Order carryout from the same kind of restaurant, rent the same movie and talk afterward." Not quite as good as squeezing your boyfriend's hand during the shower scene in Psycho, but better than feeling lonely and connection-less.

Has the economy affected your LDR? What have you done to make up for it? Let us know in the comments.


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