Long distance relationships (LDRs) work for some people, over long periods of time and great distances - but for others, an LDR may as well be DOA (dead on arrival). Certain situations and personalities may lend themselves to a successful LDR, while in some cases, no matter how strong the feelings between the two people may be, the distance proves too difficult to make the relationship last. If you're considering entering into a long distance relationship, or if you're wondering why yours didn't work out, we've compiled a list of pros and cons for any LDR to help you assess whether to go the distance, or to figure out why absence didn't necessarily make the heart grow fonder. Take a look:
Hold on to Your Freedom:
If you hate "clingy," LDRs might be right up your alley. The obligation you often feel to be around someone when you're dating them can be exhausting if it's not in your nature. At times, you may just not feel like going out, and other times you may just want to be alone. These are often fleeting moments, but can have disastrous consequences on your love life, especially if the other party picks up your vibes of neglection. An LDR gives you the chance to enjoy that independence with little to no obligation to physically be near your significant other. This is great for individuals who want to keep their individualism but still want the occasional phone call to know that they're being thought of.
It's Always a Honeymoon:
Ever wonder why holidays feel so great? It's because it happens so infrequently that you want them all the more. The same can be applied when you finally do meet up with your LDR partner. There's going to be so much to say/do and so little time, you'll feel great finally getting your time with them. All the impatience and anxiety you built up from not seeing them can really keep the fire lit in the relationship. Every visit may feel like a honeymoon, which can be great for people who want the good feelings without having to worry about reality setting in.
It's nice to be flirted with, but sometimes you don't get the attention you want when hitting the town. Let's face it - it's always a confidence boost when you can lean on the special someone you're attached to, even if they're in San Francisco and you're in New York. Not to mention, you've got the ultimate excuse if you're not interested in either the person or the outing... it's pretty easy to say you've got a phone date and have to miss the birthday group dinner you've been dreading.
Tech Ties You Down:
Ironically enough, technology is actually going to hurt some of your freedom. Technology like "unlimited texting" or webcam chat can tie you down, even if you live across the country. You might be out with your friends but feel as if you have to keep texting your boyfriend/girlfriend because they keep texting you back. Being in an LDR, you or your significant other might use this medium of communication as a way to overcompensate for not being around.
What You Don't Know Can Hurt You:
It's hard not to have trust issues when you're in a LDR. Thoughts will constantly run through your head ("Who's he going out with tonight?" "Who's that new friend she keeps talking about?" "Why haven't I heard back from them?") All these and more will, at some point, cross your mind. When you aren't around to keep tabs on
your significant other and get the reassurance you need, the level of trust you place in them and the relationship must increase exponentially, which can be taxing.
Relationship? What Relationship?:
If you ask some couples, they'll tell you to drop the "R" from LDR, stating that it simply isn't a relationship. LDRs in some ways have it harder than normal relationships, but overall, it's hard to feel that something is a real relationship if you don't see each other very often. People who see each other on a constant basis just go through more - they get tired of each other, run out of things to say, argue, get upset at each other and more. Being in an LDR you avoid a lot of this because to perfectly honest, there's just a different dynamic over the phone and in person. At some point, you have to ask yourself, is this real or just part-time?
Table For One...:
No amount of webcam chat or phone calls can make up for a person being away. When it's all said and done, you'll still be on your own for much of the time. At the end of the day, would you rather have phone calls with your significant other while you microwave your individual portion pizza, or would you be more satisfied with sitting across the dinner table with someone else? Ask yourself if your time with this person balances out any feelings of loneliness you may have.
LDRs can be a blast, they can be fulfilling, and yes, they can succeed. However, it takes a very special combination of personality characteristics and relationship needs between two people to make it work. You have to know what you're in for, and what to expect, and you have to be prepared to go with the flow. If you understand that the honeymoon won't last forever and you have to make sacrifices you wouldn't make if you lived in the same town, you may be on your way to success.
Have you been in or heard of a Long Distance Relationship working? What are some of the other advantages and disadvantages of being in an LDR? Would YOU try it?
Sunil is a native New Yorker. Growing up on a steady diet of John Hughes films helped to shape the way he sees relationships and the world at large.