Distance may make the heart grow fonder, but it can also give us unrealistic expectations.
Everyone has their idea of the "perfect partner" and we always want to believe that the person we're with now will turn out to be mister or miss right. Unfortunately, it's challenging when our partner doesn't live up to our expectations. It causes rifts in relationships — especially long-distance relationships.
A study by Science Of Relationships found that idealization in long-distance relationships is a major factor leading to breakups when the couple makes the transition to living closer.
Idealizing your partner and your relationship can lead to serious issues. Sixty percent of couples who remained long-distance stayed in the relationship where as 82% of couples who transitioned from long-distance to living nearby found that their relationship failed.
It's hard to avoid romanticizing some aspects of your relationship, and according to research not all idealization is bad. More frequent visits and stronger communication gives relationships a higher rate of survival.
So what should you do? According to Jennifer Wilkov, co-author of Boys Before Business, couples should plan to be together at regular intervals until they are able to dissolve the geographic distance between them completely. This makes the transition easiest.
"Relationships are also a responsibility. They come with commitments, expectations, emotions and experiences you can only have when you have the courage to engage in them," Wilkov says.
The key to successful long-distance relationships is meeting certain intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical needs, Wilkov says. Couples in long-distance relationships have to tackle this in new and creative ways. Focusing on fulfilling these needs can strengthen the relationship and make the transition from long-distance easier.
Couples must meet intellectual needs through great exchanges of information. This need can be met simply: couples should talk on the phone, through e-mail or any other way possible.
"Admiration, stimulation and love can grow in this dimension quite easily because they are centered in what you know, understand and want to share with each other," Wilkov says.
Are you in a long-distance relationship? How do you overcome challenges?