There is strength in distance: The benefit of long distance relationships
by Rebecca Pall
Relationships are a wonderful and beautiful thing, but keeping things special can be a gray area when it comes to long distance relationships.
I started a relationship in the beginning of May, but went away on a travel program for six weeks in the middle of June. Before I left, there was a question of whether or not the relationship would last, or if the distance would be too much for us to handle. The relationship lasted, thanks to the help of technology and social media, but may not have been as successful if we didn’t have technology to assist us.
What it means to be in a long distance relationship
According to a 2015 statistic, in the United States alone, 14.9 million people consider themselves to be in long distance relationships. Surprisingly, 32.5% of these relationships are college relationships. Distance shows dedication, and shows a certain level of trust and love to make relationships last.
Within the past decade social media use has skyrocketed. According to Statista, since 2007, social media usage has risen by 54%. Granted, social media can be used for anything from business to the arts (with sites such as LinkedIn and VSCO), as well as for staying touch. When people use a video chat software such as Skype, it gives the feeling that they are actually with their significant other, which may make the (possibly) thousands of miles they’re apart a bit more bearable.
The benefit of LDRs
People look for a lot when they want to find a new relationship partner. The simple feeling of knowing that somebody is there for you is quite possibly the most important feeling. Although significant others may not be in the presence of each other all of the time, the knowledge that they are loved, supported, and trusted can be more important than any amount of distance.
Take for example, someone who had to move away from a significant other for a job. If things don’t turn out as they were expecting, knowing that someone is still there for them could increase the likelihood of keeping their job.
Psychology Today provides an honest opinion about long distance relationships:
“New evidence suggests certain features of [Long Distance Relationships (LDRs)] are linked to more positive relationship outcomes. In general, the stronger relationships tend to have individuals who are less distressed, hold more positive attitudes about LDRs, feel more relationship certainty, and (while this might be counterintuitive), maintain a greater physical distance apart.”
Long distance relationships may seem scary, but they have many emotional benefits. Knowing someone is always there, even if they are not nearby, can change mindsets and strengthen their positive attributes. In my situation, knowing I had someone there for me during the summer, even if they weren’t physically with me, helped on both good and bad days.
Oftentimes long distance relationships are assumed not to last. This may be because those involved in the relationship have not found the right person who can support them in the ways they need, despite distance.
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