The Long Distance Relationship: Can it Work for You?
The long-distance relationship is a blessing for some but a curse for others. It will either work brilliantly for you, be bearable though not ideal or it will be disastrous. It all depends on the nature of your personality, the strength of your commitment and what you really want from your long-distance lover.
Like any kind of relationship, the long-distance relationship will only work if both of you are in agreement and can make a commitment to the same rules and regulations. In one of his most memorable songs, the great Paul Simon advises us that, “the only time love is an easy game is when two of the people are playing.” By this he means, of course, that any relationship can work so long as it works for both of you. This is especially true when the two of you are separated, and being together is dependent on racking up frequent-flier miles.
Let’s start with those for whom the long distance-relationship is ideal. If both you and your woman are fiercely independent and do not necessarily feel lonely when you are alone or, even better, enjoy your alone time, then being separated for long periods of time will not be a burden. Say, for example, both of you are extremely hardworking and have to devote long hours to the job, to studying or to taking care of family members on a daily basis. In this case, a long-distance relationship can definitely work. Also, if you both already have an active social life, filled with friends and family to keep you busy, you can use the time away from your girlfriend to see old friends, play basketball or poker with the guys, take classes at night or enjoy your other hobbies and activities.
It is always true that absence makes the heart grow fonder and if you work out a schedule where one of you flies to see the other every two weeks or so, then your weekends together can be both romantic and highly charged. It also helps if both of you enjoy traveling. You can spice things up by meeting in different cities and exploring new territory together.
Also, the long-distance relationship between two independent people can work if you have a clear understanding that your relationship is not exclusive and that you are both free to see other people. In all fairness, though, this can only work if you are honest with each other. A sure recipe for disaster is if one of you thinks you are in an exclusive and committed relationship but the other person doesn’t. While this is basically the premise of every Kate Hudson movie and can make for an amusing romantic comedy, in real life it is not so entertaining.
If you are not quite so independent and don’t particularly enjoy being alone, or if you want a committed relationship but circumstances are keeping you separated, then the long distance relationship, though difficult, can be bearable if you define your parameters and discuss any impending conflicts. It will help if you establish how long it will last. Say you have the opportunity to climb the corporate ladder if you move to Seattle, but your girlfriend is firmly ensconced in her job in Denver. You don’t want to lose her, but you are not ready to commit to marriage. You need to sit down and figure out how long you will need to be in Seattle before you know if you are staying there for any length of time. Give yourself a deadline of six months (or however long you need) and ask your girlfriend to wait that long before you move the relationship to the next level. Also, sit down and book your calendar in advance, establishing when you will see each other and who will do the traveling. If possible, offer to pay her travel costs. If you find that it is unbearably hard to be separated, then that will give you some valuable information about your level of involvement with your woman.
Finally, there are some people for whom a long-distance relationship will not work under any circumstances. There are men who can barely stand to be alone for one meal, much less weeks at a time. Obviously, if you want to be with someone every moment of the day and night, a long-distance relationship is not for you. (If you really require that kind of attention, then you might want to get a dog, a cat or both!)
Being separated from the one you love is easier today than it has ever been. In our digital world of instant messages, e-mail, texts, Skype, iChat and even the good old-fashioned telephone, there are so many ways to keep us connected that we barely have a moment to ourselves. Your girlfriend could be across town, across the country or halfway across the world and still be able to video chat every night.
As in any relationship, near or far, honesty and communication are the most important factors. If you can tell your woman what you need and want, there is a good chance you can make it work no matter the distance between you.
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