The subject of long-distance relationships is often dealt with in negative and dismissive terms. But is it possible for them to actually thrive?
When talking about long-distance relationships, don’t expect the doom mongers to have anything supportive or positive to say on the subject. There is a common consensus of opinion–the kind of opinion which belongs to those entirely unable to think outside their tiny little bubbles of existence–that LDRs just don’t work. Well, I’m here to tell you that the doom monger predictions aren’t necessarily the case.
Turn that frown upside down!
As with anything in life, it’s sometimes a little too easy to focus exclusively upon the negatives of a situation. This is especially the case when everyone around you is trying to push you into that train of thought. But often, the way to defeat this way of thinking is to turn it on its head–turn a negative into a positive, so to speak.
I recall listening to a speech by a Theravada Buddhist monk once upon this very subject, and how he was visited by two sisters: one who was unhappy with her husband, the other who was sad about being single. Resisting the urge to tell them the first solution that sprang to mind *this was a monk with a sense of humor!*, he pointed out that if they exchanged what they had for what they wanted, then they would only end up suffering a different set of issues–exactly that which the other sister had.
In essence, then, instead of focusing upon the negatives, he was instructing them to seek the positives in their present situations, so they could find happiness. Well, the exact same principle is true of the long-distance relationship.
The second side of the coin–the truth about LDRs
The trick with the LDR, then, is to take the negatives that people often point to as signaling the relationship’s unsuitability, and looking for the positive side in whichever particular aspect of it that is being focused upon.
To give you an idea of the kind of reverse perception we’re talking about, a list of ten such examples follows. In each of these, the perceived negative is initially outlined before looking at how that negative can be turned around into something more conducive to a happy, healthy partnership.
#1 Snail mail. One of the first things that people get wrong about LDRs is how difficult it is to communicate. I have one word for this: poppycock! Technology has never favored the LDR to anywhere near the same extent as in the present day.
With email, social media, reasonable international telephone charges, webcams, etc., there’s no difference in the amount you can communicate with a loved one, whether living in the same house, at the other side of the country, or on a different continent. Snail mail is well and truly a thing of the past!
#2 Perfect strangers. The next criminally ignorant misunderstanding of LDRs is that you’ll never truly get to know your partner, being so estranged from them. Well actually, being forced to use long distance methods of communication can mean that you get to know them better than you would face to face.
The reason for this? You’ll have more time to think about what you’re saying, more importance allocated to the words said due to the greater value placed upon time in communication, and the lack of sudden sweaty whirlpools of passion overriding conversation with a torrid half hour spent in grunting sensuality!
#3 Doing your own thing. The doom mongers will have it said that your relationship across borders won’t work out because you won’t share your day-to-day lives in the same way that normal couples do. However, if you think about it, it’s hard to work out what their argument actually is.
All of those shared bills, shopping, childcare, and daily tasks get carved up and doled out, so that you eventually end up spending more than you normally would to survive in the real world. At least with a long distance relationship, you preserve your independence, as well as your financial security.
#4 Worlds apart. You could be, potentially, and the doom mongers will repeatedly tell you that you can’t have a successful relationship living so physically distant from each other. However, it might be prudent at such a point to throw a few old proverbs into the mix: absence makes heart grow fonder, and familiarity breeds contempt–take your pick.
#5 All tied up. Another thing people frequently get wrong about LDRs is that these relationships won’t allow you to build proper ties with your partner. You won’t get to know friends, family, or other social groups that partially define who they are.
However, that could seem like a major positive to many people. Not having the responsibility of meeting the future in-laws regularly or having to hang around with those weirdos they call friends–both are an absolute bonus in my book.
#6 The trust factor. You’re always going to worry about them seeing other people behind your back, some spiteful little mouths will tell you, and you may naturally worry about this from time to time, depending upon your personality. But look, if you can get through that kind of situation without any serious issues of mistrust, then you know you’ve got a relationship worth keeping–and it will be all the stronger for it.
#7 Passion’s flame. A misconception commonly bandied about regarding the LDR is that, due to limited physical bonding between the couple, the passion will slowly die out. This really isn’t the case, however. With such limited time to express physical love for each other, every time will seem as fresh and as passionate as the first.
#8 Social servicing. That you won’t have a normal social life in an LDR is another point made by the pessimists. Well, they’re absolutely right. Unlike all those couples who are living minute by minute in each other’s pockets, you’ll actually keep and enjoy the same circle of friends you always have. And because this has been the case at the beginning, it will probably stay that way. A far healthier state of affairs than ditching everyone and then finding out later down the line that you no longer have a life of your own.
#9 Money matters. There are those who will point out that life is a lot more expensive when you’re not living together. This may be the case, but it also means that your money stays in your own pocket, and when it does leave, you know exactly where it’s going!
#10 Inevitable it isn’t. If they still carry on arguing, even after being countered on every point, simply tell them it can and does work. I bet it only takes a five minute Google search to find a load of people on the net who HAVE embarked upon an LDR and have come out of it better for the experience. After all, guys and gals, life is what YOU make of it.
Don’t listen to the nay-sayers. Armed with the truisms above, there’s no reason why your long-distance relationship can’t be as happy and fulfilling as any other. Who knows–it might even turn out better!