And I’m sure that means a lot of things, but to most of my friends in long distance relationships, it means that if they can survive the distance, they can survive anything. Basically, when you’re in a long distance relationship you can have “off” days. I didn’t think it was possible, but early in my married life, I realized I could spend months living with someone without having a “real” conversation. Somewhere along the road when we started living together, we forgot how to communicate.
[For more, check out: The Hardest Part of a Long-Distance Relationship – 12 steps for making it work] You can go weeks without shaving. If Ryosuke and I didn’t specifically set aside time to have a heart-to-heart, we could go days, weeks, or even months without talking about how he really felt when I put my feet up on his chair during dinner [hint, he didn’t like it]. [For more, check out: Don’t Blame the Distance – 6 Tips for Skyping During a Long Distance Relationship] During the nearly two years of long distance, we would chat on Skype for an hour each morning (my morning, his evening) and an hour and a half each evening (my evening, his morning). We came to the conclusion that if we didn’t set aside an hour a day to talk about our feelings, emotions, insecurities, and dreams, those thoughts often got swept under the rug and replaced with more “fun” topics like “did you see what Clarissa posted on Facebook? ” or “I think they should model the next Disney princess off of me because…” Some of the best conversations we had were living in separate cities – at 8am in a dream-muddled half-awake state while eating leftover Udon for breakfast. Crystal Jiang, of the department of communication at the City University in Hong Kong claims “Long-distance couples try harder than geographically close couples in communicating affection and intimacy, and their efforts do pay back.” (You can read her full transcript, here) A similar study by Cornell University revealed that while couples in a “normal” relationship tended to have more daily interactions than couples in a long distance relationship, the couples who had hundreds of miles in between them tended to have longer, more meaningful conversations.
[For more, check out: The Four Stages of a Long-Distance Relationship – Surviving the Separation] Being in a long distance relationship seems to bring out the inner romantic in everyone.
There is something about living several hundred miles away from the love of your life that makes you get creative.
But when we live together like most “normal” couples, we only vaguely listen to what the other person says in between Netflix episodes, our weekly jog, and arguing over whose turn it is to take out the garbage (it is always his turn). Once upon a time, boy met girl, they fell in love, and lived happily ever after in the same house for the next three generations. Or, if not mainstream, at least more socially widespread.
Every time I tell someone that doing the whole “long distance relationship” thing actually strengthened my relationship, they laugh. And more than anything else, these long distance relationships are becoming a viable alternative to breaking up.
They also claimed to feel their partners shared more of their thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
I’ve written a couple of posts on my blog about surviving a long distance relationship and the comment section of those posts are filled with men and women who are desperate to “win back” their significant other who has been slowly drifting away. One of the first (and most important) things I learned about long distance relationships is that it does not work if both people are not equally committed.
And the advice I give all new couples: if you are not 100% committed to making it work, don’t even try.
Or, more specifically, we have both decided that we communicated most efficiently when we lived in different cities.
When we had to work for it (Skype, email, video messages, etc), we treasured what the other person said. Between study abroad, job transfers, the “two body problem,” and a million other reasons for couples to live in different cities, long distance relationships are becoming mainstream.
You are my dream Aa hajimete bakka, Kimi wa no one longest way Whoa ima tabidatsu yo!