Going the Distance: How Far is Too Far?

Most of my relationships have been of the long distance variety. In fact, all of my relationships that lasted longer than six months began with the two of us miles apart. Granted the distance was never great enough to prevent us from seeing each other nearly every weekend. For all of the challenges and complications a long distance relationship brings – not being able to see them after a bad day, missing major occasions, losing hours on the road, the cost of travel, etc. – there are some good points.

The distance forces you to have a life outside of your significant other. It can be very easy to get wrapped up in the exclusive world of your relationship. When there is some physical distance between the two of you, each of you fills the time apart with friends, hobbies, work, etc. It tends to be a catalyst for that healthy balance of relationship and life that can be difficult to find when you have constant access to one another.

On the other hand, in my experience, the distance can also make that balance a little bit more difficult if the only time you see each other is on the weekend. Friday night and Saturday are when most people get together with their friends. If weekends are the only time you can devote to your significant other, you may have to choose between events with friends and family and seeing him or her.

Distance and limited time with your love also tends to make you appreciate the time you do have. It’s more difficult to take someone for granted if you never see them. Also, when you have to make do with phone calls rather than mid-week dates, the conversation tends carry more depth because you aren’t distracted by the activities of the date.

On the flipside, when you don’t see each other as often, it makes it easier to veil your flaws and prolong the honeymoon period. It can also be difficult to console, support and encourage from a distance. After a day from hell, oftentimes all we want to do is curl up with someone who loves us, and if that someone is miles away, it just isn’t possible.

I’ve also noticed that people with commitment issues, sometimes thrive in long distance relationships. To some degree, it allows them to dip one foot in the relationship pool while keeping the other on solid single ground. They can be in the relationship on the weekend or whenever they see their significant other and during the week they lead their own individual lives.

When all is said and done, relationships of any kind come with tradeoffs. If you find the one person you can’t live without, why should you let them go just because he or she happens to live miles away? Just remember, eventually the goal is to end up sharing a home together, so if the relationship only works because of the distance, perhaps you should keep looking for the one.