Make Long Distance Relationship Work: Expectations Vs. Reality
Does long distance relationship work?
You remember swearing to yourself you’ll never be in a long distance love. The set-up is just impossible. But then one day, you woke up in a euphoric mood and BOOM! A realization. You are head over heels in love with a person who will have to stay away for a while. Panicked, palpitating, you scrambled to check on some long distance relationship problems, dating advice websites and online dating statistics for inspiration and assurance.
“Love conquers all”, you remind yourself of that famous love quote. But you are also a realist. You wonder if your long distance love is and will be strong enough to survive blow by blow. You remember the bad LDR break-up the last time you watched your favorite TV series or the high fail rate you just read on a survey website. Those bad break-ups used to be just faceless numbers. Now, it’s staring you in the face, mocking, challenging.
Knowing the realities of being in a long distance relationship will not guarantee its success but learning the most realistic expectations of such relationship could undeniably boosts its chances of success.
Here are some of the most common expectations and realities when in a long distance dating set-up:
Expectation #1: This is the computer and internet age. Communication is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Reality: There will be missed online dates, missed calls and delayed replies to text or online messages.
We are in an age where computers, mobile phones and communication apps can be easily accessed. Almost gone are the days when you send love letters through the post office or use an analogue phone to talk to another person hundreds of miles away. All this technology in your fingertips makes you very fortunate. In reality though, the same technology, together with the high-demand, results-driven environment, could also require more of your time. There will be instances that you will not be able to keep up and balance love, career, family, personal goals and so on hence, eventually, the unsent replies, missed calls and failed dates.
A simple missed call or date could turn to frustration. If it happens often, it could lead to suspicion or worse, the relationship’s demise. These fails can be minimized but are totally unavoidable when it comes to long distance relationships. The earlier in the relationship that both parties understand and set this expectation, the higher chances for the relationship to survive.
Expectation #2: The almost nonexistent physical intimacy or “Skinship” is fine as long as you make it up with your loved one the next time you’re together.
Reality: There will be less intimacy and it’s not going to be the same as a normal romantic relationship.
Physical Intimacy is defined as (Wikipedia) “an act or reaction, such as an expression of feelings (including close friendship, love, or sexual attraction), between people”. The term “skinship” is a pseudo-English Japanese word generally used today referring to physical or skin-to-skin contact. Holding the hand, hugging and kissing your partner, the feeling of closeness with another human being dear to you could exude a warm, wonderful, comforting and fulfilling experience. Expressing affection and love for each other through physical contact is typical for people in relationships and you will not be able to always enjoy this closeness if you’re separated by distance.
Overcoming this hurdle is not going to be easy but possible. Instead of focusing on this negative aspect of the LDR, take advantage of the idea that being temporarily away from each other allows both parties more time for self-awareness and have your own adventures, to be shared later on. This will also give you more opportunities to talk (phone or through online dates) and get to know the other person well which would be critical in determining if it’s time to move to the next level of the relationship.
“Long distance relationships do not rely on physical love, long distance relationships are driven by the love that inspires your heart, mind and soul.”— Anonymous
Expectation #3: Holidays and special occasions can and will always be celebrated together.
Reality: This arrangement is possible but will not be easy to pull off.
Let’s face it, it’s not every time that the stars would align and the universe will conspire for your happiness. With the LDR set-up, you would console yourself and agree that even if you can’t be together every day, you can still be together during special occasions and holidays. Truth is there are demanding jobs and horrible bosses, bad weather, cancelled flights, illnesses and several other obstacles that could ruin your plan of spending a special day together. Not impossible but there will always be some days that you just have to let go. The earlier in the relationship that we get these expectations straight and not stress about it, the better for the relationship.
What is your favorite holiday to celebrate together as a couple?
Expectation #4: You can always make time. You just have to make time.
Reality: Yes, this type of relationship involves a lot of time…“waiting”.
Waiting for the call or reply to your text message, waiting to be online so you could chat and share your day’s adventures, waiting and eagerly anticipating a possible anniversary surprise that might not actually happen, waiting and hoping that the time you’d finally be together would come sooner. If you’re not the patient type and doesn’t enjoy waiting, this is definitely something to consider before getting yourself in a “feels-like-pulling-your-own-hair” frustrating kind of situation. As the popular English saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait but better things come to those who are patient”. Are you patient enough?
“Good things come to those who wait but better things come to those who are patient”.
Expectation #5: You trust each other, we’ll be okay.
Reality: In this relationship, the couple absolutely needs a whole lot of trust. No, really.
In every relationship, trust is essential. Regardless if the couple is together or away from each other, trusting your partner is fundamental and a must. Like glue, trust keeps things together and in order. Without it, the relationship would be filled with doubts and would not grow. However, trust should be in an entirely different level if your partner is a thousand miles away halfway around the world and meeting new people is as easy as a swipe of your finger or click of a mouse.
We are already in the age where majority already considers meeting lots of people before settling down as normal and monogamy is already obsolete, conservative and a thing of the old. Needless to say, not all are made to be in LDRs. Before deciding to be in one, proper expectations should be clear to both parties hence avoiding misunderstanding.
It's undeniable, even with just the few realities or shall we say hurdles mentioned above, that being in a LDR is not going to be a piece of cake. There will be no guidebook and no guarantee that you'll be fighting the battle with "the one" until that person either disappoints or both of you reaches the finish line, ending the anxiety of extended physical separation.
But despite its complexities, we can still conclude that a special concoction of hard work, patience, persistence, plenty of trust and a whole lot of love could greatly influence the direction of every relationship including LDRs. Keep in mind that in the end, what’s important is for you to be able to look the person in the eye and know in your heart of hearts that you fought hard and gave your all.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.