Can Long-Distance Relationships Be Successful?

01 Dec

In long-distance relationships, does absence really make the heart grow fonder? Although this can sometimes be the case, for many couples, distance puts a strain on the relationship, and regardless of how much love is present, is a difficult obstacle to overcome.

long distance relationship, couple on platform at the train station, meeting or parting concept

Now, more than ever, the ability to keep in touch- despite having thousands of miles between you- is easier due to advancements in technology. With the ability to see each other within a matter of seconds via video call, long-distance relationships are not much different than relationships of those that live in the same vicinity.

So, how can a long-distance relationship be maintained? Let’s explore some key aspects necessary for a relationship to flourish, despite the physical distance.

Realistic expectations

One of the initial obstacles within a long-distance relationship is the difference between your relationship expectations versus reality.  Due to the distance, it might make you feel that when you do see your partner in person it will be filled with big, romantic gestures, amazing sex, and be perfect in every way. Sure, when you first see each other this is highly possible but most likely you won’t be floating on cloud nine forever. Although optimism is essential in making long-distance work, it’s also important to be realistic and remember that real relationships aren’t constantly filled with grand gestures. Don’t get discouraged if you and your partner spend time binge-watching a show and eating pizza on the couch.

Overall try and keep the same approach and mentality as you would in a relationship where the distance isn’t present, as often long-distance relationships can initially break down due to individuals having such high expectations and then being disappointed when they meet in person as it didn’t match what they’d imagined in their head.

Challenges

Within a long-distance relationship, like any relationship, couples often face challenges. Due to the logistics, challenges within a long-distance relationship often revolve around the distance and how you’re going to see each other again. These sorts of challenges can include financial elements such as being able to afford the travel costs and not being open and honest with your partner about how you feel about the distance.

Planning regular trips to see each other is often a great way to overcome these challenges as then you both have something to look forward to. additionally, if you book travel earlier it’s usually cheaper so may help reduce travel costs and therefore reduce the stress that accompanies it. By booking regular trips the distance then becomes less permanent and more temporary, and studies show that when this is the case individuals in long-distance relationships feel less distressed and more satisfied with the relationship compared to individuals who are less certain about when they’re going to see their partner again.

The importance of trust

Trust is a crucial element of all relationships regardless of the distance, but particularly when the distance is involved you must be confident and comfortable that your partner is going to stay loyal. Lots of people have experienced trust issues in relationships, where their partners haven’t been faithful, and this can have a particularly negative impact on long-distance relationships; It’s not going to benefit either of you if you’re spending the evening worrying and constantly checking your phone as you know your partner’s going out for drinks. If you don’t trust that they’re going to remain faithful, then this is going to create issues within the relationship and spark arguments that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise.

Is distance really the problem?

Yes, distance can cause problems within a relationship, but it can also hide other issues that are present. As you’re not seeing your partner daily it’s harder to gauge how committed our partner actually is to the relationship and what any bumps that occur in the relationship are down to, particularly those not linked to distance, and therefore they’re often attributed to other external factors such as problems at work, family stress or financial issues.

Additionally, distance can often overrule other issues and cause couples to ignore other issues in the relationship as you’re more likely to put arguments and disagreements down to stress due to the distance and not seeing each other in person rather than actually addressing the cause of the argument.

However, studies do suggest that emotions are heightened within long-distance relationships (particularly for excitement, jealousy, and anger). This could contribute to an increase in unnecessary arguments and individuals are more likely to make rash decisions in the heat of the moment.

Statistics

One study conducted in Hong Kong looked at the difference between long-distance relationships and relationships where both individuals lived within close proximity – they looked at 63 people half of whom were in a long-distance relationship and the other half who weren’t and asked them to record their daily communications with their partner (e.g. phone calls, Skype, FaceTime, etc.) and how intimate they thought it was. They found that while people in long-distance relationships aren’t in contact as much, when they do communicate their interactions are longer and rated as more intimate- with the researchers suggesting that this was due to the individuals wanting to show their partners how they feel and affirm their feelings towards their partner.

The study also found that with the distance the number of day to day arguments such as household chores was reduced, which allowed them to focus on the fundamental, important aspects of their relationship.

Advice from Maclynn International

So, can distance make the heart grow stronger? If you have realistic expectations about the relationship, trust each other, are optimistic, have plans when you’re going to see each other, and communicate effectively (being open and honest) then yes, it’s true. In today’s world, we can communicate with each other almost immediately no matter how many miles are in between, allowing us to fall in love at a distance.

At Maclynn International, we help people all over the world find love; when searching for your truly compatible life partner, distance is just a minor obstacle that can easily be overcome. We have offices based in both London and New York, and our extensive team of experienced matchmakers and relationship experts would love to help you find you your ideal partner. Contact our team today to find out more about matchmaking and how we can help you find your perfect partner.

by Gina Yannotta

Chief Operating Officer, New York City.

Gina Yannotta is Head Matchmaker & Chief Operating Officer at Maclynn International's New York office. Gina’s unyielding passion for the field, in combination with her extensive experience in matchmaking, has allowed her to orchestrate successful and everlasting relationships amongst her clients. Tasked with running the Manhattan office, Gina utilizes her interpersonal skills and relationship expertise to make a splash in the matchmaking pool, personally connecting her clients with their ultimate match while simultaneously taking advantage of the endless possibilities that NYC offers to its client-base.More by this author