Does absence make the heart grow fonder? New science shows that dating long distance might make a better relationship. Three million Americans are part of long distance relationship (LDR). 25-50% of college students are in one right now. Of the non-college group, reasons can be military deployment, work preference requirements, internet dating, and even immigration and visa delays.
The internet helps us feel closer, even when we are far apart. So long distance relationships are growing in popularity. Technologies like text messaging, instant messaging and video chat; they all help us feel the sense of inclusion and intimacy that we wouldn’t have been able to get only ten or fifteen years ago.
The research from 2010 says that romance does kind of require fact-to-face interaction; newer research says the opposite. A study in the journal of Sex and Marital Therapy says that those in long distance relationships might actually be better at dating.
Researchers recruited people in close by and long distance relationships who filled out a series of questionnaires tacking their intimacy, their commitment, communication, psychological distress, and sexual satisfaction (or lack thereof). Those in an LDR also indicated how often that they got to see each other. Although both groups were doing well, the LDR couples were better functioning couples reporting higher levels of interaction, intimacy, and communication. The close by couples wins in the area of getting laid more. Basically LDR couples have to replace more physical closeness with emotional closeness. While the close by couple were overlooking some of their problems—the long distance couples—they were for forced to sort them out.
A piece from Pacific Magazine puts it this way: Long distance couples are arguably better at discussing sex and those who live nearby actually HAVE more sex. A separate study this year in the Journal of Communication tips the scale even further towards long distance couples, indicating that they form even deeper bonds than their nearby neighbors because of all of that sharing. There is a lot of communication in long distance relationships that leads to a greater sense of mental intimacy.
Psychotherapist and author, Rachel Sussman points out the loneliness factor aren’t really considered much in this research but it can be really stressful for people. This is a good point. Also, they don’t really consider the jealousy factor. If you are a jealous person with a high level of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), things can go sour fast.
Some tips to make LDL last include constant communications with your partner and lots of video chats. When you talk, be present. Nonverbal cues are really important. Most importantly, have an end date! If there is no end to the tunnel, then there is no light to look forward to, right?