Can Long Distance Relationships Work?
Several years ago, a friend landed a great job at a Wall Street firm right out of college. While she was working there, she met another employee who was a good looking, successful guy originally from Australia.
They started dating and seeing each other most every day and night. After they’d been together for eight months, his Work Visa expired and he needed to go back to Australia.
After he left, they spoke on the phone every day, twice a day. He flew her out to see him twice for several weeks each visit, and he came back to see her as well. This went on for about five months, and the last time she flew to Australia he proposed.
Flash forward to today….they’ve been happily married for ten years later and have three absolutely beautiful children.
My question is — Can long distance relationships work?
As I usually acknowledge, every situation is certainly different, and I can only speak in generalizations. However, I think one primary, important, difference is how a long distance relationships begins.
I believe my friends’ situation worked well because they had a chance to get to know each other every day for eight months before he moved away. If a relationship begins where each person lives far from each other and the primary way they have to get to know each other is over the phone or electronically, I believe this can cause some issues truly getting to know the person, even if you also visit each other.
Well, one reason is people only let you see a small percentage of who they are when you start dating. And if the only method of getting to know them is through texting, email or the phone, you’re most likely not going to be able to see all facets of the person you’re involved with.
When you don’t have the opportunity to see who they are on a daily basis, it can be tough to truly know them….seeing someone regularly, most people can only stay on their best behavior for so long. I mean, it’s exhausting, isn’t it? But I’m pretty sure I could keep up the Facade of Perfection for a pretty damned long time if I was only IM’ing and having a phone conversations.
Even visits or vacations aren’t likely to be a good yardstick of who they really are as a human being.
Why am I saying this and being such a party-pooper?
Mainly because if you only see each other every four months, a few things happen. First, you want to take advantage of the time you have together, so days and nights are booked-up. You’re going to dinners, spending time with friends so they can meet him/her, having sex (I mean, four months is a long time to wait, so gettin’ it on is going to be pretty important to both of you), and your time is going to be full of super-fun things to do.
And why not? You see each other so rarely you want to make the most out of your time together. Of course, keeping so busy with fun stuff can make it more difficult to see who they really are, at least to the extent you need to see it. How do you know you want to move to be closer to this person if you don’t see the inner-workings of who they are?
Additionally, when you finally get to see each other, people are often reluctant to bring up stressful or important topics….since you don’t see each other that much, men and women sometimes feel they don’t want to ‘ruin’ their limited time together by bringing up a subject that may result in a getting pissed-off with each other.
Even if you think you’re seeing who somebody really is through your periodic visits and phone conversations, until you continuously spend a large amount of time with them, there’s almost no guaranteeing what you thought you saw is what you were really getting.
I know some of you probably think I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, which is always entirely possible.
But for God’s sake, if that Dateline guy can pretend to be a 12 year old girl for weeks before pervs find out it’s really a sting operation run by a 44 year old dude with a Camera Crew….if you’re legitimately who you say you are (man/woman, over the age of 16,gainfully employed), keeping up appearances via AT&T and Skype really ‘aint that tough.
Footnote: That being said, I should also note there are also plenty of people who’ve had long distance relationships that work out beautifully. I think if people visit each other quite often, they can get a good look into the person’s character.
Additionally, living close to each other only gives you more opportunities to see who someone is, and doesn’t guarantee you’ll know a person 100%….there’s certainly enough people who don’t know the person they’re marrying, even after living near them for quite some time.