Is there a reluctance to say someone who lives in England/United States getting to know someone in the Caribbean? How can that scenario or relationship thrive or move to the next level? – One of my readers asked.
If Russel Crowe got his a** arrested and charged with second -degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon after attacking an employee at the Mercer Hotel in New York, just because he had had repeatedly tried and failed to call his wife in Australia, I am sure you now have a picture of how tough long distance relationships truly are … even the calm ones can get edgy.
One woman after having spent like 15 hours of travel was so frustrated when she realized she only had one minute’s worth of prepaid cell-phone airtime left and couldn’t make a sensible conversation with her hubby besides sobbing. I am sure most of us know that feeling only too well … that feeling of despair that escalates to tantrums.
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Despite the teary goodbyes, lonely nights and offensive phone bills, the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships estimated the number of Americans currently in long distance relationships (LDRs) to be 14 million. And that number includes even those who fell for each other while living in opposite worlds eg those in online relationships and international relationships. So how do they make their long distance love work?
Besides the Russel Crowe incidents, LRDs can work … well in fact. And as per research, such couples don’t break up at any greater rate than traditional, geographically close ones. And the levels of trust, commitment, satisfaction and intimacy are identical to their geographically close counterparts. Much as they worry more about issues of infidelity, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they cheat more.
LDRs aren’t something that was brought about by online or interracial dating. Military guys, athletes, entertainers have loved across borders for years. However we have to acknowledge the fact that the world is now a much smaller place. People meet in national and international conferences or colleges. And then of course, we have technology and online dating services that are increasing the number of people who are meeting at a distance. “Because of the isolation that is built into our society right now, people are more willing to take a risk with a long-distance relationship.᾿ I mean if you can’t find someone in the four zip codes around you, you expand your search, right?
Anyway, people communicate through emails, text messages, and, yes, quick phone calls. And one thing that ensures the success of a LDR is maintaining the feeling of being intermingled in your partner’s life (interrelatedness). And those that succeed do this by discussing the mundane details of daily life.. And if you don’t even have a clue about what your partner is doing or planning on doing today, you eventually erodes a fundamental part of intimacy – you stop feeling connected and this kind of disconnect id what kills LDRs. To make it work, you must create interrelatedness.
But there is a price to pay for intimacy … the missing part. The closer you are to your partner, the more you will miss them. However, there is always that defining moment of missing your loved one … the meeting is so special and treasured. You make the very most out of every moment. But the minute you are apart again, all you have is the memories that make you miss that person terribly.
Some people aren’t that lucky especially if the separation lasts a significant amount of time especially those that live two worlds apart. And no matter how well-established your coping mechanism are, seeing the image of your loved one on the webcam from half a world away carries a particularly powerful emotional knock out. And this can send even the strongest into tears.
There is hope that in the future we won’t have to accept detachment from our partners in the same way we do today. Cornell University scientists have begun researching “minimal intimate objects᾿ as a supplementary means of communication. Imagine both you and your partner spending your days at a computer. In the taskbar of your computer screen, you see a small box with a little circle. When you click on your circle, the corresponding circle on your partner’s screen lights up: a quick, one-bit message that’s nonintrusive but establishes an ambient awareness of you. As you work, you’re right there with each other.
Researchers at the now-defunct Media Lab Europe in Dublin, Ireland, developed a prototype aiming to create that same perception of togetherness using “radio frequency identification᾿ technology to network furniture (no, that’s not a typo). For instance, you might be sitting in your living room, and an image of a coffee cup would suddenly appear on your coffee table, alerting you that your partner was enjoying his morning coffee.
Bizzare right? Maybe so but much as there will never be a real substitute to living together, I think this will ensure the maintenance of intimacy. And there is of course the space one is used to that is suddenly invaded when the other one comes. Well, living apart makes people expand their possibilities and discover who they truly are by adapting who they are as a couple.
So have I convinced you that LDRs especially those across continents stand a chance? What more can you do to make your bond strong enough to weather the distance?
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