Beyond Geography

Posted by Ria, 01 Jun 08

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?

12 responses to "Beyond Geography"

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  1.   homesteader says:
    Posted: 14 Apr 09

    We started as a LDR , when We now are apart . We still have this site to use for instant communication . We have been married over two years at the present time . Soldiers at times of their lives have often had LDR while in service of their country . As in any part of ones life , Relationships only work when the people in them / Work together to make it Happen . Grow up and Learn , it takes both partners willing to desire to Trust each other / Honesty , Commitment and acting as an Adult . Believe first in Yourself . Do not Question others repeatedly . We as a Partnership for Life , Really do not care about what makes others Happy / That is Their Business . We spend time in Our own World make King each other Happy . Look at Yourself / As You have to want to make it Reality. No one else can do this for You . Follow your Heart / Use your Head - Think .

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  2.   lola73 says:
    Posted: 14 Apr 09

    This is a good article but men just don't make the effort. If the "cookie" isn't sitting right next to them...well they won't bite.

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  3. Posted: 25 Feb 09

    Yes indeed a great post. I think it's important that both agree that the LDR is only for a limited time. Let's say a year or two, and then plan to live together. And the daily contact indispensable. But yes, it is expensive because you want to travel an be together often. Oh yes and the trust is crucial.

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  4. Posted: 28 Sep 08

    Great post! LDRs can definitely work. But it takes patience, commitment and honesty. Not to mention, the two people involved have to be "right" for one another. If someone is about playing games and not taking it seriously, it won't work. And if the relationship isn't exclusive on either side, eventually it will end. I would not have a problem at all being in a LDR. As long as my partner and I share common goals and plan to move forward together in the future, it will work.

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  5. Posted: 14 Jul 08

    Long Distance Relationships can work if you are committed to making it work. One of my most amazing relationships was long distance but I agree with Mossimo, it can be quite expensive (flights, phone calls, romantic gestures etc); but hey .. you are both worth it right? :) @lonelylade - I am so sorry that you had to endure such heartbreak, but Even "this" shall pass. You went into the relationship with the best intent and he had other Agenda's - it's his loss, but that is the reality of dating - not everyone is honest about what they want and they may string you along until their true colors shine through. It's unfortunate that we have to be vigilant about love and who we let into our lives but that's the reality, honesty is a virtue that seems to have been "lost in translation" as far as some people are concerned. BIG HUGS TO YA!

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  6.   lonelylade says:
    Posted: 09 Jul 08

    Hello, I was in a long ditance relationship before. We had good times together and good times apart. The only thing that kept us froming making a long term commitment was the distance and lies. He talked constantly about younger women and i saw some of his profiles that said his age was 27 when he is 38. Tha really hurt me because we or well i loved him so very much. then the trueness started coming out when I started doing more research on him. You know it is very amazing when you type someones name in a url what kind of results you get back! he ended our relationship with lots of excuses that just didnt add up and today I still don't know thereal reason why he left me. But later on ifound out that he is dating a 27 year old though. I think that if you are interested in one specific thing then I believe that you should put that down in your description instead of leading people on to believe other wise.

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  7.   kandel says:
    Posted: 23 Jun 08

    it can work

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  8.   mossimo36 says:
    Posted: 19 Jun 08

    They can work but they are just so hard to maintain. Its takes a lot of commitment and patience. Money for travel and phone calls too

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  9.   dada says:
    Posted: 05 Jun 08

    Long distance r/ships only work for poeple who are able to trust. Trust is a major issue and if you have trust issues then dont even bother dating on-line od having an LDR.

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  10.   Cloe27 says:
    Posted: 04 Jun 08

    LRDs CAN and DO work for people willing to put in the work. Local relationship require a lot so if one decides to throw caution to the wind and date out of state or "across the pond" he/she has to be patient, fair and creative. Personally, if the man is worth it, I'm more than willing. I find creative fun things for us to do when we do spend time together and when we're apart...lets just say I find creative ways to show him I miss him. Granted, I do the same thing for men I date locally too.:)

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  11.   Meather says:
    Posted: 03 Jun 08

    I would like to take the time to thank ***mixedfriends.com*** for the wonderful service they have provided. I met my husband through the site 1 year ago, we were two people of different cultures and countries. Yet, because of this great website we were brought together after finding love. Maybe you will love it.

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  12.   Amani2414 says:
    Posted: 01 Jun 08

    This is a very wonderful post and am glad to be part of this amazing site. I have tried others before but this site is the most constructive and interactive :-)) I dig this. In response to the article, I am a realistic and firm believer in LDRs...I do know that if both partners put in the same amount of effort in making their LDR work, it will definitely succeed. It takes both partners to make any sort of relationship work and the principles in a relationship that both partners are physically together, are round about the same ones involved in LDRs. I am here to meet someone who is willing to make a relationship work and actually puts in authentic effort. Remaining optimistic elevates the couple to greater heights in the relationship than always dwelling on the negative aspects and distance. Being friends besides lovers also really helps when all sorts of challenges checks in. I truly believe that if I meet a guy who I truly connect with online and we both want to make it work, it will work out despite the distance and challenges. Will power does really make a huge difference. Does anyone feel me on that point? Wonderful discussions Ria...keep up the amazing job you are doing in here. I love the blogs and will be actively participating. Nice weekend y'all.

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