In a world quickly becoming digital, unless you live under a rock, chances are you’ve met a few people online that live quite a big distance from you. They could be from another jurisdiction, state, or even a different country.
You start talking to this person pretty often, you realize you have a lot in common, and you start talking on the phone, video chatting on Skype or Snapchat, having a grand ole time. Pretty soon, you realize that you’re falling in love with the person, or vice-versa. You decide to give them a chance, and you escape into fantasy la-la land for the next several months. You talk about seeing each other in person one day despite the expensive train or plane ticket, you muse over living together in the near future. Expectations rise, excitement encourages, and the strong desire to be with that person inflates to the maximum.
Next thing you know, one or both of you realize that seeing each other, or everything else you’ve promised/mused about, is simply not going to happen. It’s not about the money–it’s a human need to be close.
Thus, the relationships turns to a bitter end as you realize it hurts more being in a relationship with a person you might never see, or start a life with because of your circumstances.
What I’m going to describe is particularly about teenagers and young adults having long distance relationships. Generally, they don’t have the financial stability to support themselves, let alone to prepare flight and living arrangements for themselves somewhere else or for a partner. Perhaps this can apply to older adults as well.
So, why don’t long distance relationships work?
Despite thinking we’re above every animal on earth because of our intelligence, we still have this basic need to be with other humans on a physical level. Even if you’re an introvert and would rather not interact with other people on a daily basis, you still need some kind of social interaction that isn’t based on a computer/phone screen. Without this physical aspect that is so important in relationships, it can slowly destroy even the most certain of long-distance romances.
Skin-to-skin contact releases this hormone called oxytocin. This is a vital hormone that establishes a social connection with someone and regulates sexual desire. Since long-distance relationships lack that ability to gain that hormone, you don’t feel close to the person, whether you realize it or not.
Sometimes the distance can hurt so much that a lot of people end it just to stop feeling lonely, despite the every-day calls and constant texting as a way to feel close. Sometimes that other person may simply lose feelings over you because you can’t be in physical contact that often.
Another reason an LDR doesn’t work is the fact that a distanced partner can easily cheat on you, and vice versa. There’s no way of knowing unless they accidentally post it on their social media that they’re being too touchy-feely with someone else. I can’t say how often a person cheats during an LDR, but I’m assuming it happens quite often.
I myself have been in a handful of long-distance relationships. My very first one cheated on me, and the rest simply lost interest after a while since we didn’t have the means to meet in person. A lot of heartbreak went into these, and today I would never want to be in one again out of fear of getting my heart broken once more. I don’t know what it was, but being in a long distance relationship gave me this thrill–the excitement built up the more we mused about seeing each other. Since I’ve never physically seen the person, my mind puts them up high on this pedestal and idolizes them to a point where they’re almost like a celebrity to me. Perhaps this is another reason these things don’t work: high expectations and making the other person seem perfect, at least personality-wise.
If you are in a LDR, I am not saying that your relationship won’t last. There have been couples who were together for years long distance, and the final step of moving in together has happened. If both of you have the patience and loyalty to make it up to living together and finally be in physical contact, then a distanced love can succeed. It takes a lot of effort for both parties to do this, however–and some simply don’t want to put in the effort after a while.
Do you have any success stories on having a long-distance relationship? Feel free to comment below!
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