Long distance relationships don’t work.
That is what I have been told all my life. Family friends who have tried relatively long-distant relationships when I was just a kid and then growing up to be old enough to have friends in the situation of having a long-distance relationship of their own.
It even became an acceptable answer for the demise of relationships:
“Why did your relationship end?”
“Long-distance, Didn’t work out”, came the response.
Even worse was that it became a valid excuse to give up on relationships:
“I’m sorry, but I think we should break up…”
That is highly simplistic, but you get the picture.
With the advancement of technology which enables further, quicker and more affordable travel as well as better, wider, more constant and affordable communication – getting into long-distance relationships has become easier, common-place and some might say “mainstream”.
It was Oscar Wilde who said: “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” which I like paraphrasing into:
“Give a man a mask and you shall see his true face” – Me
I learned the truth in this thinking at quite a young age. Plagued with chronic shyness, social apprehension and a runaway stutter – I used the advent of instant messenger services to be the me I wanted people to see. I was confident, funny, witty, smart and a go-getter with absent inhibition behind the screen – the opposite of who you would meet face-to-face.
This has become true for so many people, not just the socially awkward like me. However, Wildes Mask Theory can give rise to the extreme opposite where the wearer becomes that which they are not.
Technology allows communication with our Masks on and many exploit this so as not to be seen as boring, silly or unintelligent (stupid, maybe).
The Result? People become unsustainable versions of themselves. They find a partner they are attracted to and get the attraction returned but one or both parties are not being genuine – ultimately they regress and its realised that the person I was attracted to is not really who I think they are, and so the relationship fails.
Thats just one of the initial and most common issues with the distance factor – I am not immune to this and have been plagued with being inauthentic for the sake of image.
Another reason for the mass failure of long-distance relationships is the lack of inhibition when in both starting a long distance relationship on impulse and ease and ending it from boredom or distraction. Its easy to start, its easy to end – so both are done often and with ease.
The next reason, which is a bit deeper than the others is that when people get into relationships that are closer and face-to-face with ease, they tend to distract themselves with the physical closeness of being together. They are terrible communicators which is essential for the success of any relationship – when communication is difficult, absent or awkward couples distract themselves with sex (which can often be argued as the most intimate form of communication, but even that is lost in translation).
For the couples who have communication issues and who enter into long-distance relationships, they are naked and exposed in their lacking with no access to their sexual distraction. They will either grow as a couple and become better communicators or they will use the distance as an excuse for their lack in communication.
Many couples with communication issues don’t discover their flaws until much later and often after the wedding vows are exchanged or the kids arrive. In cases like this, long-distance relationships behave like a very genius filter.
Its safe to say that communication is the most important part to the survival of any relationship. Great Communication.
Long Distance Relationships (I am saying this a lot, lets call it LDR) are not easy – but they are not impossible and often they yield better relationships. The reasons for this is multitudinous.
In the last few weeks I have been having immense difficulty coping with my relationship with Jade (she is 1800 km away).
I have not seen her for a few months and our recent timing has been horrific. She is currently writing who exams in honors for Psychology – she is doing two years in one year which is truly intense, but she is smart and determined and immensely capable. However, this means that she is spending a lot of the time that she used to spend chatting with me, studying – which I dont mind, but I do miss her and I totally understand.
In addition to that its the Month of Kartik, which for me (and very importantly for my dad) is a month long spiritual festival which I have traditionally spent with my dad going to the temple for a few hours every night – which (after a long day at the office) eats into potential time with Jade. My youngest sister (whom I havent seen in ten years) and my nephew (whom I’ve met for the first time) have visited for about 3 weeks, which is wonderful and brilliant, but this also means its an extra 3 weeks in which I am not travelling to see Jade as I will be sacrificing time with them – which Jade is beautifully kind and understanding about. But it is difficult being away from her for this long.
Needless to say, this time has been terribly difficult due mostly to the lack of visits and lack of communication and the stresses of life.
When Life gets in the way of living?
This has led to feelings of intense neediness with hints of desperation. Nightmares of losing her and her drifting apart from me which feel truly real as well as unfounded jealousy and paranoia. I have been plagued with thoughts of being boring and uninteresting which makes me fearful that she might just see the light, realise this and leave me or paranoia and jealous thoughts like seeing her online on facebook or whatsapp at times when we are hardly chatting or she is hardly replying (busy with work, or study groups) but dangerously makes me wonder who she is chatting to, what if its someone more interesting than me, what if she’s not replying much and giving short answers or just emoticons because I simply do not interest her anymore and maybe she is saving the “break-up” for face to face because she is a nice person.
But none of those are true and Jade is amazing, but the distance and unknowing does not stop me from thinking these things. Once this “busy period” is over we will be back to normal, but this is an intense learning curve in our relationship for both of us and has been a foundation builder as well.
This has also allowed me to realise that I have a lot of work to do with myself and my constant feeling of inadequacy which I project with my fears onto her. In every case “My” worries, stresses, fears are all me and not her but is projected as being her.
Long distance relationships do work, but they need the right ingredients of love, trust, communication and an end-plan (that which ends the long distance part in long distance relationship).