Dating can take many forms as forming relationships has never been more varied than nowadays. With multiculturalism, easily accessible travel and online means, there is not much that can stop us from developing and maintaining a romantic interest. Same goes for long-distance relationships, where partners might endure the distance also due to work and academic obligations. This type of relationship is especially common among western university students, where 40% of them are in such a relationship, but also among young professionals, who might need to work abroad for a while in order to improve their career outcomes.
Not being able to see your partner for a while can be difficult, and many might ask what would be the motive behind staying in such a relationship and whether it could be satisfying. If we examine personal characteristics, if partners truly believe in prospects of reuniting and blissful time once the distance is diminished, it seems plausible how it is worth waiting. On the other hand, to many of us having a partner is one of the most important aspects of our life and imaging daily routine without them might be near impossible. Same goes for defining the nature of long-distance relationships: should we categorize them in terms of how far are we living from one another, or how often we meet? When it comes to the frequency of contact, more and more couples who might even live in the same city find it difficult to meet often, which could also be seen as a form of such relationship. So how satisfied can we be when deciding to date in this manner?
The research suggests that long-distance relationships do not necessarily have to differ in quality in comparison to more close proximity-based relationships. There is no difference in perception of qualities like commitment and trust. Interestingly, such relationship might also seem more satisfying than the standard ones, as these people feel loved more than those in more standard relationships and overall rate the quality and communication on a high level. What can further improve these characteristics is a frequent face-to-face contact. Overall, the research suggest long-distance relationship does not seem any worse-off than more traditional forms of dating.
Not all relationships are the same: after all, it is about the people who create them and as diverse as we are, so are our lives. Perhaps next time if you meet a person that means a lot to you and you think the relationship might not work out due to the distance, consider the things stated above and whether it would be alright to give it a shot.
Bibliography: Dargie, E., Blair, K., Goldfinger, C., & Pukall, C. (2014). Go Long! Predictors of Positive Relationship Outcomes in Long Distance Dating Relationships. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 41(2), 181-202.
Gosia Cybulska is a Clinical Psychology Master student at Leiden University and an International Intern at Willingness. Besides her extensive love for Psychology manifested by volunteering at various facilities as well as pursuing a second degree, she also strives to learn more about what makes cats such adorable creatures.