BY: SYDNEY KOON
(Gainesville, Ga.) – Long distance relationships are becoming more and more apparent in today’s society. There are so many different reasons on why the couples are miles away. With 142,000 troops overseas, that leaves a copious amount of loved ones at home. Many people around the world have to travel for their job, leaving their partner along for several days of the week. Couples who have “met” online are trying to spark love over distance. Each of thse scenarios all pose a similar question. Does absence really make the heart grow fonder?
According to Dr. Guldner at The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, Long distance relationships, or LDR, are quickly consuming the world. In 2014, 14 million couples defined themselves as having a LDR. 3.75 million married couples are currently experiencing distance in their relationship. 32.5% of all LDR are by college students. 75% of all engaged couples have been distanced at some point in their relationship. 2.9% of American married couples are in a LDR. 10% of all marriages in America started out as a LDR.
What drives millions of couples to the distance? One of the most common reasons for long distance relationships is college. College students make up a third of the millions of couples in LDR. Whether someone met their partner in high school or found them on an online dating site, college is where LDR are happening most.
Another common reason for long distance relationships is the military. The United States has a massive number of soldiers fighting for the country. These leave many couples scattered across great distances, including Afghanistan and Irag. One military wife had very little time to discuss with her husband about the sudden change.
“We met in high school, I was a sophomore and he was a junior. He originally went off to college to play football while I was still in high school and after his first semester he came home and said that he was going army then left.
“We really had no time to discuss it because he got out of school for Christmas then shipped off the week after. His time in basic training was spent fighting through letters because we didn’t discuss him leaving like that,” said Sierra Smalls, 21, the military wife.
Many couples go through quick changes in their relationship that can sometimes cause them to end. Fortunately, Smalls and her husband made it through the fighting. “We made the distance work and I am so proud of him for his career. We are now married and Happy and I love my military lifestyle,” said Smalls.
Traveling jobs are rising to be a common reason for long distance relationships. There are many instances where, for example, someone can’t retire or sell his or her house as planned. So, he or she must spend half of the week in one city and the other half with his or her partner. The economy today plays a huge role in the lives of couples everywhere. People are looking for jobs to provide and they may have to leave their loved one behind to do so.
In today’s society, the internet has become very prominent in the lives of people everywhere. In America, online dating has become very popular. People of all ages are starting to find partners through this new craze. Long distance relationships commonly form out of these couples who found each other over the internet.
People will try anything if it means they will be happy in the long run. So, are long distance relationships that factor? Again, does absence make the heart grow fonder?
“Yes I am happy. I mean it is hard but nothing is more proud and rewarding than being with someone who serves and he does what he can to make me happy from afar,” said Smalls.
Long distance relationships may hold more components that are needed to have a successful, happy relationship. Robert Sternberg, a Professor of Human Development, psychologist and psychometrician, believes in three basic components of love are intimacy, commitment, and passion. In general, intimacy is greater in LDR than in local relationships. Communication over distance is more intimate, positive, and less likely to cause an argument. Long distance couples say the conversations that take place have more meaning, because they get less of them. This allows couples to be more intimate in the time they have.
“While in basic training, it was all letters and one call in four months. Now we talk on the phone and text every day. I appreciate our conversation so much more. Our conversations are what I look forward to all day. I like to hear stories of his day, but through these conversations is where I learn about who he is as a person. I feel like every day I learn something new about him, and that is the best part,” said Smalls.
A common factor that couples say is crucial in LDR is commitment. Because the couple is separated over distance, trust and commitment play a huge role in the success of the relationship. Some couples, like most people, feel temptations. This temptation greatens over the distance. Someone may seek just a touch from another person, which they lack from their partner. LDR end because of cheating suspension more than in local relationships.
Passion is also a vital component of love according to Sternberg. Each couple is different and will have different definitions of passion. Passion is required in LDR and local relationships. Many couples find their passion in sexual activity. Even with the distance, it is important that LDR keep the sex alive. With modern technology, it has become even easier. In most cases of cheating, one partner was not being satisfied and had to look for another person to fulfill their needs.
Not all LDR last forever. Why is it working for some couples but not others? If there is consistent negativity in the relationship from one or both partners, this can cause an end to the relationship. Positivity between the couple is important. They have to believe they can get through the time they are apart, until they can see each other once again.
Maintaining a long distance relationship, like any relationship, is difficult. There are several things that the couple can do to savor the relationship. Assurance is crucial. Each partner needs to know that they are in the relationship for the “long hull.” Affirmation of commitment and support may save the relationship over distance or difficult times. Openness is another strategy to maintaining the LDR. Disclosure of emotions, concerns, confidences, and beliefs between the couple only happens when there is trust in the relationship. Having the feeling that the couple can tell each other anything and everything holds the relationship, whether there is distance or not.