Where Do You Stand on Long-Distance Relationships?
Originally Published: January 30, 2015
Revised: August 28, 2017
Imagine you and your high school boyfriend have been going out for the past four years. You did everything together in high school, from taking classes to going to your brother’s Little League baseball games. But, all of a sudden, it’s the end of your senior year and the two of you are heading off to different parts of the country for college. You’re uncertain about whether you should break up or start a long-distance relationship.
Although teens have differing views regarding whether long-distance relationships generally last, they all agree that the only way it could work is if the relationship is built on mutual trust.
Love at a Distance
Though I have never attempted a long-distance relationship—or LDR—I am very skeptical about them. I have watched several friends go into long-distance relationships with such high hopes, but after a while, they would get so upset and paranoid when their partner takes too long to respond to a text or misses a call. I have never witnessed a long-distance relationship that has lasted more than a couple of months.
There are a number of reasons why LDRs tend to be so hard. First, it can be extremely difficult for two people living in different time zones to interact enough. It is true that nowadays we have technology that can facilitate communication in more personal ways. Skype and video chat allow people to have face-to-face interactions, which is the closest two people can get to being physically next to each other. However, for many teens, it just isn’t the same. Caroline, 17, of North Carolina, says, “Having that special person physically present is extremely important to me so I can make sure he’s being open and honest.”
I know that if I didn’t get to spend quality time with my boyfriend, I would probably start to feel emotionally disconnected from him, which could likely lead to a break-up. This was the case for 18-year-old Drew from Tennessee: “My girlfriend and I stopped talking as often, so we lost that closeness.”
Perhaps the main reason that I think long-distance relationships don’t work is because people change. This could mean that two people in an LDR will eventually run out of things in common or things to talk about. I would worry that once-a-week phone calls and daily e-mails would start to feel obligatory or tiresome instead of voluntary and exciting. If that happens, even the healthiest of relationships can fail.
Trust Issues in Long-Distance Relationships
Long-distance relationships can also bring out or highlight a lot of trust issues, which, if unresolved, will definitely damage the relationship.
Seventeen-year-old Alex from New York explains, “For an LDR to work there cannot be any suspicion or jealousy.” You may think you trust your significant other, but will you still trust him or her two thousand miles away? If you realize that trust or jealousy issues are present in your relationship, you should definitely work on that—especially before trying to have an LDR.
Making Long-Distance Relationships Work
Although I am clearly cynical about long-distance relationships, some teens believe they can work. Marley, 18, of New Jersey, is happy to report that she has maintained a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend for over a year.
“I think it has worked out because our attraction has never been just physical. Also, we are both willing to put the time and effort into our relationship, and we don’t hold each other back.” She adds, “It’s annoying that we don’t get to see each other very often, but it makes it all the better when we do meet up!”
There are definitely teens out there who have managed successful long-distance relationships. “Going the distance is a true test of how much you love someone,” says Michelle, 17, of New Jersey. “I think that I realized how much my partner and I cared about each other while we were in an LDR because we had to go out of our way to spend time together.” If your relationship can withstand time and distance apart, it must be very strong.
So, I guess each relationship is different, and it is up to each individual and couple to decide whether long-distance relationships are right for them. Although teens have differing views regarding whether long-distance relationships generally last, they all agree that the only way it could work is if the relationship is built on mutual trust.
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