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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Long-distance relationships seem to provide the security of having a significant other, but still enough space and time to breathe and do your own thing. It seems ideal for the independent and career-driven souls.

If you ask me, long-distance relationships are the easy way out. Sometimes they’re just not real.

Long-distance doesn’t mean he took a two-week trip to Europe over Christmas break. I am referring to those twenty-something couples that permanently reside in different cities. Those couples that see each other every few weeks or months.

These relationships require effort, with long Skype sessions and phone chats. On a Saturday night, you might be eating take-out pizza in front of a 13-inch computer screen, watching your girlfriend ramble as she recaps the past week. Sounds exciting.

People think that time apart draws you closer to your partner. If you see each other constantly, a month-long break might make you realize how much your significant other means to you.

But if you, or your partner, live far from each other, it can be more like the cliché “out of sight, out of mind.”

Since you don’t see each other often, your relationship isn’t synonymous to a traditional one.

Dating for five months has a different meaning if you see each other daily. It is an accomplishment, since you are learning to compromise, as you deal with each other’s schedules, habits, ups and downs, mood swings and quirks.

A five month long-distance relationship equates to accumulated hours of phone minutes, Skype sessions, texts and maybe a few in-person interactions.

When you only see someone a few times a year, you are bound to put your best foot forward. It’s easy to put aside your routine, your friends, family, work and other reservations for a weekend of bliss dedicated to your partner. That’s not the same as juggling these aspects of life alongside someone. 

Not only do long-distance relationships require lots of time spent with technology, insecurities develop from having a partner who lives far away.

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You might be consumed by false assumptions. Maybe you both decided to stay in tonight, but do you think there is something between her and her closest guy friend? If she hasn’t texted you back in 30 minutes, is she safe? Is she with someone else? 

I knew a guy who was in a relationship with his girlfriend for one year. Then, he left the country for a year-long study abroad program. They stayed in a relationship, which was a year-long long-distance relationship.  

He took trips in between the school year, such as fall break, Valentine’s Day and on weekends to see her. He seldom spoke about his girlfriend, and he used the reasoning “what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her,” thinking that his behavior would not affect their relationship. He cheated on her with multiple women.

When the school year was over, he went back to his country. When they saw each other, he broke up with her. She did not know why.  He said he loved her, and she loved him too.

He followed the “out of sight, out of mind” motto; and then, she was out of his sight and out of his life.

This might be an extreme case, but long-distance relationships are for strong-willed couples who have clearly defined expectations and trust. It might be easier for couples switching over from a strong face-to-face relationship, where they will reside in the same city soon.

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