Sort out the good from the bad in order to decide if a long distance relationship is right for you.
By bounceback — Last updated on Aug 25, 2023
Photo: Lisa-S / Shutterstock
Long distance relationships (LDRs) can work for some people, even for long periods of time and at great distances. Certain combinations of circumstances and personalities can nurture a successful LDR. Yet, for others, an LDR might as well be DOA. While in some cases, no matter how strong the feelings between the two people may be, the distance proves too difficult for the relationship last.
If you’re considering a long distance relationship, or if you’re wondering why yours didn’t work, we’ve compiled a list of pros and cons for any LDR to help you assess whether to go the distance, or to figure out why absence didn’t necessarily make the heart grow fonder.
Pros and Cons of Long Distance Relationships
1. You can hold on to your freedom.
If you hate clingy relationships, LDRs might be right up your alley. The obligation you often feel to be around someone when you’re dating them can be exhausting if it’s not in your nature. You may not fee like going out, and you may want to be left alone for awhile. These fleeting moments can have disastrous consequences on your love life, especially if the other party has difficulty with your “I want to be alone” vibes. An LDR gives you the chance to enjoy your independence with little to no obligation to physically be near your significant other. This is great for individuals who want to keep their individualism but still need a sense of belonging and prefer an occasional phone call, or other intimate communication to know they’re connected to others.
2. It’s always a honeymoon.
Ever wonder why holidays feel so great? It’s because it happens so infrequently you want them all the more. The same can be applied when you finally do meet up with your LDR partner. There’s going to be so much to say/do and so little time, you’ll feel great finally getting to spend time with them. All the impatience and anxiety you built up from not seeing them can really keep fan the flames of the relationship. Every visit can feel like a honeymoon, which is great for people who want accessible good feelings without having to worry about settling.
3. You’re “taken.”
It’s nice to be flirted with, but sometimes you don’t get the attention you want when hitting the town. Let’s face it – it’s always a confidence boost when you can lean on the special someone you’re attached to, even if they’re in San Francisco and you’re in New York. Not to mention, you’ve got the ultimate excuse if you’re not interested in either the person or the outing… it’s pretty easy to say you’ve got a phone date and have to miss the birthday group dinner you’ve been dreading.
1. Tech ties you down.
Ironically enough, technology is actually going to hurt some of your freedom. Technology like unlimited texting or webcam chat can tie you down, even if you live across the country. You might be out with your friends, but feel as if you have to keep texting your LDR partner because they keep texting you back. An insecurely attached person in an LDR are more likely to use instant communication as a way to overcompensate for not being around physically.
2. What you don’t know can hurt you.
It’s hard not to have trust issues when you’re in a LDR. Thoughts will constantly run through your head (“Who’s he going out with tonight?” “Who’s that new friend she keeps talking about?” “Why haven’t I heard back from them?”) All these and more will cross your mind at some point. When you aren’t around to keep tabs on
your significant other and get the reassurance you need, the level of trust you place in them and the relationship must increase exponentially, which can be taxing and difficult to maintain.
3. Relationship? What relationship?
If you ask some couples, they’ll tell you to drop the “R” from LDR. It simply isn’t a relationship. In some ways, LDRs have it harder than normal relationships, but overall, it’s hard to feel you are in a real relationship if you don’t see each other very often. People who see each other on a constant basis experience more – they get tired of each other, run out of things to say, argue, get upset at each other and more. Being in an LDR, you avoid a lot of this because there’s a different dynamic over the phone than in person. At some point, you have to ask yourself, “Is this real or just some fantasy?”
4. Table for one.
No amount of webcam chats or phone calls can make up for a person being away physically. Though your relationship status in “taken”, you’ll still be on your own much of the time. At the end of the day, would you rather have phone calls with your significant other while you microwave an individual portion pizza, or would you be more satisfied sitting across the table from someone and share a meal? Ask yourself if your time in this LDR balances out any feelings of loneliness you have.
LDRs can be a blast, they can be fulfilling, and yes, they can succeed. However, it takes a very special combination of personality characteristics and relationship needs between two people to make it work.
You have to know what you’re in for, and what to expect, and you have to be prepared to go with the flow. If you understand the honeymoon won’t last forever and you have to make sacrifices you wouldn’t make if you lived in the same town, you may be on your way to a successful long distance relationship.
Have you been in or heard of a Long Distance Relationship working? What are some of the other advantages and disadvantages of being in an LDR? Would YOU try it?
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Sunil is a writer native New Yorker. Growing up on a steady diet of John Hughes films helped to shape the way he sees relationships and the world at large.