From The Straits Times    |

Image: Sergiy Serdyuk/123rf

Long distance never works.
Oh yes, long distance relationships are constantly and unjustifiably sneered at, and many will tell you that this sort of relationship will never work out. So, if all of a sudden, for some good reason, you find yourself and your partner having to spend some time apart, you realise you’re subconsciously halfway down the road to giving up. But we’re forgetting something important: every relationship is different, and who knows? Long distance may just work for you.

The two big issues. One, living and thriving so far apart means that there’s a tangible gap in the affection you actually experience. Two, differences in time zones mean that you won’t see each other often enough. No physical contact – touch, smell, taste – and a lack of communication are ingredients for wearing a relationship down – no matter how much you love him or her.

Let’s look at it positively: loving over distance could be healthier for any relationship. When you get to see your partner daily, chances are that you begin to take him or her for granted, due to that ease of accessibility. But when finding time to communicate with each other – over Skype and whatnot – becomes a challenge, every moment spent together is precious. You cherish that simple “Hi” and your partner’s smile more, and you’ll pay more attention too when listening to each other.

You might find that there’s more time for you in that relationship. You’re forced to set aside time for personal development and finding better things to do with your time than pining after your other half (in this case, your better half)

Perhaps more importantly, you become more independent. Being able to see each other every day breeds dependence – there’s always someone to run to. Had a bad day at work? Your boyfriend’s there to cheer you up. Got yelled at by your boss? Your girlfriend has a date planned to take your mind off things. Only being able to see each other during allotted periods of time, however, may help us deal with our own issues, before we bring them to our partners and demand that our partners help us through them. Our significant others are expected to always be there for us and support us through tough times, but ultimately, in a healthy relationship, each person needs to learn to carry their own burden. Constantly turning to your partner for stress relief will definitely be immensely taxing for him or her.

As a bonus, you get to curate what you bring to your other half! If you only have a little time to talk to your boyfriend or girlfriend each day, you’ll probably prioritize the things you want to talk about. Petty squabbles suddenly seem a lot less important – what now matters is that the other person feels your love, or is up to date on the current events in your life. Since you’ll be wont to overlook trivial matters and not fight over them, long distance can actually turn your relationship into something far deeper than you ever imagined.

Long distance is also oft-criticised for creating the space to cheat. It’s definitely a valid concern – the lack of emotional support and physical intimacy increases inclinations to stray. On the bright side, this is the one true test of the strength of a relationship. If you realise you spend most of your time in a long distance relationship wondering if your partner is cheating on you, then that indicates a lack of trust. Since trust lays the foundation for a sturdy, serious relationship, this is definitely a red flag, and you need to address it. On the other hand, if you find out that your partner has cheated on you, it’s a sign that he or she doesn’t value the relationship enough, or doesn’t have enough faith in the relationship to endure the temporary distance.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether long distance can work for you. While others may have their horror stories, their stories are not your stories. Indiscriminately dismissing long distance relationships as things that never work is definitely a blatant lie – you can always, in Tim Gunn’s words, make it work.


This article was originally published on LunchClick’s blog, LunchClick is a female-centric dating app, find out more here