AskG3S #1c: Long Distance Relationships

Q: How do you guys manage long distance feelings and relationships? When is it considered not worth chasing?

A: By @ro-mantik,

Your choice of the word, “manage,” is interesting. “Manage” connotes that whatever you aim to “manage” can be controlled, that there is a logic and process to impose, that there, perhaps, is some way to “manage” by, cope, and carry on to some promised thing.

And I suppose, in a way, that long distance relationships and feelings can be managed. You make time for one another. You actively seek to be a part of each other’s lives. You carve out a portion of the day to listen in on the other’s life – or, in our contemporary times, you may find that you’re connected in more ways than you can keep count. Technological innovation has opened avenue upon avenue to create intimacy without physical proximity. Skype, FaceTime, messaging services, social media galore, X-rated options as mentioned by a previous member of this roundtable. A great benefit of connectivity is the ability to shrink distances to the number of footsteps between yourself and an Internet-enabled device.

But your question, anon, probably alludes to something less concrete than simple matters of logistics. For example, how does one manage one’s feelings of disappointment and of being ignored when our partner decides to forego a nightly conversation for an evening out with friends? Or how does one manage one’s insecurity or doubt when questioning whether a long distance partner is right for him or herself? Relationships are complicated with the associated emotional vulnerabilities, the personal insecurities, and the eventual fractures that arise from attempting to fit together two distinct beings. Distance adds an extra variable to that equation, and I do not believe that there is a clear answer to fit every situation.

But I do believe that the foundations of strong relationships depend upon a few important contributing factors: trust, communication, and honesty. With long distance relationships and feelings, these factors become even more significant to ensuring a healthy, thriving relationship. It is inevitable that tensions and conflicts will arise – they exist in every relationship. With distance, though, I have found that these tensions and conflicts can be left to fester whether it be the result of physical distance compromising the ability to make time to talk about them or the emotional distance hindering the willingness of the parties to share what is on their respective minds. But these negative feelings can be dispelled by opening channels of communication, bestowing upon one another a level of trust, and creating an environment of honesty that allows each person to voice concerns, insecurities, and their thoughts.

When is a long distance relationship not worth the effort? When you feel that you are unable to have a certain level of trust, communication, and honesty with your partner or, conversely, when you feel that you are unable to facilitate that level of trust, communication, and honesty with your partner, I believe the long distance relationship is a futile exercise.

In my mind, I believe that long distance relationships can work if given a finite lifetime and if the parties are willing to put in the extra effort. The little things count. Good morning texts, “Checking-in” snapchats, asking how the other person feels about X thing – those help your partner realize that they are an important part of your life regardless of physical distance. Willingness to be honest in sharing vulnerabilities or insecurities can make a difference as well – this helps your partner realize that you are serious about the relationship and you want to help it evolve into a stronger one.

Long distance relationships are not necessarily easy, but perhaps the ingredients to a successful one aren’t that difficult to conceptualize either. Good luck, anon.

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