At a time when most people are focusing on coming for the holiday season, there are some people who don’t have the luxury of being able to be together now or for most of the year. Long distance relationships can be hard, especially around this time of year, however, there are many benefits that can come with this type of relationship. If you or someone you know is in a long-distance relationship (LDR) and having a hard time coping with the disadvantages it may bring, encourage them to speak with their therapist about the positives I will be discussing below.
1. Individuality – It is so easy to lose yourself in a relationship, especially in the beginning. With the distance between the two of you, it is easier to keep your individuality. You have time and space to focus on yourself and your needs while still holding space for the other person.
2. Precious Moments – Everyone has heard of the honeymoon stage within a relationship. Just in case you haven’t heard of it, this is the stage of a relationship, usually at the beginning, when all is bliss. The only downside of this stage is that for many, it is short lived. In an LDR, you must make the most of your time together because you have so little of it, so while you may not be in a perpetual honeymoon stage, you definitely must cherish the time you spend together and not waste it with trivial arguments or meaningless activities.
3. Intimacy – Intimacy works on several different levels. Seeing as that people in LDRs do not have the ease of being physically close to each other to show intimacy, they must rely strongly on building emotional intimacy to sustain their connection. This may be more advantageous in the long run for their relationship in general because physical intimacy may not always be an option.
4. Communication – Being in an LDR forces a couple to flex their communication skills. Just like a couple that is able to be around each other at-will, communication is key. The trick with an LDR couple is that virtual communication is the bulk of what they have to survive, therefore they do all they can to communicate the best that they can as much as they can. A phone call, text message, snap chat, or DM is that much more important when it is all that you have to show you care.
5. Vulnerability – When you are in an LDR relationship, it can be very scary because you have to put all your trust into a person without being able to see them day to say. However, this is a great way to practice trust and vulnerability. To be able to trust someone this much is such a deep and wonderful feeling to share. When it works it is beautiful and even if doesn’t, it shows you how strong and resilient you can be, so it is a win/win situation!
Whether face to face, across the country or around the world, being in a relationship is hard work. Distance only magnifies problems that were already present. Therefore, if you are having problems in an LDR, talk with your therapist about the problem, not the distance. LDRs can be very rewarding and beautiful experiences, don’t allow fear to block you from a wonderful experience!
By: Garcsa Brooks
Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc.