I ____ You Like Crazy

“Love is such a strong word” says my partner of almost two years next month. He would also say that it’s been tossed around so lightly such as when a couple has just been dating for about a week. So I ask you, what does love mean to you? Is it the sparkle in your eye when you see your significant other? Is it the strong connection between the two of you? I’m sure the answers are endless because of the variety of definitions that anyone can explain their idea of love. However, what is love in a long-distance relationship? That is the question. So get ready to ride on the Tunnel of Love with me.

How It All Began

My partner and I met back in February of 2011. Back then, I didn’t consider him my type; he’s a Hampden Sydney guy and I’m a Longwood guy.(I know right?) When May hit, he left campus to go home for the summer and mind you, we haven’t started dating yet. So during the summer, we would talk and message each other every day. In the summer, I managed to go up to D.C. where he lives for a weekend to go to my first Britney Spears concert with him(Aw, right?) When the fall semester came back around, we got to see each other every single day. Finally, I asked him out and… well, you know the answer. Skip a year and some months later, we are living about 130 miles apart.

At the Redemption Prom at Longwood in 2011(Before dating) Photo by me

How Common Is Long-Distance?

How sad I was when my relationship became a long distance one. I would add all the sad faces on here, but it is unnecessary. When it comes to long-distance relationship, this article defined the term really well. Suzanne Phillips says this: “A long-distance relationship or LDR is typically an intimate relationship that takes place when the partners are separated by a considerable distance.” Do you like numbers and statistics? So do I! The estimated amount of couples who are in a long-distance relationship in America are 7 million while the total percentage of college relationships that will be long distance eventually is 75%. I read in that same article where this one couple, Rachel and Ben, have 1,055 miles between them and after being together for over six and a half years, they are still going strong. In the 2011 movie, Like Crazy, a couple is faced with the fact their committed relationship is now long-distance after one’s visa expires. Mass media do portray long-distance relationships as relationships that CAN work and last.

Photo of the movie Like Crazy. Photo found on Michael Binder’s Flickr page

The Ingredients For…Love?

In the book by Julia Wood, she talks about how there is a triangle that represents the facets of love in chapter 11. The first is Passion and this describes the emotional(and many others) positive feelings you have for this person, such as wanting to be around this person and all the “butterflies” you feel when this person comes around. It may also include sexual desires. Basically, “the spark” that everyone has described it. I know when I actually get to go to New Orleans with my partner this weekend, I will definitely have those butterflies in my stomach when I see him at the airport. The next is Commitment where a decision is made to stay in that one relationship. This is usually made on both sides; my partner and I are in this relationship together and we intend to stay together. Basically, you think about the future with that person. The final part of the triangle is the most important part- Intimacy. This is where those deep feelings of closeness and connection you feel for that person. Intimacy may or may not mean that the “spark” is no longer there but you still enjoy spending time with that person and are comfortable with each other. Intimacy holds the relationship together so to speak. Sometimes, my partner and I may not feel as passionate about each other as we should, but nevertheless, we still cherish the time that we do spend together even during the little things such as watching a movie.

How Can One Make a LDR Last?

So how do long-distance relationships work and how can one make it last? In an intense study done by Amy Johnson and many others, they took 226 students for one week and monitored their communication to their friends, family and their romantic partners. They showed that 56% sent e-mail, 10% sent instant messages and 9% used social sites such as Facebook to keep in touch. What is interesting that this study also talks about how the students and their friends/family/partners longed to be connected with each other but at the same time, they wanted to be independent. In chapter 8 of Wood’s book, she labels this as a relational dialectic, which is that tension and/or opposing forces that are in a relationship. More importantly, she calls this, Autonomy/Connection. Autonomy is where they want to be apart from each other while connection is where they want to be together once again. This opposing force is helpful because when we are apart from someone for so long and connect later on, we appreciate them so much more. In my relationship, when we used to live together before he moved to D.C., I took it for granted because now we are over 120 miles apart. I do, however, know that whenever I get to see that smile of his again, that connection will be strong as before.

In this article there are 8 ways to make a long distance relationship work and most of them, if not all, involve communication such as “talk everyday”(which the article says that those around you will be ‘throwing up’) and “Skype your life”.  My relationship has lasted this long because we text throughout the day and before we go to bed, we call each other and see how each other’s day was.(You throwing up yet?)

At NYC for New Years 2012.(Dating)Photo by me

Long Distance As A Stereotype

“Long-distance relationships do not last!” That is the stereotype that we usually hear, right? In chapter 3 of her book, Wood says a stereotype is a generalization on a person or situation and we predict how they will react or what will happen. When someone says that a long distance relationship will not last or do not work, they are saying a common stereotype that comes with a long distance relationship. However, with that being said about stereotypes, there are typical questions a friend will ask you when it comes to your relationship. In this enlightening article, there are 5 common questions that all long-distance relationship couples get asked(I’ve been asked every single one of them) such as “Why would you ever get into a long-distance relationship?” to “How often do you have sex?”

Is Long-Distance For You?

We all know long-distance relationships have a bad reputation. Sadly, that is a given and almost knows it. I’ve heard from others that as soon as their relationship start to become long distance, they swerve out of it immediately regardless if they love that person or not. Whether it is trust issues or whatever the case may be, it is a sad thing to hear. Honestly, I was hesitant on this long-distance relationship because I don’t enjoy them(who does?), but I made that commitment and I already invested too much of my time and energy for it to go to waste. By using the advice in this blog and reading about other people’s experiences with long-distance relationships, it has helped me to fully understand how a long-distance relationship isn’t a goodbye, but a see-you-again(totally thought of Carrie Underwood’s song just now). If you are happening to become in a long-distance relationship soon or even if you have doubts in these kind of relationships, I hope I’ve helped you make your decision and/or thoughts about them. As seen in Oprah’s magazine, this was said about long-distance relationships: It’s for those who know a good thing when they see it, even if they don’t see it nearly enough

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