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

Love at a Distance

“Love is such a strong word” says my partner of almost two years. 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

Photo by me. We are Longwood’s Redemption Prom in April 2011.(Before dating)

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 several a year and some months later, we are living about 130 miles apart. The average miles apart in a long-distance relationship is 125 miles.

Ask Yourself: Is It 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 our feelings or desires for that person. The next is Commitment where a decision is made to stay in that one relationship. The final part of the triangle is the most important part- Intimacy. This is where those deep feelings of closeness and connection with that person play in when that “spark” is no longer there but still enjoy being together. Intimacy holds the relationship together or so to speak. It underlies passion and commitment. In my relationship, I believe all three of these elements are present. I have/had a passion for him as well as that intimacy when that passion fades over time and I have that commitment where I intend to stay in this relationship.

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 total amount of couples who are in a long-distance relationship are 14 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.

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. Also, they found that these students used assurances and openness while communicating their “I love you too/I miss you too” and “This is what I did today…”.  In my own personal experience, my partner and I text more often than anything while using Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram come in second to keep in touch.In our communication when we are not together, we use that Openness that Wood talks about in Chapter 8 in her book. This is where a couple is that wanting of communication where we don’t reveal ourselves to others as we would with intimates. For an example, I would talk about something personal to my partner and not to my co-workers. Yet, we also practice Closedness which is where one wants privacy. For an example, my partner doesn’t like to talk about his family to me so I just leave that subject on the bookshelf if you will.

In short, our relationship is lasting because we text throughout the day and before we go to bed, we call each other and see how each other’s day was. My partner has always said communication is everything and boy, was he right! It’s like he pretty much wrote this article where there are 8 ways to make a long distance relationship work and most of them if not all involve communication.

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

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, what the stereotype on the type of questions a friend will ask you when it comes to your long-distance 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 A Long-Distance Relationship 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.  Just remember: They are only a call away.

Kelly Clarkson & Jason Derulo

Remember, the greatest gift is not found in a store nor under a tree, but in the hearts of true friends.

I’m taking a wild guess that as you read that statement, you thought of a friend or friends that you think of dearly and maybe this person doesn’t live close to you. The thought of not having a best friend close to you can be disappointing, but it is something we all go through.

Kelly and I at her birthday party at Applebees back in 2012. Photo by me

As I am writing to you today, I have a best friend that doesn’t live close to me. In fact, try hours away! Her name is Kelly. I met her about five years ago at work. It was her first day on the job so guess who had to train her? Me. At first, we didn’t “click”; we had opposing views and she always looked mean. I’m sure people think I’m mean since I look mean as well. (Whoops, sorry about it) As time passed, we began to click; I began to get to know her, hang out with her outside of work, and ultimately, we bonded. We became “besties” and rumor had it that we were dating (not my type). However, when she decided to find a new job and move, I felt a little abandoned. However, we both promised to stay in touch as often as possible.

What is a Long Distance Friend?

In this article, apparently there are five types of friends to have and one of them are long-distance friendships(labeled “Commitment Friends” in the article). I was reading another article that says this: “The number of friends who you feel that deep connection with are few. Most of us can count on one hand the friends who we most dearly trust and count as truly close. And it takes a lifetime to build those kind of friendships.” If you thought that quote touched you, you are on the same boat as me. We all have a friend or friends who we think of dearly, do anything for them, etc. but here is the kicker, they may live a great distance from us.

Kelly and I at work back in 2011. My forehead just shining! Photo by me

Friends of the Heart

In the textbook by Julia Wood she talks about Friends of the Heart which she describes this as friends who remain close despite any distance or circumstance. When it comes to my friendship with Kelly Clarkson..er I mean, Kelly (I gave her that nickname because she thinks she can sing like her and she gave me Jason Derulo because…well I’m not really sure ), that is us. We text each other often to see how the other is doing, help each other out if we are going through something, etc. Of course, sometimes our lives become too invested in what’s going on outside our friendship, we don’t text or talk to one another as often. However, when we finally do actually have face-to-face time, it’s like we haven’t left at all and picked up where we left off. Our friendship is the same, if not better. We talk about everything such as chick flicks, guys, work, the occasional gross humor, etc. The distance or sometimes lack of communication doesn’t damage our friendship at all. I’m sure you have someone you can call Friend of the Heart; you live a distance from each other but keep in contact and when you finally do get together, it’s like neither of you left each other. In this article you can learn six tips on how to manage long distance best friends.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. (Totally thought of the TV Show)

What is exactly a friend? Well, I think we all have different views on what a friend is. Is it someone you consider to be someone who will go out of their way for you or someone who likes to be goofy with you? Or both? There are many possibilities but my definition of a friend is someone who one can be there for you and where you can be yourself with and one where distance can’t harm the friendship. That is a long distance friendship and it is important to know how to figure out your own long distance friendship that is worth that label as well as to manage that friendship. By evaluating and analyzing all my friendships after my experience with Friends of the Heart, I was able to pick Kelly as my Friend of the Heart. As you’ve read this, I hope you had someone who is close to you in mind. Now go and give them a call and tell them you’ve been thinking about them. Aw! 🙂

IDK My BFF Jill?

Picture found on proudcanadianeh’s flickr

 

Do you love to text? If so, you are not alone. Apparently, the number of text messages sent daily is six billion and over 2.2 trillion yearly. And that is in the United States alone! Carpal tunnel anyone? Thank goodness for unlimited texting service plans! I love to text and I will admit I text frequently. I’ll also even admit I text when it is ill-advised such as driving, in class or even walking. Imagine someone texting and fall going up the stairs. Yes, I’ve done that. I have no shame whatsoever.

What’s The Deal?

When it comes to texting, what do you text? Do you “chit-chat” and have a small text-versation(totally made that word up) or are you like me who enjoy having deep, intellectual ones? Are you the kind that just texts your friend that you are in their driveway waiting on them? Are you the type to do sexting? In any way, shape or form, we all have texted one way or another. The problem is that texting is taking away and damaging our interpersonal skills.Over 75% of teenagers text making it the most common type of communication and this cuts out phone calls and face-to-face conversations. I know from my own personal experience that I prefer texting over phone calls or personal conversations because let’s all admit, we just do not have time to sit down and have a conversation with a family or friend.

Photo found on JHongosh’s flickr

IDK What This All Means?

Texting is human interaction, it’s just a different kind and thus, communication is everything! Texting is a form of Nonverbal communication which in the textbook, Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters by Julia Wood, it means this type of communication is everything but words. This can include symbols, body language, inflection, tone, facial expressions, etc. Nonverbal communication is arbitrary, ambiguous, and abstract. This means that a wink, for example, cannot be defined clearly because of different meanings. To some people, a wink can express a romantic interest to someone, a dirty signal or even a simple got-something-caught-in-the-eye. Now if we wink to someone in person, it still may clearly not be defined but through a text message, you can have a field day thinking exactly what that wink means 😉

I’m Sorry Vs. I’m Sorry

In this fascinating article, it basically says that texting is damaging people’s, especially children’s, interpersonal skills and those building blocks to making relationships. The article gave an example of someone giving an apology over text messaging which it basically boiled down to text messaging lacks the visual and audio cues of a sincere apology in person or over the phone rather than a bland “I’m sorry” over text messaging. I know from my experience of sending an apology over text messaging, that the other recipient of that text did not believe that my apology was sincere enough which later destroyed our friendship because of it. If I had apologized in person like I should have done, all the audio and visual cues of my sincerity would have been recognized and not lost in translation through text messaging.

What Did You Learn?

By continually learning about communication, one can learn a ton and can learn that even the most common things we do, we don’t know how it affects our way of communicating and its meaning especially in the sense of nonverbal communication which is a form of communication that is everything but words and meanings are hard to interpret. As seen in texting, we can’t tell what the other person is really texting because we can’t see the visual or hear the audio cues in their voice. Can you imagine texting something that someone took way out of context and you became embarrassed by it? Or if worse things could have happened? I hope you can see how important it is to know about communication and all about the various aspects of it. In this case, nonverbal communication and texting. I know I learned my mistake with the apologetic text a few years ago. As you can see, texting is taking over and is taking over communication. However, if we learn how to use texting and other types of this communication wisely, we can still hold a decent face-to-face conversation  Happy texting everyone! Don’t text and drive. 😉

Why I Left Facebook for Twitter

Photo found on cambodia4kidsorg Flickr page

I am big on posting and using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes, I just enjoy reading about what others post on their social media site. (Does that make me a stalker?) Facebook has 889.3 million users while Twitter has over 200 million users. It’s safe to say, there is a lot of “facebooking” and “tweeting” being done. From my own personal experiences with these two major social media sites, I enjoy the endless & sometimes obnoxious amounts of tweeting and  the essay-length Facebook statuses, but I’ve recently made a decision that could be hard for some, but not for me. Any guesses?

I dumped Facebook and went with Twitter. Talk about a relief. Now, that doesn’t mean I deactivated my Facebook or stopped using the social site. I just use it a lot less than Twitter. What I’m about to tell you, in no way do I demand you to stop using Facebook. My partner and I have been dating for almost two years now and obviously our relationship status on Facebook says we are dating each other. A while back, I use to post a lot of stuff on Facebook such as photos, update my status almost every day, etc. One day my partner told me that I wasn’t popular as he was on Facebook and that I don’t get as many “likes” on my photos or statuses as he does. Although he was joking about it, I did take his statement into consideration and since then, I do not get on Facebook that often and started using Twitter more, a lot more.

According to the wonderful world of communications, what I experienced is a social comparison. After my partner told me that I wasn’t as popular as he was regarding how many likes on my statuses and photos, I started to compare myself to him. For instance, on our one year anniversary, you can imagine that we both put up a status about it. He may have gotten about 30 or so likes on his while I may have gotten about 15 or so. Although, those numbers are probably not accurate, I’m just providing an example. By reading Julia Wood’s book, I also experienced reflected appraisal where the perception of me was made by how others saw myself and in this case, my partner. By him saying what he said, I saw myself not as popular and thought of myself as so. By him telling me, “You are not as popular as me.”, I also experienced direct definition which by his statement, I was directly told and labeled unpopular. Since it was in a negative way, it lowered my self-esteem and made my self-concept as not popular.

There was an article that I read(thanks to Professor Johnson) about how Facebook can make you feel bad about your very own self. In the article it says that one in three felt bad after visiting Facebook because of they were comparing themselves to their peers regarding such things as vacation photos and lack of “likes” on their own photos. The article also says that those same people are more likely to either leave Facebook or reduce their time on the social site. Ironic, isn’t it?

The world of communication is a fascinating and unique one. We just do not know how much communication, in so many forms, affects our lives. I feel I have so much more to learn and thankfully, this interpersonal communication class is really helping and I am actually enjoying learning about interpersonal communication. Stated before, I’m not here to tell you to stop using Facebook, but to get to know a bit more about interpersonal communication because I know we all have been there where we envied another person’s photo or saw how many likes we got or lack thereof. It is okay not to get many likes or tons of comments on your photos. I will admit though, leaving Facebook for Twitter was the best thing that happened to me. 🙂