In 2005, it was reported, by The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, that 3,500,000 people in the United States were involved in a long distance marriage, and that there was an average of 4.5 million college couples that were considered long distance. Jocelyn Voo wrote an article for CNN Living titled, “Making long-distance relationships work.” For her article, Voo spoke with a thirty-one year old mother whose husband was overseas in Iraq at the time. The woman has two children with her husband who is stationed overseas, one being a newborn. The couple engages in video chatting to keep their intimacy and commitment strong. With the use of a web cam her husband is able to watch their new baby grow while he is gone for the next fifteen months. Being able to see one another grow over those fifteen months, with the use of a web cam, is key to being included in each other’s lives while being apart.
I am drawn to this topic because I am a twenty-year old female who is now involved in my second long distance relationship. Not only am I involved in a long distance relationship, but several of my close girlfriends and family members are as well. From my personal experience, I can say that I have been worried about my relationship being long distance and losing the intimacy and passion that created our commitment to one another when we were not involved in a long distance relationship. One problem we have faced while being long distance is that we tend to argue more when we are apart from one another, but as soon as we are together, or can see each other’s smiles, it is like we were never even in an argument. A friend of mine, who is involved in a long distance relationship, expressed her concern of her relationship to me once. She told me that she worries everyday that her boyfriend will not want to commit to the distance anymore.
My older brother, Tom, is in the Marines and will be experiencing life overseas soon; he and his new fiancé will have to experience the world of long distance. His fiancé has expressed her concern for how much she will miss him while he is gone, but knows it will be okay because of their strong commitment they have created towards one another. Tom is only one out of thousands of military men and women who are experiencing long distance relationships overseas.
I believe this is an important topic because each year when it comes time for high school or college graduations, couples go their separate ways, but they want to remain committed to one another. Also, men and women are being deployed overseas and forced to be in a long distance relationship every day. Some people are even forced to be in long distance relationships because of job commitments.
The Family Liaison Office has suggested to work on creative ways to communicate to maintain intimacy for long distance relationships like, videotapes, faxes, or newspaper clippings. Also, according to, “50 Ways to Improve Your Long Distance Relationship,” getting a webcam is the number one way to improve a long distance relationship. Although talking on the phone or sending a quick text message to remind someone that you are thinking about them is fast and easy to do, video chatting allows you to actually see the other person, their facial expressions, what they are wearing, and how they have changed over time.
In a peer review article titled, Internet Use and Well-Being in Adolescence, a study found that one’s happiness correlates with the feelings of being connected to someone on a daily basis. Also, this article has stated that the use of internet communication, like Skype, may support that person’s happiness. Around four-fifths of people who have been involved in the use of video chatting said that they were able to experience intimacy with their partner online.
Long distance relationships are time consuming and require a lot of work from both sides of the relationship. Some couples are able to sustain their long distance relationships better than others through the use of technology. The advancement of technology has made it possible for couples that are in long distance relationships to maintain intimacy, commitment, and passion; more specifically, Skype, has made it possible.
Julia Wood, author of Interpersonal Communication, has defined passion as the powerful feelings and desire to be close to someone. I believe that passion is the key to starting a relationship. One must feel a desire towards another if they wish to create a committed relationship. When I first met my boyfriend, Tim, I had this feeling that I always wanted to spend time with him and talk to him on the phone; I had a desire to be close to him. Once the two of us expressed our passionate feelings for one another, we were able to commit.
Wood has described commitment as making a decision to remain in a relationship with another person. Tim and I have committed ourselves to each other, and our relationship. However, some commitments, like Tim and mine, are long distance. Long distance commitment is hard work, but Skype has made it possible for my relationship to maintain a strong commitment towards one another. We have committed ourselves to spend time on Skype everyday so that our passion for one another is able to remain strong. Committing yourself to a relationship is a big responsibility, but committing yourself to a long distance relationship is an even bigger responsibility.
Lastly, Wood has described intimacy as the feeling of being cared for and close to one another; the connected feeling one has with their partner through their passion and commitment. From my personal experience, it is difficult to feel intimate in a long distance relationship when you are not able to see the other’s face everyday. I believe that mine and Tim’s recent use of Skype has increased our intimate feelings towards one another, while being long distance. The two of us are able to sit down at the end of the day and talk to each other and actually see each other’s faces. Talking on the phone does work for long distance relationships, but by actually seeing his face I feel connected and close to him even though we are two hours apart.
Another aspect of interpersonal communication that Julia Wood has described is kinesics, positions and motions of the body and face. Tim and I used to be big phone talkers. I would call after class and he would answer with a, “Hey babe, how’s your day going?” This would make me happy that he was interested in my day, but when we started using Skype it was no longer just a casual, “How’s your day been?” it was his smile showing how happy he was of being able to see me. Skype has made it possible for me to see Tim’s facial expressions so I know when he is happy, upset, or mad, and he is able to see mine.
This subject has broadened my thought of long distance relationships. I was not really all for this relationship because the first long distance one failed miserably. However, the use of Skype has changed my mind on them. Being able to see your long distance partner everyday, even if it is just on a computer screen, will improve the relationship if that is really what you want to be committed to. But, you must actually be committed to taking the time to utilize the video chat with your partner. I hope that readers are able to take with them a thought or resolution of improving their relationship if they are also dating long distance. I am sure that other friends of mine may become involved in long distance relationships in their future. Instead of them worrying about it not working out because of the distance, I hope they are able to commit to the usage of a video chat program to maintain the intimacy, passion, and commitment they have created with another.