To LDR or Not to LDR?

Dear Lia

I did long distance with my ex-boyfriend for a year. The relationship ended really badly, but we’re friends now and I don’t want to ruin it. There’s another guy in another city, one that isn’t my hometown, who’s interested in me. Although I am genuinely attracted to him, I don’t want to do long distance again. Also, I’m enjoying being single but I really loved being in a relationship, minus the heinous break up. I’m just all fucked up.

From: Confused and Single

 

Dear Confused and Single

Long Distance Relationships (LDR) are such a huge issue in general. Because of the time we live in, it’s easy for us to believe that through Skype, Whatsapp and other means of social media, we’re able to have long distance relationships with ease. Although these platforms have definitely made long distance easier, they cannot replace fundamental aspects of relationships that are tactile and intimate. Intimacy is vital in a  relationship. Before entering into a long distance relationship it is important to take several matters into consideration.

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  1. How long is long?How long are you going to be doing long distance for? It’s important to be on the same page with any potential partner about the end goal. Does the relationship have an expiry date or will you be living in separate cities for a shorter period of time before eventually living in the same place?

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  2. How far away is the person?The reason why you should ask yourself this question is because we tend to say ‘well he’s only four hours away’, it’s not that bad. It is bad if you don’t see each other. A  long distance relationship does not often end because there’s 1000s of kilometers between the parties, but rather the lack of intimacy and communication that arises from a long period of time without seeing one another. I know couples that live 200kms apart and don’t see each other as often as a couple that lives 600kms apart.

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3. How often will you see each other?

Its important to be realistic. It’s all fine and well to say ‘okay babe, every two weeks’ but life happens, and it’s not always so easy. Petrol is expensive, but above that, maybe this weekend you can’t because it’s Sally’s birthday, and next because you have a Psych test on Monday, or because your parents want you to go home.

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4. How faithful are you? How faithful is he?

The fact of the matter is that loss of intimacy with your partner can lead you, or him, to find intimacy with someone else.

Let me be clear that when i say ‘intimacy’. I don’t just mean sex. I mean the raw, emotional connection that makes love someone.

But honestly, sometimes it really is just about sex, and you wanna bone someone else because you haven’t seen bae in 2 months. This isn’t a problem for everyone. If you think you’re not one of these people, or you know he isn’t then ignore me, but what’s important is to be honest with yourself.

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5. How have your past experiences been?

You say you’ve done this before. Only you can extract what you’ve learnt from being in that relationship and place it in the context of this new, potential one.

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6. How do I start a relationship long distance?

Starting a relationship  with long distance is ballsy. This is generally because you have yet to form a strong attachment with this person, especially if you’ve just met them, but even if they’ve just been your friend for a while and you’ve only seen them twice a year for the last five years at Sally’s beach-house. You need to think about whether you feel genuinely connected enough to this person to be able to live with a ‘lack of connection’ in some senses.

I try my best not to be biased, but in this department, I have seen very little long distance relationships that work out in the long run. I don’t want you to feel discouraged. I want you to be realistic.

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What interests me the most about your query is the ‘single noodle’ dilemma. You don’t seem too worried about whether you want to be in long distance or not, you seem more worried about whether you want to stay single or not. That is a very personal choice. Your relationship status should not be so easily interchangeable and if you’re thinking about how much fun and how great it is to be single versus how nice it feels to be in a relationship you have to re-analyze what your definition of single and taken is.

If you think my post has been too negative towards long distance and you’d like a more positive perspective, please follow those links I’ve embedded, they have a very different take on LDRs.

Make good choices!

Love, Lia.

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