Think there aren't advantages to the long distance relationship? Think again.
We all hear about the disadvantages of the LDR, but there are many pros - especially post-divorce.
In my own experience with both in-town and long-distance dating (over the course of many years), I eventually came to understand why my relationships that crossed geographic locations seemed to thrive. On the other hand, those closer to home were more likely to fizzle quickly.
What I realized: During the years of parenting solo while managing multiple freelance jobs, there wasn't enough "me" to go around. That meant I couldn't accommodate a traditional couple configuration.
That didn't mean I wasn't interested in romance. And while I didn't expressly look for guys who lived out of state, with online dating facilitating meeting all kinds of people (all over the map), I didn't rule out great men who were able to manage a long distance relationship.
Here are my five top benefits of long distance relationships, and why they can be ideal at a particular stage in life.
1: Getting to Know You
How often do we take the time to get to know the person we're with - slowly?
Too often, we find ourselves a "looks good on paper" guy, we exchange preliminaries, we enjoy witty words over drinks, and if there's a spark - we tumble into bed. But what flames quickly can also burn out fast. So if it's a relationship you want, "slow" is usually a better strategy.
Distance requires that we take our time, that we communicate creatively, and as we rely on talking by phone as well as email, Skype, chats, social media and so on - even letters and cards via postal mail - we're getting to know each other on a whole other level.
When you spend stretches of time without sexual contact, one of the benefits is a major dose of tenderness, thoughtfulness and romance when you do get together.
Why? You're connecting emotionally, and I've always found that emotional intimacy breeds romance and vice versa. Besides - you hop a plane to his place... he hops a plane to yours... You meet for a weekend somewhere in between. Changing locale is very romantic!
Perhaps you're only apart during the week, in a sort of weekend relationship. Or, you may be separated for a month or more at a time, as you incorporate encounters online into your relationship fare.
And those meetings in person? Wonderful. There's a reason that "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is a truism. Time apart encourages greater appreciation when you're together.
Aren't communication challenges a deal breaker in relationships?
When you don't live in the same location, you learn to develop excellent listening skills and likewise, the ability to articulate what you're feeling, what you need, and what you want - through talking or writing.
Having experienced several (lovely) long distance relationships in the years when I was raising my children, there's no question that I honed my relationship communication skills as a result. This includes asking questions and interpreting body language, as both are essential to creating a safe space in which to share confidences.
When you're still trying to carve out your career, or juggle a job and part-time school, or possibly manage kids, jobs and personal transitions, do you really have time and energy for a full-time relationship? I didn't.
I am also a very independent person. But that doesn't mean I can't love and be loved, and enjoy an intimate, committed relationship.
The LDR was a tremendous plus in my post-divorce dating years. I enjoyed one splendid transatlantic love affair (we remain friends), and another, separated by several states. In each case, when we were together, we were really together. When we were apart, we each tended to our own lives including our respective family and work obligations.
5: Better than Make-up Sex!
Sure, it can be tough when you can't be there in person for his birthday, or he's with his kids so he can't hop a plane to be there for yours. And yes, you wish you could coordinate the holidays together more often (and less expensively).
But when you do get together, you're so happy to be with each other that the sex is sizzling or supremely romantic.
This is not typically a friends with benefits scenario; this is deep affection and quite possibly love, as every hour feels special - including the hours you spend in bed.
More Insights, Courtesy of the LDR?
Naturally, most of us don't want to spend our lives in a long distance relationship. We understand that careers, kids or other factors are temporarily keeping us apart.
- If you're the jealous type, or you suspect your partner cannot remain faithful while you're separated, this isn't for you.
- If you need constant reassurance (or the person you're seeing does), again, this isn't for you.
- If you don't miss the other person and you haven't seen him in weeks - take it as a sign this may be "nice for now" - but nothing more.
- When you're coming out of a marriage, isn't it important to stand on your own two feet? The LDR gives you time for you - especially important in transitional stages.