Earlier today I was having a discussion with my only female house mate about relationships – nothing specific, just relationships in general. It was when we got onto the topic of the relationship one of our male house mates has with his girlfriend that things became really interesting: before university they were together all the time but now, after putting an unhealthy distance between them, they seem to be having problems.
While I appreciate it must be a shock to the system, the distance doesn’t really offer an explanation for the obvious irrationality of the situation! My friend, who will remain anonymous throughout this article, has never cheated or hinted at cheating and has spent the last three years of his life doting on this particular girl who, in his own words, he “loves very much”; but apparently now there is a little distance between them he’s no longer trustworthy and she seems to have adopted an unhealthy and unnecessary need to know where he is at all times.
This situation has led me to asking this week’s question: does long distance ever work?
It’s a broad question that there isn’t a simple answer to, so if you were reading this in anticipation of some genuine enlightenment then I’m afraid you might be disappointed. However, this is a topic brought up on a regular basis with many couples so it seems fair to give it a once over! Personally I don’t have any problems with long-distance relationships, mainly because I’ve seen it done.
My sister and her boyfriend have been together for seven and a half years and they’ve spent three and half of those years with a minimum of 100 miles between them. It’s not ideal and it certainly isn’t easy but they make it work for them, most of time. What does amaze me is that you can take a perfectly happy couple, such as my house mate and his girlfriend of three years, and in one swift move you can change everything between them just by adding a little distance. No one said it was going to be easy, and yes I know, people also didn’t say it was going to be this hard, but is distance that much of a problem for people?
Coming from the perspective of an old romantic, I refuse to believe that relationships that have been going strong for a significant period of time will crumble under the pressure of a little distance; however, if the relationship is new and you’re starting out with a clean slate and a lot of distance I think it’s more than likely that the distance will have an impact on the development and happiness of your blossoming relationship, which may well wilt under the pressure of 100 miles. But is that all it takes to break a real, happy couple? A few miles? I’m not entirely convinced about the idea of having a soul mate so don’t confuse this next idea with that concept, but surely if you’re meant to be with someone then you’ll be with them – regardless of distance, colour, hobbies, interests, heck, even gender doesn’t get in the way nowadays!
The common idea these days seems to be that long distance relationships don’t work – despite our vast advances in technology that allow us to see people without them being physically in front of us and talk to people without even using a phone, it just isn‘t enough for most people to make a relationship from. I’m not here to dispute that because really, who am I to take liberties and tell the majority of the population that they’re wrong? They might be completely right! It might never work, and despite how much you try, how many hours you spend on Skype, how many train journeys you take to see them, how many nights you fall asleep talking to them on the phone, sometimes it just doesn’t work. It’s not always worth the hassle that it will cause and the person isn’t always worth the hurt that a long distance relationship might cause but the thing people seem to be constantly over-looking is that you never know when you’re going to meet the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with, and if there’s any remote wondering in your mind about whether this person might be the one you’ll grow old with, maybe they’re actually worth going the distance for…