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What are the Challenges and Benefits of a Long Distance Relationship?

Aug 18, 2007
So let's start with the positive aspects of a long distance relationship. If you are in a long distance relationship, then one of the first benefits is that you can't communicate physically. You may think of this as a challenge but if you are looking for a serious relationship with someone, the lack of physical contact means that you have to rely on something else to reach out to your partner. By communicating with email, snail mail, even web cam and chat, you are in a position where you 'have' to talk.

For many people this is difficult at first. What do you say? In a new relationship where there is no real life experience as a couple to draw on, the initial communication can be a little dull. However, this soon passes as you learn what each other is doing during the day. You can then ask questions on it. Increasingly this person on the other end of your Internet connection becomes part of your daily life, as much (if not more so) than someone you would date physically if they lived closer to you.

Another benefit is that this gives you an opportunity to learn far more about how the other person thinks about things, and also to open up yourself about how you really think about things. In face-to-face contact sometimes it's difficult to state honest opinions because of the fear of them being rejected or ridiculed. In a written correspondence, this isn't an issue. Just be honest and clear about what you feel.

Just because you can't see the person, doesn't mean that you can't hear them. Internet is all well and good, and it does allow you some degree of anonymity to discuss tricky issues, but it's not the only method of communication at your disposal. There's still the old idea of using the phone! Pick up the receiver, press a few buttons and as soon as they reply, you can instantly hear your partner's voice. In an age where cell phones are the normal, you can usually contact them at any time of day or night! SMS contact is another form of contact you can use, just to touch base with your partner throughout the day and let them know you're thinking about them. Yet another benefit of a long distance relationship is that you see how much effort your partner is willing to put into the relationship with you. Do they respond quickly and frequently to your emails/letters/SMS/phone calls? Do they initiate as well as reply?

There are small challenges such as the need to make an extra effort to show you care about your partner, larger cell phone bills etc, but the main challenge of a long distance relationship is the lack of physical contact. If you're dating someone you hope at some point to take it to a deeper level than 'talk'. The need to reach out and hold your partner can be unbearable at times. If you have no way of transitioning the relationship to a real level at any time in the foreseeable future, then you have to question when this relationship can possibly go anywhere. If it's a temporary separation, or if the distance situation will be resolved, then use this challenge as a test of the health of your relationship with your partner. Use the time to get to know each other inside out, instead of outside in. In the long-term, this time apart could be the permanent glue that keeps your relationship together.
About the Author
Jane Saeman runs a site called along with info on dating and relationship on her blog at at http://www.Hot-Firefighters.com/blog2
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