The longer we remain single and the more we expose ourselves to a life driven by curiosity, the more often we’re faced with the challenging allure of long-distance relationships. Inevitably the path to them is complex and tailored to a specific set of unusual circumstances.
As a prolific traveler and later an international student turned sojourner, I find myself surrounded by the constant allure of long distance relationships and immersed in a peer group where long distance periods of separation are almost unavoidable. Some of the most spectacular women I’ve met were fellow travel bloggers. They were brilliant, they were worldly, they were profoundly curious. They were beautiful and they possessed the power to captivate me with stories and new areas of thought in highly unusual ways. Of course, that always came with a caveat. They were inherently also travelers, living location-independent lifestyles or based in some far off country.
The Inevitable Allure of Long-Distance Relationships Photo Gallery
It’s impossible to know what opportunities I missed out on by refusing to consider long distance. But, over the years I’ve come to see opportunities like these as something far more complex and nuanced than a binary, all or nothing, situation. Being immersed at the front line in friend after friend’s struggle with the same challenge has also given me an awkward insight into the long distance dilemma.
The primary takeaway? Long-distance relationships fail in the vast majority of cases. If I had to pull a number out of a hat, I’d place the figure as high as ninety percent. Cheating and some of the issues outlined tied to respect are key points of concern. But beyond that are deeper considerations which are often far more fatal to the success and longevity of the relationship. The long-distance relationships that seem to work fall into two categories. They are often either well-established and extend over a limited duration 8 months or less apart or they are long distance relationships that start remotely or out of a brief period (let’s say a semester abroad or a couple that meets while traveling) and then within six to eight months relocate to be co-present.
Love, Is Love, Is Love?
Isn’t love enough? This is the one question that keeps coming up over and over again. Shouldn’t having a deep love for your partner be sufficient to transcend physical space, geographic boundaries, and the challenges of a long-distance relationship? After all, if it’s true love, then everything in our cultural narrative tells us that it should be about our connection with each other on a deeper level. With this in mind, if we feel strongly for the person, if we feel the potential for love or, perhaps, have advanced in the relationship to the point where we feel love, then can’t that be enough?
The answer in most cases seems to be yes. But only for a little while and only if we’re honest about how we experience love and what we need from our relationships. Time and time again I find myself in long drawn out conversations with friends slowly going through the painful motions of ending a long distance relationship. It’s rarely clean, and often the focus comes back to the fact that they care deeply for each other, that they love each other, only to go off on a long tirade about how insensitive or hurtful or inattentive the soon to be former partner is.
Which, makes total sense. There was, and likely still is, significant attraction. After all, there was enough from the get-go to risk long-distance to begin with. Add to that, the high-contrast nature of long-distance relationships where time together is defined by super intense fairytale bursts or hyper disappointing rendezvous that fail to deliver on the romantic charm and promise built up over the digital back and forth in-between. Ultimately, expectations disconnect from the ability or energy to deliver.