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Can Long Distance Relationships Work?

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Can Long Distance Relationships Work?Advances in communications make it possible to connect with people in unprecedented ways. It is not only mobile phones and web cams, social networking websites and skyping that make it possible to speak to a friend or loved one half way across the globe, people are also more willing and eager to be connected. Its impossible, for instance, to go for a movie without finding several people in the audience with you who are reporting on the film to their friends or family.  

Which makes one wonder, with such sophistication in messaging, talking, and other forms of person-to-person communication, has life become any easier for long-distance relationships? I remember crying perhaps the biggest bucket of tears in my entire life till then, when I was seventeen-about-to-be-eighteen, and the boy I loved was catching a flight to London where he was to study for the next three years.   

While emotional excess is forgivable in a seventeen year old, I was right in one sense – it is asking too much for a relationship to survive when letters are exchanged at the rate of one or two a month, calls can only be few and far between because of the financial situation, and life is changing rapidly for both parties. My first love and I could not sustain our relationship from 1978 through to 1979. Many years and technological marvels later, it is still not easy for long-distance relationships. 

“If you have to live very far away from each other after making an actual commitment, the situation is better, at least, in my view,” says Nisha, 26, who works for a leading international MF. Her life is torn between wanting to keep alive an interest in a friend who has left to study abroad, and staving off interested colleagues and admirers in her immediate environment. “If Sohail and I were spending this time apart after deciding that we would like to get married to each other, I am sure I could handle it. Its just the uncertainty that gets you. Of course, we both decided before he went that we were not going to make any long-term decision – we had known each other only a couple of months, and he had got admission in this really awesome course, which means that two years he is committed to being there anyway. It seemed absurd to think of marriage straight away.” But close to six months after her friend has left, Nisha is beginning to wish they had discussed something more concrete.   

“Yes, we talk, and mail, and everything, but then suddenly, he will not message, or just be so cryptic on the phone. I don’t know what is behind his behaviour – its so difficult to imagine everything and give the exactly appropriate response. Most of the time I end up worrying I am losing him,” she says.

Any relationship goes through the ebb and flow of emotional changes of each of the partners. In a normal setting, when it is possible to meet the next day after an overnight tiff or argument, the concerned partners are able to meet, and face-to-face, many tensions melt away. A long-distance relationship which is in the formative stage does not have this luxury. Especially when partners are still in the getting to know each other stage, being forced to stay in distant locations can put a strain on the relationship.   

On the other hand, there is the excitement and anticipation of finally getting to meet someone far away, after one has already been in touch and discovered that one wants to be more deeply engaged. This is often the case when partners meet through marriage portals, or when they have begun to correspond through the efforts of others. “I think its fine to meet someone after one has already established that one is truly interested in commitment. Then its much easier to maintain a long-distance relationship,” says Shweta, Nisha’s friend, who has been corresponding with a boy from Sydney for the last year, and is finally to meet him with her parents’ approval.   

Nisha too feels that commitment is the deciding factor as far as long-distance relationships go. “If we had even once agreed that it was worth waiting for two years because we truly did want to get married, then I would not worry so much,” she says.   

Like so much about relationships, commitment and sincerity are the factors that shape long-distance ties. 


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Responses to Can Long Distance Relationships Work?

  1. 1 vijai

    nice article, especially since many of us are exploring long distance relationships with people whom we have actually never phsically met..through, maybe some viewers could share experiences, good or bad?

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