Is distance not an obstacle to relationships?


“Edward and I met at an international exhibition in Austria. I represented our company, and he flew from Germany as an investor, ”says Irina, 34. – They talked about business. But at the end of the day he found me and offered to have dinner. Since then we are together. I studied all flights from Moscow to Frankfurt. He is in Russia. More often we meet in neutral territory when we fly on business trips, or spend the weekend together. We are both successful professionals and were not ready to change our place of residence. But now we understand that this cannot go on further: we are sorely lacking in the days that we see each other. And it became more painful to part. ”

Borders are erased, the world fits in a smartphone. And the situation when one lives in Yekaterinburg and the other in Kaliningrad or Brussels has ceased to seem exotic. Modern communication tools allow partners to hear and see each other at any moment. And high-speed trains and planes make it possible to meet, if not every weekend, then once a month.

In foreign psychology, a special term has already appeared – long-distance relationships (LDR: distance relationships).

Eternal honeymoon

Despite the obvious tendency to increase the number of such unions, society does not believe in the possibility of any long love at a distance. Especially in its usefulness. But how do you fall asleep every night? And go to the country together? And to buy products in the supermarket? Not to mention the children – to raise them without the personal presence of one of the parents is definitely worthless!

56.6% of those surveyed by Psychology Today consider distance relations to be less happy and stronger than usual. However, research results show otherwise. So, a group of American psychologists conducted a survey in which 1142 men and women over 20 took part – they were both in ordinary and remote relationships – and it turned out that there were no fundamental differences in the two models.

By the degree of intimacy, emotional involvement, the quality of communication and even the level of sexual satisfaction, couples living under one roof did not surpass those who love at a distance.

If we want our pink glasses not to shatter, it’s better not to delay the moment of acquaintance with everyday life

Moreover, those who were in remote relations were often satisfied even more! Psychologists attribute this to the fact that a certain degree of idealization is inherent in love at a distance. “By and large, such a relationship is a prolonged honeymoon, when two do not know each other too well and attribute to another those qualities that they would like to see as an ideal partner,” explains Marina Gialova, a gestalt therapist. – And this can go on as long as the romance stretches out in the distance. But this is the main danger.

Sooner or later, people who are used to meeting as tourists, in hotels or in any other setting that is far from real daily life with its worries, troubles and problems, decide that it is time for them to live together. They come together – and are completely unprepared for the prose of life. To the very routine with which couples living together or near get used to coping. ”

Therefore, if we want our pink glasses not to shatter after the first check by everyday life, it is better not to delay the moment of acquaintance with everyday life: it is worth inviting a partner to yourself and showing not only the facade.

Joy of surprises

“We have known each other from school, but have not met for many years. Then they accidentally found each other on Facebook. I lived in my native city, Perm, he moved to St. Petersburg. It turned out we were both divorced. Vadim wrote that he would come to visit his parents soon, we made an appointment. It all started with her, ”recalls 38-year-old Nadezhda. – We realized that we want to be together.

We were not afraid of distance, on the contrary, it fueled relations and made us surprise each other. I still remember how he met me at the airport with a bunch of colorful balls, each of which had a letter, and together it turned out, “I love you!”. And I sent him a postcard with my kisses. And what can compare with violent sex after a pause? ”

The need for an emotional connection lies in our genes. “Intimacy and affection are our basic needs,” emphasizes Marina Yalova. – We are emotionally dependent on a partner no less than a child on a parent. We are also waiting for comfort, protection and care. Attachment in adulthood may need less physical contact, but the nature of the emotional connection is no different. In the 21st century, relationships have become a major aspect of our emotional lives. ”

The distance gives you many moments that in the immediate vicinity can not be experienced

Many believe that the forced distance will ultimately destroy the relationship, because for someone to walk hand in hand and kiss when meeting at home is vital.

“Not everything is measured by physical intimacy,” comments Marina Yalova. – If the union is not destined to withstand the first difficulties – in reality or virtuality – it will fall apart in any case. When a meaningful other is emotionally inaccessible, we are cold, sad and lonely, even if physically we touch our sleeves. If relations can be a safe haven in the stormy ocean of life, provide the protection and support that everyone needs to survive the inevitable ups and downs, then it is probably not so important how many kilometers we are from each other.

But the distance gives you many moments that are impossible to experience in the immediate vicinity: the joy of meeting after a long separation and pleasant surprises. The closer we are geographically, the easier it is for us to recognize each other and get used to it faster. The distance keeps us in good shape: we get to know our partner in a metered manner, while maintaining sincere interest. ”

For those who trust

But distance relations are unlikely to suit anxious natures and those who are used to dissolving in a loved one. This model is more likely for those who know how to trust and do not torment themselves with jealousy, and their partner – by constant calls, the psychologist believes.

“Greater confidence contribute to the developed rules of the game. For example, call up at a certain time of the day or week. If you have a meeting planned, try not to let it break: a too frequent change of plans raises a question for the partner whether it is important, and whether it is needed at all. But if this happened, make it clear to another that he is dear to you and that you are no less upset than him. ”

At the end of the day, be sure to declare love to each other – by voice over the phone or message in the messenger

Relations is a dialogue, whether it happens face to face or through the screen. “When distance separates you, the ability to listen and feel a partner in voice, intonation, facial expression is especially valuable, especially for a couple planning a common future,” explains Marina Yalova. – Relationships are stronger in couples who speak openly not only about feelings, but about everything, do not leave understatement until better times, and also talk about their daily affairs, meetings, friends and relatives. This creates a presence effect for the partner and strengthens trust, because you let it into your reality, where there is a place for you and your couple. ”

And at the end of the day, be sure to declare your love to each other – by voice on the phone or by message in a messenger with a bunch of cute emoticons. Let these few precious warm words end every night. Because the next morning will give a new day together, despite the distance.

Long distance

Do you believe in yourself and your partner and want to keep love in spite of distances? The advice given by the clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis may come in handy.

1. Turn on fully. Your distance relationship should become more important to you than most social connections. Alas, it’s not easy to stay home waiting for a date on Skype when friends and girlfriends go to the cinema or a nightclub. But this is a necessary condition. In addition, brief meetings are often not enough to truly get to know each other deeply, and not a single chance to talk should be neglected.

2. Do not lock in each other. When we finally got a loved one, the temptation is to chat with him over the phone or in the messenger for hours or at rare moments of closeness in a hotel room for all the time allotted – and let the whole world wait. But this is a mistake.

Use the meeting time to introduce your partner to your family and friends – or to meet his or her close ones. All of us are greatly determined by our social circle. And if these circles for partners remain secret behind seven seals, then there is no need to talk about serious and reliable relations.

3. Plan for the future. No matter how far you are separated, and no matter how long distance relationships last, they cannot and should not last forever. They should be considered as temporary. And to plan the future, which will come when at last it will not be necessary to overcome hundreds of kilometers to meet. This gives the relationship a perspective and an incentive for development.

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