Can distance really make the heart grow fonder? My initial instinct to this question was a resolute 'no!' I mean, how could a long-distance relationship trump all the benefits that a face-to-face relationship provides such as companionship, communication and sex? However, after delving into this subject, it's clear that there are pros and cons to both - all of which has slightly changed my opinion on the subject. Here are three of the most influential reasons:
A study recently published in the Journal of Communication from a long-distance collaboration between Li Crystal Jiang (PhD, of City University of Hong Kong) and Jeffrey T. Hancock (PhD, of Cornell University) indicates that couples in long-distance relationships are usually closer to each other, especially when using media such as texting. I can think of several reasons as to why communicating on a regular basis could aid in the security and preservation of a long-distance relationship.
Not only do long-distance relationships make you crave the physical affections of your partner, but you also cannot participate in any physical activities together - for instance, a walk, watching a movie or going to the gym. It's due to the fact that you can't physically participate in each other's lives that you replace these activities with conversation. Yes - couples in long distance relationships actually talk more to each other!
This 100% focus on talking and understanding each other could well mean that your love is bound to feel purer as you love them for their personality as what you feel isn't based upon passion or lust.
2. Room to Breathe
Even the most romantic and besotted couples need a little room to breathe. In the Journal of Communication study it states that long-distance relationships are often less problematic than you would believe them to be. Space can be particularly difficult to come by if you're in a face-to-face relationship where you spend every spare minute of every passing hour with your partner.
Spending an excessive amount of time together often leads to tension building between couples as each individual needs their own room to relax and unwind alone. If the tension continues to build and the couple have not found their own space within their home to collect themselves it can lead to arguments and personality clashes.
A long-distance relationship prevents this build-up of tension as the individuals that make the couple have all the room they could possibly need. If the couple do become a little agitated with each other they can simply avoid contact with their partner for a short period of time. This means no texting, emailing, Skypeing or calling each other until both of you have calmed down.
Studies show that couples that are in long-distance relationships tend to appreciate each other more due to the fact that they are not geographically close to each other. This deep appreciation is based on the fact that these couples lead entirely separate lives and do not get to spend time together. As a result of this separation the couples appreciate the intimacy that they share with each other when they have the time to communicate.
The distance between them means they cannot take each other for granted as they do not get to spend time with each other and their partner is not constantly around to cheer them up or ask them how their day was.
Although there are many benefits to a long distance relationship, I still believe that the vast majority of people in the world would prefer to have the person they love much closer by. Getting married, sharing intimate moments, becoming involved in each other's lives, sharing friends and - ultimately - having children means that you need to be in close proximity to experience these wonderful moments. However, I do feel couples can learn a lot from this study and apply the lessons to improve their face-to-face relationships.
Brett Harding is the Managing Director at Lovestruck, a site dedicated to bringing people closer through online relationships. Find out more about the Journal of Communication study by visiting this link.