Upon request, here is the
awaited by no one long-awaited sequel to my popular post “Why High School Relationships Fail”. I wish I had a legitimate statistic regarding how many of these relationships remain successful, but, I do not – however, I do strongly believe that more often than not they disintegrate. Before you start fighting me in the name of love, hear me out. Then you can violently disagree and curse me out, in the form of a polite and non-aggressive comment.
Distance makes the heart grow fonder. A true statement. After all, if you are infatuated with someone, shouldn’t you wish to see that person more and more? And when you’re not able to see that individual, your desire increases – you want what you can’t have, especially when it comes to love.
But what happens when you’re not able to see that person in the flesh for five months? Five years? Sure, distance may make the heart grow fonder, but it also makes it needier – one’s cravings for their companion can overwhelm them and distract them from other facets in their lives. Relationships should exist to enhance someone’s overall mindset, not to detract from their duties and emotional well-being. If Joe is constantly craving another Skype session with Sally every night instead of accomplishing his assignments at college or making new friends there, that’s a double whammy.
I’m basing this off of the “rules of attraction” I learned about in AP Psychology. There are three basic things that make people attracted to one another: similarity, proximity, and reciprocal liking. For the purpose of this post, I’ll elaborate on proximity, even though it is a self-explanatory concept. Proximity, or nearness to another person, is proven to burgeon the bonds people hold with one another. If you go to school and see attractive Andrew every day (and let’s say this Andrew is also smart, nice, and has a good heart) then the probability of you becoming attracted to him is way higher than you becoming attracted to beautiful Bob, who lives across the continent from you. Even if Bob possessed the same personality traits and physical features as Andrew, you would interact and associate with Andrew more regularly, thus allowing the relationship to flourish. This ties in with the mere-exposure effect, which states that the more you are exposed to an idea or individual, the more likely you are to like it.
Which is essentially why long distance relationships fail: the proximity of the people in the relationship is severely decreased. Hence, long distance. This leads to a myriad of other issues. Communication can become more difficult. It takes more time to get in touch with your significant other. No more simple “oh hey, let’s go to the library and chill together” or “yeah, let’s grab something to eat at Red Robin.” I hate to say this one, but some people may be tempted to cheat if they know they won’t get caught. There’s a plethora of problems that appear when people are separated, and I’m sure you guys are aware of them due to books/movies/media.
Now, let me put forth a few disclaimers before the slaughter starts. I have never been in a long distance relationship, whereas I have been in a high school relationship, so I do not have firsthand experience with this. Notice that the title of the post is “Why Long Distance Relationships Fail”, not, “All Long Distance Relationships Fail” or “Why You Shouldn’t Attempt a Long Distance Relationship” or “Long Distance Relationships Are the Cause of Cancer”. Just throwing that out there.
On a final note, I do think long distance relationships have a significantly higher chance of surviving than high school relationships. This is because long distance relationships are not restrained to a certain age group. You could have a couple who has been married for 20 years but have been forced to separate for a few months because of employment issues. You could have a wife whose husband is in the military or vice versa. I know, with the right amount of trust and hard work and compassion these things can work out.
But not always. It is a tough route to take, and one I would advise against if possible. Especially for college relationships. Oh, the horror stories. College is a time of growth and meeting new people and expanding your horizons – essentially, change. You don’t want to be tied down to someone (unless you really really love them) at the start of college, or you’ll miss out on a lot of opportunities. And you’ll regret it when you break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend in junior year and realize how you’re lacking in the social department.
Agree? Disagree? Have you been or are you in a long distance relationship, or do you know anyone who has been in one? I did generalize quite a bit in that last paragraph, as I know a couple of super strong long distance relationships between college students. However, with these things in mind, I hope that if you do pursuit a long distance relationship, that you will find solutions to combat the proximity/communication issue. Maybe I should write a “How You Can Make Long Distance Relationship Work” post… nah, that’s boring.