Is a Long Distance Relationship a Real Relationship?

We’ve all heard it said that “Long distance relationships never work out”. That’s a bit of a cynical blanket statement. Is it true just because “everyone,” says so? Well, everyone used to say the Earth was flat and no one could ever beat a four-minute mile running. They were wrong. The reality is that sometimes the crowd is wrong. Sometimes, but not always.

Is a long distance relationship a real relationship? Unfortunately, long distance relationships are also high risk for infidelity and other abuses. It’s tough to catch a cheater if they are in another city or country. When all is said and done, there’s a 58% chance of success, so it’s not all bad news.

What Makes a Relationship

The simplest definition of a relationship is a bond between two (or more) people, that affects the way we interact. When you have feelings for another person and you act on them in any way then you have a relationship. A romantic relationship requires both parties to consent and have some form of love for each other but there are a lot of ways to express this. Not all those expressions require physical contact.

What Could Go Wrong

As with any relationship, there are pitfalls to having an LDR (Long Distance Relationship). More than mere infidelity, the chances of things going wrong may seem exaggerated in this scenario. When you can’t reach the person you love, it can hurt. Furthermore, it can cause fear and a host of other psychological issues. If you don’t tread carefully and sensibly you can force a relationship right out of existence. The guide that I highly recommend, “Long Distance Love: Secrets to Surviving the Distance Apart,” for those currently trying to cope with this difficult but very doable type of relationship.

How Does It Feel

Insecurity is normal. You read it right, some concerns are a natural part of the process. Anything worth having is something we are going to have a natural desire to keep. On the flip side is fear of loss. Everyone has concerns sometimes, but letting them get beyond your ability to handle the emotions they produce is a quick path to relationship death.

What Should You Do

When you worry about loss, it is fear. Face your fears. If you trust your partner then talk to them about it. In place of your partner, you could also try discussing your issues with a friend or even a professional counselor. Bottling it up will not help and may harm your chances.

When you have good reason to believe your concerns are more than just natural worry, you should act. If, for example, your spouse is away on business for a long time, and you have a prenup, you may worry about infidelity for financial reasons as much as for your heart. If they suddenly change their behavior, you have reason to be concerned.

In this case, hiring a private investigator may be your best course of action. Before you jump to the extreme reactions, make sure there’s truly a need. You can create a problem where there wasn’t one before if you act too rashly. Unfortunately, the line between self-protection and being a bad partner isn’t always clear. The workbook, “The Long Distance Workbook,” will help you keep your relationship on track. 

Abusive Issues

Nerves are one thing, but what if you think you’re being manipulated? Is there a way to tell? Sadly, there’s no way to be 100% certain. All relationships are potential sources of abuse because of the connection between people. That doesn’t mean all relationships will be bad, only that they are a source of vulnerability. Therefore, you can protect yourself by staying clear-headed and paying attention.

Reality TV star Meri Brown from Sister Wives publicly faced one of the worst examples of this ever. She famously cheated on her polygamous husband by having a long distance relationship online with a man named Sam Cooper. Or so she believed. In the end “Sam,” turned out to be a woman named Jackie Overton who parlayed the false relationship into a tell-all book.

Whatever you think about the Sister Wives phenomena, that manipulation was extreme. Jackie Overton literally preyed on someone just to create a situation she could manipulate presumably for money and fame. As LDR fears go, that’s just about top tier nightmare stuff.

How do I Avoid Manipulation

All you can do is learn to identify the markers of manipulative relationships. When you begin a new relationship online it’s a great idea to run a background check. It may seem like a downer, but at least you’ll know the person you’re talking to exists. Protecting yourself from fraud is important and letting emotions blind you to reality is a bad plan. Don’t give away too many personal details right away. Insist on meeting in person at least once before you move forward beyond flirting. If you believe there’s unhealthy manipulation or they refuse to meet in person, walk away. You might want to get this guide I highly recommend, “Long Distance Love: Secrets to Surviving the Distance Apart,” to help you sort out all of the difficulties you may have during a long distance relationship.

Why Other Peoples’ Opinions Don’t Count

Just as there are times when everything goes wrong and it all falls apart, there are times when things just work. Who you love and how is between you and them (as long as you’re both consenting adults). Some people form trusting relationships and some do not. Distance isn’t the only thing that effects that process. Being apart doesn’t change how you feel. If it does then perhaps you need to consider making a change.

In the end, you and your partner are the ones who make the decisions. Nothing any other person has to say about distance, or any other aspect of what you include in your private romance, matters. Unless you allow someone outside your relationship to have input, they don’t. Sure, lots of us talk to our best friends and value their thoughts. That’s fine, just keep in mind who you’re seeing. If you want to date your BFF, just do that instead.

Should I Stay or Should I Go

If you’re new to this type of relationship it’s much harder to know what’s right sometimes. Doubters can hurt your confidence or you can miss the obvious. Keep your eyes open for important cues and listen to your heart.

Signs You’re in the Right Place

  • You should share mutual long term goals with a serious partner. Obviously, this doesn’t matter the first few weeks or months of a new relationship. However, if you don’t develop long term plans together, then you’re going nowhere. Work together to stay together.
  • Make time for long distance dates. When you take time out of your schedules for each other, it’s a sign that you care and attend to one another’s’ needs.
  • Be honest when it’s hard. Discuss your needs and frustrations. When you and your partner share your troubles you create trust, bond and lessen the weight on your shoulders.

Let it Go

  • When being together like this causes too much anxiety for you to handle it’s time to stop. All relationships include stress, but if you are literally falling apart and cannot function, this is not the right time and place for this relationship.
  • If you lack intimacy and fulfillment, even in conversation, with your partner. If things are not just temporary it’s a huge issue if you can’t connect. A few weeks or a one-time event is one thing, you can push through that. Realistically though, if the relationship doesn’t have what you need and you have no definite plans to come together with one another then it’s not working.
  • If you start missing out elsewhere because of the time you spend on the relationship or neglect other aspects of your life it’s unhealthy. If you just aren’t able to have a life and an LDR, you are hurting yourself even if you enjoy your partner. Sometimes… it’s you not them.

Final Thoughts

When you are happy, you feel emotionally fulfilled and the love is mutual then stop questioning it. If you have deep trust and commitment, it just doesn’t matter where you are. Plenty of long distance relationships work out well. Contrarily, if you feel worried all the time then trust your gut. Whether the problem is the other person, or you’ve been hurt too often to form a trust-filled bond, there is something wrong. Regardless of the type, emotions and relationships are real. If you are currently in a long distance romance and want success, I recommend two books, “Long Distance Love: Secrets to Surviving the Distance Apart,” and  “The Long Distance Workbook,” to help you keep the love of your life and relationship healthy and successful.

Additional Questions

How do I break up with someone long distance? Sometimes it’s just not possible to show up in person and give an eloquent breakup speech. Set time aside and let your partner know you need to talk. Don’t beat around the bush, but don’t just send a text or email. Call or video chat and make your position clear. Don’t negotiate. Be kind.

How do I deal with frustration when we’re apart? Some people like to talk to a professional counselor or psychologist while others prefer friends. Practice healthy distraction, develop hobbies. Spend more time with your pets or other platonic people in your life. You can also try keeping a journal and sharing with your partner when you talk.

How do I handle naysayers? There are a handful of ways to deal with detractors who say it will never work. You can defend your position with facts. Another option is to use humor to diffuse the situation. Making jokes is a time-honored coping mechanism. If you like, you can ignore them. You are not obligated to acknowledge other people’s fears as your own.

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