“For 16 years of marriage, I haven’t spent a whole month with my wife and children in one house because we live in different cities, until the Covid-19 lock down happened.
Before then, I visit as often as I could, although they are short visits. During the lock down, I struggled to be around my family everyday. We argued over trivial things.
There was so much tension that I started to believe my earlier fears. I will be retiring soon and the thought of waking up next to my wife every day is scary. What we experienced during the lockdown almost had us filing for divorce. Are my fears unfounded? Is it strange that I prefer to stay married while we live apart? Am I just an independent spirit, or do I have some deep, subconscious anxiety around sharing my space?”
Mr M sent this via email.
I have received countless mails like this, both single and married people prefer long distance relationship/marriage to living in same city or same house with their partners. First of all, it may sound weird, but I’m all for long distance relationship.
A lot of career-oriented men/women prefer long distance relationship because it gives them the necessary space and independence to set their priorities as well as live their lives while in a committed relationship/marriage.
The beginnings of a long distance relationships are usually hard. It is mentally and physically draining, but after some time you get comfortable. The distance makes you miss and love them more, especially when those involved are putting efforts to keep it alive. And when you get to see your partner on a carefully planned vacation, weekend getaway, or impromptu visits, it feels much more special and intimate.
The meetings after a long time is beyond explanation. The hugs and kisses are so worth the wait. This is not to say that certain things happen some times you just wish they are around.
In theory, long distance makes love go fonder, but in practice, it makes the relationship stronger. Couples in long distance relationships actually have stronger bonds and it gives them something to look forward to. Long distance has kept more marriages together for a longer time, though most people won’t admit it openly.
When you are around someone always, it is easy to start to take them for granted. Long distance relationship gives room for serious communication which helps you know your partner on a deeper level. You get to know their likes, the way they talk, their common phrases, favorite curse word etc.
People in committed long distance relationship talk more about all kinds of things, from the sublime to the ridiculous, than if they are under same roof. Couples living together get settled into routines easily, get too busy or controlling and sometimes there Is just no time to talk.
Long distance relationship is not for everyone because it is not everyone who can handle the problems and other aspects of it, especially those who are possessive. Some of us are at a point in our lives where we do not want a 24/7 partner. The freedom people yearn for in long distance relationship doesn’t mean they are cheating or flirting with other people. It’s just the extra time it gives them to pursue their dreams, and do things they like to do alone on their own terms.
For a relationship or love to fully blossom and thrive, it requires a combination of physical and mental connection between two people who are comfortable whether together or apart. Spending Quality time does not need to involve physical touch. Distance teaches you the value of your relationship, as well as a greater appreciation for the quality time you get to spend together.
So, the biggest question is why do you prefer being in a long-distance relationship? Some people’s preference for long distance relationship stems from the fear of vulnerability. They shut down their feelings and appear to be cold even when they are really not. They are literally afraid they would lose themselves if they get too close to their partners. They have learned to block their feelings from what they experienced during their formative years or previous relationships.
Introverted people like long distance more because they are particular about their space. Though most of them take advantage of distance to become emotionally distant. Narcissists also prefer long distance relationships, as it’s much easier for them to live their manipulative life from a safe distance.
Your preference for long distance relationship could also mean you are unwilling to work through problems in the relationship. You are running away or just generally avoiding to work through your own shortcomings. You are not ready to let go of some of your bad habits or behaviour that puts your partner off. If you have a long history of long distance relationship or If visiting your partner or the thought of living in the same space becomes a source of concern, then those could be red flags. You need to see a therapist.
The demerits of long distance is that most times you are only sharing memories instead of building memories together. Time zone and availability online when you need them most is another. Internet/telecommunications connections can be down and this may be frustrating. Some partners start to cheat to meet their sexual needs and become emotionally distant.
Long distance relationship is a non traditional relationship, though more people are accepting some of these relationship dynamics. Couples can still genuinely love and care for each other while living separately. And that it is very healthy to have space and time away from your partner.