Why Long Distance Relationships Are Kind Of The Best

Everyone is familiar with the downsides to a long distance relationship: the endless waiting for texts, the occasional twinge of jealousy (even when we know better!) over a Facebook post, the cold side of the bed on a Saturday night. To announce to friends that you’re embarking on an LDR is to get the inevitable barrage of cynicism: “Good luck with that,” they’ll say. “Really.” You can tell they don’t mean it.

Well, the nay-sayers and “really”-distributors of the world might need to take a sec. A study published in the Journal of Communication last year found that long-distance couples reported equal or higher levels of trust and satisfaction in their relationships when compared to “geographically close” bfs and gfs. More recently, New York Magazine ran an article marveling at longevity and happiness levels among long distance couples. And I, I sat there laughing and reading, reading and laughing, like a member of some kind of Relationships Illuminati, because I know. Oh, I know. I’ve done long distance twice—once for six months and once, in my current relationship, for almost four years—and have learned a lot both times.

Anyone who can point out all the downsides of an LDR without seeing any of the benefits strikes me as not particularly imaginative. Why would so many people be willing to give this way of loving a try if it were stone-cold terrible the entire time? While I recently moved home and am happy to be living with my (formerly long distance) boyfriend, he and I—and about 14 million American couples—already knew what New York mag and the rest of the world seems to be slowly figuring out: long distance relationships kind of rule. Here’s why:


You have space to do your own thing
In a long distance relationship you’ve got a lot more time on your hands than the average classically-partnered person. People in happy, healthy long distance set ups use this time for themselves, working on personal projects, seeing friends and family, or taking precious Me Time that might be harder to squirrel away if their S.O. lived in their town. Plus, it can be pretty great to text your partner goodnight and not worry about taking a three hour bath afterwards with your other girlfriend, Season Three of Parks and Recreation on DVD. She’s the best. 


Your friends will think you are really chill.
You’re not one of those folks who gets a boyfriend and then disappears into the ether, oh no. You’re an Independent Woman and you still know how to Have Fun. Take that, Linda! Kidding aside, long distance relationships are a great way to practice relationship/life balance, allowing you space and time to fall in love without that Netflix Black Hole phase that so often accompanies new love. Your pals, hobbies, and exercise regime will thank you for it. If and/or when you two end up living in the same town again, you’re going to be better at maintaining individual interests while still caring for each other.


Quelle suprise, Shakespeare was right: parting IS such sweet sorrow
It’s fun to pine! The act of missing someone is its own kind of bliss. While it can be frustrating to eat dinner next to a blurry iPhone snap of their spaghetti-Os instead of your actual gentleman or lady, there’s something very romantic about missing someone. The whole process of bidding someone a tearful farewell, then calling them from the runway to bid another one before the plane takes off can be as fun for you as it is annoying for everyone around you. Plus, studies have shown that absence literally makes the heart grow fonder. You can’t argue with science.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=655307537 Paula Finnegan

    This is so true – I’ve been in a long distance relationship for over 5 years now and, not to sound all mushy, but we love each other more with every passing day! Ok that might have been a bit excessive, but I just meant that I’ve notices our relationship seems stronger than a lot of non-LDRs my friends have been in (notice the past tense I used there….). The goodbyes suck but its worth it when someone makes you so happy!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=34203941 Nicole Allan

    Missing someone is fun for you? How about gut-wrenchingly, pain in the pit of my stomach, want to sob, awful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1463100043 Alyssa Cook

    I’m nearing year 4 of my LDR with the love of my life. I’ve done long-distance twice before, and while those didn’t work out (because the down sides outnumbered the up sides by A LOT and culminated in being cheated on both times) I learned so much about how to be a good partner (as well as how to spot a bad one) and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for the world, because the lessons learned have given me tools for my current amazing relationship.

    Everyone is different in what they value in a relationship, but above all, communication is key; and I know that all the effort to communicate and maintain trust and love across 300 miles will pay off and make us a stronger couple, even when we no longer have to live apart.

    I love my long distance relationship. I don’t love the distance, or how lonely I get…but it’s wonderful to remind myself when I’m feeling down, that I’m with someone who makes so many sacrifices and investments, extra communication, extra effort, the cost of such frequent travel, and putting up with loneliness, when it would be so much easier for him to just be with someone local, just to be with me. We choose each other every day, and both of us are happy to invest 100% to stay together, because it’s worth it.

    Anyone who believes long distance can’t work, it can. It just takes some work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=528891835 Christina Henderson

    I’ve been in a LDR for 6 months now (we were friends first lol) and the distance sucks but its manageable (almost 4 hours on a train) as we talk/text/skype everyday. Of all the relationships I’ve been in, this one is totally worth it. He’s like my perfect other half and best friend, he’s not afraid to talk about his feelings and what he wants in the future (past boyfriends were reluctant to talk about that) so its great that he’s so open with me :) cheesey as it sounds but I love that guy more everyday and can see him being the ONE :)

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