So, you think a long-distance relationship with that summer love who is leaving may not be worth it? How many times have others told you that long-distance coupling is doomed to failure? But, there may be good news for soul mates separated by geography. Recent research has shown these dismal predictions of failure may not be true for all long-distance romances. In fact, according to a study published by the Journal of Communication (2013), sometimes such relationships are stronger and more intimate.
Enlisting dating couples, Crystal Jiang of the City University of Hong Kong and Jeffrey Hancock of Cornell University asked them to report on their daily contact with each other. Some of these couples were living close together while others remained separated by a significant distance. The authors of the study asked them to provide information about their interactions including those which took place in-person and those which took place through their electronic gadgets. The researchers then asked the participants to assess their intimacy and the intimacy they believed their partner was experiencing.
The results debunked the common wisdom. It seemed the long-distance couples shared more information about their lives than did couples who lived near each other. They also idealized their partners’ behaviors more. This all added up to a greater sense of emotional closeness for many of the couples who lived apart from each other.
Seemingly, if you are going to connect on the telephone or on Skype, you have to talk to each other. Dead airspace can be awkward. A couple may talk to each other more than they would if they were just sitting in a room together watching television or feeling physically close.
According to Jiang, “Indeed, our culture, emphasizes being together physically and frequent face-to-face contact for close relationships, but long-distance relationships clearly stand against all these values. People don’t have to be so pessimistic about long-distance romance. The long-distance couples try harder than geographically close couples in communicating affection and intimacy, and their efforts do pay back.”
So don’t give up on that summer romance who is going back to school, the love of your life who is getting transferred to a new job across the country or the soldier who is once again being deployed. According to this study, it might work out quite nicely.