Maybe you’re feeling bummed about spending the summer away from your girlfriend or boyfriend. Or maybe work or study keeps you at opposite sides of the country. Well, it’s true you’ll see less of each other face to face. But your relationship doesn’t have to suffer as a result, a recent US research shows.
Researchers looked at how young couples in long-distance relationships communicate compared to those who live near each other. For one week, 63 couples aged 18 to 34 kept diaries about the kinds of media they use to keep in touch and how often they do. They were also asked how much they share about their lives when they do communicate, whether they feel their partner cares, and about intimacy in their relationship.
Not surprisingly, couples in long-distance relationships spend less time connecting each day, the study found. But they make up for less time together by using all sorts of media to keep in touch. From video chats to phone calls to instant messaging and texting, couples living apart use different technologies more often and they spend longer chatting each time they do.
The result? Long-distance sweethearts feel a greater sense of intimacy with their partner than couples who live in the same city.
But hold on a second… how can partners separated by an ocean or even a few hours on the bus actually feel more intimate than couples who get to spend their Saturday evenings, and Sunday mornings, together?
There are two things guys and girls in long-distance relationships do more of than those living close by. Though they see each other less and don’t speak as often, long-distance partners learn to make it count when they do – they don’t hold back, and they share more intimate details, thoughts, and emotions with each other.
This makes communication a more rewarding experience, and couples separated by distance idealise what their partners share with them as a result. Long-distance couples are more likely to see the positive in what they tell each other – perhaps unrealistically so, in fact!
The secret of intimacy
Ultimately, partners living apart feel more intimacy when they do chat because the all the lovey-dovey interest they show in each other makes them feel that their sweetheart understands them and really cares about them.
What does all this mean if you and your partner live in the same city? When it comes to communication, it’s quality not quantity that matters. Intimacy strengthens relationships. And for an intimate relationship you need to share important things about your lives, feel that your partner cares about what you share, and take the time to talk.
Have you ever been in a long-distance relationship? Tell us about your experiences. Leave a comment here or on Facebook.