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I’m in a long-distance relationship and it probably won’t work out


Photo: Crystal Eye Studio/Shutterstock

As the internet continues to grow and people spend more and more time on their phones, long distance relationships (LDRs) are increasingly capable of happening and tend to do so in many subtle ways. Keeping in touch with your mother, your old school friends, or just following people on social media will all come to eventually be known as LDRs. Do we see these people more than once every two months? If not, then it’s almost already an LDR.


But entering a significant relationship under these circumstances, one where you’re committing to someone that you could see yourself marrying someday, has become easier for two reasons. One, dating apps normalise basing a relationship around the use of a phone, and two, the potential for someone to upheave their entire life becomes easier with every milestone they pass in their life. Finished school? Sick of your job? Just want something fresh?.. Why not move? You don’t even need to move very far, the average LDR only puts 200 kilometres between you and whoever it is that’s worth keeping around.


Though while it’s easier to not let family and close friends fade away into memory, someone you’ve only known for a couple of months, or a year might be more justifiably cut off.


Even if you do push on, the likelihood of it being worth your time is microscopic. The average LDR lasts only four-and-a-half months, and if it does survive 37 per cent fail within three months of closing the gap. Only 10 per cent of couples say that their long-term relationship started as a LDR and more than 50 per cent of couples in the middle of one say they are wrought with feelings of loneliness and/or insecurity.


Yet despite all of this around 75 per cent of university students say that they’ve given the concept a crack and six per cent of couples are brave enough to commit to the idea without even having met their partner. So why do we try?


Is it due to striking out in the real world or has it just become easier to maintain a connection in the virtual one? You’d think that with better technology the second point is true but living off of a phone all day really wears a person out after a while. The amount of commitment an LDR requires is astonishing… We subject ourselves to around 343 texts per week, half hour calls at least once every three days, constant facetimes to remember what the other person look like and to top it off couples that endure it also use social media to stay engaged more than regular ones do. And with more than 50 per cent of LDRs feeling insecure already, social media stalking isn’t exactly endearing when you see your partner out having fun on your feed when you know that the last picture you took together is already months old.


In taking all that in there’s clearly a lot to overcome, but the first step surprised me. Before I could even commit to making it official with my girlfriend, I had to figure out how to make it sound like a rational decision if I ever worked up the nerve to tell my friends and family. I knew what was coming and I’d thought it myself, my friends echoed my doubts: Are you a cuck? Not in the sexual way, but the derogatory self-conscious way. For me it was an utter embarrassment to explain that I had decided to lock it in with someone who lived in another time zone, and to make matters worse she lives in another country. Is she a visa-chaser? Coming to grips with all of this made me question who I was and what this is, and that’s what has kept me going. She’s something I’ve never found before.


An LDR is a much more introspective experience than I could have ever expected. It forces you to confront and demand answers from your motivations, commitment, ideals, and organisation. It also forces you to be honest. My friend asked me why I was already laying the foundations for where my LDR would take me three years down the line when I’d only been in it for two months. To be honest I just don’t want to waste my time. The long-term goal of finally coming together is like the feelings you have when the workday is only just beginning but you’re already thinking about going home again; and it keeps you on top of your game.


Do I still want to go home, or am I having too much fun at work digging into a new project? Am I still looking forward to closing the gap between us, or are we already drifting apart? It is impossible to become content with something that demands so much energy, so if the work starts to feel forced and excitement begins to wane you could see why some people wonder: is it worth it?

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