Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Celebration - and Defense - of Long-Distance Relationships

There are so many ways to find happiness with another person.

Recently, a friend and I were discussing long-distance relationships and whether they were practical or feasible to enter into. He thought no, but I argued yes. I could not understand his vehement insistence that they were simply, to quote him, hopeless and not worth the effort. "If I'm seeing someone," he said, "then I need to see them every day. I couldn't handle not seeing them but once a month, or even once a week.That's not for me."

Wow. But that's okay...not everything is for everyone.

I'm very independent, creatively ambitious, and, as my son's only parent, committed to giving him as much of my time as possible. For this reason, I often find it difficult to imagine trying to squeeze time to get to know another person into the picture. When I've tried it, it has often left me feeling like I'm in a whirlwind, with more going on than I can handle. I feel divided. I don't like it.

So for me, the idea of beginning a relationship with someone I'm not going to need to see every day, week, or even every month is not hopeless, but very intriguing. Of course, at some point in a long distance relationship that is going well, there's going to be the inevitable discussion where someone has to decide to move, but that is just a matter of timing and pacing. I know several couples who are happily married who began their relationships while their beloved was miles and miles away. One just celebrated their 11th anniversary to a man she met online, a happy and fulfilling relationship everyone convinced her would never work.

Sometimes, the right person for us is simply not going to be down the street or in a neighboring town. I often wonder how many people stay single their entire lives simply because they are afraid to venture into a long-distance relationship. Yes, I believe that LDRs do present different challenges and take a deeper level of commitment, but I also believe wholeheartedly that for some, it is going to be what works.

Here are a few more reasons I believe LDRs are worth the effort...

1. Too much togetherness can make one forget that they are a person in their own right. With LDRs, too much togetherness is never an issue, thus both parties have a clear and concise sense of who they are as both individuals and within the relationship. In other words, there is no loss of self-identity, which is critically important to the success of any relationship. (Also, I believe having a strong sense of self-identity and knowing who one is gives the strength and fodder needed to maintain a long-distance courtship in the first place.)

2. Quality time verses quantity time. In LDRs, when you finally do have time to be with your beloved, not a moment of it is going to be wasted. It's precious. And in the future, both parties are less likely to take one another for granted because they can both clearly remember being miles and miles apart, and how difficult it could be.

3. LDRs provide unique opportunities for old-fashioned wooing, which I find missing in general courtship, but deeply romantic and, at least for me, necessary. I personally love the idea of being wooed, and in LDRs, the whole process of this has to go a little deeper to happen. Packages in the mail, silly texts, handwritten letters, surprise visits...it takes a little more originality and creativity than simply hopping in a car and going to a movie or concert together. I, for one, like the idea of a person being a little more original and creative in order to capture my attention and vice-versa - I'd like the chance to do the same.

4. Commitment. Bottom line, this is what makes or breaks LDRs, and I find alot of it simply depends on individual personalities. How bad do you want this particular person in your life? Do you really believe that if you give up on them because the situation is inconvenient that you'll find someone who speaks to your soul just as clearly closer by? Like every relationship, LDRs are a risk...but often, one worth taking.

5. Trust. With LDRs, trust has to be complete. Without it, you can not keep going. This is what keeps many folks from entering into LDRs, but trust can be just as much of an issue if you are living with your beloved. It's simply going to come down to how much you believe in the other person. And yourself. And the two of you together.

6. Love of adventure, because let's face it, that is what LDRs are going to be. An adventure as you get to know not only another person, but their world as well, which is bound to be different from yours. I believe it takes a certain type to embark on such an adventure, and that alone is the first tie that binds the two souls into even trying to make a seemingly impossible situation work. Showing another person all the magic in your world, or even thinking about showing it to them, would enable you to see it more as well...and that's always a good thing.

Bottom line, I continue to disagree with my friend, who believes LDRs are hopeless and not worth the effort. Granted, they aren't for everyone; some people simply need more one-on-one attention than others, and that's okay...like so many other things in life, relationships are all about balance and finding someone whose needs and wants match your own. I do believe, however, that when the mystery unfolds, and you find there is another who speaks to your soul, even softly, it's worth listening to...no matter where in the world they are.

There is no rhyme or reason to attraction, and certainly none to love. For some of us, it just has to unfold differently, for whatever purpose, but it does not mean it's not going to be a beautiful journey. Follow the link below to read my favoritest LDRs storiy of all-time. And remember, what comes to love...it's always worth it.  http://boldnessinitiative.blogspot.com/2011/04/serendipity.html

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