Why Long-Distance Relationships Don't "Just Don't Work"

by Caitlin Vernon

Probably one of the first times I heard that long-distance relationships (or "LDRs" as they are called by those in the know) "just don't work" was a couple of years ago. An acquaintance was trying to console me over a recent breakup. The breakup was supposed to be a sort of doomed-long-distance-relationship prevention mechanism. Rather than trying to make impending distance work, we put ourselves out of our misery before it even started. And so, this acquaintance was trying to make me feel better by telling me that it wouldn't have worked out anyway, because long-distance relationships "just don't."

Call me a hopeless romantic, but even back then I didn't buy it. If you really like (or even love) a person, wouldn't you want to try? To quote the old Wayne Gretzsky-ism, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." By refusing to enter into a long-distance relationship, you are, of course, preventing the relationship's potential failure. But you are also preventing its possible success.

Let me tell you why, if you are ever faced with such a dilemma, you should try to make it work.

First of all, there's the fact that long-distance relationships do actually work. In my third year of university I lived with a girl from Switzerland. She was spending a year in Toronto doing her Master's degree in something insanely impressive, like stem-cell research. She lived there for exactly a year, and remained in a long-distance relationship the entire time. She and her boyfriend in Switzerland didn't break up when she moved. They stayed together. They talked on Skype constantly, sent each other packages, and did what they needed to do to make it work. She didn't go home for Christmas, so they didn't see each other for six whole months until he came to visit in February. In LDRs, those moments when you are reunited make the all time and the distance worthwhile. When her boyfriend arrived in Toronto for his month-long visit, I had never seen her so happy.

So, based on my housemate's example, when my boyfriend went back to Glasgow after spending a year in Toronto, I was more than prepared to make it work. We had been together for nearly a year, and spent a month of the summer holidays backpacking together through America. He ignited in me a strong desire to travel, and I couldn't wait to see the world together once we were both finished our undergraduate degrees. I could also use our LDR as an excuse to visit Scotland, a country I had never been to before.

Like hell I was going to give up all that because it "might not work".

To be honest, long-distance relationships can be depressing, lonely and brutally hard. There is no room for jealousy or paranoia because both emotions will not hesitate to eat you alive. You will have to make monetary sacrifices and spend birthdays and anniversaries chatting online. But if you have the strength and the will to make it work, it will all be worthwhile. Your LDR will give you the freedom to focus on school, work, and other activities, with the added benefit of knowing you have someone to support you when you're feeling down. You'll have more time to spend with your friends and an excellent excuse to travel. You'll probably also get some awesome birthday presents in the mail. And, while LDRs can be scary and stressful, you have the excitement of planning your lives together when the distance is over.

And finally, you'll have those brilliant moments when your significant other flies across the ocean to surprise you, and you don't answer the door because you're sitting in front of your laptop, waiting angrily for them to come online.

Maybe your long-distance relationship won't work, but maybe it will. According to a quote by Roger de Rabutin I found online- "Absence is to love as wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small and kindles the great."

May you find the strength to take great risks, and the will to kindle your great loves.

If you liked this article, check out My 99% Foolproof Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide


Hailey said...

Thank you I needed this, i will share with my boyfriend.

Erin Pea said...

good article. of my 4 year relationship, my bf and i have been long distance on and off for about 1 year. i enjoy it although i recognize how hard it is. sometimes you need intimacy and it's hard going without it. it's hard being lonely. but it's even harder when you're with someone who isn't willing to travel or visit you.


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Anonymous said...

After only two months of dating in college (never knew each other before) my husband moved to Hawaii, of all places, with his Air Force father and mother from California, where we had met. We were apart for 9 months; before he left, that impetuous 19yr old guy asked me to wait for him as he wanted me to marry him. Too expensive back then for phone calls, we wrote back and forth, love letters filled with anguish!. We were married 7 months after he convinced his parents "we were not going to break up and he had to move back to California".....and next year we will have been married 50 years and our two sons have been married for over 20 years to the wives they each met in college...yes, long distance worked for us...

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