Raise your hand if you’ve developed a friendship or a relationship online.
Betcha a doughnut that just about everyone reading this has had one.
This means a fair whack of you have had that weird beast in your life — the Long-Distance Relationship (LDR).
Communications and networking being what they are, we simply do see a lot of interaction conducted online over long distances. When romance gets thrown in, it can be a lot of fun or a big mess, depending on how you conduct it.
To ensure that it’s fun, keep a few of these things in mind:
Texual communication has its limits.
Sure, you can feel close to someone through online communication. You can exchange your thoughts, feelings, secrets, inner desires, and all that. It’s great. But the physical component does make a difference. Studies show that over half of our communication is non-verbal, so that missing component can be significant.
I recall some years ago finding the writing of someone a pain in the butt to deal with. All I could see was the text. I wound up meeting the person and dating him for a few years. When I could tie his writing to what I knew to be his vocal mannerisms and body language, I wound up interpreting texual communication very differently.
I’ve found this in myself as well. People who’ve met me in person are considerably more likely to see humor in my casual texual communication because they know the facial expressions that go along with certain modes of expression.
It’s a human trait. Keep that in mind when you meet someone on the Internet.
Meetings are “vacation time”. Do not mistake how fun they are with what living together would be like.
When you get together in meatspace with your LDR, it’s a “special event”. You’re up, you’re on, you’re more likely to be glittering (or at least making an effort). This person does not get the dailyness of you.
There’s nothing in the world wrong with enjoying that specialness. I find my visits with my FWB delightful because of the break in routine. We have a good time together — which, to me, is kinda the point. But, that vacation, that fun, that sense of adventure even when things are going All Wrong? Unless that is your natural state of being,1 it’s not going to stick in any relationship where you’re hanging out on a day to day basis. That sort of thing is more about who you are, not who you think you are in relation to someone else.
Don’t let the LDR keep you from living in the present.
“Now” is all you have. Yes, yes, yes, spend time communicating with your long-distance loves. Don’t drop the rest of your life in the face of it. The house still needs cleaning, you still need to make sure you’re paying attention to the kids. Oh, yeah, that partner you’re with… your local SO(s) needs attention, too. That life you had before the LDR? It’s still there. But it won’t be if you don’t live it.
If you are planning to move closer to each other, don’t put your life on hold until this becomes a reality. If you have goals and projects, for goodness’ sake keep working on them in the meantime! You could get hit by a truck. The world could explode. Do you want your life to have been lived “on hold” because you were waiting for something exciting?
Enjoy it for exactly what it is.
There’s a lot to be said for having a relationship where there are short bursts of intense fun. That’s a good, real and valid thing to do. Fun counts. It counts for a lot! So, don’t knock it or dismiss it as less “serious” or less “worthy”!
And remember everyone, the PolyWorks Fund Logo Contest is ending in a couple of weeks! Click on the link to find out more.
1And if it is, bless you for adding joy to the world!