We all live in a very hectic life. Where you do not have time for many things, due to work or studies, etc. But in all of this many times what is taken for granted are our relationships with others in our surroundings. These relationships may be family relations, it may be romantic relationships. Even being close to each other a sense of distance is felt sometimes. But when we are actually at a physical distance? Does it affect the relationship or being physically distant makes the emotional connection stronger? Long distance is a concept of relationship used when your partner or any close person is at a physical distance that is far away from you.
Romantic relationships play a crucial role in almost every individual’s life. Romantic relationships may bring joy and happiness or make a person feel distressed and dysfunctional. Many couples face difficulties in long distance dating relationships (LDDR). The prevalence of LDDR is seen especially in university students. Some studies, it is posited that some specific relationships and individual characteristics may have positive outcomes (Dargie et al., 2015).
Long distance relationships and its effect on the relation:
Many researches have found that long-distance relationships differ from geographically close relationships. Most of them also showed that long-distance relationships had relatively increased levels of intimacy. According to Pistole, Roberts and Mosko in 2010, there might be a correlation between long-distance relationship with partners commitment towards each other. As the couple has to exert effort to make the relationship successful. Adding to the point they also suggested that geographically close relationships result in lower levels of commitment. As they require less time and effort to meet each other. This is why their investment in the relationship and each other is less as compared to long-distance relationships (Peterson, 2014).
A different study showed that in a long-distance relationship the partners have more time to look back at the positive memories. They have together or to understand each other and one’s own emotions. Which leads to increase in the quality of that relationship. It also supports the statement that long-distance relationships offer closer relationships than a geographically close relationship. Researchers also found that long-distance relationships are highly correlated with high levels of perceived intimacy between the partners in comparison to geographically close relationships (Peterson, 2014).
Contrasting Findings on Long-Distance Relationships
Studies have also revealed that significantly high levels of adjustment, love for each other, communication quality and fun with partner is noted in a long-distance relationship. It was also seen that there are reduced levels of problematic conversations and reduced psychological aggression within the couple in a long-distance relationship.
According to Merolla in 2012, it was discovered that couples spending more time together in person have greater levels of happiness in the relationship. Another study suggested that long distance relationships have better relationship quality (Peterson, 2014).
In a study replicated to see whether the results of these previous studies hold the truth or not. It showed that no such correlations were seen for the hypothesis measuring long distance relationship. In addition, high level of togetherness and commitment, another hypothesis long distance relationship has high intimacy levels. Only one of the three hypotheses was supported which was overall relationship satisfaction (Peterson, 2014).
Long distance dating relationships and College student adjustment:
While entering college many begin college with a romantic partner, and these partners are mostly separated by a significant geographic distance. During the course of research, the researchers saw that about half of the students reported a prior LDDR or current LDDR (Waterman et al., 2017).
The extremes seen in the LDDR may act as additional stressors. Which makes it harder for the students to adjust with the new environment. As compared to their single peers and peers in a close geographical relationship (Waterman et al., 2017).
As per the Uncertainty Management Theory, LDDR couples or individuals may have probability of experiencing uncertainty about their relationship’s future. They may try to decrease the uncertainty by communicating for more time than usual. Moreover, try to meet each other as frequently as possible. Due to increased time investing in relationships it makes it difficult to be committed to the university or college events and peer connections on the campus (Waterman et al., 2017).
This stress within the relationship and college commitments can make LDDR students feel positive affect, and loneliness. Furthermore, participation in university or college activities and alcohol use as a college adjustment outcome (Waterman et al., 2017).
Effects of Long-Distance Relationships on Emotional Well-being
When a partner or close friend is physically apart, the relationship concept known as long distance relationships is used. According to research, long-distance relationships exhibit higher levels of intimacy, commitment, and perceived intimacy than those that are geographically close. Additionally, long-distance relationships offer closer connections than geographically nearby relationships and are significantly more closely associated with high levels of perceived intimacy between the partners. This implies that some connections and personal traits might have advantageous effects. Long-distance relationships have higher levels of adjustment, love for one another, communication quality, and enjoyment with the partner.
Greater levels of relationship happiness are found in relationships where partners spend more time together in person. One of the three hypotheses was supported, but a study that was replicated found no correlation between the hypothesis that long-distance relationships have elevated levels of togetherness and commitment or that they have high levels of intimacy. Students with LDDR may experience positive affect, loneliness, involvement in college or university activities, and alcohol use as a result of this stress.