If you’ve ever been in a long-distance relationship you know it can be difficult to be away from your partner, especially if the ‘separation’ lasts for long periods such as weeks or months. Recent studies, however, confirm that people who have regular distance from their partners experience relationship benefits that those living day in and day out with their ‘significant other’ don’t.
The study focused on only 61 couples, half in ‘regular’ unions and the other half, in long-distance relationships. Though the numbers were few, the findings shed light not only on intimacy shared between couples, but the tendencies of humans to focus on the positive when it wasn’t ‘there to prove otherwise.’ In other words, those with distance between them tended to more intimate, less mundane conversations, greater exchange of loving words and less focus on the day-to-day, creating a stronger bond than those who were in each other’s faces all the time. It makes sense.
When we are not with someone all the time, we tend to idealize their behaviors and personality, whereas, in person those ideals have a hard time standing up to ‘the real thing.’ Even couples who spend a lot of time working at different jobs or away from the home most of the day tend to have more loving reunions with their partners than those who spend all day together. This is not true for all relationships, as some are blessed to appreciate the company of one another, no matter the time frame, but over all – people like each other more when they don’t see each other all the time. Distance benefits relationships.
Aren’t we a funny species? We strive to find that ‘special someone’ and then, when located, we say ‘okay, there you are, now go away.’ Perhaps it is that longing which we experienced before the relationship ever occurred which drives the need to keep re-experiencing desire again and again? Perhaps we have difficulty as a human race, in this modern age, accepting the ‘goods’ and feeling positive about them – with all the texture that accompanies – once they finally make it into our grasp. Do we have a fascination with lack? Or do we simply value our personal space too much to give it up in exchange for something even as valuable as a wonderful intimate relationship? If distance benefits relationships so much, is it important to ‘install’ this quality in places it wouldn’t normally exist?
Many couples agree that regularly scheduled trips ‘away’ from their partner did their relationship good and that it was a plus for them personally as well. Time apart helps to re-establish the ‘self’, which is often lost in spending too much time with someone else. Even single parents, who take time away from their kiddos when it’s the ‘other parents’ turn, report a greater sense of love and appreciation for their children upon return. “It keeps everything fresh and new.”
So, whether you are in a long-distance relationship or not, perhaps it’s not such a bad idea to create a little space from time to time from your loved one, just to ensure a stronger bond. It seems counter-intuitive, but could be one of the best things you ever did for your partnership. Upon return, face to face, couples always find deeper appreciation, gratitude and loving words to express – making ‘reunion’ time, the best time of the year.
Written by: Stasia Bliss