As you may know, my girlfriend Sherry and I are in a long-distance relationship; she lives in Spokane, Washington and I live here in Bismarck.  That is 944 miles between us. I have driven back to Spokane twice (and am going back again on vacation this week), and she has visited Bismarck twice (once she flew, and the 2nd time, she made the 14-hour drive here).  And we have met virtually halfway in Bozeman, Montana.   We talk everyday, and we also text numerous times though out the day.    We have really fallen in love and I have found what we have to be very special indeed.   And couldn’t be happier—except that 944 miles!


I recently read an interesting story about long distance relationships.  A new study by the Journal of Communications has shown that absence may truly make the heart grow fonder.  It said that couples in long-distance relationships (LDRs) can have more meaningful interactions than couples who see each other daily.   I was very encouraged by this article, and wanted to share with you the 9 ways that long distance relationships can help a couple grow closer—many of these apply to Sherry and I:

1)   The knowledge that if you survive the distance, your relationship can survive anything.  Couples have many reasons for living in different cities, from job transfers, studying abroad, meeting online, etc.  Rather than breaking up, staying the course in a long-distance relationship is an alternative to breaking up.  Unfortunately, many people call it quits after awhile, so successful long-distance relationships are far and few between.  This means that if yours survives, you can pretty much survive anything.  Sherry and I have been together about 5 months and we are still going strong!


2)   You don’t have to be presentable all the time- you can have off days.  You don’t have to feel pressured to look good for your sweetie all of the time – you can talk on the phone, text and email in your pajamas and without fixing your hair.  Sherry doesn’t have to worry about putting on makeup to talk to me on the phone, and I can hang out in sweats while we text each other! 





3)   Long-distance relationships are a lesson in good communication. Some people live their whole lives with someone without having a “real” conversation.  The study showed that long-distance couples try harder than geographically close couples in communicating affection and intimacy, and their efforts do pay back.  A similar study by Cornell University asked 63 couples, half in a long-distance relationships, half living in the same city, answered questionnaires about their relationships; the couples who were in long-distance relationships reported feeling a stronger bond and their conversations were longer and more meaningful than couples living in the same city.  Sherry and I have such great phone conversations, that, even late at night, it is difficult to say good-bye to each other on the phone (and we are both early risers so the next day we are definitely sleep-deprived, but it is so worth it)!


4)   Both parties must be equally committed to make a long-distance relationship work.   If you aren’t 100% committed, the hours on the phone/Skype and long drives and flights are not worth it.  We both have made the 944-mile Bismarck-To-Spokane drive to see each other and, even though that 14-hour drive is grueling, it is sooo worth it when we are together.


5)   They force you to be independent in your relationship.  We all have known that one person who loses him/herself in a relationship.  They become an extension of their significant other, and the couple loses their special “spark.”  Couples in an LDR preserve their own identities.  They have their own friends, jobs, and social life.  Sherry and I maintain our own circle of friends, we keep our own hobbies, we spend lots of time on our own yard/house work, and we both put in long hours at our jobs.


6)   You become good at planning. LDRs require a lot of communication and planning; the 944-mile distance between Sherry and I isn’t easy, and we must plan our time together by taking time off work, budgeting for travel expenses, etc.


7)   The relationship is more than physical. If you are not physically together, you must have emotional and mental connections to stay together.  Sherry and I have sooo many things in common, and we have a ton of fun laughing’s very difficult to end our phone conversations because we NEVER run out of things to talk about and we are always laughing and having fun!


8)   Both people get plenty of “me” time.  Sherry and I are both very independent people; we both have our homes to maintain, we each like to read, listen to music, etc. and so we don’t have to worry about not getting enough time to ourselves.


9)   It’s full of fun travels and adventures.  Sherry LOVED her trips to Bismarck, and she didn’t want to leave when it was time to go!  We both enjoyed trying new restaurants here in Bismarck/Mandan, we went to the Dakota Zoo, and we had a blast exploring the city and doing things that I hadn’t even done in Bismarck.  Each visit is like a mini-vacation; we try to see each other at least once a month and we both very much look forward to our trips!

So just remember, if you meet someone from another city, don’t rule out a relationship just because of the distance between you.  Yes, long distance relationships are not for the faint of heart. But, when it is with the right person, it isn't half bad.  For Sherry and I, it has taught us a lot about ourselves and each other, things we might not have figured out otherwise, and brought us much closer as a couple.

More From Cool 98.7 FM