Long distance relationships are challenging but they are also exhilarating. And if you’re a hopeless romantic, they can be easily misinterpreted, overly romanticized, and unfairly judged.
All of the greatest love stories, romantic movies, books, and poems involve distance at some point. And it’s always in that distance that emotional wrongs are righted and necessary realizations are made, so that Happily Ever After can ensue in a more solid, connected, and enviable way than ever before.
I don’t think that The Notebook would have been half as romantic if there wasn’t any distance between Ali and Noah at one point.
“The scariest thing about distance is that you don’t know whether they’ll miss you or forget you.” – Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook
Although it is indeed scary, if you suffer from the disease to please and low self-esteem, you’ll start to equate that never-ending fear factor with passion. You then become more invested in making your all-knowing existence known than you are in taking the time to investigate if a mutual connection even exists.
I know many people who are in long distance relationships and they make it work; they’re really happy. I got lunch with a girlfriend over the weekend who was telling me about her relationship and how it’s the best relationship she’s ever been in.
She asked if I had ever been in a long distance relationship. “One,” I replied.
I was so taken back by my answer that I don’t remember much of what was said after that.
At that moment, I realized that although I’ve only been in one relationship where there was a physical distance between us, nearly EVERY relationship that I’ve ever been in has been long distance.
I was a long distance relationship junkie and didn’t even know it.
In my past relationships, the distance wasn’t in physical miles. It was in emotional ones.
You could be sleeping in bed with your partner and be in more of a long distance relationship than if cities, oceans, and countries were in between you.
This got me thinking about long distance relationships – both physical and emotional. Who do they cater to? How do you navigate them? And is there a way to ensure the distance is never emotional?
Here’s what you need to know about long distance relationships…
Sometimes, the reasons for being in a relationship like this are unavoidable. Life happens and we have to do the best we can with the hand we are dealt.
For long distance relationships to work, there needs to be a conscious effort being made on both ends to eventually, close the physical gap.
And until then, both parties need to continue to cultivate nonexistent space as far as emotional distance goes.
Relationships with physical distance are also the ultimate beard for people who want to operate under the guise of someone who is emotionally, empathetically, and relationally competent/connected. They can mask a person’s unavailability, toxicity, and fear of commitment, responsibility, intimacy, etc. quite well.
When it comes to long-distance relationships, the distance will never be a deal-breaker as long as the relationship is mutual and the distance is physical (with the mutual intention of eventually, bridging the physical distance).
What to know about PHYSICAL long distance relationships:
- Understand that long distance relationships are easy and hot. We live in a time where it has never been easier to be in a long distance relationship. Between all of the social media outlets and ways to communicate, it’s easier now than ever before. Long distance relationships also up the hot factor because you’re getting the best of that person. How? It’s much easier to manage their image.
Keep in mind that these relationships are the perfect vehicle for unavailable people to live out the fantasy of temporarily being the partner on the phone that they can’t consistently be in person.
- If you’re with someone who has a pattern of being in long distance relationships, that’s a red flag.
- Long distance relationships are VERY attractive to emotionally unavailable, empathetically bankrupt, and narcissistic people. Think about it – as long as they can say that they’re in a “relationship,” it gives them a license to assume that they don’t have any relational issues to work on.
What to know about EMOTIONAL long distance relationships:
- You’re in an emotional long distance relationship if you don’t feel comfortable to respectfully communicate your truth and concerns for fear of… being broken up with, judged, being made to look/feel crazy, your partner going cold/recoiling, them getting fed up and cheating, etc.
- Emotional long distance relationships can be defined by: never feeling the security and comfort that true love, understanding, and connection provide.
If it’s physical distance that’s between you, make sure that you are both communicating clearly and that there is an end in sight as far as that distance goes.
If it’s emotional distance you’re dealing with, you need to know that no matter how many fancy dog accessories you spend your savings on, cat’s MEOW. They don’t bark just because you provided a fancy dog house. There’s no point in wasting your time trying to be an inverted cat whisperer and then, tying your value to someone being what they’ve always been (and will continue to be): a selfish, disconnected person who will never be capable of intimacy.
Scientists now suggest that distance does indeed make the heart grow fonder…
…but only if there’s heart, to begin with ?
Love to you all – near and far.
+ If you need further and more personalized help with your relationship, please look into working with me here.
Natasha, you have saved my life and helped more than any counseling or therapy ever has. You truly are a healer and an angel in this world for all that you do. This came at the perfect time. Thank you for being so raw, honest and vulnerable so that others can heal. Much love to you and big hugs. Xx
OMG Wow….Just wow….this is EXACTLY what I went through and I realized the man was in love with the fantasy of being with me and being there for me while he made zero attempts to follow through on anything. I am seeing two other guys casually who have great relationship potential–I know I have to make my choice soon–but just RIGHT NOW, ten minutes before seeing this post I was missing my LDR like crazy. I even contemplated, after three weeks of no communication, texting him tonight to see how he was doing and maybe even find out if he was willing to change a little and actually make the effort of meeting up–much less closing the gap. But….cats don’t bark lol.
Your article stopped me dead in my proverbial emotional self sabotage tracks! You described him to a T. I think the reason he held on this long was because I was so patient with him and kept giving him and his bad behavior a lot of validation. I won’t be giving in, at least for one more day, to harboring reconciliation fantasies.
How do you do it? You’re like a lightning rod, capturing all of our negative energy and bringing it down to terra firma reality or like a weather vane capturing our winds of anxiety and pain and pointing us towards healing. Thank you. Sincerely. Once more.
Wow Zara! Reading your comment makes me feel like I’m not alone. Maybe my situation is so much like yours or maybe I’m still in denial refusing to accept that my ex was the person he was post breakup (completely different person during the relationship).
Thank you Natasha for this amazing article<3 I wish we could be half like you!
You’re far from alone Sheryl <3 you are loved, supported, believed in and understood. I'm glad that the post helped! It takes one to know one - you are stronger, more beautiful and resilient than you know. All my love to you soul sister. XO
Zara! Thank YOU so much! I’m so proud of you and truly honored to have helped 🙂 Thank you for being a part of this tribe! You are a gem. I love and believe in you soul sister! XOX
This is scary accurate, and probably the reason my soon-to-be ex-husband never responded to my request to stop traveling in order to hold the family together. Physical and emotional distance are the name of his game. Even married, he has long-distance playthings. Ew. I love you, Natasha. You bring truth to light, girl!
Happy it helped! Thanks Melissa! 🙂 You’re not alone. XO
Signing up for the PMS newsletter and getting notifications every time there is a new post was the best decision of my life. lol
Love this post, thank you!
You’re going to make me cry!! Thanks Liv 🙂 I’m so happy to help. xx
“no matter how many fancy dog accessories you spend your savings on, cat’s MEOW.”- I live by this fact EVERYDAY. Whatever you write makes sense, really, especially when I am stuck in a whirlpool of thoughts and torment. You have the answer to every doubt. Love you so much. Keep helping. Bless you. :* XOXO
Thank you Pankhuri! It is my eternal honor and pleasure. Truly. Love you too! xx
“Long distance relationships are VERY attractive to emotionally unavailable, empathetically bankrupt and narcissistic people who like to run emotional ponzi schemes in the name of an ego stroke (at your expense). Think about it – as long as they can say that they’re in a “relationship,” it gives them a license to assume that they don’t have any relational issues to work on. Why? You’re tolerate any crumbs they throw your way, while trying to convince yourself that you’re involved with a loaf manufacturer.”
Verbal Gold. Wisdom at her finest.
🙂 thanks Dea!xoxo
This article is so helpful for me as I just broke up with my 35 year-old long distance boyfriend on Friday. Im 26, and had high hopes for him as he literally GUNNED for the relationship when we first got together in Feb, and he had such great clarity about what he wanted. It only lasted 5 months, so i think i’ve saved myself some heartache… but it still hurts.
It’s been the hardest 5 days of my life. The whole reason we split was because he turns into a different person when he is back at home. This article was so helpful as I now believe that he was enjoying the idea of having a girlfriend without investing too much of himself. He was a kick ass boyfriend when he was with me, but shady when he was back at home in the UK. Ultimately things came to a head because I was p*ssed off at him for vanishing for 6 hours, getting in the door at 1am with a shaky “my phone died” explanation and brushing off my questions. This wasn’t a one off thing either. He spends more time out at the pub, drinking, socializing and archiving hardcore porn on his tumblr (who even has tumblr these days?! especially for that…) than he does getting to know me and nurturing what we have. Along with that, he’s been keeping his options open. I’ve been whatsapp stalking him and his ex (who appears to hate my existence) after getting a bad feeling (i know i know…. that alone proves me to be unbearably insecure) but it was evident they were speaking to each other, and doing so for the two months between my visit and his recent trip here to see me. The most telling phrase during the dreaded friday conversation was this;
“I have an amazing time when I am with you, but I struggle when I am away from you”
Ultimately I made him accountable and he didn’t like it, he thought i should just “go with it” and “wait and see what happens” despite me being his girlfriend. I kept having to ask him how he felt about me and whether he had a growing affection for me and he just fumbled over his words. It ended up with him agreeing he needed “space” and vaguely referring to us as being broken up. So i ended the call. It was a truly pathetic exit… and even though i know it was the answer i needed, it broke me. This article has been truly helpful, but I am curious what you have to say about men at that age not being able to commit? This man has been in a series of short term relationships.
Hi! I’m so glad that the post helped 🙂
I wish that I could further answer and elaborate, but I don’t have enough hands to type or hours in the day. I will try to write a post on this soon!
Thanks for your love, for reading and for your understanding.
I do offer one-on-one coaching if you’re interested and would be happy to help further ? The link to it is on the homepage.
All my love to you.
You’re not alone xo
Oh my gosh after 6months long distance with a pretend emotionally available man I uprooted my life and moved to be with him. It lasted another 6months and that whole time I was doing the emotional labour trying to connect with him only to keep hitting brick walls. It affected my self worth and made me feel somehow flawed and unlovable. He was a fraud that was able to give love long distance because it didn’t have to be maintained the way real togetherness does. I watched him with his children too that live a distance away with their mother. He’s a great Dad part-time who would not be able to maintain that kind of love/care/nuturing regularly. He digs deep when they are staying with him. It has been a month since I left and moved back to my home town, even though it turned me inside out with hurt I realized that I was short changing myself to stay. Reading this just cements that I 100% made the right decision. He won’t change and it’s no reflection on me or my worth. Thank you for reminding me.
So happy to help! 🙂 Thanks Taressa! xox
Please can anyone give me some word of reassurance and strength.
My ex left me a year ago after living together for 5 years and together for 6. He was emotionally unavailable and I admit my frustration was high. He had enough of being in a relationship and said he couldn’t cope with it.
He left. Few weeks later went online and found a new girl who lives 6 hours drive away. He’s been in a LDR with her ever since, meeting every month.
I’ve just heard she’s moving down to live with him, in my home town. I’m broke again all over.
He has cut me out and replaced me. ??