by Tahira Carter
Are long-distance relationships a growing trend?
My mother made an observation a few weeks ago that really got me thinking.
“All my children are in long-distance relationships. What does this mean?” my mother asked. At the time, I did not give it much thought, but her question stuck with me. I could not readily produce an answer that justified our relationship choices.
I knew that my eldest brother was in a long-distance relationship and so was I, but it was not until recently that the last of us, my immediate older brother, moved away from his girlfriend to complete his doctorate thereby making the circle of long-distance relationships among the siblings complete.
All three of us had casually entered into a relationship type that only a few years ago was practically considered taboo. Determined to prove to myself that my brothers and I were not weird, I began to look for evidence of this behavior among my friends and sure enough, many of them were trying out long-distance dating as well.
Once I got beyond the initial oddness of the realization, it was not difficult for me to pin down some key reasons why we may be more open to the idea of long-distance relations now than we were in previous years.
With the increased use of applications like Facebook and Twitter, we have become accustomed to updating our activities, photos and thoughts on a regular basis – sometimes too regular. We have also become more accustomed to the simple act of sharing personal information online. Forums and platforms for online interaction are like second homes to us, because we share them with our friends.
Video chat programs like Skype and Facetime have also made a world of difference in the way that we view long-distance relationships. Gone are the days when we had to wait a year or save for months to see the animated smiling faces of our loved ones, now we can see them every time we get on our computers. Better yet, we can take them with us on our phones.
Thanks to technology, it is not difficult to see why long-distance relationships are increasing. This type of relationship is increasing because the distance is decreasing, or at least that is the way it feels when you can see your boyfriend’s face every morning before you leave the house and every night before bed. It certainly takes the sting out of separation.
With all the hoopla of technology and its never ending list of praises aside, however, there are still those that won’t understand why a person would choose to be in a LDR rather than break-up and find a new partner that could be physically near them.
When I asked why he and his girlfriend decided to try a long-distance relationship, my brother said that it is a compromise.
“It is the best compromise when you both want more but refuse to take a step backward to achieve it,” my brother said.
Well-said brother dear.
The growing attraction to this relationship option comes from our generation’s desire to have it all, or as my grandmother used to say, our desire to have our cake and eat it too.
I say ‘our’ because I too fall into this category. My home country did not offer the education that I wanted but I also wanted to keep my relationship with my boyfriend and remain close to my family. With some sacrifice, I have managed to achieve all of these things without taking a step backward.
A recent study, in the journal Communication Research, finds that as many as half of college students are in long-distance relationships and up to 75% will be at some point.
While I am certain that none of us set out with the intent to be away from our partners, long-distance relationships are officially a viable relationship choice for those that need it. The number of long-distance relationships is increasing among couples nationwide and this fact shows that our ambitions are driving us further apart. Thankfully, we have the internet and a plethora of new technologies to bring us back together again.