Long Distance Relationship

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I have been talking to a beautiful woman from England, every day, for the past 5 months. We are both at the level that we know if we lived in the same country we would be in a serious/intimate relationship, but we are unsure of the struggle that would come with having a long-distance relationship. I am currently a college student and do not have enough funds to go and visit her for an extended trip overseas. This is no catfish situation, because we Skype and snap chat all the time. I know who she is and this is serious. It just makes me so upset that I cannot be with her. I lay in bed every night and think about her, but I can’t be with her. I know once I am available to visit her I will be the happiest man alive. Basically, I am seeking advice on how to deal with a situation like this because I am so distressed about it. Any help would be appreciated.

A: I’m glad that you have asked this important question.

The difficulty with long-term relationships is that distance itself may be part of the attraction. You have a desire and a natural inhibition mixed together. In other words, there is no way of knowing what it might be like for the two of you to be together. In fact, the best way to understand this is that all the feelings that you are having include her distance.

The coping mechanism for this relationship is to accept it for what it is. It sounds like neither of you are in a position to relocate anytime soon, and that what you have is a bond that includes distance.

On the good news side, if there are opportunities for you to get together in the future, some new research indicates that long-distance relationships may in fact be the best way to guard against boredom. Couples often struggle with the routine of their relationship and successful long-distance couples can manage quite well because each time they are together it is novel and exciting.

The recommendation is to make a plan even if it’s six months from now to visit each other. This will allow you to savor, anticipate and enjoy the relationship you have on phone and Skype, while also allowing you to jointly plan what you’ll do with that time together.

If the meeting is successful then you will have more positive elements to stoke the relationship for the future. If for some reason the meeting doesn’t go as well you’ll have the advantage of having more information by which to make your decisions.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 4 Jan 2014

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Long Distance Relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/01/04/long-distance-relationship/