Saturday, January 23, 2010

Is a long distance relationship worth it?



Dear Suhail,
I met someone that I think I'd like to be with for a long time. However, they were only working temporarily in my city and have now moved back home. I'd like to try to make things work, without ignoring the difficulty of the situation. Any advice? JP



Dear JP,
It is difficult, to be torn between the place you call home and the heart you call home.  Long distance relationships are a tricky, unpleasant business. There's the intense, awful missing and sweet, sad pining followed by deluges of lusty, codependent companionship. Because, during visits, you have to pack in as much time together as humanly possible.

A relationship is the network of common fields that identify two people with each other - the flirting, the conversations together, the shared meals, the sex, the sharing of personal space, the simple touches exchanged throughout the day, the sex, the overlapping friends - did I mention the sex? By any of these measures, a long distance relationship is not a relationship, because you do not get the subtle periodic reinforcement of each other's physical presence, which grounds the relationship, and let's face it, the sex. If you wanted a intimate, sexless relationship you could just get a gay Laotian pen pal.

A powerful and misleading motivator of love affairs is wanting what you can not have. Many people want someone by virtue of the fact that they can not have that person. This manifests in everything from dating married people to falling in love with tabloid celebrities to long distance relationships.

Long distance works if it is a short bridge to a more permanent state of physical togetherness. Otherwise, long distance relationships, full of plane tickets and unsatisfying phone sex, do not work.

Do some reflecting. If you both want to be together, don't do it by living apart. If the love is true, but merely cramped by an inconvenient thousand miles or so, go for it! In that case, moving for love is worth it! Plus, it makes a hell of a better memory in the end than staying put all alone.

Need a lighthouse in the winsome fog of love and relationships? Write Suhail.

©2009 by Suhail Rafidi

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