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Long Distance Relationships: What’s the Point?

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This post is for Miss Anonymous who wanted me to blog on long distance relationships

I have to be honest. I do not get long distance relationships. Seriously, what is the point? Someone please tell me…I am obviously missing something here.

To my mind, the advantage of being in a relationship is in order to have companionship and good sex with a person with whom I share common interests. I know, I don’t ask for much do I? I recognise though that there are so many more advantages in being in a relationship. There is social status, recognition, security, a recognised union in which to have children, synergy, more money…is there anything else you would add to this list? However for me, companionship and sex would be my top two. With companionship I am thinking of the whole nine yards. Someone who you can chat to, eat with, drink with, party with, gets on well with your family/friends…

So if that is the value of a relationship (at least to me), why would I want to date someone who is not in the same space as I am? The only scenario I can come up with where I would consider embarking on a long distance relationship would be if my partner lived in one of the neighbouring countries and could afford to fly over to see me every weekend! (Read previous post on A View out of Ghana: Neighbour Nigeria). Even that scenario is likely to be for a short term thrill and not sustainable.

I can appreciate that some people start off having relationships in the same space and for one reason or the other one of them has to move away. Because they are sooo much in love or want to get married in the future or do not want to break up or will be in the same space in about 2 years they decide to have a long distance relationship. In that scenario, all I can say is “good luck to you”. Seriously, I do think you need a lot of good luck, trust and dedication to make a long distance relationship work ‘cos it is WORK. At this point in time I am thinking of some of the friends I have/have had who were in long distance relationships. Cue Olu, Ebenezer and Daniel (I can’t think of any woman friends who have been or are in long distance relationship).

Olu: He and his girlfriend lived in different countries. They would visit each other often and at Christmas go “home” together for the season’s festivities. Olu loved his girlfriend very much (at least that is what he told me). Olu was also a serial cheater. He assured me that once he married his girlfriend his cheating ways would come to an end. He and his girlfriend got married last December. I don’t know if he is still cheating on her or not.

Ebenezer: Had several girlfriends who all believed they were in “long distance relationships” with him and recently got married to one of those “long distance relationships”. The other girls were all shattered, they had no idea he had been seeing other women.

Daniel: Currently in a long distance relationship, recently had sex with another woman.

Now all these men are real men, whom I know and generally have a good relationship with (of course I have changed their names to protect their anonymity and preserve our friendships) but they have not left me with much faith in long distance relationships. My point here is not that men are cheats and so cannot be trusted to have long distance relationships (I do think both men and women can be unfaithful to each other). My point is “What do you gain out of a long distance relationship? Nothing from where I stand” Please share your thoughts by commenting. I am a bit concerned that Miss Anon was looking for me to alleviate her fears about long distance relationships and I may have only added to them.

Disclaimer: I am sure that there are some long distance relationships where both partners are faithful to each other, end up in the same space and “live happily ever after”. THE END

25 COMMENTS

  1. My views are more optimistic.
    The health of the long-distance relationship would depend on the true commitment of both parters, and their shared values. Do they share the same views about sex?

    It is possible to bridge the gap to some extent with regular communication. How often do they communicate? How often do they meet in-between? How truthful are they with each other?

    A long-distance relationship is possible but it takes a lot more hard work to keep it real. A strong commitment on both sides would make it possible. Do you have the energy for a strong commitment?

  2. Ok, Nana, I’m as cynical as you are about long distance relationships. I have never been in one and I don’t see myself doing so in the near future. Same reason, whats the point? I’m one of those poeple that believes love grows as you nurture it. That is why I am not in love with some man in Bolivia. I cannot nurture the love. Its the one you can see that the affection and love grows. Take my friend
    Adwoa* in GH- she dated Kwame* in USA for 4 years. She stayed at home every Friday and Saturday when we went out and spoke to him on the phone. Kwame stopped calling frequently, started calling just once a month or so. She was depressed and lonely. In the end she broke it off. Dated a man in her same space for 8months and got married! All that time wasted.
    Why bother?

  3. Naana, thank you for the post on long distance relationships… I have never been in one and have always been fearful of being in one.. But it seems like ehrmm i might be in one….. but long distance relationships (cross Atlantic) are damn expensive. wow..there are issues of trust, nurturing the love… and all.. in the end you keep wondering.. is it even worth.. but the other side to it (if both parties remain faithful) is that you develop a deeper connection outside sex which could make the sex ( i said COULD) fantabolous… i don’t even know what i am saying.. shucks.. i have never been in a long distance relationship…

    Could we get a post on “Age difference does it really matter!”

  4. If he isn’t in the same city as I am then forget it. I have even heard several guys say that even if they have to travel say from Achimota to Tema, that qualifies as a long distance relationship and they aren’t interested. LOL

    LDR. I used to love them.

    My Reason: I have my space, you have your space.

    The Real Reason: I liked living like I was single, about to go out on dates and flirt and basically visit you once every 3 months for intimacy and conjugal visits. I was one of those who refused to do 3 hrs of telephone loving on weekends.. but rather we’d talk a bit, share our plans for the night and part ways.

    It requires a lot of trust and honestly I always find there is a disconnect between the person I know on the phone and the person I visit. It just somehow feels different.

    I have a theory though, that LDR’s work only if the distance occurred a few months after dating began. That is the distance comes later in the relationship so the relationship is established and you know each other enough to have trust and all the things that make up for a strong relationship.
    I think thats the only way LDR can work. am I wrong?

  5. @Mr Jones – It’s always good to have an optimist! I do agree with you though…IF (and its a BIG IF) all the factors you mentioned are in place then yes the relationship could work.

    @Kwegriba – Ohhh, look at all the time Adwoa* wasted when she could have been…oh well, c’est la vie, n’est pas?

    Miss Anon – You’re welcome…I am confused. You are not sure whether YOU are in a long distance relationship? Is he/she sure? In regards to your query about age differences did you ever read this post http://adventuresfrom.com/2009/06/05/on-dating-sex-and-relationships-younger-men-versus-married-men.html It’s not about age differences per say but the issue is raised….I could be persuaded to write a post specifically on age differences though…you have given me some ideas

    @Brown Angel – Lol, I can see how Achimota to Tema can almost be a LDR, charle, traffic!!!! I can also completely see why you used to love long distance relationship

  6. i personally do not believe in long distance relationships and if my current boyfriend has to travel for an unforeseeable period of time, then kudos to him. it will hurt me to let him go, but a gal gotta do what a gal gotta do. i cannot stand the thought or the fact the he might ‘cheat’ on me (i believe any man will cheat if the opportunity is there, a takes an extremely strong will man and God-fearing at that to resist the temptation). Better to let him go and see what happens later if he comes back and you have not found someone better than him.

  7. Absence is to love, what wind is to fire….it extinguishes the weak and enkindles the great.- I cannot remember who said this, but i love it.

    I also heard that it is not cheating if it is a different area code. It works for different ppl for diff reasons. People like to have single life fun while…enjoying the “security” of a relationship…others like the gratification of anticipated loving…waiting to see their boo…others just want the label: profit without responsibility.
    It depends on who you are…it might actually work. Some are just in love and thing it takes nothing to rip them apart. I wonder if it is different when they meet in person…after loving so on the phone or over the internet, when your boo is before you…what is it like?

  8. you all seem to have forgotten or conveniently ignored the fact that women too can and do cheat! comments like “i believe any man will cheat if the opportunity is there” are rather myopic.

    p.s. i am a woman so i would know

  9. @Aba – I hear you!

    @Ducezphloci – I think you can get dangerously close to someone when you are cyber loving…the reality may not quite match yp

    @Black Widow – Lol, I am a woman too so I agree that women can and do cheat. Will write a post on the subject one of these days

  10. Thanks Black Widow, i know women who cheat on their men(yeah women can, and do cheat),….. my opinion is what i think of long distance relationships in terms of if i was the one in such a relationship. ‘an opinion’ not a “myopic” view plus no one needs to be in a long distance relationship in order to cheat

  11. My boyfriend and I recently ended (just over) a year long, long-distance relationship. The interesting thing about our situation was that we hadn’t even been dating that long when I had to go overseas for school – 3 months to be exact…

    As for the point of long-distance relationships, I don’t believe that the point of any relationship is to only have companionship and good sex. In serious relationships, there is the important element of two building building a life together. I’m not saying that long distance relationships don’t make this hard, but its not near as impossible as many people tend to believe.

    For people committed first and foremost to the ‘team’ (i.e. this building of a life together), other things become secondary. I think this is an essential point to reach in any relationship because, like I’m sure we’ve heard before, sex comes and goes and comes back again, in long term relationships. The same goes for that “in-love” feeling.

    As for companionship, that comes in many different forms…. and doesn’t necessarily have to be in the physical form (although it’s nicer).

    As for why my relationship lasted through 18 months of long distance, I think it was the commitment, the friendship and the lots of skype sex:-)

  12. I have been in a LDR for almost a year. I thought our love was stronger than the distance. Boy was I wrong. It was just soo hard to trust that my man was not cheating on me and vice versa. We would talk and email freqently in the beginning but later we grew apart. When we saw each other however, it was so awesome to see each other and it was like we had fallen back in love. But its FRUSTRATING..Wouldn’t do it again. We broke up cuz we cudnt handle the distance. Funny though, cuz we both still love each other and are not dating anyone else. Good luck to those who want to try it…

  13. I am going to be doing LDR soon and I am dreading it… dunno if I can hold up(no I am not going to cheat on him but I am just not sure how long I can go for without seeing him for months at a time). But my man is a great guy though. We shall see I suppose…

  14. I have always wanted a LDR, it gives u ur space and buids the relationship however its a risk. My ex who lived in Gh. could not bear the distance, we brokeup in 2006 he got married just last month, my next LDR lasted for 4 months he also got married in Jan this year. Am in another LDR , there was no cheating in any of these relationships, we all had our space and it gave me the chance to concentrate on my studies.
    A man does not only cheat when there’s distance,
    LDR builds ur trust and love for each other.

  15. I fell i love with the boy(MAN) next door and the next thing I knew he moved across the state (TEXAS).
    He assured me over and over before he left that people do this all the time, (LDR) military and career couples alike, and said nothing would change. NOTHING.
    Due to the pressures of his present job our communication has gone from 30mph to 2. He also had a room mate that had me wanting to hang up during our conversations as he would constantly barge in on my bf and interrupt us, making us both exasperated.
    He has alot on his plate, I must say this is evident, however there have been a few misunderstandings during our conversations which have led to a huge change on his part, and it’s more than obvious.
    He has been through this before(LDR) and his ex just weened him from the relationship ( spoke less and less) until it was over. I guess she felt he would do the breaking up in order for her to come out smelling like a rose.
    I will see him this weekend but I am clueless as to what will happen next. Im still where we were before he left…and I’m not sure if that’s where he is anymore. He’s very short with me, not loving anymore and just doesnt feel interested in me. I think he feels obligated at this point. I would love to be able to talk to him about it, but he always seems so annoyed, so I just small talk because everything else seems criticized.
    How does one decipher between hanging in there during a bad time of someone else’s life or being pushed away?
    I’m a loyal woman with my heart in the right place. I feel that you stick by the people that you love unconditionally. I also feel that making sacrifices are things you do when you love someone, and so I am. I just hope that it won’t turn around and bite me. I don’t think that I could handle that right now. It’s taken alot for me to open and trust 100%. And I have completely. I hold in alot.

  16. @Cece – I’m really touched by your comment. I think there is no way around it – you just have to sit down with your man and be totally honest about how you feel. I am sure he also feels some of what you are feeling. Its better to clear the air so you know how to move on – whether you move on with him in your life or not. I’m wishing you all the best. Do let me know how it goes. Hugs, Nana

  17. I am in a long distance relationship now. Actually it has been like that since we married in 2003. I will not choose another woman. I have not gone for a “deputy” and will never do. It does not always work, but I want this one to work and it is so far. Please do not look at this as an unworkable concept. It can be a reality for a consenting honest couple.

  18. every relationship its WORK ,not only long distance one ..relationships are constantly work if u wanna keep it for long …long distance are not always bad as people think ,it has psoitive sides as well ,but its definately not for unfaithful partners and unhonesty people ….

  19. thank you, roots4life. Finally a positive and commited statememt about LDRs. I am having one for 5.5 years now, and yes, they can work. I am so tired of all these pessimistic comments by people who have never had a LDR, assuming they know what people miss or what are the important factors which make a relationship work. Companionship and sex??? Ladies and Gentlemen, we are living in the 21st century and I am willing to bet, video calls were invented for online sex as main reason! 🙂
    No, seriously, I am quite sure, that my (almost) daily skype calls with my SO have more quality than sitting in front of the TV next to a partner, not talking to each other, because I just had a fight about whose turn it is to do the dishes. And: The feel of your SO’s fingertips, when on the way ‘home’ from the airport you are holding hands for the first time after months, can be quite arousing.

    Don’t get me wrong – LDRs often suck – but this constant display of wisdom by people who don’t have any experience with it (not to blame them, how should they?) doesn’t make it better, doesn’t make us feel better nor provides any solution.

    Sorry for my crappy English (I am not native) and all the best – Lily

  20. I’m currently in a LDR. This is the second time in my life. The first was when I was at uni (3 yrs) and it eventually led to marriage. This instance, my Beau was promoted and relocated to Asia. The time zones are a killer and we speak daily but on average only five minutes at a time. We’ve never had phone sex, and don’t s’pose we will. Although he visits at least once a month for a couple of days. I stick at the relationship because we’ve found something worth working at, and we know this is not a permanent state of affairs. I never allow myself to think about any women he encounters.

    My folks had a LDR for 12 years, while my Dad worked in the Middle East and my Mum and us were in the UK. It was tough on them but they made it through and are still happily married to this day. They’ve been married for a total of 36 years and my Dad will never leave my mother’s side again. I know from talking to them both now that I’m an adult, the distance made them look at themselves, and what was important to them. Coming back together was tough because they were like two strangers, but they love each other too much not to have found a way. I truly admire their resiliance and commitment to each other.

  21. I am in a long term relationship at the moment; I’m currently in the UK whilst he is in the US. In the beginning it was ok as we hadn’t really defined or labelled our relationship. And come to think of it, we still haven’t. I last saw him in July and as always we got on extremely well. Played some sexual games, but not as much as I would have wanted, time of the month. Anyway, to cut a long story short; Im way more sexually experienced than my partner and thus our long distance thing wouldn’t bother me as such if he would allow us to be more sexual in conversation. He just not having it. I love him to bits and have come close to cheating on him and told him. But his whole thing is that he is more concerned with when we can be together as opposed to the everyday hang ups I am so passionate about. Im used to sooo much more, even without any sex talk. but he don’t get that. and things remain as they are. I love him and i know that he loves me, even though I always have to prompt him to tell me…….Just need more passion

  22. Hey all. I’m in a long distance relationship due to my boyfriend being in the navy. We have been dating almost 1.5 years now, and he left for the navy about 7 months ago. While he was in bootcamp (2 months) we obviously couldn’t talk only write, and that was horrible for me. By the last week I was almost ready to end it because I felt like I lost the love for him. However, seeing him made things better, as it always does. Now he is stationed about 6 hours away from me and it wasn’t too bad because I saw him twice a month, then it lessened to once a month and now I haven’t seen him in two months. I know he’s busy, but I don’t hear from him too much either. I know he loves me and knows it’s hard for me, but he is certain that we’re getting married and will be together forever. I’m not opposed, but I am getting the same feelings that I did when he was gone for bootcamp (and we can even text and call now though), and I’m very afraid for when he has to leave for deployments (3-12 months usually)… I haven’t cheated and never will, but it’s hard to remember your love for someone that you never see when you get attention from very sweet local men. Yet when he visits me or I him, everything is almost perfect. It’s merely the distance. Yet we both know it won’t change for at least a year, maybe two. That’s a long ways away. And the worst part? I am only 18. All I hear from everyone is that I’m too young to decide my future and who I want to be with forever. He is also my first real relationship. Any suggestions? I love him, but sometimes I feel like LDR’s are pointless and that I’m just waiting for something that won’t work out, or that I just don’t want to not be dating him and maybe we won’t even get married! I get upset about the distance a lot and he always calms me down but I am getting more and more upset with the relationship and more and more depressed. I’ve started attempting to distance myself from him as well, as he isn’t very attentive (once again I know he’s busy and we’re in a LDR, so this isn’t technically fair to him)…. Help? 🙁

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