Could You Make A Long-Distance Relationship Work From Two Different Continents?

August 10, 2015  |  

With all the talk about celebrity splits we’ve heard in recent days (Miss Piggy and Kermit too? Really?!), I’ve heard just as much talk in my inner circle about couples facing one serious and potentially relationship-threatening issue: distance.  Now, when it comes to long-distance relationships, there’s being in a faraway city or another state type of long distance. And then there’s the living on opposite coasts, across a large body of water, or in completely different countries kind of long distance.  To say it takes a serious amount of work, patience and communication to keep either type of relationship not just afloat but thriving and strong, would be an understatement.  All of this talk about couples struggling with hectic schedules and rarely being in the same place at the same time had me wondering whether or not I could handle a long-distance relationship at this point in my life…

…not that I haven’t tried to before.  I had a short-term, long-distance relationship several years ago.  Though he and I lived in the same state, the quickest we could get to each other was six hours by car (or an hour and some change par avion).  Despite there being other issues in our relationship, distance played a huge factor.  We first met in the city I call home, but from the jump, we both lived in different places.  We spoke on the phone incessantly, but that didn’t make up for the in-person connection I needed. Living so far apart made getting to know each other on a deeper level that much more difficult.  I felt like I had to, in a sense, get to know him all over again every time we met, which, mind you, wasn’t even every week.

But, as I stated, our relationship was short-lived.  What if I were married with children like both of the women whose stories sparked my curiosity in the first place?  One is perfectly content, despite the fact that her husband, who owns a very successful and profitable business, lives abroad. She has a live-in nanny who helps out so that she can focus on her own career goals, and she lives well.

Due to the distance that separates them, another woman in a similar circumstance is unhappy enough to have given her powerful husband an ultimatum.  I understand this woman’s frustration and imagine that with a small child at home, she might feel a bit like a single parent (finances aside).  It’s easy to see how this situation could take a toll on their marriage.  With her own busy schedule, maybe she thought she could handle the distance, but time (a few years at that) has taught her otherwise.  Maybe her husband was due to return by a certain date, one that came and went.  Maybe her feelings have changed, and she views him being away from their family as selfish.  There’s so much at play, not to mention the havoc that being so far away from your partner can wreak on your sex life.  I mean, there’s only so much Skyping and sexting a couple can do.  I’m sure studies have been conducted that posit whether being in a long-distance relationship (and for a long time) makes couples more susceptible to having an emotional or physical affair.

Moreover, what makes the women in both of these relationships see things so differently?  Is it an issue of financial security?   Is it about individual needs and personal preference?  Is it about the strength of their friendships, familial relationships and support systems outside of their husbands?  Both women have made sacrifices so that their husbands can provide for their families while living abroad, a decision that not only affects them but their children.  And despite their varying degrees of happiness, I know it’s not easy for either one of them, and I wish both couples the best.

While I don’t have a long-distance boo on deck, I think should I have another long-distance relationship, I’ll be better prepared and a lot more aware of the work and commitment it takes.   I have heard and read countless stories over the years about couples who not only make it through but end up with stronger relationships.  Distance is not an impossible feat to get over, and it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker.

Are you in a long-distance relationship?  How do you and your partner make it work?

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