Opinion

Long distance relationships aren’t all that bad

Though physical intimacy may be rare, there are plenty of other benefits

What kind of relationship do you want? Given a choice between long distance or, let’s say, short distance, which would you choose?

Practically every person I know and have talked to about this would 100 percent choose a relationship with someone who is physically close to them.

In a long distance relationship, you need to have a massive amount of trust for the person, perhaps above all else. For a lot of people, myself included, there can be the fear that they’ll cheat on you, encounter problems you can’t protect them from, or even get into some sort of accident.

There’s also the fact that you’re basically signing up to not have a physical component to your relationship for days, weeks, months, even years at a time. Not even just sex, but kissing, holding hands — all those little things that you would do with someone you care about romantically.

There’s a lot more that terrifies people about long distance. However, for all that’s bad or just plain scary about that kind of relationship, maybe it deserves more of a chance than its reputation would make you think.

I think of relationships as if they were a sliding scale. On one side, we see the physical aspects of a relationship, and on the other side, we see the emotional side. Everyone’s idea of a perfect relationship is different, so think about what you want first and foremost. It doesn’t have to be the relationship you want to last forever; it could just be what you want right now.

If you were to want a 50/50 split, you would want your relationship to be half about the touches and simple, raw attraction. You would then want the other half to be about your shared feelings — feeling sympathy when your significant other is sad, smiling when they do something you love about them, trusting them with major parts of your life and really whatever you believe emotions in relationships should ideally be.

In terms of a long distance relationship, you cut a majority of the physical aspect out of that sliding scale. The relationship then becomes much more based off of emotions for one another.

On the downside, it’s hard to do a long distance relationship for all the reasons I’ve already listed. A lot of us aren’t emotionally mature enough to handle all those negative emotions that are easier to handle when you’re physically with someone. You literally can’t kiss and make up.

On the other hand, if you manage to form a lasting relationship that either began long distance or continues to be long distance, then that says something positive about your emotional connection — something that people really need once the physical parts of their relationships begin to die away.

In marriages today, we see that divorce is more and more common. It’s a trend that is widely accepted as common knowledge. Relationship coach David Wygant states in a Huffington Post article, “A lot of men — and a lot of women — have trouble going deeper into what I would call the intimacy zone.”

Despite what people may first think upon hearing “intimacy zone,” it has to do with the deep parts of yourself that you may not even realize you have. Relationships get complacent, and even after years and years, in order to make one last, you have to be willing to explore those deep zones with your significant other (get your mind out of the gutter).

A long distance relationship could really facilitate that exploration of the mind. I find a really deep 6 a.m. talk just about as stimulating as oral, albeit in different ways.

So is Wygant right about why a lot of relationships fail? Am I right about the positives of long distance relationships? Maybe. All we can try to determine is how to create the best relationship for us today, tomorrow and potentially for the rest of our lives.

Views expressed in the opinion pages represent the opinions of the columnists.