Can Long Distance Relationships (LDRs) Really Work?

The long distance relationship, or LDR, is a contentious issue in the dating world. People seem to be divided as to whether they are worth investing in.

On one hand, the LDR can be like setting yourself up for frustration, pain and heartache. Why would you knowingly enter into a relationship that may be doomed from the start? Expensive airfares, long absences, painful video-chats and easily misinterpreted text messages – why bother?

On the other hand, if there is a strong level of compatibility and you really believe in the potential of your union, surely the distance becomes irrelevant?

I set out to understand each side of the argument a little better and spoke with two of my clients who have had various LDR experiences.

Cate – The Case of the Interstate Phantom

Melbourne girl, Cate, met a gorgeous rugby player from Sydney during the Spring Carnival festivities one year. They instantly hit it off and raced into an exciting, spontaneous relationship. After a few months of weekends away and mid-week interstate visits, the rugby player started to withdraw. He became less responsive to her communication, stopped initiating contact and eventually disappeared into thin air. Cate had no idea why he pulled away and in the absence of any explanation, decided to invent various (comical) excuses – his fingers were amputated in a rugby tackle and he could no long text, he was drafted to a top secret international rugby team in the middle east and is now playing under an assumed name and quite simply, he was dead.

After investing several months of her time, energy and emotional currency in this guy, Cate felt cheated.  She felt that he owed her an explanation and given she never heard from him again, she was left up in the air.

When I asked Cate how she rated this LDR out of 10, she gave it a 3.

Rob – The Case of the Geographical Mishap

Rob was a dedicated online dater. He had profiles on several sites and actively managed his pictures, profiles and settings. However, he overlooked the geographical distance settings on one of his profiles and was accidentally matched with a woman who lived interstate. Although generally opposed to LDRs, Rob was intrigued by this woman and was already 2 weeks into their online chatting before he realised where she lived. He put the distance factor to one side for a while and allowed their rapport to develop.

And develop, it did.

Rob and his lady did the LDR thing for 6 months, then he moved to be with her (as his career was more portable than hers), they then moved back to her home state together and after another 12 months, were engaged with a baby on the way.

Not surprisingly, Rob rated his experience with an LDR as a 10.

Optimal LDR Mindset

I would argue that the best way to approach any relationship is with an open mind. If you’ve had negative or painful experience with LDRs in the past then it would be understandable to be cautious.

But what if you approached each potential relationship with the philosophy of What if?

  • What if they are my ideal, perfect match?
  • What if we could be deliriously happy together?
  • What if we could create a beautiful family together?
  • What if we could travel the world together?

As long as you balance your what ifs with a dose of reality and pragmatism, you have nothing to lose. So next time you stumble across an interstate cutie online or meet a visiting honey in a bar, give them a chance before you condemn them to a life as a fingerless Middle Eastern rugby player.

Happy Dating.

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