Is Distance in a Relationship Like a Knockout Punch?
Geographic desirability. What is it really? Simply put: It's the distance within which a person is willing to travel to see someone that they're in a relationship with, or looking to get into a relationship with. Simple enough, right? It's not always so cut and dry, though. For instance…I've been told that Orange County is too far from Culver City to make a relationship work. It really isn't that far. In L.A. traffic it's a good hour drive or so… Really, it's not that bad and I call b.s. Though, I should say that my tolerance to drive a long distance to see someone I'm with is higher than many others (aka geo targeting ones sex life)
In reality, some people don't like driving more than fifty miles to see their significant other. I suppose I can understand that. I mean, I don't like commuting an hour to work each day… However, commuting an hour to get laid… Well, that's a different story. I have priorities, dammit!
Living outside of someone's geographically desired radius can be a deal breaker. I think it's only a deal breaker, though, for those that aren't ready to commit to a relationship or ready for the work it takes to make a long distance relationship work. Because of that I normally advise my friends against such relationships. I've tried them and failed and I've seen other friends fail in their long distance love pursuits. I kept saying, “Guys, it's a bad idea. Just enter the crotchular kicking contest instead and save yourself the phone bill!!”
My friends, Phil and Janet, have been married almost four years now. They met on the interwebs. He lived on the other side of the pond, in England; while Janet lived in the suburbs of Orange County. When I heard this, the cynic in me told Janet, “This is doomed. How are you going to share a cross continental romance with this git?” For months they corresponded via email, IM and Skype. Daily. I mean, literally, Daily and for a couple hours on end. I thought it was weird and it was obvious how much time Janet was putting into this long distance relationship and I was worried about her. What if it failed? What if the guy simply found a geographically desirable woman to take sexual liberties with? There was so much that was outside of Janet's control…
Finally, the two of them arranged to meet. She was going to fly to England for New Year's. In my mind, I thought that she would get there and he might run off and leave her at the terminal. Perhaps they realized that they really don't get along; or that one of them doesn't like how the other kisses. I mean, really, there's a lot of shit that can go wrong when meeting someone the first time.
When I talked to Janet, after she met Phil, she was happy and gushing. I was relieved and she was obviously very happy.
She returned and they got back to their hi tech long distance relationship without skipping a beat. Phil came out to visit and Janet's friends and family got to meet him and everyone really liked Phil, even this guy. =)
I believe it was the third visit, maybe the fourth, that Phil proposed to her. The rest is history, as they say. However, the lesson that this sometimes cynical guy learned is that relationships, no matter how far the distance, will succeed when each person puts in the work and the commitment.
Armed with this revelation, I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine, Kev. He was talking about this girl he was pretty crazy about, but she lived a good twelve hours away. He had a look on his face, like he knew what I was going to say… I looked at him and I told him that if he really wanted to make it work then it was going to take a lot of work by him and his girl. If they resigned to be committed to each other then anything is possible.
His expression lifted and it was full of excitement. He obviously had some of the same doubts that I had. The human heart never ceases to surprise me. Go get that girl, Kev.
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I have found that a bit of distance can be healthy in a relationship. It allows each person some "space" to themselves. A bit of distance also, as the cliche says, "allows the heart to grow fonder". The time away provides each person a window to reflect on the relationship and value the time you have together, more. I am currently in a relationship that started with my girlfriend and I about an hour away from each other. I have since moved closer in order to see her more as well as be closer to school. I am a full believer in the fact that relationships can work no matter what the distance is as long as each party is willing to put in the effort to see that it succeeds.