29 November 2007

How can you maintain a long-distance relationship ?

My name is Sarah. I am bisexual and have a friend I am in love with. Though she is not yet my girlfriend, she is also in love with me. The problem is the distance between us. I live in England and her parents have now made her move to Canada. I miss her so much and don’t know how to keep our relationship going, knowing we will not be able to see each other for a long time. Do you think you could help me keep our relationship going?

JP Duc

Hi Sarah,

Thank you for your question.

Actually, many individuals experience long-distance relationships nowadays, as air travel and other modes of modern transportation/communication have helped people stay connected even if they live apart from each other. This is also a common situation because students often leave their own countries to pursue studies overseas, for an internship, or even to settle permanently in another country.

Distance relationships can certainly be difficult to maintain. There is no question that physical presence is important in relationships whether it is in the context of a deep friendship, or in a boyfriend/girlfriend situation, and whether it actually encompasses sexual relationships. In fact, even in a time where cell phones, texting, web messenger services, social media, and webcams keep us connected, there are many individuals who would rather be present physically for a significant other… This applies to a wide variety human social contact whether it be for business, family, friends, and relations.

In terms of making a decision as to your relationship status, I would have to say that, just like in any relationships, there are no clear guidelines. We can offer you some guidance, but of course, in the end it remains (and should remain) your own decision. You might decide you are able to sustain a long-distance relationship or you could decide that it would better to remain friends for the moment. Sometimes, there are issues in relationships that can only be resolved with time.

Of course, trust and honesty will be key issues if you choose to initiate and maintain a long-distance relationship. Finding creative ways to keep in touch through various modes of communication -webcams, web messenger-, while also leaving enough room and trusting your partner enough to be able to let her live her own life are all important factors in maintaining a successful relationship. Staying in touch daily and sharing even minute details about each other’s everyday lives, as well as discussing your mutual feelings can help stay connected.

It is essential to remember that this important decision (about your long-distance relationship status) is, in fact, a joint responsibility between you and her, just like in any other relationship, where everything significant should ideally be shared. Your decision (either hers or yours) might also fluctuate over time but constant communication may help resolve this issue in a satisfactory manner. Discussing your feelings with other friends, both male or female, may help give you an overall, and maybe more objective, view of the circumstances, as it is often difficult to gauge our own behavior when we are directly involved in a particular situation.

On the other hand, remaining only friends would allow you to meet other women/men or date other people, while potentially continuing long-distance contact with her.

Independently of which path/option you and your friend choose we at AlterHeros wish you the best.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us again if you need more information or have further questions about this issue!

Jean-Pierre, for Project 10