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Going the Distance

Making a long distance relationship work

Jennifer Maerz

If this scenario sounds familiar, you're in good company. There are some very high-profile LDRs (long-distance relationships) out there. Just ask Bush's Britain-bound Gavin Rossdale how much he misses his L.A. woman, Gwen Stefani of No Doubt. Or Yalie Claire Danes, who's literally on the other side of the planet from her sweetie, Australian rocker Ben Lee. Even those of us who aren't dating rock stars know that our turbocharged ambitions and fast-paced careers are taking us, and our relationships, across the country and all over the world.

Is an LDR For You?
The most important factor to consider before getting into a long-distance relationship is whether you're ready to be in one. If you stay together because you're scared to be alone, you'll regret it later. If you have any doubts that this relationship is "the one", get out there and play the field. This is especially true if you are taking a relationship from high school to college, when one person is left behind or when the two of you are bound for different colleges.

"People in college (who have long-distance relationships) absolutely limit themselves in terms of meeting other people and experiencing college life," says Dr. Thomas Wise, director of research at the Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital. "For the person who leaves, I have to ask, "Why limit yourself?' and for the person who stays behind, 'Are you willing to sit there and wait for the other person?,'" he adds.

That said, the scenario isn't all doom and gloom. LDRs offer you the chance to pursue your dreams (career, school, traveling) and hold onto the one you love. Some people even claim to prefer the freedom of an LDR. Melinda, a writer in New York, has come to appreciate the rhythm of her relationship with her boyfriend, an airline pilot based in Miami. "When he's away, I can focus one hundred percent on my work and not feel selfish. And because we see each other only a couple of weekends a month, our time together becomes more special. Each visit is like a mini-vacation," she says.

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