Distance makes the heart grow fonder.
The two relationships that come to mind when I read this: my relationship with my parents and my relationship with my boyfriend. In college, the boyfriend and I had a long distance relationship. I was a freshman and he was a senior when we started dating. After he graduated, we had nearly three years playing the long distance game. We made a point to see each other once per month, with the exception on the semester I spent in Northern Ireland. That particular distance showed me a lot about the boyfriend.
I’m not sure how many couples would do this, but my boyfriend and I Skyped 2 – 4 times per week. During lunch periods, I would give him a call. He would have woken up a little early for work just so he could talk to me. It meant a lot to me that he was comfortable with me studying abroad at all (some of my friends specifically mentioned their romantic relationships of reasons why they weren’t studying abroad) and it meant even more that he would go out of his way to have a monotonous conversation with me.
Honestly, our conversations didn’t differ too much from the norm. We still do the same thing during our commutes home from work. Using our Bluetooths, we frequently talk as we drive, asking riveting questions such as:
> “How are you?”
> “How was your day?”
> “Anything interesting happen today?”
> “What did you have for lunch?”
Maybe that sounds terrible to some people, but I think it’s important. Maintaining an intimate relationship involves being intimately involved in each other’s lives. People change every day, with every new experience. If you don’t pay attention, you’ll lose them.
Family and friend relationships are a little different. I don’t know how it is that you can be separated from friends and family, only to interact with each other as if no time has passed when you do get together, but it happens. Certainly distance has some kind of influence there.
Distance defiantly made me fonder of my parents. I’m not sure there is a specific reason I can point to. In college, I was an hour away from my parents and still saw them often enough, but I was viewed as a child. When I came home, I was always quickly reminded that college was about more than fencing and friends.
Once I graduated college, moved further away and started working, things changed. Is it that they finally saw me as an adult? I really don’t know. All I do know is that my relationship with my parents has never been stronger. Honestly, I don’t think our relationship would be nearly as good if I lived close to them. I’m not saying that’s a rule for all parental relationships, but it’s certainly true for mine.
I actually feel bad. Many of my friends call their parents once a week, if not once a day. Here I am calling my parents maybe once every two weeks. This distance works, though. It allows both myself and my parents to live our own kind of adulthood. I’m not nearly as conservative as my parents and there’s no way I’d feel able to be myself living close to my parents. There’s nothing wrong with how I live my life or with how my parents live theirs. I just feel like our preferences clash. With a bit of distance, those differences don’t matter. They don’t clash. That allows us to come together and enjoy each other’s company.
Perhaps there is a similarity there with romantic relationships. Distance allows people to live independent lives. People are allowed to grow into themselves without worrying what one or the other will think. I think this is especially true for parental relationships, where so much of childhood is spent trying to achieve the goals parents set. If a child never distances themselves at some point, they are never given true ability to come into their own. In romantic relationships, especially in the beginning, it’s much the same. Early in a relationship, people are often concerned about impressing the other. They may invest the effort in learning what the other person wants and try to meet that expectation. Distance allows that couple to maintain their individuality.
One of the reasons I insisted on living by myself for at least a year was to foster that individuality. Once you come into adulthood, I don’t think it’s healthy to be dependent on parents, lovers or anyone else. A person should be able to entertain themselves and solve many problems on their own. We all need help and we all appreciate the company of our loved ones, but we don’t want to be a burden.
Distance makes the heart grown fonder because it fosters our own individuality and provides the room for us to become our best selves. The reason why we love and are loved is because of who we are. Anything that enhances who we are inevitably enhances the love.
Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? How did it work out for you? Do you think long distance relationships that fail fail because of the distance or because of the people involved? How does distance differently effect relationships with your friends, family and lovers?