Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and rightly so. What’s not so cool is when those opinions are unfounded and are way too presumptuous. Here are a few false assumptions about long distance relationships that I’m keen to quash.
People are naturally curious. Never more so than when faced with a couple in a long distance relationship. I get it, it’s intriguing! But what comes with that is often not so innocent. Since being in a long distance relationship for a few years, I’ve come across several unpleasant assumptions made by observers. Not necessarily all at once, and certainly not meant maliciously. However, it’s always bothered me.
If you’re in a long distance relationship and sick of the incorrect assumptions you face, you might relate to these. If so, I would be keen to hear your stories and experiences. Us long distance-ers have got to stick together!
Everyone in long distance is desperate
HAHA. This one makes me cringe.
The idea that you’re dating someone far away because you can’t bear the idea of being single is completely laughable. You realise long distance means you’ll probably spend more time alone than if you weren’t in the relationship, right?!
Newsflash: not everyone wants to be in a relationship. What’s more, is that those in a long distance relationship choose to be in one. This isn’t some Austen drama where women are begging to be married off before they’re 25.
I don’t know anyone in a LDR who sees the separation as permanent. Oftentimes the decision to start a long distance relationship is a forced hand of wanting to be together in a genuine relationship but circumstances are temporarily in the way. I can’t fathom how this can be perceived as desperate. If anything, this is a sign of strong-minded resilience to not let factors out of our control tear us down.
Whatever the situation is for a couple in a LDR, there is one thing for sure. The only desperation to be found is for people to mind their own freakin’ business.
It’s not a real relationship
“How can you possibly be with someone who isn’t physically there?”
Well, here’s a little secret… Relationships are more than physical togetherness. The emotional connection, spiritual intertwinement, shared cognition: this is SO important for a strong and committed relationship. Possibly even more so than physical connection.
Sure, being together in person is wonderful. I miss the contact and ease of being in the same place all the time. But this is not all that a relationship involves.
It’s incredibly misguided and hurtful to dismiss long distance couples for not meeting a very narrow standard of relationships. Imagine being told the connection you share with someone you love doesn’t count as real?! It’s so small-minded.
In the beginnings of my long distance relationship I had comments that “I’d soon meet a nice British boy instead” or that “I can’t really think it’s a real relationship when you just talk on the phone”. Those comments hurt to hear. Not only were they invalidating my real and genuine feelings, they were unfair on my partner who is exactly who I want to be with, regardless of location. To assume it was a phase I’d soon get over when I met someone different in this country is insane.
I could go on because this really riles me up. But I won’t. Maybe another time…?
Basically, NEVER EVER EVER tell someone their relationship isn’t real. It’s as real as they feel it is. And how they feel is of no concern to you or anyone else.
You’re weird and anti-social
This one is kinda mean. Why does my personal life choices have any reflection on my personality or social life? Spoiler: It doesn’t.
I believe this assumption about long distance relationships stems from a stereotype that LDRs are primarily for shy, reclusive types. The idea of a pair who meet online and struggle to build the confidence to meet in person springs to mind as a cliche. Or worse, some kind of Catfish style manipulation where the distance is a tool to deceive one party… Shudder.
What an outdated load of tosh. I’m sure there are plenty of LDRs that started that way, but there is much more to it than that.
People’s lives are more fluid and dynamic. Many couples find themselves in a long distance relationship by circumstance – maybe a job relocation or a desire to travel. Whatever it is, the distance between a couple isn’t at all correlated to their lifestyle. We actively do all we can to keep our relationship thriving through long distance communication because we love each other’s company, virtual or otherwise!
Not everyone in a long distance relationship chooses to be in one to avoid socialising. Nor do all people in long distance struggle to make friends. I can think of several reasons long distance relationships occur, not least because of exactly the opposite traits. I’ve encountered couples where one is off galavanting through the world because they are SO extroverted and life and soul of the party. I’ve known relationships where the distance is caused by work commitments and nothing more.
I feel this point is getting a bit “Not All Long Distance Relationships…” which is exactly my point. An assumption is based on sweeping generalisations without any real justification. Just don’t put people into the same category, ok?
You can’t meet someone in your own hometown
To presume that it’s YOU that can’t find someone rather than there being a lack of sufficiently suitable partners is looking at things the wrong way around.
Not everyone is from a town where good-looking, smart, funny, charming people roam the streets in abundance. We’re not in a cheesy rom-com here! Real life makes meeting anyone let along a potential partner almost impossible sometimes. And like, if you’ve seen my hometown you’d know it’s not really my number one choice of demographic. I’m mostly surrounded by pensions not strapping youths.
I firmly believe that love is not some magical potion that strikes with one invisible Cupid’s arrow. It takes effort and time. but having said that, the person needs to be worth that time and effort. One can’t just pick any old stray and settle. No, that would make a mockery of love.
Our long distance relationship has no connection to potential suitors at home.
I know in my own life pre-LDR that I was really not ready for a relationship while living at home. No matter how much I thought I was, it took travelling to New Zealand and opening up to myself to be ready to let someone else in. The combination of right person (Kaz) and right mindset (me) meant we saw something worth trying. The fact we happen to be from antipodean countries is merely a frustrating logistical issue that we’re working hard to overcome. There’s nothing more to it! I didn’t say “oh no British boys are the WORST”. I did say, “oh this Kiwi is awesome. This will be hard but I want to give it a try”.
This assumption about long distance relationships is making a whole list of other assumptions too great to discuss here. Let’s just say that you can’t help who you fancy!
Long distance relationships never last
My least favourite of all the assumptions about long distance relationships.
What an awful thing to assume that someone’s happiness has an end date. To have so little faith in their resilience and commitment that you brush off a genuine partnership because of a difficult situation isn’t exactly supportive.
There’s no denying some long distance relationships do not last. That does not mean that the distance itself is always the cause.
There are plenty of wonderful success stories from those who’ve tackled and beaten long distance. All those I know that made it through the other side are grateful for being together permanently, and while the separation was difficult they are grateful for the experience. I really believe there are lots of benefits to being in a long distance relationship.
I know from my own situation that giving up on our LDR has never crossed my mind. For that, I know I am so lucky that we made our long distance relationship work. Our determination to give it our all saw us through, and while there are always peaks and troughs we know there’s not much that we can’t handle after 3.5 years experience of long distance experience.
What assumptions about long distance relationships can you think of? What grinds your gears about them?
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Jen10/18/2021 at 4:53 am
Thank you Suzy! I’ve had a very hard time listening to these and have found it hard to combat the negativity. This was such a refreshing encouragement to me and has pushed me to keep going though its hard.
suzystories10/26/2021 at 3:44 pm
Hi Jen, I’m so glad it could help you! It is so tough tackling long distance, sending you good wishes you get through the hard times! x