Long-Distance Relationships Are Better Than You Think, According to New Research

Many of us have, at one point or another, given a it a go with a long-distance relationship (LDR). You met this great person on a trip to visit your friends in x city and the sparks flew. Texts, emails, telephone conversations, Gchats and Skyping ensued. The inevitable road trip or plane flight was taken. And then you were in an LDR.

And then, perhaps, things fell apart. And now you have a negative attitude toward LDRs. I'll never do that again.

Well, don't give up so fast. A new article in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, titled, "Go Long! Predictors of Positive Relationship Outcomes in Long Distance Dating Relationships," finds:

"Contrary to popular belief, young unmarried people in long-distance dating relationships do not report lower relationship quality than those in geographically close relationships."

Two things the researchers did differently than previous studies was to (1) not confine the participants to heterosexual undergraduates students (which is a key flaw in any study attempting to impute a social/psychological phenomenon on the population as a whole) and (2) use characteristics of relationships that are important to both LDRs and "geographically close relationships" (GCRs) such as "communication, relationship satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, sexual communication, intimacy, and commitment."

These objective criteria -- participants rated them on a scale -- were compared with more subjective criteria, such as persons' attitudes about the trajectory of the relationship (expecting to live in the same city eventually?), the amount of face-to-face contact, and their general attitudes, positive or negative, about LDRs in general, and tossed into the regression analysis machine.

And LDRs fared pretty well:

[our] results confirm that there are multiple factors related to relationship quality, and that merely being apart from one's partner does not indicate poor relationship quality. The beliefs a person holds about the trajectory of their relationship likely plays a significant role in how that person acts and what information they pay attention to. This is particularly important to note since LDDRs have a poor reputation in the media, which may predispose media consumers to hold negative attitudes even before embarking on an LDDR.

So, now you know, it's not the distance, it's the people. An LDR can work just as well as a "normal" relationship, it just has to be made of the same stuff of any successful relationship. Now you can expand your Tinder settings to 50 miles -- baby steps.

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