Dating/My Relationships/Sex and Chastity/Teen Relationships

The Pros and Cons of Long Distance Relationships

On August 15th, 2015, my wife and I accomplished what many people think is impossible – what started as a long distance relationship ended in marriage. Sure, this is one of the two ways that a long distance relationship can end, but as someone experienced in long distance relationships, I wanted to offer some thoughts (and warnings, and encouragements) in case you too might be considering dating long-distance.

Pros

Physical Chastity: It should come as little surprise to everyone reading this, but it’s pretty hard to mess up with physical chastity when you don’t live in the same city… or state… or country… or planet. This is absolutely a huge benefit of dating someone long distance because it will help weed out people who only want you for your body.

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Communication: Communication is pretty much all you have when you are dating someone long distance. You have to learn the best ways the two of you talk through issues. You have to figure out how the other person best communicates: text, phone, or Face Time (note: if they only want to communicate through text, that should be addressed). Setting up times to talk are important, and it requires you to set expectations for the relationship.

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It’s Hard: Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…” This totally applies to long distance relationships. Iron sharpens iron and all that stuff. Really, all relationships take work, but long distance relationships are slightly different. You have to fight for the whole relationship. You get out what you put in.

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Discerning Faster: Since these relationships are so hard, they usually set their course a little faster. You discern whether you are in or out pretty quickly, because no one works that hard on a relationship that’s going nowhere. Being “in” doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to get married, but it does mean that you’re willing to put in the effort. For more on that, please re-read the quote from good ole Ted from above.

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Individuality: We’ve all seen people get into relationships and disappear from the rest of the world. It’s, sadly, a pretty common thing for us to put all our eggs in one basket and have to make friends again after the relationship. Long distance relationships help you to remain an individual. Since you can’t spend all of your time with the person you’re dating, it’s easier to keep/maintain other friendships and relationships.

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Cons

Physical Chastity: Wait a minute… Physical chastity is on both lists? Yes, because while it’s certainly easier to keep your hand off the other person when you’re not in the same physical space, the temptation is even stronger when you are. Since all you do is talk when you’re apart, your hormones are jonesing for some excitement when you’re together. This is the correct time to leave your parents’ basement and go to a place where there are other people…

Another downfall in respects to chastity is sexting. What often starts as flirty can quickly go too far. Chastity is not just about your body, but it’s about respect of the whole person (body, mind, heart, and soul). That respect shouldn’t lead to anything inappropriate in text or images that someone could screenshot or leak when Snapchat gets hacked.

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Alone Together: One of the hardest parts about dating long-distance is that you aren’t with the person you are dating. While you are “together,” you often aren’t. Sure, cooking the same meal and eating it over Face Time in different time zones sounds cute, but in reality you’d give just about anything to be eating from the same box of mac and cheese.

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It’s Hard: I’m not sure I need to explain this one further.

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Dollar Dollar Bills: Depends on how far away you live, it can get pretty expensive. You’ve got flights or gas or both, if you don’t live near an airport. On top of that you have dates, and when you only see each other one weekend every month or less, the whole visit ends up being a date. You have to get pretty creative to keep that long of a date cheap.

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Mystery: We all fear the unknown. Dark is scary, and so is silence. When the person you are in a relationship with is MIA for a while, you tend to jump to the worst-case scenario. This doesn’t mean you don’t trust them, it just means that we have an imagination that might need to be reigned in from time to time.

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Network Connectivity Problems: Technology is a wonderful thing until it doesn’t work… Slow WiFi and spotty cell networks make this one of the most frustrating parts of the relationships. There is nothing like talking to a frozen/pixelated version the person you’re dating that sounds like a robot, specially when talk is already limited.

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Now, I certainly don’t want to tell you what to do. This is just a list of things comparing and contrasting the positives and negatives of dating long-distance. This isn’t a definitive guide or recommendation. All relationships are hard and long distance is just a different kind of hard. It worked for me, and didn’t for many others. You have to decide for yourself if it is something you want to try.

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Do you have a question about dating and relationships you’d like to ask David and Rachel Leininger? Email them at [email protected] and your question could be the next blog post!

About the Author

David Leininger

I am a professional nerd and my brain is constantly torn between creativity and logic. I build Life Teen’s website and apps. I don’t drink coffee, but I love coffee shops. I love tattoos, Apple products, Liverpool FC, and beards. More important than all this, though, is that I am married to my wife and my obsession with pizza, being Catholic, and my devotion to our Savior. Twittering tweets from @LT_DavidLein

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