Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Distance affects couple dynamic

Some college students in relationships face the hardship of making time for each other, tackling school work and everything that comes with being a hard-working student, as well as maintaining a healthy relationship. When distance becomes a factor, it can make the relationship way more complicated.

Plattsburgh State senior chemistry major Samuel Yankey said he is currently in a long distance relationship with his girlfriend who attends a different school. It has been going wonderfully for him and his partner because they have learned to structure it a certain way.

“We have tried our best over the years to make each other happy despite the distance, and we have learned that it’s what you make of it,” Yankey said.

PSUC sophomore criminal justice major Fanta Conte said she was in a long distance relationship her first year of college and that it had its pros and cons.

“I don’t advise anyone to do it unless both parties are committed and have trust,” Conte said.

Long distance relationships have been said to not work because of the major issues associated with it. It can affect individuals not only physically but also emotionally and mentally.

Distance breeds loneliness, infrequent sex and a lack of emotional and physical support. One does not need a PhD to figure out that the affair rates are higher when couples reside too far apart and for extended periods of time, according to Psychology Today.

Yankey said long distance relationships or LDRs can affect one’s mental stability in a way.

“You can go insane thinking your partner is doing something you wouldn’t approve of, or worse, something that can harm your relationship. It takes a strong mind to be in such relationship, without trust it will not last,” Yankey said.

Conte said she doesn’t think LDR affects one’s mental stability. She said it depends on the person and how dependent the individual is.

“I had my days when I missed my boyfriend and cried, but I never had a mental breakdown,” Conte said.

It seems like the factors that impede the long distance relationship are far more and greater than the factors that actually help nourish and sustain the relationship. Just like everything in today’s world, there are both positive and negative effects.

A study published in the Journal of Communication, found that men and women in long distance relationships were more likely to share meaningful thoughts and feelings than those who were not. They also tend to idealize their partners’ behaviors, leading to a greater sense of intimacy.

Yankey said some benefits of a LDR is that you learn to embrace and appreciate all aspects of your partner that are not physical.

“You learn to respect each other’s thoughts and feelings and truly learn to be each other’s support system,” Yankey said.

Conte said the time away from each other allows you to really miss and appreciate your partner.

“The time away from each other helps build anticipation and temptation, and your sex life is better,” Conte said.

The Huffington Post found in a research study that geographical distance does actually increase intimacy.

“If being geographically apart is inevitable, people should not despair,” researcher Crystal Jiang, an assistant professor with City University of Hong Kong, said. “They are capable of communicating intimacy.”

Both Yankey and Conte stated there might be trust issues associated with LDRs and not being able to see each other in person.

Yankey’s tips to someone who doesn’t know how to cope with it is to only move forward if both parties have a clear understanding and trust for one another. Some of Conte’s tips included FaceTiming and Skyping as much as possible, texting frequently, being a great support system, sending random cute messages and having something that reminds you of your partner.

Jiang told the Huffington Post that long distance relationships are not doomed to fail, and they are at least not easier than geographically close ones.

“I think such findings give people confidence, given long distance romance is much more common nowadays,” she said.

Email Raheal Neequaye at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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