The man I’ve been seeing for the past two years lives 17 miles away. On a good day of traffic, it’s a 20-30 minute drive. But, only on a good day of traffic. This is New York City, so those days almost never happen.
That leaves me some options: I could drive to his neighborhood, or he to mine, around 9pm when traffic is fairly light. But this also almost never happens, because it seems middle-aged people never go out at night.
Another option is public transportation. OK, you might think, New York City has one of the biggest public transport systems in the country. And that is true. So it seems like a no-brainer, right? Wrong. By public, it takes about 2 hours to go to either one of our homes. And on the weekends? Put it this way: we rarely see each other on weekends.
It would then stand to reason that if we are a 2 hour trip from each other, it counts as a long-distance relationship, or an LDR.
Or does it? I’ve never really thought of the criteria that makes up a long-distance relationship outside of the obvious. It goes without saying that two parties in different countries, time zones, states, cities or regions are long distance. But does it count if it’s a different area and/or zip code? What if it is out of state, but relatively close? Or, as in our situation, it’s relatively close, but only under specific conditions?
For argument’s sake, let’s assume it is an LDR. How can couples stay in touch and avoid that “so close and yet so far” feeling?
One thing is for sure: technology has done wonders for closing that gap. Skype is the absolute best thing since sliced bread, as is Facetime. If both of us have smart phones and a functioning online connection, why not? Instead of, “I’ll meet you at the train station at 5:30,” it’s become, “I’ll sign on at 5:30, don’t be late!” We can have dinner together, or catch up on news stories, or show each other our latest projects for work. It’s been a lot of fun to have all these “virtual dates,” and the end result is a good balance between a phone conversation and a real-life meeting.
When I think about the far/close debate, and how technology can make incredible distances feel much closer, I started wondering if physical distance makes a difference when couples are ready to live closer together. Which method of meeting has more impact: hours upon hours of Skyping, interspersed with less frequent, multiple-hour flights? Or less frequent Skype chats with greater chances to see each other because you’re a day’s drive away? Of course there are many, many other factors behind the decision to move, and I just wonder if the physical distance has anything to do with it?
I’d love to hear any more ideas that are working well for couples in LDRs. Are there any new and exciting communication methods I don’t know about? Share away!