Do you always pity that friend who has a long-distance boyfriend? I do. It seems like a more stressful, more expensive (hello, plane tickets), more emotionally-taxing way to be a couple. That might not actually be true, though, at least according to a new study that found couples in long distance relationships may actually be more connected than couples who see each other regularly.
Researchers L. Crystal Jiang of City University of Hong Kong and Jeffrey T. Hancock of Cornell University looked at 63 young (around age 21) couples in heterosexual relationships, half of whom lived together and half of whom were in long-distance relationships. The couples who lived together had more interactions, obviously, but the researchers actually found that the long-distance couples' interactions were more meaningful. Jiang said, “The long-distance couples try harder than geographically close couples in communicating affection and intimacy." This can breed a better relationship overall, despite geographic separation.
The couples who lived together were more "realistic" (read: less romantic) about their communication with their partners, as well as their partner's responses. Communication in the study included texting, email, phone conversations and in-person interactions. Email was the least-used form of communication in the study, although both groups did use it.
Well, OK! I guess I've been proved wrong. I can easily see how distance might create more sensitive and meaningful relationships between people... you know, that whole "absence makes the heart grow fonder" thing. I think I'd still rather have a significant other who I can see, touch and talk to on the reg, but it's good to know that modern communication has made it much easier for long-distance couples to stay connected.