The long-distance relationship is a partnership of people whose spatial centers of life are not the same or in close proximity to one another.
The definition of the term “long-distance relationship” and the often equivalent “weekend relationship” is handled inconsistently in the specialist literature. The term "long-distance relationship" can, based on everyday language usage, be used for a special form of love relationship or two-way relationship. Long-distance relationship couples are couples who lead their relationships over spatial distances. Regardless of the reasons or causes for the typically separated households, what all long-distance relationships have in common is that the relationship is determined by a constant change in separation time and time together. The couple's self-image is of central importance: Long-distance relationships do not see themselves as “affairs” or “liaisons” in addition to any other existing relationships, but this can be in some “cases”.
The following problem arises with long-distance relationships: The typical characteristics of the exchange of experiences , experiences and feelings for maintaining a relationship are made more difficult during separation times. The exchange must take place either telecommunicatively or during the time together (in the case of the weekend relationship as a form of long-distance relationship, for example on the weekend).
The expansion of the Internet and its global communication possibilities are creating ever more long-distance relationships in which the partners live so far apart that their time together is reduced to a few days per year. Chatting , e-mailing and telephoning as well as video calls with the partner to bridge the separation time are perceived by some of those affected as inadequate for a relationship.
Reasons and causes for long-distance relationships must be considered separately. Reasons can be personally motivated, e.g. B. from an ideal of a relationship, or from a career or mobility biography. On the other hand, there are often social causes, such as B. Expectations on the part of the labor market. “ Social causes that form the platform for decisions of this kind can be found above all in the education and professional sectors. Increasing mobility requirements and changed professional biographies, which go hand in hand with the educational expansion, are to be named here as the most important ”writes Eva-Christina Edinger in her empirical study on long-distance relationships. According to the general understanding, long-distance relationships do not include relationships in which the partners spend short periods of time, e.g. B. some months only see weekends.
In rarer cases, the long-distance relationship is not due to external circumstances, but rather due to the wishes of the participants. The increasing individualized lifestyle often also means that individualized ideals of relationships arise. Couples specifically prefer separate apartments of their own accord in order to be able to get a retreat and a very personal refuge for each partner. However, only just under a third of all long-distance couples say they have this type of relationship of their own accord.
A relationship can begin as a long-distance relationship and continue as such if both partners already live in different places when they get to know each other. This is especially the case when the two partners have met over the Internet.
A distinction is essentially made between the following cases:
- Regular two-way relationships that are not initially long-distance relationships and can be consolidated through spatial proximity. The relationship becomes a long-distance relationship through changed circumstances.
- Relationships that are long-distance from the start. Couples who live separately due to their living conditions meet by chance or intentionally and decide, out of affection or love, to have a long-distance relationship.
A typical long-distance relationship is the weekend relationship . In the weekend relationship, the separation takes place on working days. The mutual time of the relationship is guaranteed by mutual or unilateral weekend visits.
In Germany , around one in eight (a total of 13%) lives in a long-distance relationship. That is around 1.7 million of all couples who live in Germany. On average, the couples live 653 km apart.
Advantages and disadvantages of long-distance relationships
The advantages of such a relationship can be seen in problematic situations that often arise in couples living together. Due to the frequent separation in a long-distance relationship, such everyday problems are more easily overlooked. This means that disputes arise less often on the basis of minor issues.
The partner also remains independent and can divide his time freely. This can be beneficial for your career, for example. For career-oriented people or those with a time-consuming hobby, a long-distance relationship can be beneficial. Many people also find their own freedom important and feel restricted when living together with their partner.
Another advantage is that the partners experience the time together more consciously and communicate more intensively with one another. During the separate time, phone calls (96%), often also e-mails , letters (46%) or chats via an instant messenger (56%) are important means of communication. The concentration on the partner is often higher than in an everyday conversation, especially if the costs are high or you rarely have the opportunity due to the time difference. In the time together, the relationship and the partner are also the focus. The couple takes time for joint activities and extensive discussions.
The high level of trust that is required to cope with the distance reveals the couple's strong bond. In order to maintain the long-distance relationship, the couple must find each other again and again and can rediscover their relationship again and again. The anticipation for each other is usually greater in a long-distance relationship and always new and tingling, which is not always the case in a relationship without geographical distance.
However, when a long-distance couple sees each other very rarely, sexual dissatisfaction often arises. Under certain circumstances, even with strong love, this can lead to infidelities.
It is usually difficult to control the partner in a long-distance relationship. Another unfamiliar environment of the partner can provoke jealous reactions. That's why trust is one of the most important points in this type of relationship.
A common mistake is exaggerated expectations of the couple from the long-awaited reunion, so that after a short time a disappointment sets in.
The costs that a long-distance relationship can incur for the couple should also not be underestimated. The phone bill can be very high, especially if one of the partners lives abroad. Travel expenses (gasoline, train or plane tickets) can also put a strain on the couple's budget. This is around € 2,500 per year, including prices for travel but also to stay in contact (letters, telephone costs, ...). Another factor is the rental and living costs , which are higher in two separate households than in one.
The transition from an (initial) long-distance relationship to a relationship with (almost) daily direct contact can also be difficult. Here, differences and incompatibilities between the participants come to light, which previously did not arise or were not foreseeable due to the temporary, episodic physical contact.
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