© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
WOSP-FM in Portsmouth is operating at reduced power. In the meantime, listen online or with the WOSU mobile app.

Making Long-Distance Relationships Last In An Era Of FaceTime And Smartphones


With Meghna Chakrabarti

In love and living apart. Long-distance relationships are getting a helping hand from technology to keep the flame burning bright.


Joe Pinsker, staff writer at The Atlantic covering families and education. (@jpinsk)

Laura Stafford, professor and director of the School of Media and Communication at Bowling Green State University. (@bgsu)

LaDawn Black, author and online relationship coach for Match.com, Yahoo! and several other websites. (@teasebyladawn)

From The Reading List

The Atlantic: “The New Long-Distance Relationship” — “The love life of Stanley Davidge, a 25-year-old network administrator for a national restaurant chain, is absolutely extraordinary.

“Almost all day, Davidge, who lives in South Carolina, is in touch with his girlfriend, Angela Davila, who lives in Virginia and is job hunting. Despite being separated by a six-hour drive, they ‘shoot the bull and stuff’ over FaceTime when Davidge has a break at work, they call each other in the car, and they watch TV together at the end of the day using a website that lets them share a screen. ‘It’s almost like being in the same room together,’ he says of their tandem streaming.

“The way Davidge and Davila maintain their relationship won’t impress anyone familiar with the internet and smartphones. But, considering the fullness of human history, it is astounding that two people in separate places can keep up such a rich relationship without much financial or logistical hassle—and think nothing of it.”

Psychology Today: “Can Long-Distance Relationships Really Work?” — “Absence makes the heart grow fonder, they say. But despite this positive adage, 56.6% of people perceive long-distance relationships (LDRs) to be less happy and satisfying than geographically-close relationships (GCRs)—and less likely to survive over time.

“So which is more accurate?

“A new study in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy warns against negatively stereotyping long-distance relationships (Dargie, Blair, Goldfinger, & Pukall, 2015). As it turns out, long-distance relationships may be higher-quality and more stable than many of us may assume—but only if certain conditions are met.”

New York Times: “Navigating in a Long-Distance Affair” — “That there were 1,200 miles and several states between us meant constant motion: planes, taxis, buses, trams. And a lot of sitting around waiting — in airports, for cabs, for one of us to pick up the other.

“Over time, the states between us grew emotional as well as physical: not only Tennessee and Arkansas but also anxiety, longing and anger at cancellations or delays and irritation at those who haunt airport gates all over America yelling into their cellphones (‘We’re here!’ or ‘I had Quiznos for lunch!’) Or worse, detailing the specifics of their vocation, which, sadly, is never sex therapist.

“When you are in a long-distance relationship, you try to accept the conditions of the arrangement. I became very good at packing. I kept my bag half-packed in the closet. And I became better at collecting frequent flier miles, printing my boarding pass in advance, checking for threatening weather in the days before my flight from North Carolina to central Texas.”

Chronicle of Higher Education: “Why Does Graduate School Kill So Many Marriages?” — “The longer I have been in my Ph.D. program, and the more colleagues I have met, the more frustrated I have become with the fact that so many of my friends have lost their marriages to graduate school.

“My nearly 6.5 years of doctoral study have included two labs, two departments, and two universities. I have connected with graduate students from other campuses at the usual places: cohort gatherings, workshops, Twitter, conferences. We have a variety of things in common, but the one I wish we didn’t share is the negative effect of graduate school on our partnerships.

“Doctoral training is hard. And relationships are hard. They’re both long-term, serious pursuits. But the quest for knowledge should not mean sacrificing your relationship.”

Brian Hardzinski produced this hour for broadcast.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.