Long Distance Relationships

As I mentioned in my initial blog post, I’m from California, which is where I left my lovely boyfriend of 5 months. After a summer of being practically attached at the hip, this distance has been pretty excruciating. It’s 2,719 miles between his college and mine, and to be quite honest, it’s taking a toll on me. Considering the fact that I find it extremely difficult to get him off my mind, I thought I would pick a topic relating to the frustration of a long distance relationships.   IMG_8153 copyWhat I want to talk about is how important it really is to be physical in a relationship; and no, I’m not talking about sex. Just the simple, enjoyable things that we take for granted everyday. Being able to hold your partners hand whenever you please. Being able to reach out and rub their back if they’re upset. Cuddling while watching a movie, feeling safe and happy. When you’re so used to having these things in your daily life, it’s quite the shock to go without them. Scientifically speaking, the touch of a loved one has a ton of health benefits. Firstly, it makes us happier. According to this article, “when a person is physically close to someone, his or her body releases oxytocin, another “happy chemical” that contributes to us cultivating and maintaining intimate, healthy relationships. A hand hold, a snuggle, a hug — all of these actions supposedly increase levels of oxytocin.” They state that several studies have pointed out oxytocin’s ability to promote “feelings of devotion, trust, and bonding” between people. The release of this chemical in the body obviously doesn’t happen through a phone call, text message, or video chat. This is a factor of relationships what long distance couples are lacking and often longing for.

Secondly, skin-to-skin contact has also been shown to lower levels of stress and anxiety. This article states that “skin-on-skin contact signals your adrenal glands to cease excessive amounts of cortisol production, the aforementioned stress hormone.” A very interesting study created by professor James Coan was held at the University of Virginia proving this statement to be correct. “While administering MRIs, he warned 16 married women that they might “experience shock.” Each woman’s state of anxiety was instantly illuminated in the MRI scans. When their husbands held their hands, the ladies grew even more relaxed.” The workload of college is extremely stressful, and although in a long distance relationship you can still talk to your partner, it doesn’t have the same calming psychological effects as skin-to-skin contact does.

So what are the pro’s, if any, of being in a long distance relationship? As reported by businessinsider.com, “as many as half of U.S college students are in long distance relationships.” So it can’t be all that bad, right? The article goes on to explain that “Scientific studies show that couples in long-distance relationships can be equally, if not more, satisfied as geographically-close couples. Not only that, long-distance couples are more likely to share meaningful thoughts and feelings, and therefore, experience a deeper sense of emotional intimacy.” Although it is kind of sad, it may be easier to express 100% honest feelings and opinions over texts than speaking face to face, which can lead to better communication skills between long distance couples. Gate-37.com concludes that “individuals in a long distance relationship would have a higher level of something called “romantic idealization” – thinking about their partners more often, having stronger romantic feelings than a typical couple.” I know in my case, I’m thinking about my boyfriend far more often than when I was home. You don’t really think about someone when you’re with them in person, but when you’re away from them, they don’t leave your mind. Although I’m only 2 weeks into the school year, this is definitely one of the hardest experiences of my life. In saying that, I’m not worried about our relationship whatsoever. When you’re with the right person, all of the struggles and hardships you face for each other are undoubtedly worth it.

3 thoughts on “Long Distance Relationships

  1. Samantha Elizabeth Schmitt

    Well, I have a feeling these comments may consist of girls relating to having boyfriends back at home, and I am one of them (although he visits this weekend for the football game!). It’s is surely an adjustment, but it also isn’t the worst thing. Like your blog said, I of course think about my boyfriend all of the time. And when he comes I can’t wait to just be together, and do things like getting ice cream. This article (http://mic.com/articles/104104/here-s-what-long-distance-couples-can-teach-the-rest-of-us) claims that during long distance relationships, communication becomes more meaningful, romance flourishes, the couple focuses on the important things at hand, more trust, and lots more. I know this article is more of a blog than scientific study, but I totally think it’s true. And ladies: we can do it!

  2. Cassidy Paige Heiserman

    This post stuck out to me a lot because I am also in a long distance relationship. My boyfriend of nearly 2 years is 200 miles away from me (I know thats nothing compared to your distance) Now as a sophomore, I am beginning to appreciate him more and more each day. I know that I feel much calmer and relaxed when I am with him, which backs up the points you made. I also think that being apart has really improved our communication, we are texting and on the phone constantly. Even though it is really hard, you’ll never know how much you love someone until you spend a significant amount of time without them.

  3. Caroline Schablin Mcfadden

    This blog immediately caught my eye. I have been with my boyfriend for almost a year now and we have done everything together, he quickly became my best friend and that makes being apart excruciating. I have trouble keeping him off my mind, and that makes it a lot harder to concentrate. Its crazy that we are only half way through our 3rd week apart and it is this hard. The science behind physical closeness and just being able to have someone hold you when you are sad, or just being in the general presence of a loved one really does have an immediate effect on moods. I am lucky enough that I only live a few hours from here so I know I will get to see my boyfriend semi regularly but the science behind communication and the release of chemicals is all so accurate. I feel like nobody can ever imagine how hard the distance is, but as time goes on it will always get better.

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