Are long distance relationships worth the risks? This is a complex issue. There is no easy answer that fits every relationship. Having two grown children who have navigated long distance relationships, I think I can offer up some thoughts.

One of my sons met a girl through an online social network, when they were sixteen years old. They were friends at first, but spent more and more time writing and within months they were quite interested in each other. A year later he asked if they could tie up the family telephone for two hours once a week. Almost a year after that, he wondered if he could have our permission to go and visit this girl at her family’s home for a week.

This was heady stuff. He was only 18 and we were talking about his going across the border to stay with strangers and meet his very first girlfriend for the very first time. But by then we figured they had gotten seriously emotionally involved and it would be best for all concerned that they meet and find out if indeed there was anything there for them.

So we took a very deep breath and said, okay.

The visit was a hit, and was followed a few months later by a visit from the young lady to our home for a week. We liked her immediately and they were crazy about each other. Over the next two years, these visits back and forth were their pattern of living.

It was very difficult for them, only seeing each other for a week at a time, a few times a year. They spent alot of time and energy on emails and on the phone. Visits were thrilling for them and saying goodbye at the end of each one heartbreaking. But this was a relationship that they both felt was worth the wait, and worth the pain.

Four years after their initial contact, they were married. And now they have been married almost six years. So in this case, I’d say that while such relationships are very difficult, for the truly devoted and determined, they can be a very workable and worthwhile arrangement.

One of my daughters has been in a long distance relationship for three years while her boyfriend lived five hours away at University. They had ups and downs, times of loneliness and uncertainty. But later this month, they will be reunited, and hopefully will find the wait has been worth it, as they have a chance to make a life and build a home together.

A long distance relationship is not for the faint of heart. If you aren’t sure this is the person for you, the long distance relationship will not fare very well. This is the type of relationship which should only be undertaken by a couple who are convinced that their happiness lies with each other, whose trust rests in each other, and whose goals are shared by each other. Any other circumstance hazards failure.


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