Is a long distance relationship worth it?


DinoSorceress11h asks:

I’ve been home for the holidays (I go to school about 2000 km away from home) and met a guy (on tinder) we ended up hitting it off really well, and have gone on several dates over the past 2 weeks, and I think we both feel really comfortable with each other. The problem is that I fly back for school this Saturday and won’t be home again for at least 2 months. Is a long distance relationship possible when you’ve only known each other for such a short period of time? I really don’t want to lose touch with this guy but I know it’s probably unrealistic to expect a long distance relationship with someone who I’ve only known for less than 3 weeks
Would love to hear anyones thoughts/advice on this!

Demetrius says:

Define worth. I know that sounds flippant to say, but really, whenever anyone asks if anything in dating is “worth it”, part of me wants to ask them to really describe what they mean when they say worth. Because worth is relative.

I’ll quickly answer the actual questions you’ve asked. Is a long distance relationship possible when you’ve only known each other for a short period of time? Yes, absolutely. All it takes is two people saying “we’re in a relationship, it is long distance”. There’s no universal judge of whether or not you can or cannot enter into relationships or anything (Unless there is, in which case, that person is doing a piss-poor job in my opinion). In your case, if you decide to see where things go, it’s more likely that you’ll be long-distance dating, rather than being in a long-distance relationship. Maybe it would turn into a relationship, but right now I’d call what you’re doing dating. I think it might be a bit weird to say “we’re in a relationship now”, but hey, if that’s what you both want to do, who am I to judge? Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk about whether or not long-distance relationships are worth it.

Long distance relationships can be worth it based on the needs and expectations of both people in a relationship. I’ve seen long distance relationships work for some people, whether it was short-term long-distance or long-term long-distance. That said, they aren’t for everybody, and I know that they’re not worth it for me. Long distance romance and flirtations that may lead to something were we to find ourselves in the same place, at the same time, while we’re both single? Totally worth it. Committing to someone I might only see every 2 months, or even less than that? Not worth it for me. But again, “worth it” is relative.

As with most things in dating, there isn’t one right answer that works for everyone. It’s a new year, but I still don’t plan on giving you hyperbole, sorry kids. There’s no right answer as to whether or not long-distance relationships are worth it for everyone, because everyone is different. The worth of any connection, especially ones that aren’t conventional, should be judged on a case by case basis. Let’s think about this in a different way. Suppose that you were trying to figure out the relative “worth” of a relationship with someone who never wanted to have sex, like ever. If you asked me “Is it worth it to date someone who doesn’t want to have sex?” the first thing I’m going to ask you is how important sex is to you. If sex is a complete non-factor in a relationship, it’s worth it. If it’s a factor in what makes you happy in a relationship, I don’t think it’s worth it. A little less extreme, let’s say you date someone who wants to have sex, but only once a month. Again I’d ask you, how important is sex, and how important is the frequency of having sex with your partner. If you need sex on a daily basis or you’ll be unhappy in a relationship, not worth it. If 12 lays a year is exactly what you need to make you happy in a relationship, go for it.

Let’s try a little exercise. Let’s assume that what you want and need in a relationship can be organized into a short list with “worth” determined what is critical for a relationship to work for you. Here’s a very rough, completely not comprehensive, breakdown of what I need in a relationship. I’ve added in an indicator for things that I think are must haves (i.e. things that make a relationship worthwhile to me) by marking them as Critical Elements:

Demetrius’ Valuation of a Relationship

  • Communication – (Critical Element)
  • Compassion –  (Critical Element)
  • Compromise and a willingness to work – (Critical Element)
  • Goal Alignment
  • Kindness – (Critical Element)
  • Love, Intimacy, Romance, and Sex – (Critical Element)
  • Conventional Physical Attractiveness
  • Seeing my partner in person – (Critical Element)
  • Value Alignment

So now you probably have a good idea of what I value most, what I consider to have the most worth, in a relationship. Shared goals? Not that big of a priority for me. Value alignment? Surprisingly, I often don’t share a lot of the same values with the people I date. In a broad way, sure, but some people place way more value into spirituality, religion, owning a pet, or what have you. Conventional Physical Attractiveness? I think physical attractiveness, especially attractiveness based on social conventions, is impermanent, so I don’t place too much value on it. Some people would much rather have a partner who will looks like a 25-year-old print model forever, but I’m not one of those people.

On the other hand, I’ve learned that I need a high degree of communication in a relationship, otherwise it wont work. I need kindness, I need someone who is willing to compromise, rather than someone who begrudgingly compromises. I need someone who makes me feel loved, someone I can be intimate with, in any way you would describe intimacy. I want romance, and hell yes I need sex in a relationship. I need someone who is compassionate, not just to me, but as a person. Finally, I need to see my partner in person fairly often.

So knowing all this, do you think long-distance relationships are worth it to me? Do you think dating someone who is incredibly attractive but closed off is worth it to me? Do you think that being in a relationship with someone who shares my values and life goals, but is hard-hearted, is worth it to me?

What you want and need in a relationship may differ from what I want, and what’s critical for me may be different for you. Hell, maybe nothing is critical for you and you’ll take just about anybody and all the have to do is be a warm body (by the way, you deserve more than that, just so you know).  So, now it’s up to you to figure out what you need and value in a relationship. There’s nothing wrong with placing worth in wanting to see your partner in person fairly often, and there’s nothing wrong with choosing to place worth in a long-distance relationship. For some people, seeing their partner in person on a frequent basis isn’t a critical thing, so long distance relationships are worth it to them. For others, it’s not. There isn’t a universal answer here, and there rarely is a universal answer when it comes to what something is worth in dating.

Figure out what you want, where you place worth in relationships,and don’t worry about whether or not me, or anyone else, think it’s worth it.

Good Luck Out There.

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