The Benefits of a Long-Distance Relationship

long-distance-relationship

The Benefits of a Long-Distance Relationship

Lots of people argue against long-distance relationships. But if you two are the right kind of people, a long-distance relationship can make love stronger, the relationship deeper and can make each party rise to the occasion, utilizing traits and skills that make them better people. First, a long-distance relationship has automatic breathing room built in. Balancing time for yourself and time together is a great challenge for many couples. Some people like to be together more often. Others like to be apart. Everyone has a relationship style.

If you and your significant other spend more time apart than together, you may be good candidates for a long-distance relationship. It also makes the time you spend together more fulfilling, significant, even magical since it is rarer and therefore, more precious.  In this, you may find that you have a deeper appreciation for your sweetheart and are less likely to take them for granted. Some in this type of relationship claim that a couple sustains the honeymoon phase of the relationship longer. The two aren’t together often enough for it to fade. So each time they see each other the steamy, magnetic giddiness of the honeymoon phase is renewed, at least until they stop being long-distance.

A long-distance relationship builds its own world, for just the two of you through email, Skype, and more. In regular relationships, friends, hobbies, and lifestyles blend together. But in a long-distance relationship, the world is more private, shared only between the two, almost sacrosanct. Excellent communication skills is the number one most important skill for any relationship and long-distancers have it by the boat load. In fact, communication seems to be what they have most of. Affection is also diversified and creatively put forth. If they mention they ran out of Keurig cups you secretly go online and order if for them. If you mention a movie you want to see, your partner will see it too so the two of you can discuss it and have something to look forward to.

Long-distance relationships are more secure in their love. If you’ve seen each other face-to-face for a long time, you start to wonder how committed the other person is. But in a long-distance relationship the fact that the person returns to Skype time and again, calls time and again, and shows their investment time and again keeps you from guessing. If you are considering a long-distance relationship, look at the benefits along with the drawbacks, talk with those close to you, and do some soul searching to see if it’s right for you. For more advice read, The Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide by Chris Bell and Kate Brauer-Bell.

Will we See Online Marriage Counseling to Stop Divorce?

counseling

Will we See Online Marriage Counseling to Stop Divorce?

We see all kinds of online options today. There’s online shopping, music, videos, social media, apps that do just about everything, even online dating. In fact, one study showed that those marriages where the people met online suffered less divorce than their offline counterparts. Today lots of people looking for a therapist seek out Google rather than asking their physician as was done in the olden days. So if we see all kinds of communications and commerce happening online, will we see online marriage counseling to stop divorce? The problem is that doing counseling over the phone, via Skype, Google Hangouts or Facetime is illegal. Though practitioners say that the breakthroughs one experiences in therapy can be had via electronic media and have just as much impact as those that occur face-to-face, it’s the law that’s getting in the way for this to happen. Many state laws prohibit therapy treatment to occur across state lines. Each psychologist’s license is issued by the state where they reside. The legal consequences of practicing therapy across state lines bar most if not all therapists from doing so. Even within some states, administering therapy via Skype or some other electronic media is illegal unless the client had an in-person offline professional relationship with the therapist previous to the use of Skype.

However we may see online therapy and marriage counseling in the near future. Recently in New York a proposed change in the law would extend the ability to use tele-health as a legal option for healthcare providers. The Federation of State Medical Boards would make electronic media such as Skype available for medical health treatment. The technology has come so far and communication technology’s cost cutting would also greatly benefit the healthcare industry. But what psychologists are hoping is that this will set up a precedent where someday therapy may be available over the internet as well. There is one healthcare establishment currently in America that is offering therapy over the phone and online, the Veteran’s Administration, commonly known as the VA. A lot of veterans come from rural areas where few mental health resources are available. These veterans, now returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have serious issues that they need to work through, including many reported to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Colorado based therapist Susan Heitler, Ph.D. recently wrote in Psychology Today, “To their credit, the Veterans Administration has launched forth to become a leader in tele-mental Health.” Former undersecretary of health for the US Department of Veterans Affairs Robert Petzel, MD testified that the VA has administered to almost 500,000 veterans tele-health and tele-mental health services, distributed through 750 out-patient clinics and 150 medical centers nationwide.

NPR recently did a story about the benefits of tele-health and tele-mental health. CBS’s New York affiliate also did a piece on online help for couples. Still, beware. If you do find a counselor or online therapist, do not use their services. They are not operating legally and are minimally trained, if at all. Still, online therapy can certainly help couples just as any other therapy would. What’s more, couples could punch in together, say through Google Hangouts, with the therapist while at lunch at work, and don’t have to miss an appointment when they are on a business trip, in the hospital for something minor and so on. When looking for a marriage counselor, make sure to seek out a licensed, reputable professional that both of you feel comfortable opening up to. Make sure they have experience dealing with the problems with which you and your spouse are facing. Marriage education is one inexpensive way to deal with typical marriage problems. Resources can be found online or in your local library or bookstore. Marriage counseling, however, is dealing with a couple’s particular issues and so varies greatly. Though marriage counseling via Skype and other methods continues to be illegal, initial thoughts from both the VA and counselors show that it will be a very effective method in addressing couple’s issues. Online marriage counseling and coaching should be here in the near future. But if you can’t wait that long, in the meantime pick up a copy of The Power of Two by Susan Heitler, Ph.D.

Long Distance Relationship Positives

Long Distance Relationship Positives

The old saying is that absence makes the heart go fonder. But is it true? According to a new study between Cornell University and the City University of Hong Kong, long distance relationships can have positive results. Romantic, stronger ties and more significant interactions take place when partners live far apart rather than seeing each other on a daily basis. Calls, email, video chat and texting are all ways couples in long distance relationships stayed in touch. They felt more intimate as they began to idealize their partner more. 63 couples were studied, half of which were in a long distance relationship. Participants were young, most in their early twenties. The average span of a relationship was two years. Those in long distance relationships had been apart for almost a year and a half.

Studying them for one week, the subjects discussed their relationships including sharing and intimacy. Those who were in a long distance relationship felt closer to their romantic partners. The pessimism surrounding long distance relationships may have missed the upside, intimacy, affection and a fondness that goes beyond the physical realm. Due to communication technology, long distance relationships may be easier to maintain than they were in the past. Video chatting is far easier than sending letters back and forth as was the way in time gone by. Of course, many people in years past had to experience long distance relationships due to war, the limits of travel, and communication technology. Today, you can see and speak to someone anywhere in the world.  One problem many people experience is jealousy. They fear that their significant other will be lonely and cheat. With constant contact, however, this fear can be reduced through their partner’s reassurances. Also, the act of sacrificing for the relationship, keeping one’s self for their lover can make the relationship more meaningful. If you care to read more about this study you can find it on the web in the Journal of Communication.