The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 32.0°F | A Few Clouds
Article Tools

It pains me to say this because I don’t want to crap all over your fantasy, even if it’s with a healthy dose of reality. But that thing about true love overcoming everything, even distance? That’s a lie.

No doubt there’s something very romantic about long-distance relationships. There is nothing on earth like seeing your loved one for the first time in months, the rush of adrenaline and the urge to fuck each other’s brains out as soon as possible. The general impression is that couples who lack in geographical closeness make up for it in the intensity of their love. And we all know someone who knows someone who made a long-distance relationship work, and think, that we, too, can make it work! He’s not going to cheat on me!

Yeah, about that. It is so easy to cheat when your partner is far, far away. I don’t condone cheating, but at the same time, I could never trust myself to keep it in my pants if I were to go months without sex. If someone else hits on me and he’s looking good and I’ve had a bit to drink, it’s easy to slip up. Some will argue that if I can stray so easily then I’m surely not in love, but my heart and my vagina are a feet and a half apart. They don’t communicate very well. It is a huge temptation, and some of us are weak. And the same way I could cheat, well, my partner could too. It’s hard to trust that he won’t sleep with someone else when I’m not there to fuck him.

And then the feelings. Long-distance relationships are emotionally founded on longing, on that void you feel when someone you like is not close to you. You divide your time between fantasizing about the next time you see each other, and replaying in your mind the last time you were together. You live not in the present, but in the past and in the future. That is no way to live, stuck in a time limbo, missing someone all the time.

As if that was not enough, let’s add to it the pressure to make every time you see each other memorable. It is the only time you spend together, so it has to compensate for all the time you spend apart. The sex has to be perfect, the other person has to dedicate each second to you, you have to have fun. I’ve heard of guys not being able to get it up because they feel immense pressure to make sex amazing for their girlfriend. There are a lot of expectations, and if they go unfulfilled, you just end up totally disappointed.

Truth is, long-distance relationships are more draining than rewarding. Think of the costs. Expensive phone bills. Long bus or plane rides. Sore genitals from all the sex when you finally see each other. Fights over the phone. Trust issues, insecurity, and paranoia. There is so much one has to sacrifice to even have a shot at making it work, and the odds of it succeeding are slim. It’s only a matter of time before the geographical distance translates to emotional distance. Suddenly, you’re stuck in a relationship that doesn’t work but is hard to end. Nobody wants to dump someone over Skype.

If a long-distance relationship is to have chance at working, the distance problem needs to be short term — a blip — not the droning reality of your love lives. So often, that’s not the case. Many long-distance relationships I see are people going to school in different states or countries, and that’s not exactly a temporary situation. That is one dim light shining at the end of the tunnel. If you’re putting so much effort into making a long-distance relationship work, and it’s draining the living crap out of you, I think you’d want it to have a nice payoff. Like you being reunited at some point in the nearer future.

Ultimately, if you’re in a long-distance relationship, you need to step back and figure out if this is something worth fighting for. If you have no doubt it is, go for it. Otherwise, give yourself the freedom to find someone who you can wake up next to on a regular basis. Most people can’t cross the distance.

M. is a junior in Course 10. She can be contacted at undress@tech.mit.edu.