How to Stay Close in a Long-Distance Relationship


Video call

The man I’ve been seeing for the past two years lives 17 miles away. On a good day of traffic, it’s a 20-30 minute drive. But, only on a good day of traffic. This is New York City, so those days almost never happen.

That leaves me some options: I could drive to his neighborhood, or he to mine, around 9pm when traffic is fairly light. But this also almost never happens, because it seems middle-aged people never go out at night. 

Another option is public transportation. OK, you might think, New York City has one of the biggest public transport systems in the country. And that is true. So it seems like a no-brainer, right? Wrong. By public, it takes about 2 hours to go to either one of our homes. And on the weekends? Put it this way: we rarely see each other on weekends.

It would then stand to reason that if we are a 2 hour trip from each other, it counts as a long-distance relationship, or an LDR.

Or does it? I’ve never really thought of the criteria that makes up a long-distance relationship outside of the obvious. It goes without saying that two parties in different countries, time zones, states, cities or regions are long distance. But does it count if it’s a different area and/or zip code? What if it is out of state, but relatively close? Or, as in our situation, it’s relatively close, but only under specific conditions?

For argument’s sake, let’s assume it is an LDR. How can couples stay in touch and avoid that “so close and yet so far” feeling?

One thing is for sure: technology has done wonders for closing that gap. Skype is the absolute best thing since sliced bread, as is Facetime. If both of us have smart phones and a functioning online connection, why not? Instead of, “I’ll meet you at the train station at 5:30,” it’s become, “I’ll sign on at 5:30, don’t be late!” We can have dinner together, or catch up on news stories, or show each other our latest projects for work. It’s been a lot of fun to have all these “virtual dates,” and the end result is a good balance between a phone conversation and a real-life meeting.

When I think about the far/close debate, and how technology can make incredible distances feel much closer, I started wondering if physical distance makes a difference when couples are ready to live closer together. Which method of meeting has more impact: hours upon hours of Skyping, interspersed with less frequent, multiple-hour flights? Or less frequent Skype chats with greater chances to see each other because you’re a day’s drive away? Of course there are many, many other factors behind the decision to move, and I just wonder if the physical distance has anything to do with it?

I’d love to hear any more ideas that are working well for couples in LDRs. Are there any new and exciting communication methods I don’t know about? Share away!






12 Comments

  1. Mir-1082572 July 6, 2014 Reply

    Viber is a free-of-charge program that enables you to call anywhere in the world, as long as you have Internet. The only disadvantage to it is that every time somebody calls you on the regular phone line, it disconnects and you have to dial again. Also, it has no camera function, but it’s very good if you want to talk for hours and hours and don’t have a computer nearby or Skype on your phone and you don’t want to pay for the long conversations. It’s much better than Whatsup actually. +++

  2. Carlos-805300 July 6, 2014 Reply

    you also have Tango that you can do video calls as well

  3. Kim-1018685 July 7, 2014 Reply

    I have used Viper. I use it on my iPad- I can send pictures and talk face to face. I also like the free stickers you can send.

  4. James-1082060 July 7, 2014 Reply

    I’ve not got any new technologies for you, most of the “new” technologies are really just ways of decreasing cost by using the bandwidth you’re paying for already vs. paying for additional phone or video service. But I’ll make a comment that I think is necessary in long distance relationships. The plan normally is to get to know someone long distance, with the outcome being moving to a shared location in the future once the comfort level rises to an acceptable point. A lot of hours are spent in 2D, sitting in front of a screen and talking. While this is fun and needed, it is not the same thing as “being there”. When you do get together for the occasional visit, it feels like holidays or vacation. No body would logically argue that these things don’t occur in long distance relationships, but the heart is not logical and after months of 2D relationship you will feel that you know someone well enough to make the decision to marry. But you don’t.

    Regardless of the technology there is no substitute for witnessing how a person physically reacts to varied situations that arise in the routine of daily life. I suppose that you could wear a GoPro camera and broadcast realtime, but that’s just getting creepy.

  5. Nance M. July 7, 2014 Reply

    When my husband and I were “dating”…discerning whether or not we would move forward…he lived in Chicago, I lived in So. CA. I added a cell phone to the plan I was on and sent it to him. That way we were able to talk for hours (and we did!) without worrying about the cost. $9.99/mo saved us what could have been thousands in phone bills!!! We were married in 2010…we live happily in So. CA with our beautiful baby girl!!

  6. Tony-1077613 July 7, 2014 Reply

    Skype is a true blessing. The relationship I have with the lady I met through CM is developing very positively because of regular (daily now) sessions on Skype. (When it fails, we go to phone.) We intersperse face to face visits which extend over several days each. Skype makes LDR’s possible. Period. One side benefit of Skype. It is hard to engage in premarital sex on Skype. Use of Skype allows and almost requires that love develops before physical intimacy distracts the couple from their goal of the sacrament of Matrimony.

    • Sarah-1047312 July 8, 2014 Reply

      I wholeheartedly agree :) My boyfriend whom i met on CM lives over an hour away. We spend more hours on Skype than in person and it’s really helped us get to know each other better on a nonphysical level and now our relationship is getting stronger than ever.

  7. John-897794 July 8, 2014 Reply

    As a general rule, almost every potential relationship on catholic match is long distance. There only seem to be a substantial number of people in major cities. Seventeen miles must be one of the shorter CM relationships out there, and even it is only possible in an area like NYC.

  8. Keith-1063044 July 8, 2014 Reply

    Is Skype preferred to Facetime? If so, why?

    • Adam-1049860 July 10, 2014 Reply

      Skype is the most popular as it is cross-platform. FaceTime is restricted to Apple devices. They both have IM (Skype IM and iMessages) and both basically do the same thing. FaceTime tends to have better quality over wifi and it doesn’t need to be running to receive calls. There’s also the Google+ Hangouts alternative if you want to explore all the options.

  9. Vanessa-503762 July 9, 2014 Reply

    CM emails were very helpful at the start of the getting-to-know phase. As my ‘other half’ and I moved on to the next level of the relationship we get to appreciate skype. But yeah, nothing beats the physical presence and that what made us had the final decision of getting married. Half a world apart still and skype continues to connect us through lands and oceans. (He’s in Pennsylvania, I’m in Philippines) :P And of course, the prayer times that you get to connect even when you’re in opposite time zones.

  10. Gabriela-1117076 July 31, 2014 Reply

    I also think you should try Skype! :)

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