Before the mid-2010s rise of online dating apps like Bumble, Tinder, and Hinge, our options when it came to dating were relatively limited. More often than not, people met their significant other through “normal” means, like going to school together, working together, or being introduced by mutual friends.
Less common were long-distance relationships, whether the couple met online and fostered a romantic relationship through lengthy, heartfelt emails and choppy Skype calls, or if they happened to cross paths while one of them was on a vacation in the other’s hometown, or if they were separated by career paths that required one party to relocate.
However they first met, long-distance couples have long been the subject of widened eyes, How do you make that work? comments, and an assumption by the lucky local couples that the relationship could never last.
But with the continued use of dating apps and the skyrocketing use of social media apps like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, which keep us connected with individuals across the world we never would’ve met otherwise, long-distance relationships are actually on the rise.
With the new surge in long-distance relationships that come with a world of online dating and fostering virtual connections, do long-distance relationships actually have a better chance of working out than in times past?
How Dating Apps Have Changed To Include Long-Distance Relationships
While many use dating apps to connect with singles in their immediate area, apps like Tinder and Bumble recently introduced new settings, called “Passport” and “Nationwide”, that allow users to look well beyond their city, and instead, change their location to a far off land in order to find new suitors to chat with. These settings made it so that getting into a long-distance relationship didn’t just happen by chance, but instead, people could seek out singles who were more than a short car drive away.
Has Digital Dating Actually Helped Long-Distance Relationships?
So has the continued rise of dating apps and social media apps changed the way long-distance relationships work? It seems so. One recent survey found that 3 in 10 people who chose to relocate to be closer to their boyfriend or girlfriend met them on a dating app. Of the people who moved, 73% reported being glad they did so.
What seems to have really changed the way long-distance relationships work is the ability to be constantly connected through technology.
While the “Passport” and “Nationwide” settings may have helped long-distance couples meet in the first place, what seems to have really changed the way long-distance relationships work is the rapid rise of technology, especially over the last two decades.
The fact that we’re now constantly available for connection through social media, texting, and FaceTime means that we’re better able to foster long-distance romances that feel real – so much so that a Pew Research Center study found that regular internet users who said they’d used the internet to stay in contact with their boyfriend or girlfriend rose from 19% to 24% from 2005 to 2013. It only makes sense that with an added ability to be in contact from anywhere in the world, long-distance relationships would benefit and thrive more than they ever have before.
Tips for a Long-Distance Relationship That Lasts
We’d all prefer to be in close proximity to our boyfriend, but that’s not always in the cards. Long-distance relationships can be worth it – especially when there’s an end in sight, and therefore, the promise of a relationship with a tangible future. While romances from afar are notorious for fizzling out, there are a few ways to give a long-distance relationship with your boyfriend your best try – and even have one that succeeds.
Make a habit of communicating. When you’re in a long-distance romance, you don’t get the benefit of seeing each other in person. This means regular communication is your best way of keeping the relationship healthy and alive. So have regular lengthy talks, whether by phone or video chat.
Show affection often. While you can’t hold hands or show up at his place with some surprise takeout, express your affection frequently without going overboard. This might look like texting him something sweet out of the blue, or having some medicine and soup delivered after he mentions being sick.
Make plans to see each other in person, even if it’s months away. Have a specific date to look forward to, to plan for, to get excited about. Without this, long-distance romances can easily feel stale and stuck.
Be there without being there. Be loyal, dependable, and present. Answer his texts as promptly as you can, know what his day-to-day looks like, and be the person he can count on, even though you’re not physically there.
The rise of technology has certainly helped long-distance relationships become more sustainable, but to make a romance from afar work, it’s still up to the people in the relationship to do most of the legwork.
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