Long Distance Relationships

Let’s be honest. Given a choice, I would never pick a long distance relationship. I mean, what’s the point? Like DeePad says in Love Aaj Kal,

Kya fayda? Relationship ke jo achche things hai woh nahin.

(What’s the point? The benefits of a relationship aren’t present.)

And yet, I guess long distance relationships do happen. No one gets into one for the sheer joy of it. It’s practical (like the movie says) and we live in a world of super-pragmatism.

Anurag Kashyap makes an interesting observation (in his commentary of Dev D – quoted in context only, not words).

In that time, people used to write letters to and wait for months to hear from each other. In this day and age, they talk every day, they chat and email. They are a part of each other’s lives. They are emotionally connected. So the frustration is just physical.

Interesting point that. It isn’t just the sexual deprivation while being completely fulfilled on all the other fronts. There is that loss of a tangibleness in the relationship. For a hardcore sentimentalist like me, I wonder where’s the romance in memories of emails and phone conversations?

There is of course that sense of incompleteness from not really know what the other person is looking like at the point of time. Is he smiling, does she incline her head to one side when I say her name? Even more, in detail, I can explain the delicious aroma of the samosas frying next door but can he really grasp the entirety of what I’m saying? Does,

I’d love to be sharing them with a hot cup of tea with you on a day like this?

..even begin to cut it? Truly, a look is worth a thousand words and more. There is so much that words can’t say, after all, that my eyes can.

Which brings me to think about the last time I had a long-distance relationship. I think the biggest problem with it was that you may still be able to sustain a relationship long distance. But to build a relationship long distance…that just seems impossible to me now.

I think what also happens is that one tends to overcompensate for the lack of physical proximity with an extra serving of emotional intimacy. For what else is our compulsive social networking, our minute-to-minute status updates? We miss the physical company of other people and probably we are all such a lonely generation that we wander into the excess of forced emotional closeness.

To come back to the long distance relationship, I must admit that there is also something vaguely appealing about it, in equal measure. There is the convenience and practicality masquerading as ‘respect for the other person’s choices’.

There is the supposed trust and comfort levels that we associate with being able to have a relationship with two physical addresses. Perhaps it is true that some measure of trust does exist but in today’s day of disposable relationships and where marriage itself is an ambiguous term, I think it is largely about shutting your eyes to what you don’t want to face. Somehow a relationship whose manifestations are no more than an email inbox and a mobile phone just seem easier to shut away or even ignore. (I rather expect this statement will cause some uproar so I’ll clarify that as everything else on this blog, it’s just my point of view). What can be more attractive to a generation of people hungover on choices and control?

There is a certain romanticization too, of the other person, of the special bond etc. But when it comes down to it, people are just people, it is our individual experiences with them that make them special to us. And there is that undefinable something that draws us to a particular person and not another. I’m just saying that we’re ignoring that altogether in a long-distance relationship.

It’s like perfume. There’s no point trying to describe it, you  just have to get close and smell it to know what it’s like.

Versions of this article are also posted at Yahoo! Real Beauty and Love Beckons.

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About IdeaSmith

IdeaSmith is the digital doppelganger of Ramya Pandyan (intrepid train-traveller and frequent spouter of post-midnight rhymes and rants). As IdeaSmith she battles obscurity and slays boredom with her stories about men, books, digitalia and Mumbai. She performs live and also blogs, tweets, Instagrams, Facebooks, +G’s, Youtubes and Goodreads all as IdeaSmith. Ramya is a blogger, digital storyteller and spoken word performer. She also runs a forum for aspiring writers called Alphabet Sambar. Tweet-bomb her at @ideasmithy.

Posted on August 24, 2009, in Featured, Relationships, Seriously speaking, Times, they are a-changing, Yahoo! and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. “I can explain the delicious aroma of the samosas frying next door but can he really grasp the entirety of what I’m saying?”

    Where were you all these days?? 😀

  2. Imagine you have had the worst day and u want that one hug or just someone to hold u when you are sobbing uncontrollably or that u have heard the most amazing news and want to just swing them around in exuberance and all that you can do is send them emails with those damn emoticons!!!!!
    .-= Rashmi´s last undefined ..If you register your site for free at =-.

  3. Having been in an LD relationship for the past four years, let me say that it is a chore.

    You are physically distant from the only one person who you really want to be with every day and every minute. Emotionally, you are not any better off, but you have friends and hobbies/interests to make up for it. It’s the physical part that kills.

    If you are young (say your 20s) and starting off in a relationship, there is a plus side. Most people get busy with their careers, education and whatnots that ultimately pave the way for a stabler life later on. As you don’t spend any time with each other (other than the time you spend chatting/calling/mailing, you have the advantage of getting your career, etc. sorted out at this stage.

    Right now, that is what we are doing. By the time we are ready to settle down, we have these nitty-gritties sorted out. Of course, you need to be really committed to each other to even make it to post-LD. If you are still going strong by then, well, it was well worth the effort and you can rest easy in the knowledge that your marital/live-in life is going to withstand *anything*. Even the gawddamn distance.
    .-= Ree´s last blog ..Of Walls that Speak and Shout =-.

  4. I think, it takes a lot for a LD to work, but it does work if nurtured well enough…

    Have been through it for more than an year and now we are together…

    It works if there is love… it is difficult but believe me it works…

    I think it all comes down to what you want from a relationship. But I would not disagree with Rashmi in her comment above, that when you have had a really bad day and need a hug, all you can send is an email…
    .-= Aditya´s last blog ..#263 ???? ????? (Kuthe aahes?) =-.

  5. Being a believer in Myers Briggs personality theories, I think there much to do with the people involved in the relationship.

    Being an INFJ, I am an Idealist. So the idea of “soulmates” appeals to me a whole lot more. My emotional needs and the feeling of a deeper connection holds preference over physical needs. Whereas a rational or a guardian would think otherwise.

    So based on the personality type the preference of emotional and physical needs would differ. Unfortunately there are rarely any extremist cases and mostly the needs tend to balance out. Thats what makes the situation tricky, descisions vulnerable and life fucked. 😀 😀
    .-= Aniket Thakkar´s last blog ..Boys Will Be Boys =-.

  6. ////For a hardcore sentimentalist like me, I wonder where’s the romance in memories of emails and phone conversations?

    the only problem here is you let urself be called as a hardcore sentimentalist in a derogatory sense…

    ////Somehow a relationship whose manifestations are no more than an email inbox and a mobile phone just seem easier to shut away or even ignore

    I agree with what you mean… but me being what i am would word it differently… We live in an age of abstractions/intelluctualism.
    Abstract- ab + trahere — to pull out.. [http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abstract]
    Need i say more???

    ////Which brings me to think about the last time I had a long-distance relationship. I think the biggest problem with it was that you may still be able to sustain a relationship long distance. But to build a relationship long distance…that just seems impossible to me now.

    Oh oh does that mean i have no chance?? 😉 am not giving up that easily 😈
    .-= anand´s last blog ..one more poem in the middle of the class…. gnanodhayam =-.

  7. many a times you end up with a long distance relationship, because of lack of choice. If you have been in a relationship for long time, and you have to be out for an year or two, would you end it just because of the distance?. I see a lot of point in pursuing one in such a scenario

    If you think there is no romance in emails or messages..I guess either I am too nerdy or you havent seen how effective emails could be..but I have felt the exact same line what you mention though, when I have felt it would be so nice if I could share the aroma, or the sunset etc
    .-= rambler´s last blog ..Alpha male and you.. =-.

  8. Long Distance relationships persist?… Committed long distance relationships sustain??? I dont think so.

    and shaadi ke baad long distance relationship… Daiyya Re Daiyya!

    Men run for the woh, no sooner far goes the “sunte ho”… I cant say about women. I guess, its the same for them, but not as vociferously expressed.

    🙂

    Hai na?
    .-= Aham (Harish Iyer)´s last blog ..Shah Rukh never rukhs =-.

  9. Agree to every word you say.

    The one I was in was very beautiful, we had been good friends before we turned it into a long-distance one, but still it suffered. All the things we liked about each other when we were in front of each other were still there, but the single look you talked about wasnt there. It would get tough to explain the state of mind I was in to him, and vice versa. Life would hang on that one phone call and that one email everyday. If the inbox had no unread items, then it would be a very uneventful day.
    But then over a long period, this was a tough thing to survive… Thats what I liked about that movie too.. they were very practical instead of going the cliched route..
    .-= Ms Taggart´s last blog ..Aaah.. I wish! =-.

  10. Long distance relationship?
    Been there. Done that. Went back and checked. Am at it again now.
    And it sucks… sometimes.

  11. Coming back here after a long time. Love the new look. :mrgreen:

  12. I had a successfull long distance relationship once.

    Or so I thought.
    .-= Arpz´s last blog ..an … eff this moment =-.

  13. Hi guys,
    I had couple long distance relationship experiences, but unfortunately they did not work out well for me. I think that it could be done, but sooner or later is better to try to get closer together – I believe that you know a person when you have them at home and live with them day and night…then you will see that person true self…

    Jana
    .-= Jana @ How To Get Your Ex Back´s last blog ..Does My Ex Want To Get Back With Me =-.

  14. When living a great deal of your lives away from each other in a long distance relationship its natural that you develop numerous of your once-laudable moderate tendencies and proceed with caution. That’s the best advice that I can give.

  15. No one prefers a long distance relationship. You have to live with it because you love her enough that you dont want to end it. What would you do if you had to move to a different place, either due to work or study? Would you just end your year(s) long bond just cause you cant be together for the coming year(s)? If yes, then you never loved that person enough in the first place.
    In my case, I was dating this girl for 3 years of my college. Then we obviously had to part ways. I used to think long distance doesnt work and had planned to breakup. But when the time came, I couldnt do it, couldnt lose her, couldnt lose the 3 years of my life i had invested in her. Guys, dont think of me as a freak, but we had a very strong bond. And still have. I’m into my 3ed year of long distance. We’ve had our ups and downs, but we’re still going strong.

  16. take an example of husband and wife.due to some reasons if husband is going far away from his wife for a long duration.it means their relationship will break and wife will go with another persion,right?
    is this indian culture?
    leave this indian culture and thik , was it the love between the both?
    it means it was only the physical relationship between them.if physical relation is not happening every thing is finished.
    good………
    lage raho new generations…………

    • @ravi kumar: Why would you assume that the wife would ‘go with another person’ the minute her husband had to be in a different place? Women have minds, hearts and values just the same way as men do. They’re not blindly driven to whichever man is closest at hand. Cheating, disloyalty and relationship breakdowns happen across cultures. They are also not gender-specific (have you never heard of a man who cheats or leaves his wife/partner for another?).

      A long-distance relationship is difficult on both partners. Trust is one of the things that is tested but so is supportiveness, selflessness and resilience among other things. I know a number of families where the men worked in a different country and their wives, in every way, brought up their children and managed the houses single-handedly for years. Do you really think that cheating is the biggest problem in such families?

  17. You could definitely see your expertise in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

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