Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

Why Long Distance Relationships (Almost) Never Last?

January 01, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 179

Despite all that we feel when we are in love, romantic love is irrational at the core. It's a work of our brain chemistry, and not entered into by rational decision making. Romantic love is a mating drive. The intense liking, attachment and obsession we feel under the effect of romantic love is Nature's way to ensure that the couple stays together in order for the resultant offspring to have better survival chances. It's a part of the mating process. This is a basic understanding of romantic love, in brief.

There are two interrelated things that happen in our brain which trigger romantic feelings for a particular person. 1) When you have intimate fantasies about the person of the opposite sex, and 2) keep the person in your mind for a sufficiently long time, your brain gets a signal to create the feelings for that person. And since there's no rational analysis necessary to fall into intense romantic love, it can happen for anyone who fulfills these two criteria. Who you choose, out of all, to have intimate fantasies about, and on what criteria, is a mystery for the science, though. But once your biology gets you attracted to someone of the opposite sex, the two criteria I mentioned have to be met before you fall into a deep romantic love. Having intimate fantasies and keeping the person in the mind for sufficiently long time are, though usually interrelated, can happen exclusive of each other too; and even then they can trigger romantic love feelings.

I said all this because it's important to know in order to understand why long distance romantic love relationships almost never work -

Why long distance relationships don't work?

The key to romantic love is the two criteria I mentioned above. 1) Having intimate fantasies about the person, and 2) keeping the person in your mind for sufficiently long time. Also, when you are having intimate fantasies about more than one person, the one who you give more space in your mind, will likely qualify for your romantic love feelings.

Once in a relationship, these two criteria have to be constantly fulfilled. This is where "long distance" makes it almost impossible for a relationship to sustain itself.

When you are living with your partner, you see him/her everyday. You both talk everyday. So whenever you have anything to share you always have your partner to share it with. There's no need to think of someone else, more than you think of your partner. Besides, when you are seeing your partner everyday, in person, he/she gets deeper place in your mind. Every day when you see your partner in intimacy, the chemicals in the brain intensify the feelings. This way, the feelings don't get a chance to diminish beyond a point.

You see, that's the reason why in traditional wisdom of many cultures having friendships with the people of the opposite sex, outside of marriage, is not considered morally good. There's a science behind it.

Note that I am not implying that every relationship in which the partners live together will last. Of course, it depends on maturity and understanding and all that. But here we are talking about a long distance relationship vis-à-vis a normal one, so I am mentioning the pluses of a normal healthy relationship, which a long distance one, even with best intentions on part of the partners, lacks.

Long distance relationship suffers from the following minuses -

In a long distance relationship there are two groups of factors responsible for ending romantic love.

Weakening factors

These are the factors that are responsible for weakening the image of your partner in your brain.

It is simple to understand. When you don't see each other, it would naturally weaken the image of your partner in your brain, with time. Even though you may talk to each other everyday (yes, let's assume everyday) and share thoughts, you can't share each other's thoughts and feelings to an extent you would do if you were living together. This also has a gradual impact on weakening the bond; because the bond is all about sharing of personal space. Since you don't meet each other and spend intimate time the way you would if you lived together, you would miss out on the periodic boosts to your feelings for each other, which happens when partners spend great time with each other. Not all romantic relationships are based on sharing of thoughts and interests. Quite a few of them are dependent on sexual intimacy between the partners; though, of course, the partners under the effect of romantic love would never realize it. If so is yours, then once the "long distance" takes it away, there's already little substance left which can hold the relationship for long.

Diverting factors

These are the factors which play a role in diverting your feelings to someone else.

When you are living away from your partner, you will look for other people to share your thoughts with; for a simple reason that you are a human being who needs expression of his/her thoughts. And the one we share our thoughts with, naturally occupies a space in our mind. In your circle you will talk to other people of the opposite sex, of course. Sexual instinct in us is always active, whether we are aware of it or not. So it is unlikely that you will not like mingling with the people of the opposite sex, when you are away from your partner. And while we are talking about only "mingling", most people don't see harm in it as long as they don't make a sexual move. But here's the catch: Most people are not aware that even "mingling" can prove to be fatal. If you came across someone who you find even slightly interesting, your mind will give space to that person in it. It may not involve sexual fantasy, but that's still enough. In normal circumstances, it probably wouldn't have mattered; but in a long distance situation, due to the group-one factors I mentioned above, the image of your partner is already weakening; that makes it easier for this person to outlast the time your partner occupies in your mind. Once that happened, bam! Most people don't even see any harm in having sexual fantasies. People have sexual fantasies about other people even while having sex with their partner. So, if you consider it harmless and do it, there are huge chances that this new person of your fantasy will take over your feelings entirely, before you know it.

If you perfectly understand the romantic love mechanism, you would know that all it takes for your brain to create romantic feelings for some person is that you keep the person in your mind more than anyone else, and/or have intimate fantasies about the person. When even one of these criteria is met, the chances are very high that your brain will create/divert your feeling in favor of the person fulfilling the criteria. Your brain chemicals won't know that you are already in a relationship!

Even the people with strong character and best intentions are subject to these mostly inevitable perils of a long distance situation.

It may sound silly, but it's not. Try going long distance for a couple of years and you will understand it. Even with best intentions, all these things happen, and that puts an end to romantic feelings. Determination doesn't work as well as we like to believe it would. Simply because romantic feelings don't come and go with reason; it often happens without us even noticing it.

However, there's nothing wrong with keeping optimism alive. But I would say more than optimism, genuine understanding of romantic love mechanism can help.

Darshan Chande is a student, thinker and blogger from India. To read more of his articles visit his philosophy and critical thinking blog at

Subscribe on Facebook to receive updates from his blog, and other links/shares enabling critical thinking and personal development.

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Long Distance


Romantic Love


Long Distance Relationships


Distance Relationships


Intimate Fantasies

When speaking of celebrity weddings, they dresses are mostly tailored and designed form reputed international designers. Say for example, Dutch Victoria’s Secret model Doutzen Kroes. When speaking

By: Simon Liva l Relationships > Wedding l December 12, 2012 lViews: 215

Funny groom speeches play an important role in making the wedding atmosphere nice and relaxed. Wedding is all about celebration and enjoyment and the best way of adding to the celebration is to make

By: Bartley de Wilson l Relationships > Wedding l November 29, 2012 lViews: 219

The wedding cards of every religion have something peculiar and convey a lot about the religion. There are various online stores that are solely designing Muslim wedding cards and there is an option

By: Indian Wedding Card l Relationships > Wedding l November 29, 2012 lViews: 388

Practice makes pretty! Make sure the dance floor is right for the song and practice plenty of time before hand.Practice makes pretty! Make sure the dance floor is right for the song and practice

By: Simon Liva l Relationships > Wedding l November 21, 2012 lViews: 281

Wedding invitations are very important as they are the first impression and unique wedding invitations are generally kept by the guests. The wedding is an auspicious occasion and all the rituals are

By: Indian Wedding Card l Relationships > Wedding l November 16, 2012 lViews: 445

A closer look into the popular series of books called Fifty Shades of Grey that has spurred women all over America to get in touch with the sensual side in life. It's about letting your daily

By: martha l Relationships > Sexuality l October 25, 2012 lViews: 307

Do you need pointers on how to date effectively long distance? Here are 3 keys to successful online dating.

By: Rosy Andersonl Relationships > Long Distancel June 29, 2012 lViews: 174

A relationship can be taxing enough on its own, but add to that the long distance factor, and sometimes it may just become downright unbearable. If you are a woman looking to end a long distance

By: Karim Yousaf l Relationships > Long Distancel June 22, 2012 lViews: 209

Relationships require a lot of work and distance makes it even harder which is why a lot of couples choose to just give it up. I admit that being in a long distance relationship is not easy but I

By: Jennie Annel Relationships > Long Distancel June 18, 2012 lViews: 276

Long distance relationships can work as long as both parties are willing to commit. Of course you have to love and trust each other enough for you to make that commitment. It's not that easy but if

By: Jennie Annel Relationships > Long Distancel June 09, 2012 lViews: 538

When a couple has a long distance relationship, one of their primary concerns is to know if their romantic relationship will work in the long run. They're concerned about the longevity likelihood for

By: April Braswelll Relationships > Long Distancel June 06, 2012 lViews: 223

A long distance relationship requires commitment, strong ties to each other, telling the truth and being totally honest with one another. To endure it requires two people who genuinely love each

By: Lara Nicel Relationships > Long Distancel June 02, 2012 lViews: 175