Long distance relationships are difficult

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Sex and the sun onlineIt is finally a small world after all.

Technology has expanded the way we communicate and who we communicate with.

In the not-so-distant past, managing a long-distance relationship was nearly impossible.  Moving away to college or being shipped out to war were death sentences for most relationships. Starting a relationship with someone you had never met face-to-face before was seen as flat-out crazy.

Gone are the days of waiting long weeks for the postman to deliver letters between lovers. Today, long-distance lovers can keep in contact and up to date with a few taps on a screen.

Long-distance relationships have evolved from far-fetched to common. It is now easier than ever to meet people online, fall in love and conduct a meaningful and healthy relationship, regardless of distance.

Laptops enabled with Skype or other instant messaging and video call services are a boon to couples. Skype puts far-away lovers in the same room. Video calls sure beat the occasional letter. Video calls can open the door for dinner dates, sleepovers or some company while studying.

A long-distance relationship can begin when one member of the couple moves away or two people find a connection online. Romantic connections can be found on various social media sites or through online dating services.

Online dating can be rewarding, but also risky. Television’s scary show “Catfish” illustrates how easy it is for unscrupulous people to hide their true identity. Technology can reveal but also cloak. Some means of verification are lost. You only have the information a person gives you.

It is important to be cautious in the online dating world.

A few tips to prevent catfishers from setting the hook:

1. Meet online contacts in a public place and tell friend and family members where you will meet. Give a trusted friend or family member your date’s full name and contact information. If you are part of a dating website, include the date’s member ID.

2. After establishing a connection with a potential partner, ask to video call as soon as possible to verify that the person is the same man or woman as their profile picture.

3. Call it off if the person refuses to video call. This is a red flag.

4. Be aware of contradictions in contacts’ stories.

5. Always be vigilant for red flags. Trust your intuition.

Catfishers can put a worm into the waters, but legit dates can be terrific.

Because couples have limited time, the conversations tend to be more meaningful. Couples share more intimate thoughts and feelings in order to compensate for the lack of proximity and physical closeness. Time together is quality over quantity.

The Journal of Communications recently found that couples in a long-distance relationship tend to have more conversations about future plans and goals than close proximity couples.

While long-distance relationships have become easier to manage, they are by no means easy. While technology has helped close the gap between long distance-couples, there are still problems that couples face. Balancing school, work, time zones and an independent social are challenges technology cannot change.

Keeping the relationship healthy and thriving requires a lot of time, planning and effort.  Relationships suffer if partners do not dedicate the time it takes for both all parties to feel satisfied. Although the odds may seem to be stacked against couples, with enough dedication and clear communication, couples can truly have a meaningful relationship stretched over miles.

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