Molly Boland, of St. Louis, Mo., has been dating her boyfriend Bennett Dixon, of Kansas City, Mo., long distance for a little over a year, and they’ve got it down to a science. They try seeing each other in person every two weeks, but sometimes it's a month and other times it can be even longer. Today’s mobile technology, however, keeps them in constant communication with the help of long distance relationship apps.
Dixon is the first person Boland speaks to in the morning, and social media keeps them connected and laughing throughout the day. They share posts on Facebook, tag one another in Instagram photos and even share a Pinterest board dedicated to unique dates they want to explore when they have weekends together. At least once a week, Bennett uses his Samsung Galaxy S5 to Skype with Boland, which helps them share little things like showing off a new haircut or puppy trick. At night, Bennett’s voice is the last thing Boland hears before falling asleep.
These kinds of relationships are actually more common than you may think. In a time when job opportunities are limited, professionals pursuing a career are frequently given a chance in another city. Since it’s not often that a significant other can pick up and move with them, the relationship is forced to be long distance.
In a recent study by iVillage, 14 million U.S. couples claim they’re in a long distance relationship and 75 percent of engaged couples say that their relationship was long distance at some point. Another study suggests that, contrary to popular belief, young unmarried people in long-distance dating relationships do not report lower relationship quality than those in geographically close relationships.
For Boland and Bennett, constant digital communication on their mobile devices has helped them grow closer, discrediting the myth that all long distance couples are destined for failure.
“If Bennett and I lived in the same city, I think we’d communicate less, like 10 times less,” Boland confesses. “I'm guessing we wouldn't email except about important matters and our texts would probably shrink. We'd never Skype either. I wonder if we'd even take as many pictures … when we do have weekends together we take dozens because they help tide us over while we're away from one another.”
While Boland and Bennett (and the millions of others in long-distance relationships) have benefited greatly from technology to sustain their connection, nothing beats the feeling they get when they are finally reunited. “When I finally see Bennett in person after a long time I feel instant security and relaxation,” Boland said. “There is nothing like it. I feel less exhausted when I see him, even if I’ve had a busy week or didn’t sleep much.”
Long distance is not ideal, but with today’s mobile technology and the ability to connect with loved ones with a swipe of a finger, it’s doable. It allows couples to share a life together despite the distance between them and for the right person, it's all worth it.