sábado, octubre 07, 2006

Long Distance-Relationships

I have found this link about this theme....
I made a little resume of it....

Despite the teary goodbyes, lonely nights, flight delays, and outrageous phone bills, an estimated 14 million Americans are currently in LDRs, according to the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships. That number includes couples of all kinds, from those who fell for each other while living on opposite coasts to those who've been married for years but decided to live apart while she takes that plum international assignment or he goes back to school.

Multiple studies have found that LDR couples' levels of relationship satisfaction, intimacy, trust, and commitment are identical to their geographically close counterparts. LDR couples might worry more about infidelity, but they don't actually cheat more.

LDRs are nothing new, of course. But experts attribute the prevalence of LDRs today to a number of factors. One is that the working world looks a lot different, and requires different training, than in previous generations. "There are more women having careers, and there's more specialization these days," says Seetha Narayan, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Long-Distance Relationships. "Many couples invested a lot in their careers, and now they have to follow through. They usually think of it as temporary -- this is for now, I'll put some time into building my resume. Do you love and expand my future options."
Second, the world is a smaller place. "Before, people met one another by proximity," explains Greg Guldner, Ph.D., director of the
Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships. "You married your classmates, you ran into people who lived in the same town. That's really changed now with the types of careers people are taking. There are many, many more conferences -- this is a theme that comes up over and over again: People meet someone at conferences that are either national or international."

Technology is also increasing the number of people who are meeting at a distance. Consider the growing popularity of online dating services. People lsumook in the four zip codes around them, and if that doesn't work, they expand their search. "Because of the isolation that is built into our society right now, people are more willing to take a risk with a long-distance relationship," Guldner says. Add it all up, and you've got a lot of people logging a lot of cell-phone minutes.

Here's why: When psychologists talk about intimacy, they're generally referring to two components. The first is the ability to verbalize fairly deep vulnerabilities -- for instance, to say "Do you love me?" and "I miss you." The trickier, almost subconscious part is maintaining the feeling of being intermingled in your partner's life, a state the experts often refer to as "interrelatedness." Couples that are geographically close establish this by discussing the mundane details of daily life, whether it's the fact that you had to take a different route to work because of road construction, or that you have a 2 p.m. meeting with a new client, or that you had a turkey sandwich for lunch.
The fact that you had a turkey sandwich for lunch is so trivial that its shelf life is even shorter than that of the sandwich itself -- if you don't talk to your partner on the day you ate it, you're probably not going to mention it. "The problem is when you get a couple that is very good at sharing the deep emotional things but doesn't know anything about each other's lives," says Guldner. "You ask them, ‘What's going on with your partner today?' and they have no idea. This happens fairly frequently in long-distance relationships, and it erodes a fundamental part of intimacy -- people stop feeling like they're connected. You have to do things to try to create that interrelatedness."

But intimacy has its costs. The closer you are to someone, the more likely you are to miss them. "Missing" involves several different feelings and thoughts, says Ben Le, an assistant professor of psychology at Haverford College in Pennsylvania who studies romantic relationships. These include sexual desire and longing, thoughts about the future and what the partner is doing, and behavioral tendencies such as looking at pictures of your partner or talking to friends about him or her.

Missing a loved one actually involves something much deeper than wanting to be around them. Whether you know it or not, your relationship is an important part of your self-concept; when your partner leaves, you might -- at least initially -- have to redefine your sense of self. This redefining takes many forms, Le says. For example, at the beginning of a relationship, as two people become closer, they shift their language and begin to use "we" statements where they once would have used "I" ones -- for instance, "We slept in Saturday morning," or "That's our favorite restaurant." When couples are spending significant amounts of time apart, partners inevitably are using more "I" language, simply because they're alone more.
"The absence of a partner could, in the short term, result in a loss of part of the self," Le says. "As the long-distance relationship persists, it's likely that the self-concept would shift to account for that LDR -- being a ‘person in a relationship' would shift to being a ‘person in a long-distance relationship.'"

Some people in LDRs aren't so lucky, however, especially if the separation lasts a significant amount of time. Guldner's research shows that most couples tend to go through three phases of separation: protest, depression, and detachment. The "protest" phase can range from mild and playful -- "Please stay" -- to significant anger. Once an individual has accepted the separation, he or she might experience low-level depression, mostly characterized by slight difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping, and the feeling of being a little down. "Unfortunately, that seems to be a reflex," Guldner explains. "In other words, it persists. It continues with each separation and, in fact, sometimes worsens with each separation. There is very little one can do to prevent it." Some people experience this in a more pronounced way than others."

Distance "Do's"

Your LDR doesn't have to mean long-distance misery. Here's what the experts suggest:

Make a plan. It helps to establish a plan that includes an approximate timeline for how long the separation will last -- and, to the extent possible, a schedule for predictable visits. "If you can mark down on a calendar when the visits will take place, it keeps you reliable to your friends and colleagues and makes life less crazy," says Seetha Narayan, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Long-Distance Relationships.

Discuss ground rules. If you're not explicitly committed, it might be a good idea to set boundaries about interactions with other people that could pose a threat to the relationship. According to research by Greg Guldner of the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, only 30 percent of couples who discussed such rules broke up, regardless of whether or not they decided to date others -- but 70 percent of couples who didn't discuss the topic split.

Deal with conflict immediately. Particularly for newer couples, dealing with problems as they arise is key, even if it means spoiling the reunion weekend, Narayan Burtner says. And without the luxury of body language, you'll be forced to communicate well, a skill that can only help you down the road.

Share the details of your daily life. Guldner suggests emailing at least twice a day -- once in the morning to share what's on tap for the day ahead, and once in the evening to recount what happened. And be sure to send handwritten letters -- they help to foster intimacy, Narayan Burtner says, since they're concrete reminders of your loved one that can be carried around in a pocket or a purse.

Don't sweat the small stuff. Though dealing with conflict is important, couples should remember that they will be particularly sensitive just before and after a reunion. "If one person is picking a fight or acting cranky or finding fault, and it's inexplicable, just let it go -- it has more to do with the transitions than with anything real that's going on," Narayan Burtner advises.

Learn the art of long-distance sex. If you're uncomfortable with the idea of phone sex, Guldner suggests reading sexual fantasies over the phone (or even just to yourself, at first). If you can't do that without giggling, send an erotic email with the help of HoochyMail.com.

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