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bobbinhood's avatar

At what point to do you consider a relationship to be long distance?

Asked by bobbinhood (5879 points ) October 14th, 2010

I have noticed that people seem to have varying definitions on what constitutes “long distance” in a relationship. My fiancé and I live 2000 miles apart and see each other twice a year. I know of others who live further apart, and see each other even less often. Yet, some people live close enough to get together weekly (or more), and they classify it as long distance. It seems like some people think that if they do not live in the same town as their S/O, that they are in a long distance relationship. Personally, I disagree. So I’m curious: What is the general consensus? Where do you draw the line? If you have ever been in a relationship that you considered long distance, do you think that has affected your opinion?

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20 Answers

hug_of_war's avatar

If it’s far away enough where driving to see each other and back daily would be difficult, I consider it long distance.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I suppose you could say if it’s long distance to call each other, it could be considered long distance. I really think it’s up to the people involved in the relationship to decide though. It’s not really my place to determine that for other people.

When my husband and I started dating, we were a 3 hour drive away from each other (in different states). We saw each other at least every other week (sometimes more). I didn’t really consider us long distance until other people started calling us that and asking me how I dealt with it.

bobbinhood's avatar

@hug_of_war How far is that for you? Some people don’t mind an hour or two commute, and others hate to drive more than 20 minutes.

@Seaofclouds According to your first standard, I have friends that are long distance that live within 15 minutes of me. I suppose if you have larger areas where you live, that might make sense, though. It’s interesting that other people’s shock ended up changing your opinion. I wonder how often that’s the case for people that live relatively close to each other?

risingonashes's avatar

I would say if it is difficult to drive daily or you each live in different area codes.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@bobbinhood That wasn’t my first standard, just a way I suppose some people could look at it. I think it’s a personal classification depending on the specifics of that relationship.

bobbinhood's avatar

@risingonashes How far would be difficult for you to drive daily? That’s something that’s pretty different between people. It’s possible to live in a different area code from your neighbor across the street.

@Seaofclouds I just meant that it was the first standard you listed, not that it was your personal first standard. I suppose I could have made that clear… oops.

Brian1946's avatar

For me a long distance relationship would be one where driving to see my SO would take more than an hour each way.

That’s my perspective because I lived with my ex-wife and I live about 7 miles from my wife.

A little over 10 years ago my wife taught in a school about 400 miles north of me for about 9 months.
That was definitely a long distance relationship.
We drove back and forth to see each other about every 2 weeks.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

For me long distance would be where it was a hardship to travel to see each other each day. I once had a bf who lived 1.5 hrs from me by car but we saw each other only every few weeks until I could move there.

risingonashes's avatar

@bobbinhood I can see where that is true so lets says more than 8 hours driving daily, and by area code I would say in a different city.

People who like 2000 miles will look at someone who has 100 miles and of course not see that as long distance. Some people consider and hour long distance so I guess it really is up to the couple to decide what to call it since it really is just a descriptive phrase.

Beta_Orionis's avatar

I’d consider it long distance if those involved in the relationship have to coordinate their schedules in order to spend time together, if they usually plan togetherness ahead of time. If you can’t contact the other person spontaneously and meet within an hour at least 75% of the times you try, it’s long distance.

This extends the definition of distance to both emotional and synchronous rather than strictly locational. (Although there’s a great deal of time/space distance overlap, I’m thinking more along the lines of personal time, the speed at which you exist.)

BarnacleBill's avatar

For me, long distance is anything over a 1 hour drive.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

When they can’t hear me bitch ;)

Ponderer983's avatar

When you can’t just jump in a car and go see them anytime you want.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

I totally agree with the jellies, all that they say constitutes a long distance relationship, but there are times when you could be living under the same roof and sharing a life, yet it could still be a “long distance relationship”. In that case whether you live far or with one another wouldn’t make a difference!

bobbinhood's avatar

So, it seems like the general consensus is any time it’s difficult to get together daily. That makes sense. I suppose that means we could add finances to the equation, as well. It doesn’t much matter if you only live 1½ hours from your s/o if you can’t afford to drive that far regularly.

This discussion is interesting, because I hadn’t realized how broad a term “long distance” really is. My experience lends me to think that anyone that can see their s/o once or twice a week has it made. However, people who live an hour apart could call themselves long distance if they thought that it kept them from seeing each other as often as they would like. Likewise, at 2000 miles apart, I am clearly in a long distance relationship. But neither of those really compare to overseas relationships with the hardship of drastically different timezones. Likewise, none of the previous compare to military relationships. I rarely see my fiancé, but I am fairly certain I will see him again, and I get to talk to him daily. People in military relationships cannot say either of those things.

@Beta_Orionis That makes a lot of sense. There’s not much difference in never seeing your s/o because they live far away, or never seeing them because your schedules are so conflicting.

@lucillelucillelucille Does that mean anyone who’s more than two houses down? :P

@ZEPHYRA That’s a really good point. It’s sad to think how many people live in the same house as their love, yet are miles apart. I suppose it happens to everyone at one time or another.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@bobbinhood Exaclty. It is a very broad term. I think it’s important to remember that not seeing your s/o for any period of time is still just as hard, whether you’re an hour apart or an ocean apart.

My husband and I have had different amounts of distance between us throughout our relations (ranging from none when he is home) to the other side of the world while he is deployed and a lot of others in between. When we were dating, he moved twice and each move was farther away from me compared to where he was. I can tell you without a doubt that the missing him and longing for him is still the same now that he is on the other side of the world as it was when we were a 3 hour drive apart.

bobbinhood's avatar

@Seaofclouds Did it make any difference that you got to see him more often when you were a three-hour drive apart?

Seaofclouds's avatar

Honestly, I think the constant saying goodbye and readjusting every two weeks was harder than once every 6 weeks when he moved farther away and the twice in one year while deployed. Seeing him after the longer celebrations was more powerful than seeing him after a shorter separation, if that makes any sense.

bobbinhood's avatar

Saying goodbye is definitely the hardest part of the relationship, so I can see how being together more often wouldn’t necessarily make up for also having to say goodbye more often. And that first embrace after months apart is amazing.

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