Long-Distance Dating Relationships (LDDR’s) do no work! LDDR’s have become an ongoing phenomenon in our society today through social media. There’s a lot that goes into studying if these types of relationships work or not. Many people find it hard just to be separated from their significant others while some find it makes their relationship stronger. There is no definite answer to this type of dating relationship style to say if it’s effective or not but I can tell you there are studies that show it does not work. In our society, we are consumed in media 24/7 and one of the effects of this is that it makes keeping in touch with loved ones easier. I read 4 scholarly articles that help get to the bottom of this trend and dissect LDDR’s. The first article was about how uncertainty – certainty affects long-distance relationships. The second article was about friendships and romantic relationships in computer-mediated communication. The third article was about how Facebook and other mediums work in long-distance marriages. The final article was about how college students use email to maintain relationships that started as face to face friendships and romantic relationships.
The first article expressed that certainty is one of the most important factors in an LDDR. The distance makes it hard for either person in the relationship to have trust and certainty. While these couples in LDDR want to have that certainty a trust they still want that uncertainty factor and spontaneity in the relationship. LDDR’s plan more for convenience so they can manage their time together more efficiently. In this article, they took a small sample of a couple in long-distance relationships. They gave each of the couples the same three materials, they each go a consent form, a questionnaire with similar questions on it, and a tape recorder with four questions to answer. The four questions they had to answer were:
- How does your time together positively impact your time apart?
- How does your time together negatively impact your time apart?
- How does your time apart positively impact your time together?
- How does your time apart negatively impact your time together?
The conversations over the tape recorder led to some interesting results. When the first couple answered the questions they felt as though when they see each other they can’t do something mundane like watch movies because they feel like its wasting precious time they always feel the need to do something fun and exciting. Then the next couple answered and the boyfriend was saying how it’s so hard to plan to have sex because he wants it to be more or a spontaneous and in the moment kind of thing but the one time he wanted to his girlfriend was on her period and he said it would be more convenient to just have sex on her period instead of waiting till next time. Another couple the boyfriend said that when they have problems his girlfriend never wants to settle them over the phone so anytime they are together they spend most of their time together arguing. All of these conversations led to negative results in how their relationship is not perfect due to the distance. This article roves how LDDR’s don’t work when it comes to certainty – uncertainty and it’ s clear that there’s no way to have that same connection unless you are a geographically close relationship.
The next article was about Friendships in Computer-mediated Communication. This article explains that the two most important relationships that people hold on to ver CMC are romantic and friendships. The author says there are 3 tools people use to stay in touch and they are asynchronous, synchronous, and information, retrieval, storage, and manipulation communication. Asynchronous communication is through email, newspapers, and BBS. Synchronous communication is through instant messenger and chatrooms. Information retrieval, storage, and manipulation are through the Internet and electronic databases. Wang says that the two dominant forms of communication are emails and Instant messaging. I can see how this is true because we live in an era where most communication is electronically transmitted. But the one thing that caught my eye in this article is that Wang believes that long-distance friendships are less strenuous that long-distance friendships. In long-distance relationships, self-disclosure is more prominent in romantic relationships. In Long-distance friendships, wang says there more focused on keeping tabs on one another and it is not as serious whereas in LDDR’s there a lot more effort into the conversation and the two people tend to feel the need to talk more.
This next article was about how does facebook and other social media platforms affect LDDR’s and do they make them any better or is it still a challenge. The basic concept of this study is they took a sample of 50 migrant wives from Filipinos that left behind their spouses behind to move to the united states to secure financial stability before the rest of the family moves over. They interviewed the wives and asked them about their satisfaction levels of the LDDR through these social media platforms and if the platforms make the relationship easier to maintain or is it still challenging. One wife when asked these questions said: “Just seeing him is enough for me we call each other every day on Skype and it’s amazing what technology has allowed us to do to stay in touch with loved ones”. This woman is perfectly fine with the LDDR and the social media forms make it easy for her to have a meaningful relationship. The next wife says: “Conversations are stagnant and the same questions are asked every time: Goodmorning, how are you? How was your day? Have you eaten yet? Goodnight’. This woman is no happy with how over social media platforms the conversations are always the same and most likely it is because it’s hard to hold conversations for most people over the phone but then again they are married so it should be easy to. The last wife who talked said: “it’s so awkward when I do get to see my husband in person because I never get so see him on a regular basis. In-person I’m distant in hugs and I don’t even view him as a sexual partner anymore I view him as a companion. So when he tries to make certain moves I get uncomfortable.”. This is a side effect of being apart for so long it makes sense how she is feeling because she is away from her husband for almost 6 months at a time so when she sees him in person it’s different than seeing him every day. This article goes to show how LDDR’s don’t work in marriages the partners are apart for too long and they lose their connectedness the last two wives had a negative impression on it.
The final article I read was about college students maintain interpersonal relationships that started as face to face relationships and transferred to email due to long-distance. Email is a very valuable tool; “the growth in the number of Americans online means that people can use the Internet to keep in touch with a larger proportion of their friends and relationships”. There are so many college students that are friends with people in high school, then when they go off to college they are thousands of miles away. There are 3 contributions to computer-mediated and intrapersonal communication in this study. The first one is maintaining communication over email; Most relationships are maintained over face to face communication which is the norm. Emails allow for a more strategic approach to express messages and enhance impressions. The second contribution is Face to face compared to long-distance relationships; Most people have the same satisfaction levels and reported closeness. In these long-distance relationships, people say they expect less maintenance behaviors than a face to face relationship. The final contribution was the positivity and openness levels were expressed more in an internet-based relationship; in these types of relationships, people feel more comfortable saying certain things they may not be brave enough to say in person. The people in the study said that internet-based relationships were less expensive, more convenient, quick interactions, and more frequent in communicating. I feel that these contributions make online dating more of a challenge; yes it’s easier and less expensive but they are still missing that face to face interaction you never know how differently someone will act in person.
After reading this article about LDDR’s I have three theories in mind that I can do my on a study on this to see if they really work or not. The first theory I would like to use is the Relational Dialects Theory. This theory explains “The dynamics and unnecessary struggle between discourse and intrapersonal relationships”. The main focus of this theory is internal in external dialects; in the internal dialect, the focus of the study would be on certainty – uncertainty. Certainty – uncertainty is how spontaneous or predictable a relationship is. So in a study on this, I can choose 5 face to face couples and 5 LDDR couples and interview them asking them the level of certainty and uncertain and see if that effects the satisfaction of the relationship. I would assume that thee LDDR couples would have less uncertainty in their relationship only because they would have to plan their meetings according to their personal schedules. For the face to face couples, I would assume that they can have more spontaneity in their relationship because they would be able to see each other in person more often.
The second theory I can use to see if LDDR’s work or not is the Uncertainty Reduction Theory. The premise of this theory is; “increased knowledge of what kind of person the other is, which provides an improved foresight of how a future interaction will turn out”. So in the study my main focus would be how well couples communicate over the internet as opposed to online. I would take 5 couples that are face to face and 5 souple that are LDDR and put to test how well they know each other; to do this I will give both groups of couples the same questions on a quiz of ten questions. I will base my results off of which group scores better on answering these questions. The group that scores better I will assume has better communication so they can have a good enough understanding of their partner. The group that scores less I will assume they don’t talk that much in depth about each other and probal don’t have that good of an understanding of each other.
The final theory I will use to prove my point if LDDR’s work or not is the Social Information Processing Theory. The definition of this theory is “people can indeed form relationships online that are just as satisfying if not sometimes more satisfying than their offline interactions”. To perform a study I would take 5 couples and some will have been in an online relationship and the others will be in a face to face relationship. The key point to this is that some of the couples will have common social media platforms they can converse about and common interests like sports or gaming then some will not have the same interests and see how it affects the relationship satisfaction levels. I this theory holds true then the relationships with more social interests and online social media will have the better relationship, and whoever has the least amount of social communications and similar platforms will have the worse relationship.
In conclusion I stand firm in saying that Long DIstance Dating Relationships don’t work. When people are separated from their significant other by such a large distance it’s considered an LDDR’s and this leads to lack of trust. It also makes the couple feel like they cant have any uncertainty because everything needs to be planned out when they meet and they can’t just do something like watch movies and chill because that too mundane and a “waste of time”. There’s also a lack of spontaneity, they can’t just pop up on each other, and do something random. They do not have the ability to just go see one another because of the distance. There is no definite way to know for sure if LDDR’s work but through my research I have found evidence that backs it up.
- Acedera, Kristel Anne, and Brenda S. A. Yeoh. “Facebook, Long-Distance Marriages, and the Mediation of Intimacies.” International Journal of Communication, vol. 12, Jan. 2018, pp. 4123–4142. EBSCOhost,
- Griffin, Emory A., et al. A First Look at Communication Theory. McGraw-Hill Education, 2019.
- Johnson, Amy, et al. “College Students’ Use of Email to Maintain Long Distance and Geographically Close Interpersonal Relationships.” Conference Papers — International Communication Association, 2007 Annual Meeting 2007, p. 1. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cms&AN=26949877&site=ehost-live.
- Sahlstein, Erin M. “Making Plans: Praxis Strategies for Negotiating Uncertainty–Certainty in Long-Distance Relationships.” Western Journal of Communication, vol. 70, no. 2, Apr. 2006, pp. 147–165. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/10570310600710042.
- Wang, Hua, and Peter Andersen. “Computer-Mediated Communication in Relationship Maintenance: An Examination of Self-Disclosure in Long-Distance Friendships.” Conference Papers — International Communication Association, 2007 Annual Meeting 2007, p. 1. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cms&AN=26949912&site=ehost-live.