The task of maintaining long-distance relationships is generally complicated by external circumstances that change over time. From this perspective, technological advancements are some of the conditions which modified this area of human life and distinguished communication within couples in the past from the present-day interaction patterns. This trend seems positive when considering its effects on facilitating the exchange of information and reducing the time required for it. However, the quality of relationships was also affected, implying the impossibility of claiming only the advantages of one or another mode. The emergence of the Internet, followed by the development of various apps, was apparently beneficial for keeping in touch, but the satisfaction of people, in this case, is not necessarily increased compared to previous centuries.
Meeting New People Differently
The essential stage of starting long-distance relationships at all times was making acquaintance with people and initiating the first communication. In the past, it was meeting someone in person, and this fact contributed to the couples’ awareness of each other’s personalities. They had a chance to learn a little about their partners before parting and conversing solely by writing letters and occasionally making phone calls, which were mostly unaffordable (Pinsker, 2019). In this situation, the challenge was connected to the slow pace of their interaction and the impossibility of timely receiving the news.
In turn, in the modern world, this problem is addressed by contemporary technological solutions, allowing lovers to contact each other at any time. Nevertheless, in order to make these relationships work, one needs to exert more effort to ensure that they are compatible with the individuals with whom they are romantically connected. This factor is crucial for abandoning illusions concerning the people who met online (Kornegay, 2017). Frequently, they spend only a limited amount of time in one city, which makes it impossible to be fully aware of whether long-term communication can take place or their actions are futile.
Difficulties Sharing Events
Another obstacle on the way to healthy relationships when they are maintained at a distance is the issue of sharing important events with each other. In the past, there were practically no means for resolving it other than making a phone call, which was also not always an available option (Pinsker, 2019). Consequently, stress levels in such interactions were significantly higher, whereas the opportunities for reducing them were non-existent. To make communication stable, individuals could only hope that their partners find ways to inform them of critical occasions. In contrast to the experience of previous generations, present-day people have more chances to have access to one another’s lives despite sharing similar struggles. In their situation, the challenge is explained by the fact that, when meeting someone online, trust cannot be formed easily (Chin, 2018). As a result, the growing suspicions regarding the conduct of others and their online representation cannot be viewed as a solid ground for being in long-distance relationships. This problem is usually solved by moving in together; meanwhile, both in the past and present, it is not easy to do due to outside circumstances.
The Meaning of Daily Conversations
The mentioned concerns of the couples are complemented by their capability to communicate regularly. Previously, it was the most difficult aspect of couples’ lives while also being the most interesting part of their interactions. People paid particular attention to the messages they exchanged due to the limitations described above and, therefore, could benefit from high-quality communication (Pinsker, 2019). In other words, the essence of their letters was the most critical information they wanted to share, and it was expressed more elaborately and figuratively in order to evoke the intended feelings of the recipients.
From this standpoint, the attempts of lovers of the past to guarantee the significance of their texts is opposed to the present-day focus on shortness. This shift of values seems alarming as people nowadays struggle more with quality while preferring the number of messages or calls (Kornegay, 2017). Thus, the difference between the conditions for long-distance relationships in these situations is the existing failure of contemporary citizens to maintain proper interactions, which their predecessors effectively addressed. In this respect, there are no appropriate techniques to eliminate the corresponding risks, which means that technology cannot substitute human contributions to the process.
The discussed challenges are accompanied by the erroneous expectations of individuals maintaining long-distance relationships regarding their positive outcomes. In the past, communication appeared to be more real, mostly because of its participants’ intentions to spend time in one place as frequently as possible (Pinsker, 2019). This desire contributed to the formation of opinions clearly reflecting partners’ flaws or virtues, thereby allowing them to be aware of what the future holds. In the meantime, promoting interactions in the present-day technological world does not seem feasible for many as people view texting or making phone and video calls as sufficient substitutes for physical meetings (Kornegay, 2017). This aspect is especially critical if lovers have never seen one another in real life but still hope to be together one day. They fail to recognize the link between their conversations online and the subsequent impossibility of finding common ground when discussing matters in person. To make the relationships work, the involved adults try to contact their partners as often as possible, even though this approach does not seem to be efficient.
Postponing Family Life
The final consideration distinguishing between the ways people created long-distance relationships in the past and present is how they start their family lives after being acquainted in such a manner. In the former case, individuals did not have any means of deceiving themselves in the nature of their connection by claiming the possibility of their future together in the absence of physical presence (Pinsker, 2019). This circumstance determined their desire to be together sooner rather than later, even though these decisions implied sacrificing their educational pursuits or careers (Pinsker, 2019). Currently, couples prefer to postpone marriage and their lives together instead of finding a compromise. Despite the fact that they do not need to reject any parts of their daily activities, they still hold on to an illusion regarding the opportunities for making a family with the selected person in several years.
In conclusion, the differences in the ways people of the past and present made their long-distance relationships work are conditional upon the external conditions, including the technological progress of the time. In the case of previous generations, the challenges of meeting partners, maintaining communication, and forming expectations of their future lives together were addressed more creatively compared to contemporary citizens’ approaches. Thus, they wrote long and informative letters, relied heavily on physical meetings, and were willing to sacrifice in order to stay in one place. On the contrary, present-day adults, due to their growing independence and the availability of different apps, have more illusions, value the quantity of messages over their quality, and misinterpret others’ intentions or personality traits. It means that technological advancements are incapable of fully substituting the human factor, and building healthy relationships requires more effort.
Chin, C. (2018). Has tech ushered in a golden age of long-distance dating? Wired. Web.
Kornegay, K. (2017). Long-distance relationships: Modern love in the digital age. The Ithacan. Web.
Pinsker, J. (2019). The new long-distance relationship. The Atlantic. Web.