Couples in long-distance relationships have greater intimacy and stronger bonds from constant and deeper communication than those in normal, face-to-face relationships, a new study has claimed.
Long-distance relationships are generally seen as challenging and destined to fail, but now researchers have found they may actually be creating stronger bonds than a geographically closer relationship.
Crystal Jiang, City University of Hong Kong and Jeffrey Hancock, Cornell University, asked dating couples in long-distance and geographically close relationships to report their daily interactions over different media: face-to-face, phone calls, video chat, texting, instant messenger, and email.
Over a week, the couples reported to what extent they shared about themselves and experienced intimacy, and to what extent they felt their partners did the same thing.
When comparing the two types of relationships, Jiang and Hancock found that long-distance couples felt more intimate to each other, and this greater intimacy is driven by two tendencies: long-distance couples disclosed themselves more, and they idealised their partners' behaviours.
These two tendencies become more manifested when they communicated in text-based, asynchronous and mobile media because they made more efforts to overcome the media constraints.
"Indeed, our culture, emphasises being together physically and frequent face-to-face contact for close relationships, but long-distance relationships clearly stand against all these values. People don't have to be so pessimistic about long-distance romance," said Jiang.
"The long-distance couples try harder than geographically close couples in communicating affection and intimacy, and their efforts do pay back," Jiang said.
The study was published in the Journal of Communication.