We’ve all heard that “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” but in truth, maintaining closeness when you have a geographical disadvantage can be really hard, no matter how devoted you and your partner are to one another. Research shows that slipping on a pair of rose-colored glasses contributes to long-term, long-distance success.
The Pros of Gossip and Idealization
When it comes to relationships, words like “gossip” and “idealization” don’t sound very promising. Idealizing your partner (aka holding them up on a pedestal) could be problematic, as could focusing on small talk and gossip. But according to Ji-yeon Lee and Carole Pistole, researchers from Purdue University, it’s actually the opposite for LDRs. They studied couples in geographically distant relationships and found that both of these practices can actually strengthen long-distance love.
Research shows that slipping on a pair of rose-colored glasses contributes to long-term, long-distance success.
How do we do this? See the world through rose-colored glasses and stay positive about the future? So glad you asked.
- Keep the complaining to a minimum: Experts recommend even establishing a 'Complain-o'clock' where you and your partner complain about everything you hate about long distance, not being together, and missing each other - just to get it out of your system. Then it's over!
- Play the gratitude game: End each call/Facetime with a lightning round of gratitude. Say the first 3 things you're grateful for and then let your partner go. This simple exercise can shift your focus away from the negative, and towards the positive.
- Celebrate the small stuff: "Normal relationships" might wait to bust open the champagne for anniversaries... and nothing else. But guess what? This is one of the advantages of LDRs. Celebrate everything: your first fight, your first kiss, your first everything. Even celebrate countdowns! 50 days until your next reunion, 4 weeeks until the next trip.
“In general, emotional self-disclosure elicits the partner’s disclosure and understanding, which may lead the person to idealize the partner and relationship.” Ultimately, if you idealize your partner, you’re more likely to overlook their flaws. And when you're moving forward in an LDR, ignoring each other's flaws isn't such a bad idea.