Think Long-Distance Relationships Never Work? This Web Series Might Change Your Mind.

"What are their dreams, their hopes, and their fears, and how does all of that influence the relationship and its success?"

Long-distance relationships often get a bad rep, but a new web series called Distance aims to change that. By highlighting a couple's individual experiences in their long-distance relationship, aka their LDR, Distance debunks common misconceptions about having this type of relationship. The primary misconception, according to the show's creator Alex Dobrenko, who loosely based the show on his own three-year long LDR, is that "being in a LDR means that you disappear from your daily life." 

That's why he chose to structure the show with dual-episodes, one from the perspective of the boyfriend Sam, and the other from that of the girlfriend Emily. "[This] allows us to dive into both Sam and Emily's lives as individuals," Dobrenko told A Plus via email. 

"What are their dreams, their hopes, and their fears, and how does all of that influence the relationship and its success?"

Those questions are difficult enough to answer in person, much less over a Skype call at the mercy of spotty Wi-Fi.

However, having that physical separation can provide partners with the time and space they need to figure out their priorities because they don't have to factor in another person — immediately, at least. "I think a long-distance relationship can be an awesome way to be with someone, especially if you're pursuing your own career 100 percent like Sam and Emily in the show," Dobrenko noted. "Think about it — you get a companion, someone who understands you and with whom you feel safe, AND you don't have to hang out with them every day — what a dream!" 

While this additional amount of independence may be the epitome of #relationshipgoals for one couple, lack of time spent together and physical intimacy may not work for another. Dobrenko believes the success of a long-distance relationship hinges on romantic partner's answers to two questions: 1. Are you ready to be in that kind of committed relationship with someone (long-distance or not)?  and 2. Are you willing to forgo short-term pleasure for longer-term fulfillment? 

Those questions can help partners gauge where each person stands in the relationship, but another factor couples can use to judge their ability to pursue a long-distance relationship can be each person's "love languages."

Dr. Gary Chapman's well-known 'Five Love Languages' theory proposes that everyone "speaks" one or two primary love languages, meaning they feel most loved when their partner acts in a certain way toward them. The five love languages include words of affirmation, receiving gifts, physical touch, quality time, and acts of service. 

So someone whose primary love languages are "words of affirmation" (meaning they feel most loved when their partner compliments them) and/or "receiving gifts" (ditto when they receive a thoughtful, not necessarily expensive, gift) would most likely excel in a long-distance relationship. However, someone whose primary love languages are "physical touch" (meaning they feel most loved when they hug, kiss, and cuddle with their partner) and/or "quality time" (ditto when they receive their partner's undivided attention) may have a harder time making long-distance work

But that doesn't mean a successful and fulfilling long-distance relationship is impossible.

"Ultimately, I think that they [LDRs] work when you care enough about the person — or about the idea of deepening your relationship with your partner," Dobrenko continued. "... Long-distance isn't really a choice, but an annoying obstacle between you and someone you really dig." 

Though Dobrenko is still dating and actually lives with his once long-distance girlfriend Lauren Wilde in Los Angeles, the unique experiences of their long-distance relationship taught him some universal lessons about love. "I hope that the show is able to dig into the question we often get of 'Are long-distance relationships worth it?'" he explained. "Big picture, there's really almost no difference between LDRs and every other kind of relationship — they're all difficult, most fail, and they all can bring us to the most joyous places of connection and love which one might just argue is the whole point of this crazy ride."

Cover image via mlasaimages on Shutterstock

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