How absence makes the heart grow fonder

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How absence makes the heart grow fonder

When it comes to turning your knees to jelly and filling your stomach with butterflies, your partner takes first place. Every time they walk into a room, it seems like your senses are heightened. Food tastes better, colours seem brighter, and music sounds more melodious.

But what happens when you can’t see your partner every day? What happens when you can’t run your fingers through their hair, or be hypnotised by their cologne and fresh breath?

With the current coronavirus outbreak unfolding, that question has been lingering in many people’s heads. Some people might argue that a lack of physical contact turns relationships into a case of, “out of sight, out of mind”. But science disagrees. According to The Journal of Communication’s study on long-distance relationships, being physically distant from your partner can bring you closer emotionally. Here’s how absence makes the heart grow fonder:

Long-Distance Couples Work Harder to Stay Together

When couples don’t have the luxury of seeing each other in the flesh every day, they have to put more effort into keeping the relationship alive. According to the study, people in long-distance relationships find other ways to communicate with each other, the most popular being texting and video calling. Their communication is also more frequent than partners who see each other face-to-face every day.

It Makes Partners Value Quality over Quantity

Although long-distance couples have fewer face-to-face interactions than couples that live close to each other, the conversations had by the former are far deeper. According to Crystal Jiang, a psychologist who co-authored the study, long-distance couples chat more about deeper issues such as the power of love, transparency and the future.

Absence Breeds Idealisation

Every relationship has its shares of high and lows. There are days when you can’t wait to get home and wrap your arms around your partner, and there are days when you wish you didn’t have to share the same bedroom. Ups and downs are a normal part of any relationship. But when you don’t see your partner every day, your brain creates an idealised version of them. You see their best self, causing you to miss them more. And that does wonders for your intimacy.

We get it: not seeing your partner isn’t your idea of fun. But in situations such as the one we’re in, social distancing is a necessity, not an option. But your relationship doesn’t have to suffer. You can be close without being close.