Remote Relationships are more common at any time of the world in the digital age. People are on the move more then ever before. People relocate to be educated and return home, or take a fantastic job offer far away. The chances of being in a remote relationship in 2015 are greater now than at any other time. The world is shrinking.
Before PCs and smart phones which was not that long ago depending on your age, the speed of communication was slower.
Travelling around the world on a budget in the 1980s you were really on your own. Letter writing was the norm but was slow and unreliable. If you were on the move and knew you were heading for a large city you could pick up poste restante mail at the main post office in the city. Sending telegrams was expensive and charged per letter, but you could contact somebody in an emergency within hours.
You could ring anywhere in the world at great expense. You would never ring from a hotel phone with extortionate hotel call rates. You had to to ring from a phone shop, or phone box on the street. You could ring your girlfriend living in London from Indonesia, but would she be in? All phones were fixed to the wall! Nobody could carry their phones around with them. You had to take your chance, and leave a message if there was an answering machine on the line, or speak to her mother who would tell you she was out. She could not ring you as there was no allocated personal number of your own that you could give her.
It gave travelling a liberation of feeling that there was nothing behind you, and only the route ahead. Your parents couldn’t text or email you to see if you were ok, and you could not check your bank balance online. You could not book a hotel ahead and only had guide books-which were constantly going out of date-to tell what the town was like you had just arrived in.
Travelling around the consensus and anecdotal evidence with other travellers was that you could keep a relationship going like this for 12-18 months. After this time the intervals of communication could not keep the relationship going in any meaningful way. Well that was then. But this is now. In 2015 digital communication is instantaneous, and free. We all accustomed to a smaller world where distance is diminished, and efficient.
But the interesting question is what impact does digital communication have on remote relationships? Does instant communication make the remote relationship more durable, or longer lasting? Or are relationships defined by face to face contact of facial expression and touch? Does seeing the person on the Skype screen go some way to replacing or at least extending the life of a remote relationship? If so for how much longer?
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2015
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