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Long Distance Love is a Touch and Talk Challenge

The dinner table is long distance love’s missing link.

Robert Indiana, Yale Art Gallery, Digital Commons

Love is a challenge for couples in long distance relationships. Whether or not long distance love lasts depends upon time and commitment. However, oftentimes even married professionals living under the same roof say they feel as if they are long distance lovers because they fail to connect emotionally and physically.

Many women, who have spent a life-time in the quasi-commitment of long distance, are repeat offenders. They come out of one relationship saying, "Never again, I want to be able to hold and hug every single day and night," yet they end up in a second long distance relationship.

In this downward spiraling economy, more and more couples are going to find themselves seeking jobs wherever these can be found. WebMD tells us that "According to data from the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, more than 3.5 million married Americans lived involuntarily apart in 2005." But the good news today is technology:

"A generation ago, couples had a much more difficult time staying in touch. With email, cell phones, digital pictures, web cams, it's much easier for spouses to stay in contact." Bridging the Distance in a Commuter Marriage - WebMD

And let's keep in mind the instant gratification of the text message, Skype, and Face Time on the iPhone.

As one colleague pointed out to me today -- feeling sad about raising her voice to her special guy -- had he seen her, he would have understood.

While touch is ideal - seeing helps us to read the other person's face. As she came to realize, maybe he had a bad day as well. But what made it worse, she lamented, was knowing that they would go to bed in separate cities without a kiss, a hug, or even a good laugh.

Pillow Talk is on the way!

What will communication mean for your relationship if you find yourself in a long distance rut? Take heart, Scottish Designer Joanna Montgomery, has created the long-distance pillow. Her website says,

"Each person has a ring sensor they wear to bed at night, and a flat fabric panel which slots inside their pillowcase. The ring wirelessly communicates with the other person's pillow; when one person goes to bed, their lover's pillow begins to glow indicating their presence. Placing your head on the pillow allows you to hear the real-time heartbeat of your loved one."

What can you do between now and pillow talk?

  • Try to visit often -- every two to three weeks is best.
  • Take advantage of technology -- talk, text, and email daily.
  • Show appreciation - always! In her book Project Happily Ever After Alisa Bowman stresses that men respond to respect and gratitude. "See him. Compliment him. Touch him. Smile. Tell him, 'Thank you.'"

The biggest disadvantage, no cannolis

Despite what some believe to be the advantage of long distance, here is the real missing link - the welcome table. My Italian grandmother believed that it was at the table that you could learn to "read" people.

You could come to know about them from the expressions on their faces, the questions they asked or didn't ask, their laughter, smiles, snickers, and their silence - which we learned to respect. It was a lesson we carried with us in relationships.

As we move into a 24/7 iPhone and iPad society, we miss the moments around a table when you come to know each other just a little bit better. The table is a good place for couples in love and marriage to communicate. Is it any wonder that "come to the table" is an expression used in business when hoping to negotiate win-win situations?

The welcome table makes only one demand -- your presence. Because she and Grandpa had a pastry shoppe, we learned the meaning of sweet love. In our world, no matter how much we may have disagreed, Gram believed that any argument could be settled with a good cannoli.

If your circumstances in this economy force you into a long distance romance, keep life sweet and passion alive.

Copyright 2011 Rita Watson/ All Rights Reserved

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