african american woman on phone

[Ask ShanTellem]
Can Long-Distance Relationships Work?

[ADVICE] ShanTellem responds to someone with a bae 17 hours away, wondering if the long-distance thing can really work

african american woman on phone

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Dear ShanTellem,

I met this girl through Instagram. She’s a little younger but she’s in school getting two master’s degrees in social work and nursing. She’s ideal, physically my type, and we have great conversation, similar goals, drive and ambition. She appreciates my accomplishments and is able to always put a smile on my face.



The only problem is that she lives about 17 hours away. The good thing is that it allows us to build a foundation/friendship without complicating feelings that often come with physical interactions. It also forces me to take things slow, which is what I need.

We’ve talked about the idea of moving, but nothing too deep yet. But we’re both curious if this will work. Do long distance relationships work? If so, how? What are the pros and cons?

Signed,

Can We Work?

Dear Can We Work,

It’s challenging to find someone who you click with. In fact, that is about 60 percent of the battle when looking for a mate. While it’s good to assess whether or not your situation will yield a higher success rate, you don’t want to talk yourself out of what could be a great thing before it has a chance to exist. And while it’s very natural, wondering about whether this will work is doing just that—because if you wonder for too long, doubt will rear its ugly head.

From the looks of it, this young lady is keeping your attention, and you both seem to enjoy each other so far. Instead of trying to figure out whether or not your possible relationship will work, just appreciate the process of getting to know each other.

The short answer to your question is, yes: long distance relationships can work. Each year, tens of thousands of people across the world engage in them successfully. But some folks just aren’t cut out for them.

Instead of wondering if a long distance relationship can work, I think you should ask yourself if you’re cut out for one. Are you someone who needs to constantly be up under your significant other? Do you have raging insecurities that will make your mind wander? Or do you have trouble being faithful? If you answered yes to any of these questions (especially the latter), you might want to stay local with your dating, or consider not dating at all and working on yourself.

As you’ve already experienced, having a partner who is not easily accessible does allow you to get to know their personality more. All that you have is your word, chat, emails, Skype/FaceTime and text messaging. So one pro is that when you do see each other, there’s a strong chance you’ll have a feeling of elation, which will make the physical contact that much sweeter.

Having been in a long distance relationship or two, I can say that one major con is the possibility of heavy arguments once one person decides to move. Because your relationship has been based on you not being in each other’s presence, you’ll have to get used to being around each other. Obviously, not being able to see them regularly is also a drawback of being in a long distance relationship.

My advice to you is, take a chance. It’s not like she will be in school forever.

Or you can play it safe and remain “friends.” The worse that could happen is that it does not work out, but what do you have to lose?

Something as simple as a little distance should not keep you from possibly connecting with someone who you can have a long-lasting relationship with. So go for it and be ready to learn whatever lessons may come with this union.

Good luck and I wish you the best.

Your Turn: Got a question for ShanTellem? Email her at sejamison@ebony.com.

Shantell E. Jamison is an editor for EBONY.com and JETmag.com. Not confined to chasing headlines, this Chicago-based writer, radio personality and cultural critic is also the author of Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self.





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