STAFF OPINION: Absence does in fact make the heart grow fonder

By Shruthi Vijukumar | November 30, 2022 5:00pm

Photo courtesy of Shruthi Vijukumar.

Long-distance relationships have a failure rate of over 40%. This combined with the fact that less than 2% of high-school sweetheart relationships actually work put the odds safely against my boyfriend, Rishi, and I. 

Naturally, we decided to ignore the odds and jump headfirst into a long-distance relationship, attending colleges in two different states, about 600 miles from each other. 

Initially, we faced all the struggles that come to mind — difficulty in coordinating schedules, lack of physical affection and the overall frustration of not being able to be with or even see your partner. Three years later, my boyfriend and I often find ourselves saying that we wouldn’t have it any other way. The reason is simple: Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

Photo courtesy of Shruthi Vijukumar.

While past wisdom dictates that long-distance relationships are near impossible, it's likely that these issues arose because it was harder to communicate back then. Many of these anxieties have been lifted by the rise of technology with text, call or video chat. Improved remote connectivity was one of the good things that came out of the pandemic these past years. Rishi and I tackled these hurdles of long-distance dating and still figured out how to have a great time without needing to physically be with each other. 

The lack of physical presence forces Rishi and I to communicate deeply about our feelings because it isn’t always easy to read physical cues over video chats. In fact, it's known that long-distance partners talk more when they are apart than couples that are not long-distance, creating a stronger connection for trust and bonding. I will stand by this fact because I truly feel like I know Rishi so much more as a person now than if we dated fully in person.

Long distance also gives way to creative and fun dates. We often found ourselves reading more books together, painting together, cooking together and analyzing movies together — all the things you would usually do for dates, albeit virtually. Long distance dating also brings to light some creative virtual dates like solving virtual escape games while being on Zoom as well as surprise Doordash dating where one person orders the other person food as a surprise and vice versa, and you eat it together. We’ve also watched tons of movies and TV shows and analyzed every single tidbit and sign of symbolism to death.

It would be remiss of me if I said that long-distance is all sunshine and rainbows though. This form of relationship does come with numerous obstacles. 

It can be hard to tackle things like lack of effort and mistreatment of boundaries. But the best part is that the only thing you can do is communicate, and we have learned to do it well. I urge anyone considering it to have a conversation with your partner and see if your goals for the future align. If they are, there’s no better show of loyalty than coming out on the other side of a distance partnership.

Photo courtesy of Shruthi Vijukumar.

So if you’re facing a long-distance relationship and the thought of it terrifies you, that's okay. You probably have plenty of well-intentioned folks telling you that it probably won’t work out. But if you’re looking for hope, let us be an example of how things can work out and flourish even. Don’t let distance be the burden — find a way.

Shruthi Vijukumar is a photographer for The Beacon. She can be reached at

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