A new study finds that absence may truly make the heart grow fonder and that couples who live apart have more meaningful interactions and stronger bonds than those who see each other every day.
In a new study, couples in long distance relationships maintained over phone calls, texting, emailing and video chat were also more likely to idealize their partner's behaviors, leading to a greater sense of intimacy.
Researchers from the City University of Hong Kong and Cornell University recruited 63 heterosexual couples -- roughly half of whom said they were in long distance relationships -- about their typical communication.
On average, subjects were just under 21 years old, had been in their relationships for nearly two years and had been living apart for 17 months. Over the course of a week, they reported to what extent they shared about themselves and how they experienced intimacy, and to what extent their partners did the same thing. Findings showed that the long distance couples disclosed themselves more and felt a closer bond.
"Indeed, our culture emphasizes being together physically and frequent face-to-face contact for close relationships, but long-distance relationships clearly stand against all these values," said coauthor Crystal Jiang. "People don't have to be so pessimistic about long-distance romance."
"The long-distance couples try harder than geographically close couples in communicating affection and intimacy, and their efforts do pay back."
The findings, announced Thursday, appear online in the Journal of Communication.