updated 20 Nov 2013, 14:11
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Wed, Jul 24, 2013
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Long distance romance has its perks

It seems that there is some truth to the saying "Absence makes the heart grow fonder", so couples in long-distance relationships do not have to feel pessimistic about living apart.

A new study has found that couples who live apart have more meaningful interactions and stronger bonds than those who see each other daily.

In the study, conducted by the City University of Hong Kong and Cornell University, couples in long-distance relationships who kept in touch via phone calls, text messages, e-mail and video chat were also more likely to idealise their partner's behaviour, leading to a greater sense of intimacy.

The researchers recruited 63 heterosexual couples - about half of whom said they were in long-distance relationships - and studied their communication habits.

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 were more open and felt a closer bond.

"Our culture emphasises being together physically and frequent face-to-face contact for close relationships, but long-distance relationships clearly go against such (ideals)," said co-author Crystal Jiang.

Still, "people don't have to be so pessimistic about long-distance romance", she added. "The long-distance couples try harder than geographically-close couples in communicating affection and intimacy, and their efforts pay off."

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