Compared to today, long-distance relationships (LDR) were difficult in the past. For one, you couldn’t easily travel to a loved one overseas. Prices were high and flights weren’t always available for where you wanted to go.
Believe it or not, tourism wasn’t as streamlined as it is now. Many countries weren’t too receptive to outsiders… so even if you felt like visiting your partner, applying for a visa may have been inconvenient.
Lastly, keeping in touch was stressful. Apps like “Whatsapp”, “Skype”, or “FaceTime” hadn’t made their debuts so people found it difficult to stay connected especially if it meant expensive international phone calls.
Long-Distance Relationships are easier than ever before
The biggest improvement is that travel has become cheaper and readily available. It’s quick, easy, and affordable to travel to a foreign land to visit your partner. According to a report by The Atlantic, the average price for airline tickets fell 50% over the course of 30 years to 2011. In addition, several destinations have been added while convenience and accessibility are also improved. Which means, not only is it affordable to travel, it’s also a pleasure to travel.
Secondly, immigration and the process of applying for a visa is streamlined, more open, and more clear. With the surge of travel and tourism, the world’s doors are open to tourists. Accompanying this huge influx are streamlined immigration procedures and convenience. For example, according to the US Department of Homeland Security, there were over 44 million visitors to the US in 2019 — which has seemingly gotten larger and larger as the years pass. In addition, almost every country allows a visa to be easily applied online, making it quick, easy, and convenient to plan a trip abroad.
Finally, communication is widespread and relatively free for most long-distance relationship couples around the world. Messaging apps nowadays are prevalent and resourceful. Reportedly, one of the most popular apps, “Whatsapp” has over 2 billion subscribers worldwide. They provide free text messaging, video and photo sharing to anyone across the globe. All you need is a smartphone and internet connection (both of which are also readily available in the world). In fact, most LDR couples are in constant communication with a message only as far away as their pockets.
With this convenience, you would expect the number of LDR to explode — and indeed, they have increased substantially. However, one thing that still remains to be a problem… is practicing patience.
Why Patience is still Key
In the past, patience was important because you couldn’t travel as often as you’d like to visit your partner; you had to pass through complex, confusing, and sometimes annoying immigration procedures; or because communication wasn’t as reliable as it is now. Patience is still important now because although things have gotten easier, new challenges present themselves.
For instance, even though travel is affordable, there’s a lot more things to occupy our schedules. You see, you have to balance work, health, family, and a social life, which takes away precious time available to actually travel. Most working-class individuals, for example, only have 2-3 weeks available to take vacation (holiday) from work.
Even though immigration is streamlined and the world is open to tourism, there’s a lot more attention paid to safety and security. This makes visa processing, immigration, and checking a whole lot more stringent than it used to be. For example, the US Department Of Homeland Security takes 14-24 months to process particular immigrant visas.
And even though communication is cheaper, widespread and prevalent, people still need to schedule calls. Time zone differences are not going anywhere and people still need to maintain their jobs, social life, and personal affairs. In addition, even though it’s convenient to stay in touch, sometimes it’s not always best to do so. Studies have found that it’s actually recommended to get a bit of personal, alone time away from your partner for your own mental health.
So you see, LDRs have gotten easier in a sense, but patience is still important because new challenges have replaced the ones from yesteryears.