Maintaining Effective Communication in Distance Relationship

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1679 words

Downloads: 33

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In the U.S today, changes in life paradigms have led to an increase in the occurrence of couple long-distance relationships. Despite the fact that long-distance relationship among couples has been there for a long time, their frequency has been increasing recently due to social, economic, and technological changes as observed by Firmin, Firmin, and Merical, (2013). According to Cameron and Ross (2007), the physical separation between the individuals in a romantic relationship or even a married couple has attracted depression and distress, which often leads to conflicts. The anxiety and uncertainties about the future of the relationship tend to rise when the individuals in the relationship are far away from each other. This escalates the tension between resulting into more conflicts. The research is aimed at establishing the facts about how couples in long-distance relationships can manage conflicts.

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Many couples exist who have met online and dated long distance and finally got married (Baker, 2002). Advanced technology has not been helpful in maintaining the stability of couple long-distance relationships. A study by Chang (2003) shows that face-to-face communication is the best method of solving conflicts in relationships. By exploiting the theoretical framework of the research as well as the previous works about the couple long distance relationship, Chang (2003) was able to study how the application of innovative communication technologies could affect or be affected by the long-distance relationship dynamics. With the physical distance being a factor contributing to the conflicts as one can’t be with the partner all the time, there leaves room for suspicion and relational insecurity. One may ask the question is my partner being faithful? Am I being lied too? Is this person really into me? The outcomes of the study showed that even though technology has helped when dealing with conflicts in relationships, the old fashion way of face-to-face is still proven to be the best way.

Studies have indicated that social networking platforms can help resolve the conflicts between couples in long distance relationships. However, the platforms can also escalate the conflicts making it difficult for the couple to reach consensus. According to the research by Billedo, Kerkhof, and Finkenauer (2015), a primary concern when dating in a long-distance relationship is the challenge of not being physically available. The social media networks come in handy in such relationships by enhancing the communication frequency. This is because effective frequent communication help brings the couple more closely even when separated physically by long distances. Through keeping in touch frequently, the level of confidence in each other is increased. Furthermore, frequent communication cultivates the trust in one another, thereby eliminating uncertainties that may cloud the future of the relationship.

However, as mentioned, the research also shows that social network media may escalate the conflicts in a couple of long-distance relationships. A survey conducted to establish the effect of social media networking on long couple distance relationship using Facebook has shown that the social media networks can make it difficult for a couple to resolve their conflicts. As reported by Billedo, Kerkhof and Finkenauer (2015), the use of social media networks such as Facebook leads to jealousy. Through Facebook, one can see who their partner has other communication with besides them exclusively. This leads to resentment that creates tension between them. Criticism and defensiveness sets in and are blocks to communication during conflict communication as stated by Peterson (2013). It becomes hard for conflicts to be resolved in a tense relationship as the trust levels are significantly lowered.

Moreover, the study by Billedo, Kerkhof and Finkenauer (2015) also shows that the long distance creates a barrier such that by the time the couple sees each other they would have calmed down and can communicate effectively to resolve their conflicts. Communication during conflict resolution cannot be underestimated. If communication collapses, the parties fail in addressing their issues. There are styles of communication embraced in conflict resolution that make the process of resolution easy or more difficult. The parties involved should eliminate any communication roadblocks for faster solutions. By having calmed down when the couple meets, effective communication is achieved. During conflict resolution, the involved parties should always try to keep a calm posture. In most real life cases, research shows that the interested parties tend to show emotions through body language (Alexandra, 2013). An example is the use of facial expressions that bring out fury. A mediator can be essential to try calming the involved parties (Alexandra, 2013). The body language can be in the form of gestures, as the concerned individuals try to prove their point (Alexandra, 2013). There might also be the rise of tone, which requires a regulation for a sufficient resolution. A sitting position should be embraced, and the involved parties should keep calm and relax for effective communication and a fast solution (Alexandra, 2013).

Furthermore, the extent of the lack of affection and relational security is a threat to the stability of couple long-distance relationship. The physical separation resulting from the long-distance relationship causes insecurity in addition to lowering the affection between the two individuals in the relationship. According to research by Cameron and Ross (2007), various conditions make some of the long distance relationships to survive while others fail. This fact was established in a study aimed at evaluating the conditions that predict the stability of long distance relationships. The conditions include the nature or characteristics of the relationship and those of the individuals in that particular relationship. The features of the physical separation, as well as the individual differences, also play a great role in establishing or breaking the relationship. People can develop a lasting long-distance relationship through proper means of solving and managing disputes created by the disconnection between couples.

Additionally, studies have proved that conflict management depends heavily on the traits of the individual. For instance, an individual who is unhappy with the relationship will make it hard to resolve any emerging conflict when the couple gets physically separated. Moreover, pessimistic individuals make it difficult to resolve the conflicts in long-distance relationships. Moderation and mediation can be a useful method to solve the disputes among the long-distance relationship couples as suggested by Cameron and Ross (2007). Thus, relationship optimism can play a crucial role in solving the conflicts, since optimism involves being confident in one another the despite the long distance separation.

More importantly, research proves that attributes such as trust, confidence in one another and understanding in addition to communication lead to the success of couple long-distance relationships. As observed by Firmin, Firmin, and Merical (2013), the conflicts arising as a consequence of the physical separation can be managed through attributes such as trust. The mutual faith in each other, even when separated by long distance, leads to trust which is a necessity to the survival of most long-distance relationships.

Social norms can be a hindrance to the couple long distance relationship. In his study, Jurkane-Hobein (2015) established that both generation-specific and gender-specific social norms play a role in complicating the long-distance relationship. People approach the long-distance relationship in different ways based on their social backgrounds. For instance, older individuals from collective cultures would not consider living together or dating long distance as observed by Jurkane-Hobein (2015). In a collectivist culture environment, one is expected to maintain certain social norms in the society. Sometimes the difference between individuals in how they handle conflict will influence whether they will have a fruitful and satisfied relationship or not. As reported by Pattie (2009), the way a person handles conflict whether it’s long distance or locally will affect the relationship. Different conflict management styles impact long distance relationship versus dating someone you can be with all time.

Effective conflict management in couple long-distance relationship also depends on the effort by each partner into the relationship. A study by Gormly (2010) reveals that the amount of effort put into the relationship is paramount to establishing stable and long lasting couple relationships in cases where the couple is many miles apart. Gormly (2010) suggests that based on the efforts of each partner, the long distance relationship can either fizzle out or thrive. Therefore it is imperative for each partner to put more effort into the relationship such in case of any conflict the relationship would not fizzle out as the conflict can be resolved much quickly.

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In conclusion, maintaining effective communication between the individuals involved in a long-distance relationship make it easier to manage any conflicts arising between them. Excellent communication skills and personal attributes play a significant role in how conflicts can be resolved amicably by the partners in a couple of long-distance relationships. Through constant communication, the confidence in one another is maintained same as trust. Thus, in the case of any conflict or disagreement, the couple can resolve the issues easily.


  1. Alexander, E. R. (2013). The Reduction of Cognitive Conflict: Effects of Various Types of Communication. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 23(1), 120-138.
  2. Baker, A. (2002). What makes an online relationship successful? Clues from couples who met in cyberspace. Cyber Psychology & Behavior, 5(4), 363-375,
  3. Billedo, C. J., Kerkhof, P., &Finkenauer, C. (2015). The Use of Social Networking Sites for Relationship Maintenance in Long-Distance and Geographically Close Romantic Relationships. Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, 18(3), 152-157.
  4. Cameron, J. J., & Ross, M. (2007). In times of uncertainty: Predicting the survival of long-distance relationships. The Journal of Social Psychology, 147(6), 581-606.
  5. Chang, S. (2003). Communication technologies and long-distance romantic relationships Paper Presented at the International Communication Association, 1-31,
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  8. Jurkane-Hobein, I. (2015). Do I qualify for a love relationship? Social norms and long-distance relationships in Post-Soviet Latvia. Sexuality & Culture, 19(2), 388-406,
  9. Pattie, B. (2009). The impact of conflict management styles on relational and communication satisfaction: Comparing long-distance and geographically close dating relationships Paper presented at the National Communication Association, 1.
  10. Peterson, G. (2013). Barriers to effective communication. Conflict Resolution, 1(4), 1-7.
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Maintaining Effective Communication In Distance Relationship. (2018, September 04). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 2, 2023, from
“Maintaining Effective Communication In Distance Relationship.” GradesFixer, 04 Sept. 2018,
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