Emotional Distance: More than Just Physical

Emotional Distance: More than Just Physical
Adriana Díez

Written and verified by the psychologist Adriana Díez.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Sometimes distance isn’t measured in miles. Sometimes it’s not between bodies, but between souls. I could be physically close to you but feel far away. I could be touching you and still feel like you’re not by my side. Distance is an enemy of any relationship, as each member builds bridges that get harder and harder to cross, and they start to lose the will to try. We’re all equally responsible for maintaining or breaking down the bridges we build for each other.

You don’t have to see each other every day. You don’t have to be in constant contact with the other person to be close; you just need connection and understanding to create the magical feeling of union. It’s both the result and the reason we miss people. But is it really the person you miss?

“I miss you, but the word “miss” doesn’t really capture how I feel, because if I’m being honest, the feeling of missing you doesn’t just sit in my chest. Your absence runs through my body, and every corner of the house smells like you. I don’t miss you, I want more of you.”

-Alejandro Separza-

When you miss a memory, it feels like you’re longing for a part of the journey you’ve been on. It’s a part of you in your mind. But when you miss a person, you want to stay in the same place, you want your journey with them to never end. Therefore, you fight to be together.

Long-distance relationships

Long-distance relationships make communication difficult, regardless of whether it’s a romantic, friend, or family relationship. Therefore, you have to make an extra effort to shorten the distance and bring your souls closer together. The desire and passion you feel after going a long time without seeing each other can work in your favor, because it pushes you to take full advantage of every second you have together and helps to strengthen and reinforce the bond.

emotional distance

Being far away from each other and only being able to talk without physical contact is a challenge for communication and intimacy in relationships, as demonstrated in a study done by researcher Crystal Jiang from the University of Hong Kong and professor Jeffrey Hancock from Cornell University. Maintaining long distance relationships requires work from both parties (but that doesn’t mean that they have to do it separately). They must make an effort to ensure that even though time has passed, seeing each other again will be like they never left, maybe not physically but at least mentally.

Take advantage of the opportunities you’re presented with

It’s becoming more and more normal to see partners who don’t live together, families who have had to separate, and friends who no longer live in the same city. Allowing the distance to make you give up and lose contact doesn’t have to be an option.

It’s necessary to improve communication by taking advantage of every chance you get to close the distance, whether it’s via video chat, instant messaging, or a phone call. Technology advances in giant steps and can be incredibly helpful in feeling close to each other when you’re far away.

Having trust in the other person will allow you to stay calm through adversity and build a bridge of support so that you can learn how to wait and value what you have. Sometimes we lose the desire to embrace, idealize, and be with the other person, but the beauty of missing them when they’re far away, no longer in our daily lives, can heighten our awareness and make us cherish them again.

“Don’t forget to take care of her in case tomorrow, instead of seeing her, you must imagine her.”

Gabriel García Marquez

emotional distance hands

Take advantage of the time you have together and work to bring your souls closer together when the distance becomes too much. Try to put an expiration date on the distance because it’s always, always better to have something concrete to hope for.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.