Once upon a time I was speaking with someone who is fairly prominent in the poly community and has been poly for quite a long time. They told me that their poly family consisted of their spouse, to whom they were married and live with, and a lover who lived quite a distance away. Although they communicated regularly with their lover they only got to see each other in person a few times each year.
My initial reaction to that was "Is that really poly?" After which I had to do a bit of soul searching to find an answer.
One of my beliefs about poly is that defining each relationship independently is acceptable. By that reasoning a long-distance relationship is still a relationship. Another belief is that love comes in many forms. You can love someone with whom you never have sex. By that reasoning can you love someone long-distance? Sure you can. I would still love my Mom if she moved a thousand miles away, why couldn't I love someone else geographically separated from me? I also believe that as long as the needs of the relationship, such as time together, are being met then the relationship is valid. Maybe the two people involved only want to spend a dozen nights together every year so again, the relationship is real.
What I ended up with was the realization that whatever the design of their relationship if they consider it a relationship then it is one. I can respect that.
For myself though a long-distance relationship doesn't interest me. Will I enjoy talking to someone online or the phone although they are a continent away? Sure. And when I see them in person I will enjoy seeing their face, touching them, and feeling their energy. Could we have a physical relationship during those times when we can be together? Maybe, but I would have more than a few questions and concerns around that. But would I ever call it a relationship or involve commitments and expectations? Nope. My brain says, "If you want to be together then be together. If you won't make the effort to be together then there isn't a strong relationship anyway".
Now, I must admit I have started a couple of relationships online. The people I was involved with lived far away from me but we did meet. I made the effort to meet them so I could find out if the relationships had the potential to be real or not. And in the future if that happens I will again insist that we meet.
So where are you at with long-distance (LD) relationships? Do you enjoy or avoid them? Do you insist on meeting in real life (IRL) at some point? Do you insist on the relationship having a regular IRL component or are you casual about when or if you get to meet the person? Maybe even more importantly; Do you meet relationship potentials online or IRL or both?
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