Does Distance Add Value To Relationship?
Distinguish between other-validated and self-validated models of romantic relationships. In the prevailing model of other-validated relationship, the value of the relationship is measured by the partner’s attitude toward you. In this model, the agent’s personal flourishing is secondary in assessing the value of the relationship. In the self-validated model, personal flourishing as well as joint flourishing is at the basis of romantic profundity. Joint flourishing is at the center of the attitude of love, as love is concerned with being with the other in certain ways. The personal flourishing of each partner is implied in joint flourishing. Love is not merely, or even mainly, a crush, but rather the wish to flourish together with a flourishing partner for many years. In Aristotle’s view, human flourishing is not a temporary state of superficial pleasure;
it refers to a long period involving the fulfillment of the natural human capacities.
About two centuries ago when love began to be recognized as an essential element of marriage, the prevailing model of marriage accorded with the other-validated model. As the man was the main, and often the sole, provider, his satisfaction was essential for the continuation of the relationship. A century later, when a greater percentage of women began to work and earn outside the home, the rate of divorce increased by a similar percentage. For those women, the partner’s validation was of lesser concern. When the percentage of women going to work continued to increase considerably, the issue of individual flourishing became more significant, and since then the self-validated model has become more widespread. When personal flourishing is at the center of the romantic relationship and marriage, the geographical closeness to the partner becomes of less importance. Moreover, very close geographical proximity to the partner may in many circumstances impede, rather than nurture, personal flourishing. It certainly does so when love is not profound.
Personal flourishing is indeed more evident in commuter marriages. Thus, commuter couples with dual careers are more satisfied with their work than are dual-career, single-residence couples. Karla Mason Bergen (2006) argues that many commuter wives describe their marriage as “the best of all worlds”; others describe it as “torn between two worlds.” It is the best of all worlds as the wives are both independent and interdependent; they take advantage of opportunities for personal fulfillment, while still keeping their marriages intact. They are torn between two worlds, as their life is actually taking place in these two different environments.