Neurons of Long Distance Relationships
Central Nervous System, as you may know, comprises of the brain and spinal cord. It integrates information and coordinates with all parts of our being through soldiers called neurons.
And for everything you do, there is a specific network of neurons that work together in a chain like formation. Whether it is an act to walk or craving for a particular dish, each activity has a neural network behind it.
The beauty of neural networks is they work as you please. This is similar to a Boss & Employee relationship where you control what they do, when and how much they work. Also, the more they work on a particular project, the efficient they become.
In neuroscience, neural networks become stronger as the frequency of accessing these network grows.
This is simple: Think how you learned to walk.
Random leg movements then crawled, then you stood on your feet, started taking baby steps and also running later.
This is how your brain established the network of walking which now is so strong that you don’t command your brain to walk, you simply stand up and walk.
Just like neural networks strengthen upon activity, the contrary is also true. They weaken upon inactivity. For people who primarily converse in oral and written forms of English, it may be difficult to write in their native language.
I definitely take longer to read and write Hindi than in English. The reason being inactivity (reading and writing Hindi) weakens that network.
Similar are long-distance relationships. Romantic relationships with partners living far apart from each other with one element keeping them together: Love.
People in relationships talk, fight, watch movies, shop, eat, basically do activities and experience life together. While all this happens, they experience feelings of love & passion.
Neurologically, they build a unique network of neurons and it strengthens as they continue these experiences together.
When the experiences reduce in frequency due to distance, let’s say partners now live apart from each other, the network begins to weaken. It starts with daily video calls, promises to meet soon and sharing pictures of food, shopping with each other.
It’s gradual but a descent.
From frequent calls, it becomes not so frequent calls and then feeling of monotony and boredom. Suddenly a partner may seem too busy or uninvolved in the relationship and there could also be self-doubt here n there.
So, are long distance relationships really difficult to sustain?
Distance is definitely a factor that weakens the bond between partners, not just romantically but neurologically.
I say it is the network that needs to be worked upon. Something like a regular top up to still keep it working. One can strengthen it, by still experiencing life, away but together.
To put it simply: Use it or lose it.