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Absence makes the communication grow fonder: Geographic separation, interpersonal media and intimacy in dating relationships


Many people assume that it is challenging to maintain the intimacy of a long-distance (LD) relationship. However, recent research suggests that LD romantic relationships are of equal or even more trust and satisfaction than their geographically close (GC) counterparts. The present diary study tested an intimacy-enhancing process, in which LD couples (a) engage in more adaptive self-disclosures and (b) form more idealized relationship perceptions than do GC couples in the pursuit of intimacy across various interpersonal media. The results demonstrate the effects of behavioral adaptation and idealization on intimacy, and suggest that the two effects vary depending on the cue multiplicity, synchronicity, and mobility of the communication medium employed. Implications for understanding LD relating and mix-mode relating are discussed.

L.C. Jiang
J.T. Hancock
Journal of Communication, 63, 556-577
Publication Date
May 11, 2013