Shared Living, Experiences, and Intimacy over Video Chat in Long Distance Relationships



Many couples live a portion of their lives being separated from each other as part of a long-distance relationship. This includes a large number of dating college students as well as established couples who are geographically-separated because of situational demands such as work. Long distance couples often face challenges in maintaining some semblance of intimacy given the physical distance between them. Traditional media helped here, where they would stay connected by physical letters, telephones, e-mail, texting, and instant messaging. More recently, many couples resort to “hanging out” over the new generation of video chat systems in order to stay connected. We explore this phenomenon by presenting two composite examples of how couples in long distance relationships hang out over video. Each couple is in a unique relationship situation, yet both share increased intimacy over distance by leaving a video link going between their residences for extended periods of time. These episodes involve couples participating in activities that are sometimes shared and sometimes not, where the key component is simply feeling the presence and involvement of the remote partner in day-to-day life.


Facial Expression Time Zone Instant Messaging Distance Relationship Video Channel 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Aguila, A. P. N. (2009). Living long distance relationships through computer-mediated communication. Social Science Diliman, 5(1–2), 83–106.Google Scholar
  2. Bardzell, J., Bardzell, S. (2011). “Pleasure is Your Birthright”: digitally enabled designer sex toys as a case of third-wave HCI. Proceedings of the CHI (pp. 257–266). New York: ACM.Google Scholar
  3. Canary, D., Stafford, L. (1994). Maintaining relationships through strategic and routine interactions. In D. Canary & L. Stafford (Eds.), Communication and relational maintenance (pp. 3–22). San Diego: Academic.Google Scholar
  4. Cooper, A. (1999). The inmates are running the asylum. Indiana: SAM.Google Scholar
  5. Dainton, M., Aylor, B. (2002). Patterns of communication channel use in the maintenance of long distance relationships. Communication Research Reports, 19, 118–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dimmick, J., Kline, S., Stafford, L. (2000). The gratification niches of personal email and the telephone: competition, displacement, and complementarity. Communication Research, 27, 227–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dindia, K., Emmers-Sommer, T. M. (2006). What partners do to maintain their close relationships. Close relationships: functions, forms and processes (pp. 305–324). New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  8. Grudin, J., & Pruitt, J. (2002). Personas, participatory design and product development: an infrastructure for engagement. Proceedings of the Participatory Design Conference.Google Scholar
  9. Harrison, S. (2009) Media space: 20 +  years of mediated life. New York: SpringerGoogle Scholar
  10. Harrison, S., Bly, S., Anderson, S., Minneman, S. (1997). The media space. In K. Finn, A. Sellen, S. Wilbur (Eds.), Video mediated communication (pp. 273–300). Mahwah: Lawrence ErlbaumGoogle Scholar
  11. Johnson, A. J., Haigh, M., Becker, J., Craig, E., Wigley, S. (2008). College students’ use of relational management strategies in email in long-distance and geographically close relationships. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 13, 381–404.Google Scholar
  12. Kaye, J. (2006). I just clicked to say I love you: rich evaluations of minimal communication. Extended Abstracts of Proceedings of the CHI. New York: ACM.Google Scholar
  13. Neustaedter, C., Greenberg, S. (2012). Intimacy in long distance relationships over video chat. Proceedings of the CHI. New York: ACM.Google Scholar
  14. Pistole, M. C., Roberts, A., Chapman, M. L. (2010a). Attachment, relationship maintenance, and stress in long distance and geographically close romantic relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 27(4), 535–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Pistole, M. C., Roberts, A., Mosko, J. (2010b). Commitment predictors: long-distance versus geographically close relationships. Journal of Counseling and Development, 88, 146–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Rheingold, H. (2005). Teledildonics and beyond. In B. Arthur (Ed.), The postmodern presence: readings on postmodernism in American Culture and Society (pp. 274–287). New York: Altamira.Google Scholar
  17. Rumbough, T. (2001). The development and maintenance of interpersonal relationships through computer-mediated communication. Communication Research Reports, 18(3), 223–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Shirazi, A., Alt, F., Schmidt, A., Sarjanoja, A., Hynninen, L., Hakkila, J., Holleis, P. (2009). Emotion sharing via self-composed melodies on mobile phones. Proceedings of Mobile HCI. New York: ACM.Google Scholar
  19. Stafford, L. (2005). Maintaining long-distance and cross-residential relationships. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  20. Stafford, L. (2010). Geographic distance and communication during courtship. Journal of Communication Research, 37(2), 275–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Stafford, L., Canary, D. J. (1991). Maintenance strategies and romantic relationship type, gender, and relational characteristics. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 8, 217–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Stafford, L., Reske, J. (1990). Idealization and communication in long distance premarital relationships. Journal of Family Relations, 39(3), 274–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Stafford, L., Merolla, A., Castle, J. (2006). When long-distance dating partners become geographically close. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 23(6), 901–919.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Vangelisti, A., Huston, T. (1994). Maintaining marital satisfaction and love. Communication and relational maintenance (pp. 165–186). San Diego: Academic.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.School of Interactive Arts and TechnologySimon Fraser UniversityV3T 0A3 SurreyBC, Canada

Personalised recommendations