Long Distance Relationships in 19th Century England

By Amanda L.V. Shalaby, author of Rhianna and Audra

AudraA few months ago, I wrote a piece on what those of us living in the 21st Century would miss most if we were transported back in time to the 19th Century. Of all our modern amenities, I think the loss of the internet and Starbucks would rank pretty high on the list. Ok, and the general drop in personal hygiene would more than make an impact.

But how would long distance relationships fare?

I doubt anyone would contest that long-distance relationships even in today’s world are no joke. They present many challenges that often only the strongest of bonds can overcome. One of the biggest tips I’ve come across when it comes to long-distance relationships today is to be in contact on a daily basis. Fortunately, 21st century technology has more than made that possible. You can defy the distance by communicating with your significant other almost as quickly and freely as if you were in person. With the ability to phone, Skype, text, email, use real-time chat, and log onto your favorite social network sites, you can utilize a wide variety of modes of communication to accomplish this.

Now, imagine being separated from your significant other for weeks on end with nothing but the ability to send handwritten letters via snail mail. Such was the case for my heroine in Audra. When she finds herself forcefully separated from her beloved Lord Crispin by a space of over 100 miles in 1836 London, her ability to remain in touch with her would-be fiancé is very limited. She and Crispin cannot simultaneously watch the same TV shows, stargaze while talking on the phone or send a balloon-o-gram to each other. No, my dear Audra was left with nothing but a quill pen and the two-penny post. Worse still, when Audra’s letters to Crispin never reach their destination, you can imagine the frustration she feels.

Of course, that’s where the devotion to the relationship comes in, does it not? In the case of my hero and heroine, they could either allow the distance to put so great a strain on the relationship that the bond is dissolved, or fight for their rightful place beside each other. Now, for those of us who are looking for that happily ever after, we all know the first option is simply out of the question. We all want to believe that love conquers all – and I like to think that is a running theme through Audra’s story.

In the end, I hope Audra and Crispin’s struggles are an inspiration to all who are currently involved in long-distance relationships with all their ups and downs.

Are you currently involved in a long-distance relationship? What do you find are some of the greatest challenges? Sound off in the comments below!

8 thoughts on “Long Distance Relationships in 19th Century England

  1. elleyarden

    Congrats on the release, Amanda. My husband and I spent four years in a long-distance relationship. My greatest challenge was letting my guard down when we were together, because I’d gotten so good at putting up an emotional wall to protect myself from the incessant goodbyes. We managed to make it work, though, and have been married for 18 years. 🙂

  2. Becky Lower

    Great post, Amanda. I see couples in long-distance relationships every day, what with wars in Afghanistan, etc, as well as those American women who have a taste for a more exotic breed. Facebook and Skype have a great deal to do with how these couples stay close even if their partner is living in another country. Of course, nothing beats the real thing, but thank God for the technological advances of the 21st century!

    1. amandalvshalaby

      Hi Becky, absolutely! Technology plays a major part in helping to keep couples and families together when apart. Even children in college can now speak to Mom & Dad face-to-face when hours away. It’s a marvelous thing!

  3. Betty

    The question is often “absence makes the heart grow fonder” vs. “out of sight/out of mind” I’m glad it was the former for Audra! I love the letters between John and Abigail Adams in the colonial era. So much tenderness, love and support. Nice post, Amanda!

    1. amandalvshalaby

      Morning, Betty! You’re right – and perhaps that’s what separates true love from time-to-move on! Thank you for mentioning John & Abigail Adams’ letters! A beautiful read for anyone in a long-distance relationship – or just a lover of history 🙂

  4. Jessica

    I give anyone who goes into a long-distance relationship major credit. I think the couple really has to be in love and be willing to work hard at their relationship every single day in order for it to work. I am thankful I have never had to do this! Although, I am a firm believer of “love conquers all” and think that if the couple is right for each other nothing can seperate them, not even distance. 🙂