Date of Award

Summer 7-16-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)




Carr, Don


Caring Responses, Long-Distance Romantic Relationships, Non-Verbal Behavior, Online Communication, Self-Disclosure

Subject Categories

Art and Design | Arts and Humanities


Nowadays, Long-Distance Relationships (LDRs) are increasingly popular and ubiquitous for many reasons, including travel for career, education, and parent care. Compared to geographically-close relationships; it seems LDRs face many challenges: difficulties in communication, time zone difference, temptations from others, and lack of physical engagement, among other things. While the rise of computer-mediated communication provide many channels for interaction for LDR partners, statistics show that many long-distance relationships still don't last. I focused on two important factors that can impact relationship satisfaction—self-disclosure and a caring response. I employed an online survey to understand how partners self-disclose and show a caring response with each other in long-distance romantic relationships versus in an in-person romantic relationship. I found that the best channel to support self-disclosure and care is video, but video is not as convenient as text. I also discovered that, for most participants, the favorite part of offline communication is being able to see facial expressions and body language, hear tone of voice and have physical contact. Inspired by this research and participant feedback through focus groups, I designed an app called LoveNotes. The app emphasizes facial expression and tone, and uses the connotation of love letters. This app has potential to encourage LDR partners to express emotion and thoughts in a stronger, more accurate, more detectable way.


Open Access



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