If you've ever been a part of such a romance, you know the desperate nights of longing in a bed too big for one body, the lonely dinners sitting in a restaurant, partnerless, watching other couples happily feeding one another Tiramisu and laughing their tinkley, over-bright laughs while your heart breaks a little at each lilting note.
And the horniness, good God, let's not forget the crotch-boiling horniness that comes - or rather doesn't cum - with such an arrangement.
They were scientists, and smarter than their situation, or so they believed. But work visas and student loan payments and limited vacation days kept them apart so they had to get creative.
Anyone who has seen Star Trek knows people have been dreaming about "beam me up" technology for decades. And that was the glory of science fiction - it presented a world that wasn't...but with the right amount of money and research, it certainly COULD be!
After long nights of Skype theorizing - followed by frenzied online mutual masturbation sessions, because dear Lord, smart is sexy! - they felt ready to move their ideas to the here and now, to take them from graph paper to graphic lovemaking, bodies tangled together in a bed, not just wrapped up mouse cords on the Interwebs!
They applied for grants, hired interns, and moved into shiny labs on opposite sides of the world to begin exploring this solution to their loneliness.
They began to experiment. Space time continuums and physics conundrums weren't enough to ground their enthusiasm or their rising hormones, so even small setbacks just elevated their desire to succeed, or suck something anyway.
They built portals on each end, and hoped the government wouldn't get involved. They wanted to build a love machine, not a weapon!
In the beginning, transmission was spotty. There were incidents of course. On her birthday he tried to send her a slice of cheesecake and a slinky negligee. She received a bra and panty set made of American cheese.
She sobbed and said "You know I look terrible in orange!"
For their anniversary, she tried to send him a perfectly cooked sirloin of Kobe beef, his favorite, and a tuxedo, because she thought a guy in a tux was hot. He received a rather irate cow, strangling in a suit and tie.
"I know I've gained weight, but Jesus, couldn't you have come up with a kinder way to tell me?" he cried.
But one day it happened. The Western Hemisphere interns were trying to play a joke on the Eastern Hemisphere interns and packed a box full of piglets under a quilt into the reactor. As the universe seemed to have a sense of humor, they included a bottle of ketchup. They were hoping it would become a tray of delicious pigs in a blanket. When the box arrived in the East, full of wriggling piggies, they knew they'd seen a breakthrough!
The scientists tried it on more living things. Mice, monkeys, a very startled sloth.
They decided that they should be the first humans to test the machines though, in case of catastrophic failure, or lawsuits from angry intern's parents.
She stood in her laboratory in Japan, and her heart thrilled when she opened the door and found him standing before her, lab coat slung over his arm. They rushed into one another's arms and kissed. She pulled back and looked into his eyes. Her first words to him were intense.
"Did you eat pickles before you came over here?" she asked him.
He nodded sheepishly.
"Gross! Let me get you a breath mint!"
Oral hygiene. Something you don't really have to worry about in a long distance relationship.
Their machine change the world, or at least, it certainly changed the dating scene. Now, singles could meet people from all over the globe and be in their bedrooms instantaneously if so desired.
They even created a mobile app-based version of the tech. On Tinder, you could now swipe once to like someone and swipe twice if you wanted to give them an immediate pass to your boudoir. The rising rate of one night stands was astronomical!
The scientists were content, their creative juices and carnal desires both spent.
Months later, when the initial fervor of CNN interviews and Scientific American photo shoots finally died down, they lay in each other's arms after a round of good, old fashioned humping.
She turned to him, a pinched look on her face.
"Soooo..." she began,"I think this was all a lot more exciting before I got to spend every night with you..."
"I would have to agree with that analysis," he replied. "Our formula for bringing two bodies closer together was successful, but it seems to have brought our hearts farther apart."
"They do say absence makes the heart grow fonder," she agreed.
"And familiarity breeds contempt," he concluded, glancing at the way she had carelessly thrown her clothes on the floor.
"Yes, you really should floss more. Perhaps now we could work on finding a simple way to keep people interested in one another over the long-term," she added, gathering her clothing.
"I don't think there's anything simple about a long-term love," he told her.
"Well, let's work it out over Skype next weekend," she said, and stepped back into the machine, naked.
He heard her call out, as she disappeared into a billion particles, "I'll bring the tiramisu!"