Long Distance Relationships: 7 Ways to Win
Are They Worth it?
Relationships come with their own set of problems.
Distance apart and not being able to see or touch each other starts to take a toll.
Anything can be accomplished with enough commitment and willingness to endure some emotional pain.
What separates a relationship’ to a ‘friendship’ is intimacy.
If you don’t have that intimacy, are you really in a relationship?
Or do you have a close friendship with somebody you care about who lives far away?
Are long-distance relationships worth it?
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons and you can make up your own mind.
Do They Last?
Long-distance relationships have a higher failure rate than traditional relationships.
A small percentage of them do survive, and a strong bond of love is built between two people. But most of them fail.
The circumstances of the long-distance relationship are what will determine it's success or failure.
If a couple is already together and one has to move away for work for a while, the distance won’t be too much of an issue.
Sure, you’ll miss each other, but you know it’s temporary and you'll be back together.
If a couple meets online, live in different countries, have never met face to face, and have never been intimate, then the likelihood of that relationship lasting is a lot lower.
Some will, but statistically, most won't.
The sad truth is that a lot of people are lonely.
They meet someone who shows interest in them and they latch onto the hope that ‘this might be it’.
The old maxim ‘love is blind’ kicks in and the practicalities of what it means to be in a relationship are forgotten.
So yes, long-distance relationships can last under the right circumstances.
But most, unfortunately, fail.
Is Distance Really a Problem?
Distance is the hardest of the long distance relationship problems to over come.
Not being able to put our hands on something we want makes us want it even more.
Knowing how far away you are increases your desire and interest in the other person.
If you knew you could see that person every day maybe they wouldn’t be as interesting or desirable to you.
The problem of distance limits what you can and can’t do together.
Going out for dinner, holding hands, being intimate, snuggling in bed, just to name a few.
Lack of intimacy is one of the biggest single causes of relationship breakdowns (a relationship without intimacy isn’t a relationship).
I spoke with 32 people in long-distance relationships.
From day one their relationships have been long-distance.
I noticed some commonalities in the people I spoke with and the circumstances of their relationships;
- They tend to be lonelier people who haven’t had much relationship success
- They have less confidence to meet people face to face
- They trust that they’re long-distance partner isn’t seeing anyone else, even though they have no intimate contact with each other
- They have borderline delusional ideas about the relationship
- They’re good people who want to love and to be loved
- They speak about their long-distance partner as if it were a genuinely intimate relationship despite having spent almost no real-time together
- Many were slightly naive as in they believed whatever their long-distance partner tells them without any proof or validation
Distance is the biggest problem, but if you’re serious about each other that can be overcome.
You can travel regularly to see each other or you can move to the same city.
Here are the biggest problems people in long-distance relationships experience.
Do any relate to you?
7 Long-Distance Relationship Problems
Being in a relationship with someone you love gives you closeness and companionship.
When times are good you have them by your side to celebrate with.
When times are bad they’re there to hold you, listen, and tell you it will be ok.
But with long-distance relationships, you’re mostly on your own.
2. Trust Issues
Humans have needs. One of them is social, another is sexual.
If you’re not around, the other person will be spending their time with someone else.
It could be completely innocent, but how would you know?
Men in particular (sorry guys) are notoriously promiscuous when they think they’ll be able to get away with it.
Women are also susceptible to cheating.
If they have an emotional void and you’re not there to fill it, but another guy is, that can easily lead to sex.
Don’t take this the wrong way. Not everyone is willfully trying to cheat on their long-distance partner.
But having feelings of jealousy about who they’re spending time with, and what they’re up to can start to take its toll on the relationship.
You’re both far apart, doing different things and living separate lives.
After the initial “wow this person likes me” stage is over, the real relationship begins.
Dedicating time to each other. Connecting on an emotional and spiritual level.
Discovering each other’s personalities and values and assessing your long term compatibility.
When your primary form of communication is text and phone calls the potential of miscommunication comes into play.
Miscommunication can mean not talking enough, talking too much, not being able to express yourself fully to the other person.
You might even have different ideas about what the relationship actually is (a bit of fun for one, the potential for marriage for the other).
The verbal component is only 7% of communication.
The other 93% is body language, eye contact, facial gestures, and micro-expressions.
Not having these components in your communication with each other can leave you open to miscommunication and misunderstandings.
4. Growing Apart
People are always changing. The person you were 3 years ago isn’t the person you are today.
The more time you spend apart from each other the more your partner will have changed when you see them next.
If you’re both on the same page and growing in the same direction that can be a positive thing.
But there's also a negative side. You’re both in different places, doing different things with different people.
Essentially you’re living different lives.
There’s a chance that as you grow you’ll drift further away from what you had in the beginning.
It might not happen and hopefully, it won’t. But be aware that it could.
5. Your Life is on Pause
If your future happiness is dependent on you being together someday, you’re choosing to sacrifice your most valuable asset: your time.
When you put too much emphasis on a relationship you can overlook other important areas in your life.
Never put your life on hold for anyone. Your priority is you.
Being your best self and living your best life. Anyone who loves you will want that for you anyway.
Sure you're totally into this person and you want to have a future with them.
But don’t bet all your chips on a fairy tale outcome.
Keep up your social life, stay in contact with family, and pursue your career and your goals.
Focus on your relationship but don't let it become the be-all and end-all of your life.
6. No Sex
This one’s obvious. When you’re separated by distance you won’t be having sex.
If you’re apart temporarily sure it can work.
But a relationship without sex isn’t a relationship, it’s a friendship.
Intimacy is a human need and sex plays an important part in any relationship.
This becomes a problem in a long-distance relationship because, well, we all need sex.
Some more than most, but we all desire intimacy at some level.
If your long-distance partner isn’t getting that intimacy from you, where are they getting it?
And relationships aside, you need sex yourself.
Are you willing to give up the pleasure and health benefits of sex for a person in another part of the country or world?
Like all the problems listed here, it might not be an issue but just know that it could be.
7. Missed Opportunities
Economists refer to this as ‘opportunity cost’, which means the loss of other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.
When you choose one person, one relationship, and one life path you’re choosing it at the expense of other opportunities you could have taken.
We all have to choose a path.
You can’t float about your whole life and not commit to anything (well you can, but that’s called failure).
Just be sure that what you’re choosing is worth giving up other opportunities for.
Relationships are a huge commitment. A long-distance relationship even more so.
Follow your heart but think with your head. Some long distance relationship problems you can solve, others might be more serious.
Are Long-Distance Relationships Worth It?
There’s no one answer to this question. Every situation is unique.
Like any relationship, they can be a success or a failure. A lot of it comes down to you.
What are you willing to sacrifice to be in a long-distance relationship?
What aren’t you willing to sacrifice?
Are you apart for a short time or is it a permanent thing?
Distance exposes you to a whole set of problems that traditional relationships don’t have to deal with.
This shouldn’t dissuade you from being in a long-distance relationship.
Just be aware of potential problems so you recognise them if they come up.
Problems aside, being apart can strengthen the love and appreciation you have for each other.
If you’re in a long-distance relationship now, take some type of action to be closer together.
The longer you’re apart the less likely your relationship will last.
If you’ve decided that this is the person for you, make a plan to be together and put it into action now.
Quotes About Long-Distance Relationships
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart” – Helen Keller
“Absence is to love as wind is to fire; It extinguishes the small and kindles the great” – Roger de Bussy-Rabutin
“The value of love is slowly lost when we have way too much. There is just no time to appreciate it. It is in times of separation and distance that you truly understand the meaning of love” – Tiffany Health
“The scariest thing about distance is you don’t know if they’ll miss you or forget about you” —Nicholas Sparks
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it sure makes the rest of you lonely” –Charlie Brown