What Kills Long-distance Relationships and How To Keep Yours From Dying
When I was in in college, I spent a summer in Australia. There I met a to-die-for guy, someone who I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Unfortunately, I was living in Vermont and he was living in Australia. That is quite a distance.
We promised to try to make it work and it did for a time. But, ultimately, we were just too far away from each other and it, unfortunately, died a slow death.
Many people tell me that, in this day of being always connected, it is possible to make a long distance relationship work. And I do agree. Being able to Facetime and text and share pictures on social media does make it easier to stay connected to someone you love who is far away.
BUT, just because you can keep in contact, it doesn’t mean that a long distance relationship will definitely work. Of course, they do and can but don’t fool yourself into thinking that it will be easy.
Below is a list of what kills long-distance relationships and how to keep yours from dying so that you can know what you are getting into if you are choosing to be a part of one!
#1 – Jealousy.
Jealousy is one of the most destructive elements of any romantic relationship. Jealousy about a partner’s ex, their friends, their family, anyone who can take their time and efforts away from you.
Of course, every relationship isn’t affected by jealousy but long distance ones can be more vulnerable to its toxic effects.
Why? Because your long-distance partner will be spending way more time with other people then they will be with you. Dinners and movies out, weekends spent with friends, visits from family, all are things that your partner might be experiencing without you. And that doesn’t feel good.
So, be aware that wretched jealousy might rear it’s ugly head and damage your relationship. Being honest with your partner about how you feel about how they spend their time will go a long way to preventing jealousy that might kill your relationship.
#2 – Lack of effort.
This is a big one. Nothing kills long-distance relationships more than lack of effort.
To make a long distance relationship work, everyone needs to be willing to make a huge effort. An effort to stay in touch. An effort to minimize jealousy. And effort to travel often. An effort to use words of affirmation to make sure their partner knows how they are feeling. Doing the small things that can make someone feel loved.
Of course, it’s important to do these things when you are in every relationship but it’s even more so when you are in a long-distance relationship because it’s easy to feel disconnected because of how far away you are from each other.
So, what have you done today to make your person feel loved and connected to you? To help them feel confident around your feelings and hopes for the future.
If the answer is nothing, what can you do? Whatever it is, do it now. Help your person feel loved. It will keep your relationship from dying a slow death because of distance.
#3 – Uneven feelings.
This is a really tough one.
I have a client who reconnected with a college beau when she was home visiting her parents. They were separated back in the day when they went in different directions after college but they rediscovered their feelings really quickly. They had a lovely week together and then he headed back to California.
After he left, she told me that she was determined to make the relationship work this time around. She had always regretted letting him go and now that he was back, she wanted to make it work.
She kept in touch regularly by text and talked to him about traveling from Maine to California so that they could spend some time together.
At first, he was receptive to keeping in contact with her and was willing to talk about a potential trip. But, as time went on, he stopped texting so much and made up lots of excuses for her to postpone her trip.
She had a sense that he was pulling back and that made her lean in all the more but all the leaning in in the world couldn’t prevent the relationship from falling apart. Sure, he cared about her, but not enough to make the effort to make a potential relationship work.
So, if you feel like the interest in making this long distance relationship work isn’t even, don’t even try to make it work. Say good bye to your person now, before someone is hurt.
#4 – Horniness.
Yep. This is a pretty important, and obvious, one. People who are in long distance relationship get horny. They just do.
They aren’t having sex with the person they want to have sex with and they aren’t having any at all. And that is not okay, for men especially.
Of course, it is possible to have phone sex, which can be lovely, but it’s not the same thing.
The easiest fix to horniness is to travel to see each other. To meet someone to fill up the sex bank, to keep you going until you see each other again. I know that that’s not always easy but it important that you try do so. Otherwise, your relationship just might not survive the distance.
#5 – Impatience.
We are all impatient. It’s just part of human nature. We want what we want and we want it right now.
With a long-distance relationship, you get very little right now.
You want to see your person. Nope, not now. You want to do things with your person. Nope, not now. You want to explore what it might look like to live together. Nope, not now.
‘Not now’ is the name of the game, every day.
Lots of people wonder if it’s selfish to not want a long-distance relationship for just this reason. They want to be in a relationship with someone they can wake up next to, to go out on a date with, to build a relationship together. Having a long distance relationship makes this impossible. It’s all about waiting until you are together and making the most of that time, and that can be frustrating.
So, if you are thinking about getting into a long distance relationship, know that you are going to have to be very, very patient to make it work.
#6 – No hope for the future.
One of the biggest killers of a long distance relationship is the long game. It’s knowing whether or not the time will come that you will ever be together.
What do I mean by the long game? I mean, is there a time, in the future, when you will be together, in the same place, or does the prospect of the long-distance relationship see no end in sight?
Anyone who watches reality TV dating shows knows that this is the killer of most relationships that are formed on these shows. The shows draw people from all over the world and, more often then not, love bonds are created between people who live states, or continents, apart. While they try to make things work after the cameras stop rolling, realizing that moving is not an optoin, ultimately kills the relationship.
No one wants to break up, but it’s just too hard to make it work.
So, if you are in a long-distance relationship, ask yourself if there is an end in sight or if this situation is going to continue in perpetuity and whether or not either choice is okay with you!
#7 – Lack of communication.
People who are in long distance relationship often care about each other very much. I mean, if they didn’t care they wouldn’t be trying to make it work.
Unfortunately, this deep caring can lead to a lack of communication because both people don’t want to cause the other any pain, something long-distance relationships can be very vulnerable to.
Perhaps they don’t tell their person how they are feeling about something their partner did that hurt them. Perhaps they aren’t good at sharing their feelings with their partner or forget to send them flowers on a special occasion.
Perhaps they are making plans to travel to see them but don’t share that they are. Perhaps they just forget that they were supposed to address a serious topic that had been put on hold for another conversation.
Whether it’s because they don’t want to hurt their person or because they aren’t good communicators or because they just don’t want to communicate at all, this lack of communication can be a long-distance relationship killer.
I have a client whose partner was forced to move away ‘for a few months’ because he was struggling financially. He didn’t tell her he was planning to do this, he just announced it one day.
She was angry. She hadn’t signed up for a long-distance relationship and was angry that he hadn’t told her about what he was considering.
Even worse, when he moved, he shut down talking to her. He told her he was too depressed to talk some days. He didn’t share any efforts that he was making to come back. He was impatient with her for trying to talk about these things. He didn’t want to hurt her because he wasn’t making any progress so he always changed the subject.
Ultimately, my client said ‘no more’ and walked away. This lack of communication about a life that she thought they were building together killed everything for her.
Interestingly, my client’s parter was shocked. He didn’t know that what he was doing, not talking about difficult subjects, had caused her so much pain. He was just trying to protect her and not drive her away. And yet he did just that.
#8 – Cheating.
Cheating can destroy any relationship and even more so a long-distance relationship.
Infidelity is often the result of lack of communication. It’s about becoming disconnected from someone. Its about the lack of intimacy. It’s about pretty much everything that is a given in a long-distance relationship.
As a result, cheating is something that can happen pretty organically.
Why? Because everything that we want in a relationship is right at our fingers. We don’t need to long to see our partner, to stay up late at nights talking on the phone, wondering when we are going to see our person again.
Instead, someone else is right there in front of them, someone they can touch and smell and look at in the eye. Cheating, with an absence of these things from an existing romantic partner, can be irresistible.
The key to preventing cheating is communication. Usually, for someone to cheat, it is the result of weeks or months of becoming disconnected, of not having sex, of being impatient for things to move forward. Instead of letting these issues lead you to cheating on your person, talk with them about how you are feeling. Figure out how you can resolve these issues and keep your relationship together.
After all, cheating is unacceptable and a very painful way to leave a relationship, or, even worse, something that can be very hard to come back from if one stays.
#9 – The high cost of travel.
This last that that can kill a long-distance relationship is pretty straight forward and, unfortunately, something that you can do very little about.
In 2023, travel costs are higher than they have been in years. Airfare is through the roof and hotel rooms are 30% more expensive then in 2019. Millions of people want to travel after Covid-19 so it can be difficult to make travel plans, no matter how small.
Being in a long-distance relationship has always been very expensive because of the things that must be done to keep you connected and the high price of travelling in 2023 makes it even more so, perhaps so much more that travel is just not possible.
I know it’s hard to consider the high cost of anything to keep a relationship working but, in this case, the very thing that is necessary to make one work just might not be accessible to you which might, I am afraid, kill your relationship, even if everything else is going great.
Knowing what kills long distance relationships is important to understand before you embark on one.
We all just want to love and be loved and are willing to make the sacrifice of distance from their loved one to make that love work.
And long-distance relationships can work and they do everyday. But they are full of obstacles, obstacles that being aware of is the key to navigating.
So, read this article with your partner. See if you are both on board with making things work as you decide whether or not a long-distance relationship is right for you.
You don’t want to waste time if you aren’t both all in. After all, any moment that we waste in our search for love puts off finding the real thing that much further away.