Long distance relationships are a challenge, even when you and your partner are totally and completely in love. Distance tests even the strongest couples, so it’s no surprise that many LDRs end prematurely – but yours shouldn’t have to. Here are the most common reasons long distance relationships fail – and how to make sure yours doesn’t.
1. Regular communication starts feeling like a chore. When attempting an LDR, many couples immediately set up an intense communication schedule involving a phone call every night, texting all through lunch and chatting on Hangouts during office hours. That’s a lot of contact, even for couples that live in the same city.
How to fix it: Talk when you want to talk. Don’t hold each other hostage over an 8pm phone call when you both have lives outside of each other. Make communication something you want to do, not something you have to do.
2. Jealousy gets in the way. It can be insanely difficult to know that your partner’s social life involves, well, not you. And if it often includes someone you have serious difficulty trusting? Well, that’s a recipe for disaster. Being apart can make anyone feel insecure, even when you have no reason to be.
How to fix it: Instead of worrying, talk about it. Don’t ask if Stacy went along for post-work drinks, then silently panic and resent your partner when he says ‘yes’. Let him know that you’re feeling anxious, and give him the opportunity to put you at ease. If you’re meant to be, he will.
3. You have to deal with differing social lives and schedules. It’s one thing if you’re both studying at different varsities and your lives are following similar structures. It’s another thing entirely if you’re working an exhausting nine-to-five every day while he completes his Masters in another city, hitting student night at ten different bars after every study session. Different lives can easily result in resentment.
How to fix it: Remember that your partner can’t be punished for the fact that you feel lonely. It’s nobody’s ‘fault’ that your lives are so different. Just be honest about your feelings and remind yourself that he’s not doing anything wrong, and neither are you.
4. There’s no set reunion date. Long distance dating is the absolute worst when there’s no end in sight and neither of you are willing to compromise on it. You both have a life you love in different places, and you can’t see either of you leaving that behind. You want to be together… but you also want to stay where you are.
How to fix it: Try to reach a consensus. Be honest with yourselves about whether this relationship is going to work. Are you serious enough about the relationship to uproot your lives for each other? If not, is there any point continuing?
5. You feel yourselves growing apart. Chances are you’re doing long distance because you’re at different stages in life. Now, both of you are growing… but in opposite directions. You can’t make anyone change, and you can’t stop anyone from changing.
How to fix it: Discuss your future. Establish exactly where you see yourselves going to know if you’re still on the same page. Try to remember why you fell in love with each other in the first place, and exactly what it is you have in common.
6. Your sex life becomes non-existent. Being in a sexless relationship for months on end can be rough. If you’re in a healthy relationship with a great person, you both crave not only sex, but any sort of affectionate, romantic touch. It’s awful to feel lonely even when you’re with someone.
How to fix it: Don’t pretend it’s an issue that doesn’t exist. Talking about it may feel awkward, but you have to address the issue of sex instead of adopting a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy when the two of you are apart, but this is the worst thing you could do. Remember, you don’t have to agree to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable when you’re apart. But the lack of physical contact isn’t something you should pretend doesn’t exist.
7. The financial strain is very real. Dating someone who lives far away is expensive. There’s the phone bill, the fuel and the flights that need to be taken care of. You aren’t living together, so there’s no rent split. It can be seriously tough on your pockets to love someone who doesn’t live down the road.
How to fix it: Find more inexpensive ways to stay connected. Don’t resent your partner because your long distance love is depleting your bank balance. You don’t have to be flying up and down every few weeks to stay in a successful relationship. There are endless ways to stay in touch, and not all of them cost upwards of a grand.