The harsh truth about a long-distance relationship (LDR) is that it is not easy at all. I wouldn’t advise anyone to accept a long-distance if possible. However, long-distance relationships are inevitable parts of relationships and love life for most of us.
I was in a long-distance relationship a few years ago. I had known the girl for a long time while growing up in my neighbourhood before I asked her to be my girlfriend. We started the relationship as a long-distance relationship on the phone, but because we had known each other before, it was easy to know the kind of person we both were. About a year after asking her out, we had a major problem related to the long distance and we broke up still over the long distance on the phone.
Your relationship might have started as a proximity relationship but work, education, and business can turn it into a long-distance relationship at some point in the relationship. If that happens, how can you navigate through it and sustain the relationship?
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Some Statistics about Long-distance Relationship
14-15 million people reported being in a long-distance relationship in the United States in 2005.
The figure remained at 15 million in 2015.
3.75 million married couples reported to be in a long-distance relationship.
75% of all engaged couples have, at some point, been in a long-distance relationship.
10% of such couples continue to be in a long-distance relationship even after marriage.
The commonest reasons for long-distance relationships include working in a different location, and schooling.
LDRs are prevalent among college students (75%).
Occupations like military service and oil exploration workers are closely associated with long-distance relationships among married couples.
The impact of long-distance relationships is harsher on military workers who are not very far apart from their partners but are restricted from communicating or seeing them (military non-distance relationships). Wikipedia – Long-distance relationship
Harsh Facts About Long-distance Relationships
From my experience, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to go into a long-distance relationship. Howbeit, LDRs are inevitable for most relationships. At least, the statistics above confirmed that.
However, for one to succeed in a long-distance relationship, one needs to understand its reality and possible encounters from the relationship so as to prepare adequately to overcome them.
Here, we will explore some of the harshest facts about a long-distance relationship and how you can surmount them appropriately.
1. Loneliness hits harder in a long-distance relationship
This is by far one of the harshest facts about LDRs. People enter into relationships for companionship and love; LDRs take away that companionship and feeling of closeness from the partners.
Not all days are fun-filled. Sometimes, you might experience a low mood and would want your partner to be with you to make you happy. Unfortunately, you are in a long-distance relationship.
In my own experience with my ex with whom I was in a long-distance relationship, it was not easy having to deal with loneliness and boredom when you have a boyfriend or girlfriend far away. Honestly, it would be better if you didn’t have a partner at all.
Thankfully, modern means of communication like video calls, facetime, chats, and voice calls, can help reduce the severity of the challenge but nothing compares with being physically close to your partner and holding them when you need some human warmth.
2. You can gradually lose intimacy when in LDR
Whether you are a man or a woman, it is easy to lose touch with your partner’s affection when in a long-distance relationship. Physical closeness helps to build emotional bonds between relationship partners, but LDR has come to jeopardise that.
Constantly being away from your partner and having to go through boredom and loneliness on your own can make you want to find someone else. You might not wish that consciously but deep down, you might be longing for a replacement.
One major reason why long-distance relationships almost always result in reduced intimacy and affection is that the other partner can begin to have wild thoughts about you and the relationship. They might think you are satisfying your physical needs with someone else and that can gradually ruin the intimacy you both share.
With good communication, understanding, and regular visits, partners in a long-distance relationship can uphold and maintain intimacy with each other until they are done with that phase.
3. Your LDR can cost you a lot of money
In a bid to meet your physical needs and to prevent loss of intimacy, there is often a need to visit your partner over a distance. This could be weekly, monthly, bimonthly, or longer but travelling to see your partner can cost you money depending on the distance.
Someone recounts an experience of having to spend $1,500 – $2000 on flight travel to and from Australia while his long-distance relationship partner lived in the United States. The huge costs of travel make it difficult to have frequent visits with your partner in a long-distance relationship.
Aside from the cost of transportation, there is also a considerable cost of communication. You might need to pay for internet and call airtimes to communicate with your partner over a long distance. When you fail to contact your call over a significant period, problems can begin to arise in the relationship as it was in my case.
Maintaining a strong emotional connection in a long-distance relationship is quite difficult even for loyal partners. This is because of the idea that “out of sight is out of mind”. However, partners in a long-distance relationship should continue to stay faithful with the hopes that the long-distance relationship will be over soon.
Trust is not dependent on distance; two people can trust each other even when very far apart. However, the possibility of a lack of trust can further increase in long-distance relationships.
Sometimes, one or both partners may receive feedback from friends and family concerning the other partner. This feedback might make one or both partners lose trust in each other whether they are true or not.
To surmount this, partners in a long-distance relationship must communicate effectively with each other over the phone or video call. By effective communication, both partners should make the other understand what is going on with them without leaving out any element of doubt.
7. It feels like your life is on pause while others move on with theirs
Long-distance relationships can be tough, I know. Another thing I can assure you about being in a long-distance relationship is that it won’t be easy to get married during the period if you are not already married.
Other people will be moving on with their lives, while yours seems like it’s on hold. This can be very frustrating if you are not prepared to face it. Your friends are getting married, starting a family, and having kids, but you would only hear about the wedding or be another wedding guest.
8. You change differently after the long distance
I already talked about this earlier but I will emphasize it here. Recall, what happened during the COVID-19 when couples who had always been less frequently together were forced by the lockdowns to live the entire time together. Several marriages began to have issues they never knew of, and many ended in divorce.
Changes can occur to both partners during the period of the long-distance relationship, such that it becomes a little difficult to catch up on each other when they finally come back together. Even romantic feelings may have reduced or disappeared, making the relationship difficult to rebuild on coming together.
Why LDRs are harder to keep
Aside from the harsh realities of LDR discussed above, here are some reasons why LDRs are the way they are.
1. It can sometimes feel unreal
Distance makes the heart grow fonder. But in extreme cases, distance can make the heart grow colder. Seeing other people going out with their boyfriends/girlfriends and only fantasizing about where your long-distance relationship partner is or what they are doing can make it feel unreal.
2. Different time zones, different schedules
LDRs between partners in different time zones can pose a significant problem. They may both need to find a conducive time to communicate with each other regularly. That is not to exclude the fact that they may be busy with their respective vocations during the day as well.
3. Communication is harder
Communication requires speech, body postures, facial signals, and gestures. The absence of these can make effective communication difficult to achieve. Thus, LDRs will require a greater deal of attention and listening for the partners to understand each other.
3. Conflicts are hard to resolve
Conflicts are easy to form in a long-distance relationship because of the problem of communication above. When there is a conflict, it can also be very hard to resolve as both partners would not easily understand each talking on the phone other over a distance.
4. Third-party can easily cause problems
Third parties, either consciously or unconsciously can cause problems in the relationship by feeding the partners with information that may or may not be true. Due to the long distance, the partner receiving such information might believe the third party over their partner on the other side.
How To Succeed in Your Long-distance Relationship
Being in a long-distance relationship at some point is inevitable for most of us. While it may be associated with some harsh facts and challenges, Victoria Leandra of Bustle.com argues that it could be a blessing in disguise. Laura Stafford also asserts that LDRs are considerably more stable than geographically close relationships.
Facing reality, it does not make any difference in rejecting a long-distance relationship or denying its heart-wrenching possibilities. What is more important is how much effort you put into making it work.
Here are some ways to make your LDR blissful and happily ever after.
1. Both of you should get involved
You need to discuss it with your partner to identify the challenges and find ways to handle them during the period you will be apart from each other. Also emphasize the active role required by both of you, such that it should not be seen to only involve one partner, otherwise it can get very exhausting.
2. Focus on good communication
In the absence of physical contact, good communication can suffice. This entails proper listening, paying attention, and making an effort to understand what your partner is saying while speaking with them over the phone. Once you are able to understand each other properly, the distance will only be a temporary mirage that will soon wear off.
Though schedules and time zones may be different, both of you should be available to each other whenever the other needs to spend time with you over the phone, or on video call. Even when you are tired, explain to your partner that you will make out another time for them, and don’t turn them down too frequently.
3. Spice things up
Even if you don’t get to visit your partner frequently, you can send gifts to them. Sending gifts like postcards, jewellery, flowers, and others can be a way of spicing things up and rekindling the fire of romance over a long-distance relationship.
4. Don’t stop trusting
Trust is one of the most important ingredients in every relationship. Once it is lost, it is hard to regain. In a long-distance relationship, trust can easily be lost even when the other partner does not do anything wrong. Hence, to sustain your love and passion for each other, you have to keep trusting your partner and staying committed to the relationship.
5. Make efforts to visit each other
It might be difficult and expensive but you have to stay committed to seeing each other as frequently as possible. Make it a point of duty to plan visits with your partner regularly.
6. Stay committed to each other
Challenges and problems may arise in any relationship but the determination to overcome them together is the force required for the success of the relationship. Commitment is one major difference between a long-distance relationship that works out and one that doesn’t.
We have finally come to the end of this post on harsh facts about long-distance relationships and how to manage them. This was not to mean that long-distance relationships cannot be kept, but that you need to be well aware of the harsh reality so as to be able to face them and succeed in your relationship with your partner.
LDRs can be difficult and exhausting but if anyone has ever succeeded at it, you too can. The journey of love is not always a rosy one. There are times of uncertainties but with commitment, you can succeed.
I am a medical doctor, a seasoned writer and passionate blogger. Thanks to many years of trials, failure, and near successes. I am the founder of Knowseeker and our content are geared towards enlightening and making you a better and happier audience.