The Problems with a Long Distance Relationship
Maybe you have a boyfriend now and you will moving far from him because of your work.... or maybe you're thinking about getting into a new romance with a partner who is a long distance away.
Either way, you should be aware of the potential problems with a long distance relationship and how to deal with them.
As you will discover, planning is everything.
Let me start off by throwing some real numbers at you.
- 4.5 months is the average time before a long distance relationship breaks down
- 40 % of all long distance relationships end in a break-up
- 70 % of all failed long distance relationships are due to unplanned changes
Also, I'll bet that you didn't know that about 2.9% of U.S. married couples are considered long distance (live 125 miles or more from each other) for one reason or another.
This adds up to around 3.75 million marriages.
And 10 % of all marriages in the United States started out as a long distance relationship.
Those are some pretty large numbers!
What this means is that there are a lot of people who are struggling with the challenges of being long distance.
It has been proven that it is very difficult to meet all of the emotional and relational expectations between a couple.
The number grows way higher when counting the people who are dating long distance.
I hate to remind you that the failure rate for long distance relationships is 70% for those who fail to acknowledge the challenges and who do not plan for the future.
That whopping 70% of long distance relationships failing without planning comes from Statistics Brain. (1)
But even before you can plan to overcome the problems, you'll need to know what those key obstacles might be.
The Good News and Bad News
The good news is that you can totally deal with and overcome the challenges.
The bad news is that it is going to take planning and a couple who are both ready to exercise understanding, trust and work.
But, considering that without having those same components in place, even people living under the same roof will find their relationship reduced to rubble.
So all hope is not lost.
Here Are 5 Important Things to Plan For
Getting over this will affect some people more than others.
Not every human being is the same and some of are just going to be more of the jealous type creature. They will tend to imagine the worst, regardless of how trust-worthy their mate is.
While this is an instinct meant to protect us, when a personality like that is in a long distance relationship, it only feeds that big green monster.
I hate to point this out, but being lonley and missing your partner can sometimes drive you into the arms of another person.
This is definitely a HUGE no-no for a monogamous relationship.
There are ways to make the time seem like it's passing faster and ways to work on improving your own social interactions without increasing your partner's jealously.
How You Have Conversations
Texting, talking on the phone, or even using Facetime or Skype to communicate can eventually become boring and mundane.
You can avoid this trap by using quality questions.
And not just about the daily activities of life. Sure, those are great to share, but ask some questions that dig deeper.
Get more into what your special someone believes, has a passion for or allows them to tell you some stories about their past.
That connects you more with the type of deeper communication that usually happens face-to-face. It's when deeper communication between a couple breaks down, that it can more easily lead to a break up.
One of those deeper questions is about the future of your relationship.
I know... that's a scary one for many of you who are in the earlier dating stage.
The fact is, sometimes one person wants a strong, monogamous relationship that will lead to marriage when the other might just be killing time with a person that doesn't demand a great deal of time commitment because of the distance.
Yes, that sounds horrible.
But it is the TRUTH in some cases.
So you had better figure that out.
What can be more frustrating is that you both may have started out with the same future intentions, but over time, that changed.
It is a good idea to talk, every so often, about your future plans together and working towards a common goal.
Also, be sure that your definition of monogamy is the same.
The truth is, a cheater will behave like a cheater, no matter if you live in the same town or not.
Monogamy isn't about supervision, either.
So if you think he's cheating when you live close by and are dating, he'll just keep cheating if you decide to move the relationship to the next level.
Basic Lack of Trust.
It doesn't matter if it is real or perceived, if there is a lack of trust, you're both going to have to deal with the issue in an authentic and transparent way work it out.
Without a high level of real trust, relationship you ever have is doomed to failure. This is especially the case when you are trying to build a future together from a long distance.
How You Spend Your Time Together
Be sure to commit yourselves to spending more time together for more than just the weekends.
And you should know that the more time the two of you spend together in the company of others, the better you will get to know your partner and the better they get to know you.
That's just a beneficial thing no matter how you dissect it.
You might end up uncovering things about the other person that you don't like.
But if that's the case, it's better to know this early on to decide if you can live with those traits or not. You'll want to learn that before moving forward with the relationship even further.
What to Do Now
If you are going to go for it, put your heads together and make a plan and set some ground rules for what can and cannot happen while you are away from each other.
Know that it's not a good idea to cut yourself off from friends and others as you wait for your partner to visit or return.
Being in a long distance relationships will often have a better chance at surviving if you find a way to lead separate day-to-day lives as well as keeping optimistic about each other while you are separated.
It's also important to not avoid unpleasant issues in your relationship when you finally do see each other in person.
I know it can be tempting to avoid addressing relational problems when you are finally together for a short amount of time. But it is much more valuable to face the truth and see your relationship for what it is and to not idealize it in any way.
Consider grabbing a copy of The Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide to have the best chance possible of staying happily together.
Wishing you the best in love and life ~ Vollanza