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Can Long Distance Relationships Work?

Whether you’re just starting a new long distance relationship, or you’ve both been in one for a while, you likely have this nagging question in the back of your mind: do long distance relationships work?

In my opinion, long distance relationships can definitely work, but they take a lot of extra effort for both you and your partner.

There are plenty of reasons why long distance relationships can work, especially now with so many communication options available. Read on if you need some convincing.

(By the way, most of these points were taken from my post on long distance relationship statistics. Check it out if you’d like to learn more!)

1. Long distance doesn’t affect the quality of your relationship

monochrome photo of couple holding hands

Think your relationship is lacking because you both don’t happen to live in the same city? 

It’s convenient, but it’s not a definite deal breaker. A 2014 study found that there actually aren’t that many differences between long distance relationships and geographically close relationships.

This study found that “individuals in long distance relationships are not at a disadvantage” when it came to relationship quality. 

Instead, it’s more about the characteristics of each person, and the nature of the relationship itself, rather than the distance between two lovers.

So if you think that a relationship can’t work because of long distance, rest assured that your passions won’t wane if you’re both on the same page.

2. People in long distance relationships form stronger bonds

photo of woman hugging man

Living apart from your partner doesn’t mean that your relationship is weaker than a conventional one.

According to a 2013 paper published in the Journal of Communication, people in long distance relationships have “equal or even more trust and satisfaction” compared to geographically close relationships.

Another 2007 study found that long distance relationships showed more stability than “local” relationships.

Surprised? Well, consider that long distance couples need to put in more effort in communicating over texts and video calls.

Also, when you’re wishing for your long distance partner, you’ll usually be seeing them in a more positive light.

The increased communication and idealization can result in greater intimacy between you and your beau.

Distance really does make the heart grow fonder, and you may find it’ll be the same for your partnership, too.

3. Over half of long distance relationships end in success

multiracial women with closed eyes hugging in room

This study held by a private company (NSFW) interviewed long distance couples. They found that over half of the interviewees—58%—reported success with their long distance relationship.

There’s obviously a lot of work that goes into a relationship, and even more so for a couple separated by miles.

As mentioned previously, the characteristics of each person and the quality of the relationship itself dictates how well your relationship works out.

However, it’s comforting to know that the majority of long distance relationships make it through and end in happiness. Not bad odds, right?

4. A lot of others are in LDRs, too

crop smiling multiethnic girlfriends surfing internet on laptop on sofa

Worried that you’re in a weird spot because you can’t regularly see your partner in real life, like your friends?

Or are you getting a lot of comments from family about your situation?

You’re not alone. The Economist claims in a 2017 article that “about 3.9 million married Americans aged 18 and over live apart from their spouses, up from around 2.7 million in 2000”.

And those are married couples!

Other websites, like Long Distance Relationship Statistics, cites up to 14 million people in the US to consider themselves in a long distance relationship. (I can’t verify the data behind this source, but I think it’s a reasonable ballpark figure.)

So don’t fret if you’re in a long distance relationship and feeling like an outlier, because there are, at the very least, dozens of us out there. Just check out the Long Distance subreddit if you need proof—at the time of writing, there were 258,000 members.

5. Technology (and air travel) makes LDRs easier than ever

crop unrecognizable person taking photo of night city on smartphone

Congratulations—you’re living in a great time to be in a long distance relationship.

It’s easier than ever to connect with people online. Your phone alone contains everything you need to simply reach out and grab your partner’s attention.

Snap a photo and send it in seconds to them on the other side of the world. Talk with them in real time, with high-definition video and sound.

You can play games with them, watch movies with them, and let them know exactly where you are, right down to your favorite taco truck or the park where you go for a run.

Not only that, air travel is cheaper than ever! Air ticket prices have dropped by 50% over 30 years since 1978.

Of course, nothing beats having your partner with you in the same room. But today’s technology enables them to be there with you, and vice versa.

How do I make a long distance relationship work?

women holding hands

Okay, all these points are all well and good, but how do you actually make it work?

No doubt about it: long distance relationships take a lot of work and effort. But they can—and do—end in success.

I go into a detail about this in my post How to Make a Long Distance Relationship Work—take a look if you want to learn more.

Here’s a quick summary:

  • Have a routine, and stick to it. Being able to look forward to your partner regularly is key for your sanity (and theirs).
  • Have a life outside your relationship. On the flip side, make sure you continue with your job, hobbies, and local social circle.
  • Get support from your family and friends. Have people you can hang out with in person to pick you up whenever you’re feeling down. Also, seeking out long distance relationship communities can help you vent.
  • Relieve the distance. Make sure you visit each other from time to time. Physical contact may be hard, but it’s necessary.
  • Be okay with not being okay. It’s normal to feel down—communicate with your partner about your feelings.
  • Identify your love needs. Love gifts? Need messages of encouragement? Appreciate a helping hand? Let your partner know so they know how to love you best.
  • Have an end date. A long distance relationship shouldn’t be a permanent thing. Make sure you start with the end in mind.