3 Harsh Facts About Long Distance Relationships You Must Know

Dating experience | | , Counseling Psychologist
Updated On: July 10, 2024
3 harsh facts long distance relationships
Spread the love

It isn’t easy to find love. And once you do, it’s not easy to work on making a connection strong with someone who lives far, far away. Today, we discuss 3 harsh facts about long-distance relationships. And even though it might feel like the biggest challenge of your life right now because of how emotionally draining it gets sometimes due to the lack of a physical connection, there are ways to navigate all the curveballs thrown at you.

LDRs are becoming more common because the world has become more accessible than ever. Some even wonder, “Are long-distance relationships better, considering that many people need their space nowadays?” They’re not wrong. The 2019 OkCupid data says that 46% of women and 45% of men are open to a long-distance relationship with the right person. But as we’ll see ahead, a long-distance relationship requires more than just video chats and sending gifts to each other.

3 Harsh Facts About Long-Distance Relationships

When it comes to an LDR, there are questions that come to our minds, such as: Can a long-distance relationship last without seeing each other? Or how to bring the love and spark back when you feel tired of a long-distance relationship? And how to have a successful long-distance relationship with financial burdens and physical separation bringing you down?

Well, long-distance relationship problems are plenty, and on most days, they feel downright brutal. So, let’s look into a few candid points about them. Here’s an attempt at a quick summary to bring to you the honest realities of what this romantic bond can feel like with 3 harsh facts about long-distance relationships.

1. It can be financially draining

Even if you crack the important stuff like finding ways of spending quality time, having open and honest communication with your long-distance partner, and keeping the emotional intimacy alive, one thing that will bother you is how much this relationship will eat away at your finances. Since in LDRs you are physically separated, it’ll be extremely hard going weeks, months, and in some cases, a year or more, without seeing your partner or experiencing their physical touch. Naturally, here’s what will occupy your mind:

  • Travel expenses to meet your partner on a regular basis will take up a large part of your salary
  • You need to think about tickets, bus or train or air fare, food budget while traveling, hotel stay if they don’t live independently, and other expenses of traveling. This might get overwhelming after a point
  • You will have to find creative ways of constantly saving up and taking leaves from work to spend quality time with your partner

These are the 3 harsh facts about long-distance relationships. It can be expensive and this is something you should know before starting a long-distance relationship with the one you love. Michael, our reader from London who has been in a relationship for around six months now, shares with us, “It was so difficult to manage my finances, alongside my college, to meet my partner. At one point, we got into this huge fight because I didn’t have the funds for in-person visits. It was a mess. Desperately finding intimacy with the love of my love was painful to experience.”

Related Reading: 10 Signs You Are In A Truly Stable Relationship (Even If You Feel Otherwise)

2. You feel lonely and may want to give up

Feeling close to your partner is an essential part of loving them and being in a romantic relationship. However, since that is incredibly challenging in a long-distance relationship, it is easy for feelings of loneliness to routinely creep in due to the lack of physical touch. Spending Fridays alone at home, and being the only single one at a party can all be difficult experiences to endure when your partner is so far away from you.

It’s important to know that it’s natural and okay to feel this way about your emotional connection draining you, due to the constant effort you have to put in to stay connected to them. This is just one of the harsh realities of how an LDR can make you feel at times. But are they hard to the extent that you start to wonder if the relationship is worth saving? We’ll find out.

As Sylvia, who has been in such a dynamic for two years now, puts it, “Some nights, I swear, I just wanted to cry with nothing but him in the room. I wanted no screens, no room for understanding, or putting two perspectives together. Just knowing that he is beside me and holding me as I cry. But of course, that couldn’t happen in a flash. At one point, I wanted to give up on the relationship. I require more physical presence of someone I love in order to be happy.”

highs and lows of long distance relationship
Not every day can be happy in a long-distance relationship

3. Fear of the future is one of the main long-distance relationship problems

It is becoming more common for couples to enter long-distance relationships now, while some have even started to wonder, “Are long-distance relationships better than the ones where the couple stays close to each other?” Long-distance relationships require a different kind of mettle, that not everyone has. And that’s the last of the 3 harsh facts about long-distance relationships.

You might have a strong bond, you might love open and honest communication, and there’s plenty of mutual respect going around too. But sometimes, none of this matters because being away from your partner for this long does and will take a toll on you and your relationship. Before you enter an LDR, it’s generally a good idea to assess:

  • Can you do what it takes for your relationship to work?
  • How much time can you make for one another?
  • Are you someone who gets easily frustrated with bad Wi-Fi connectivity?
  • Moreover, how much physical contact can you do without?

No amount of video chats and online dates will allay your fears of what happens next. To make it a successful relationship, you and your partner will always be on edge about how to make it work in the next five or ten years when you two will finally unite. You’ll keep wondering, “How will we bring our worlds together?” An essential aspect of making a long-distance relationship work is having a game plan about your future, which is constantly going to be on your mind. This is a journey of some very complex emotions.

Related Reading: Is Unconditional Love In A Relationship Really Possible? 12 Signs You Have It

How To Navigate The Challenges in Long Distance Relationships

Now that we have talked about the 3 harsh facts about long-distance relationships, let’s talk about how we can deal with the relationship burnout that comes with them.

Every kind of relationship has its own set of problems. It’s not so much about the problems as it is about solving them. Ever heard about ‘repair’ and ‘rupture’? A rupture is a break in the connection between two people which can be caused by hurt, distance, or anger in a relationship. Ruptures are a very normal part of any healthy bond.

For more expert-backed insights, subscribe to our YouTube channel

However, when repeated ruptures take place without any repair, the relationship starts to become like bricks in the wall — Inanimate. Love is replaced by bitterness, making the relationship disintegrate. Repair is restoring a connection that was lost during rupture. Repairing is a way to bring you closer to your partner.

This comes with the realization that the relationship is more important than the problem. The goal is to understand where things went wrong and how to overcome that. Below are a few ways in which you can repair your long-distance relationship even before the rupture happens.

1. Communication is key when you’re apart

Communication is one of the most important factors for any polyamorous or monogamous relationship to work. By this, we don’t just mean video calls or text messages with your long-distance partner to stay connected to them. Here’s how you ensure a bond with your loved one:

  • Use your verbal skills to fulfill your and your partner’s needs in the relationship
  • Have meaningful conversations to give a strong foundation to your life together
  • Communicate to your partner about how you feel about this arrangement, what you want differently, or how you want your partner to support you
  • In what other forms do you expect them to express love to you?
  • Are there any trust issues you are having with them?
  • How are you handling the time difference and the regular time management?

It’s not easy communicating your vulnerabilities over a call or a screen without physical contact and validation for the same. But with time, you become more mindful of noting voice discrepancies in an LDR. You know exactly how they sound when they are joyous, how they sound when they are tired, or when they are jumping around with excitement, or when they are going through the blues.

Related Reading: 5 Types Of Intimacy In A Relationship

2. Always pay attention to the small details

When you get better at listening, you start to pick up on the small details about your long-distance partner. You know when they sound low on energy, if they are not as calm as they usually are, if they are sluggish or tired, and all the unique ways your partner expresses themselves.

These small details matter a lot if you want to communicate better in your relationship. When you notice these intricate details of your partner, you do not only tell them that you pay attention to what they’re saying or doing, but you’re also telling them how much you value what you both have. This can actually feel incredibly rewarding for couples that feel so far away from one another.

One of the 3 harsh facts about long-distance relationships is that it’s emotionally tiring to make an LDR work sometimes. Trust us, your efforts will be minimized when you pay attention to little things from the start and get better at recognizing each other’s feelings. It’s one of the most important aspects of keeping your connection strong. It’ll become a habit and won’t be a task anymore once you see how rewarding it is for the relationship on a deeper level, and how it heals you both.

Should I end my long distance relationship

3. Don’t assume anything as you navigate the highs and lows of a long-distance relationship

When we don’t have the whole picture, we connect the dots and make them whole. It’s a natural human tendency to do so. That’s what we do in relationships as well. But don’t assume anything even though you’re tempted to. Even if the assumptions are coming easily to you while waiting for your partner’s answers, even if it’s giving you relationship anxiety.

Assumptions give rise to huge ruptures, the repairs for which take a long time. When meeting in real life, relationships can be easier to heal. But long-distance relationships face a different kind of hardship. It is much more challenging to maintain contact, let alone seek support and feel secure with one another. That is why an essential part of making a relationship work for long-distance couples is learning how to communicate effectively and lovingly. A few solid tips for you in this regard:

why are long distance relationships hard
Find ways to keep your online connection interesting
  • Talk to them about the intrusive thoughts that are raising sirens in your head
  • Be open about it, chances are that they have their own set of assumptions as well
  • When you clear things out, you relieve stress that can manifest in your relationship
  • Maintain clear pathways of communication where there is very little to no room left for assumptions
  • Whatever comes to your mind, talk it out instead of allowing it to take an emotional toll on you both

Related Reading: Communication Problems In Relationships – 11 Ways To Overcome

4. Don’t let it get boring, and stay connected

Why are long-distance relationships hard? Because many times, they feel so, so boring. Since you don’t have a social life with this person, staying glued to your phone screen and waiting for their text messages all day can feel very drab.

Don’t let your relationship get as mundane as waking up, dropping a text to your partner, going about your day, maybe a call to your partner, and then off to sleep. Spice and jazz it up a bit to truly spend quality time with them. Do things that you would do if you both were together – Just do them virtually and practice effective time management to establish a good routine. Take advantage of all the tech revolution like this:

  • Go out on virtual food dates
  • Plan movie dates
  • Start a new Netflix show you both can watch together
  • Send each other surprise deliveries
  • Plan surprise visits if you can afford to
  • Send each other saucy texts to make up for the lack of physical touch
  • Be romantic on phone: Have lots of phone sex or any form of virtual sex while being safe (of course)

Just don’t let it get predictable or let the feelings of loneliness get the better of you. Long-distance relationships require you to go the extra mile. So don’t feel limited just because you both are separated by distance. There is SO much you both can do.

5. Prioritize other stuff to prevent relationship burnout

Don’t get so caught up in navigating the highs and lows of long-distance relationships, that you forget all about your other social circles and the life you have built apart from your long-distance partner. Long-distance couples tend to prioritize the relationship over themselves, which is a huge mistake, for it gets lonely very soon. So, remember to:

  • Talk to people, and build stronger bonds with your friends and family
  • Build a solid support system for yourself, and have other people involved in your life in a meaningful way
  • Create your routine and schedule that doesn’t revolve around your partner
  • Set personal goals for yourself and make a plan on how to achieve them
  • Go to the gym, or do yoga, or go for a walk, and work on your physical and mental health
  • Make time for your own self

While it is not a bad thing to put extra time and effort into your relationship, there are other ways to make yourself happy and keep your life going. Don’t forget what it’s like to experience real life around an actual human. The idea is that you grow in the relationship in a holistic sense, and your relationship will grow with you. I was once in a short-term long-distance relationship. My partner and I had been dating for two years before that until he went on an exchange program to Europe.

I missed everything about him, from his body language to his facial expressions to the way he laughed. Even though physical touch was lacking, we did not have to worry about trying to build trust or communication skills. Despite being in such a secure place, I struggled with my identity when he was gone. I stopped going to my tennis classes and even skipped morning breakfasts with my coworkers because I wanted to video call him instead. I realized later that an essential part of giving your best in your relationship is by being your best self.


6. Have an expiry date for the distance

Spending time online and making phone calls throughout the day across time zones can have its charm for a while. But it will fizzle out sooner or later. It is easy to stay connected but harder to make that connection last. And the only way to make it last is to have a solid idea about when you two will unite in real life.

Your conversations must include discussing the expiry date for the long-distance part of the relationship (if that’s what you both want). Don’t be scared to plan when you both will be together in the same city, or even the same home. You want to love your partner as an actual human being and not just someone you see across a screen.

Like Charles Dickens wrote in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, “The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.” But one of the strangest long-distance relationship problems is learning to navigate life when you’re no longer apart. When the LDR ends, both of you will enter a new phase of your relationship and will need time to adjust to a new routine of living together, or in the same city. You would have to unlearn and relearn new things about each other and practice more physical affection. This is a kind of repair that has the potential to strengthen your bond.

Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook has the perfect quote that serves as a reminder to work through things we choose for ourselves: “It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be really hard. And we’re going to have to work on this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, you and me.”

Related Reading: 25 Best Love Poems For Him Long Distance

It’s Alright If You Can’t Make It Work

While going without physical contact for long periods of time, trying to save money every month to meet your partner, and navigating internet issues and time differences to make phone calls are some things that some couples can put up with — Do not bash yourself if you are not one of them. Maybe you two are college students still figuring things out or are too headstrong in your careers right now to give so much to a demanding relationship.

While this physical distance might make your heart grow fonder, it will also make your heart grow so weary. Spending large chunks of your day making it work with someone else when you are barely able to take care of yourself is not something everyone is willing to commit to. Instead of harboring resentment and creating further communication issues, it is better to establish clear expectations with one another about how willing you are to make this serious relationship work.

Put your own well-being first, understand the importance of physical touch in your life, and only consider a long-distance relationship if you are in the right mindset for it. If you are fooling yourself into trying to stay connected with this person, then how will you ever build trust with them?

My own sister couldn’t continue with her LDR. Her boyfriend lived all the way in Netherlands and she was based in the U.S. While the two were madly in love as if straight out of a movie, the lack of physical contact and physical touch was just not for them. They did not have the money for frequent in-person visits and had a hard time apart. She once said to me, “I love Nikolaj, I still do, but long-distance relationships are a waste of time for someone like me. I don’t have the right mindset for it and I feel disconnected from him no matter how hard we try. I think I can get the same or more satisfaction by just being happily single instead.”

Either way, whether you choose to follow through with your LDR or not, just try to be as honest as you can possibly be with the one you love. There are going to be many challenges in your path but they are not impossible to cross. In the meantime, if you decide to pursue this relationship, find ways to make it exciting and real, and make your partner feel secure. And if you are better off without one, then that’s reasonable too. Don’t drag yourself through something you can’t commit to.


1.  What’s the hardest thing about long distance relationships?

Lack of physical intimacy is one of the 3 harsh facts about long-distance relationships. Some people require holding hands, hugs, and cuddles in relationships more than others. This is because physical intimacy is one of their love languages. And feeling lonely in a long-distance relationship is no fun. A 2018 study agrees. 66% of respondents said the hardest thing about being in a long-distance relationship was the lack of physical intimacy leading to feeling lonely, and 31% said the lack of sex was the hardest part. 

2. Can a long distance relationship work?

Of course it can. The same 2018 study found that 58% of long-distance relationships in America worked out and survived. 55% of Americans said that their time apart actually made them feel closer to their partner in the long run, while 69% said that they actually talked to their partner more during their time apart. Just don’t minimize any troublesome behavior of your partner and keep a lookout for controlling behavior, like you would in any dynamic.

3. What kills long distance relationships?

Lack of effective communication kills any relationship, including a long-distance relationship. Long-distance communication doesn’t just include talking, it entails listening – Empathetically and reflectively. It means that you are receptive to what your partner is saying while putting across what you want to say politely. It also means that you can articulate their perspective while giving them yours.

23 Virtual Date Ideas For Long-Distance Couples To Feel Closer

How To Stop Arguing In A Relationship – 11 Tips That REALLY Work!

18 Long-Distance Relationship Problems You Should Know

Ask Our Expert

Reference +

Spread the love

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.