What Kills Long-Distance Relationships? These 11 Things

Emotional Stress | | , Content Writer
Updated On: March 22, 2024
what kills long distance relationships

Embarking on a long-distance relationship is like stepping into an intricate dance, a delicate balance between love and distance. Having once believed that love could defy any obstacle, I found myself grappling with the harsh reality that distance can cast a shadow over even the strongest connections. Reflecting on my journey, I am compelled to unravel the questions that echo in the minds of many who have faced the same heart-wrenching dilemma: What kills long-distance relationships? Does distance kill a relationship or is there something else at play that makes long-distance love so hard to sustain?

In the early days of my long-distance romance, the promise of love conquering all seemed invincible. The miles between us felt like mere numbers, insignificant in the grand tapestry of emotions we shared. However, as time unfolded, I discovered that sustaining a connection across geographical boundaries demanded more than just love. I started to realize, “I love him but I can’t do long distance.”

The insidious factors that contribute to the demise of long-distance relationships began to emerge, casting gloom over the once-bright prospects of our shared future. Through this first-hand experience, I have come to understand the intricacies of what can unravel the fabric of even the most passionate and dedicated bonds and what is the best way to deal with a long-distance relationship.

11 Things That Kill Long-Distance Relationships

Relationships tend to get tricky over time and long-distance relationships are no exception to this phenomenon. LDRs can get all kinds of tricky if not tended to properly. According to a survey, here’s one of the harsh facts about long-distance relationships: the lack of physical intimacy becomes the biggest challenge to surmount (as said by 66% of respondents) whereas 31% said they missed sex the most. It further says, “But if your long-distance relationship can survive the eight-month milestone, it gets a lot easier.”

Also, small issues that crop up might seem trivial in the beginning but over time they can destroy a long-distance relationship. This is one of the myriad factors that contribute to the fact that 42% of all long-distance relationships fail, according to a 2014 survey. So, what are the other risk factors you need to be aware of? Let’s take a closer look at what kills long-distance relationships.

Related Reading: Successful Long Distance Relationship Love Story

1. You are glued to your partner virtually

Consistent communication is important in a relationship. In a long-distance relationship, the importance becomes tenfold. But communication doesn’t mean you are glued to your phone, texting or calling your partner all the time, ignoring everything else and the people in your life, and voluntarily isolating yourself. One of the things that ruin a long-distance relationship is a desperate attempt to make up for a lack of physical presence or physical intimacy with an overload of virtual connection. This is one of the biggest challenges of long-distance relationships because few people understand that even an overload of communication can be detrimental to their relationship.

How to deal

  • Establish healthy boundaries: Set specific times for virtual interaction to avoid excessive dependence. Allow each other space for individual activities and socializing
  • Encourage independence: Pursue personal hobbies and interests or make new friends independently. Foster a sense of self-reliance and self-growth
  • Communication variety: Diversify communication methods to avoid constant virtual presence. Embrace occasional asynchronous communication to reduce immediacy
  • Socialize beyond the relationship: Maintain connections with friends and family outside the romantic relationship. Participate in activities that don’t involve the partner to foster a broader social network
  • Open dialogue: Discuss feelings of suffocation openly and honestly. Establish mutual understanding and respect for personal space and time

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2. Unresolved fights destroy a long-distance relationship

Why do long-distance relationships fail? One of the things that ruins a long-distance relationship is unhealthy conflict resolution. This is one of the most common red flags in a long-distance relationship. You miss your partner so much and you are meeting them after ages. It is normal to want to hold off any unpleasantness and sometimes entirely let go of your upset. In a study conducted on 385 participants, the researchers found that video chat resulted in the most validating conflict style. Email was correlated with a hostile conflict style, and phone calls resulted in a mix of volatile and hostile conflict styles. Face-to-face conflict was associated with avoidance, as long-distance couples do not want to argue in the little time they have together. Understandable, but not healthy.

Fights are normal in every relationship, and to an extent, healthy. However, there is nothing more damaging than lack of communication in a long-distance relationship. It is one of the most common red flags in a long-distance relationship. Healthy conflict resolution and using the right medium are very important details to make a relationship last and should not be compromised on. Even if it means fighting a little during your time together.

Related Reading: 18 Long-Distance Relationship Problems You Should Know

How to deal

  • Effective communication: Choose the right time and method to address conflicts calmly. Utilize video calls or voice messages for nuanced conversations
  • Active listening: Practice active listening to understand your partner’s perspective. Avoid interrupting and ensure both voices are heard
  • Establish resolution strategies: Develop a plan to resolve conflicts constructively. Agree on a cooling-off period if needed, followed by a focused discussion
  • Choose battles wisely: Differentiate between minor disagreements and significant issues. Prioritize discussions based on their impact on the relationship
  • Apologize and forgive: Be willing to apologize when necessary. Spend time cultivating forgiveness to avoid holding onto resentment
  • Seek mediation if necessary: Consider involving a neutral third party if conflicts persist. Relationship counseling or therapy can provide a structured environment for conflict resolution

3. You have different expectations from the relationship

Long-distance relationships become difficult when both partners expect different things from the relationship. While one partner might see this as a positive opportunity to work on themselves, the other partner might be more focused on the negative aspects of the LDR. The latter would focus on how they can’t be together as much as they would like, and will have frequent thoughts like “This long-distance relationship is killing me”.

It is very important to air out what you want in a relationship you and your partner have and reach an agreement. Maybe you want texts and calls every day but your partner is completely okay with talking to you properly once a week. Or you might be okay meeting up once in 3 months but your partner wants to see you more often. You must talk it out and reach an arrangement both of you agree on. It is differences like these that lead to resentment and what kills long-distance relationships.

How to deal

  • Define expectations early: Discuss and establish clear expectations for the relationship from the start. Ensure both partners are on the same page regarding commitment, future plans, and consistent communication
  • Regular check-ins: Schedule regular conversations to reassess expectations as the relationship evolves. Be open to adjustments and compromise when necessary
  • Align long-term goals: Discuss individual long-term goals and aspirations. Seek common ground and make compromises to align future plans
  • Be transparent: Communicate openly about feelings and expectations. Address any discrepancies promptly to avoid misunderstandings
  • Prioritize compatibility: Evaluate compatibility in terms of values, life goals, and timelines. Reassess the relationship if fundamental expectations are consistently misaligned
  • Flexibility and adaptability: Embrace flexibility in adapting to unforeseen changes. Be willing to adjust expectations as circumstances evolve

Related Reading: Expectations In Relationships: The Right Way To Manage Them

4. Insecurities can drive you apart

Now this one requires a little introspection because it is one of the harsh facts about long-distance relationships—they are not meant for you if you get insecure rather easily. If you are a jealous partner who perceives every other person as competition, then a long-distance relationship will do a number on both you and your partner. A little faith is required in every relationship and more so in an LDR where you can’t have physical intimacy with your partner a lot.

As per the data collected from a study done on 311 participants, it was seen that long-distance couples who didn’t meet face to face often had a lot of trust issues. It says, “Those in LDRs with ‘some’ face‐to‐face contact were significantly more certain of their relationships than were those in LDRs without face‐to‐face contact.” So if you can’t meet your partner enough and if you’re the jealous type, you will never have a moment’s peace, always thinking your partner is cheating on you. And your partner will get tired of justifying every word and action. Honestly, no one likes to be constantly suspected and falsely accused of cheating. These are the behaviors that ultimately destroy a long-distance relationship.

How to deal

  • Promote open and honest communication: Encourage an environment where both partners feel safe expressing insecurities. Foster trust by actively listening and validating each other’s concerns.
  • Regular reassurance: Provide reassurance through verbal affirmation and affection. Remind your partner of your commitment and love consistently.
  • Build trust: Be transparent about your actions and intentions. Establish a foundation of trust by following through on promises.
  • Address root causes: Explore the underlying causes of insecurities. Work together to resolve issues and build confidence in the relationship.
  • Individual self-esteem: Focus on individual self-esteem and self-worth. Encourage activities that promote personal growth and confidence.
  • Seek professional guidance: Consider couples therapy or counseling to address deep-seated insecurities. Professional guidance can offer tools to strengthen the relationship and manage insecurities.

5. You stop doing things together

Have you ever wondered: “Why do people lose interest in long-distance relationship?” The best thing about an LDR is that you get ample time to work on yourself. All the time that is not being spent on going on dates leaves you room for self-growth. But here’s the flip side: this ample time to do your own thing is one of the things that ruins a long-distance relationship and is one of the signs he losing interest in a long-distance relationship.

Of course, self-growth is essential. However, one of the things that kills a long-distance relationship is not participating in activities together. It could be playing an online game together or even picking up the same skill as playing an instrument. When the focus of growth is entirely on oneself, there are chances you and your partner might start drifting apart and end up having nothing in common. So, if the thought “I feel disconnected” has crossed your mind, this is one of the things that ruin a long-distance relationship.

More on relationship advice

How to deal

  • Rediscover shared interests: Identify and revisit activities that both partners enjoyed together. Make a conscious effort to reintegrate these common things into your routine
  • Schedule quality time: Set aside dedicated time for shared activities, even in a virtual context. Create a schedule that accommodates both partners’ commitments
  • Explore new hobbies: Introduce new activities to keep the relationship dynamic. Embrace opportunities for shared learning and exploration
  • Virtual movie nights or gaming: Organize virtual movie nights or online gaming sessions. Use technology in your relationship to bridge the physical gap and engage in shared leisure
  • Communication about preferences: Discuss each other’s preferences for activities. Find a balance that accommodates both partners’ interests
  • Plan future activities: Look forward to future in-person activities. Discuss and plan visits or vacations to have shared experiences in person

6. What kills long-distance relationships? No end date

Claire, a 28-year old lawyer from Florida, had been in a long-distance relationship with Joe for 2 years and the long-distance part was soon coming to an end. When she excitedly called Joe to tell him she would be waiting at the airport to pick him up, Joe told her he won’t be able to make it because his company was sending him to Korea to start their new project. When she asked him when he would be back, he said he wasn’t sure and it might take a couple of years.

Related Reading: 3 Harsh Facts About Long Distance Relationships You Must Know

Claire was devastated. She decided to break it off with Joe and told him, “This long-distance relationship is killing me. And I see no end here.” Claire explained to us, “I love him, but I can’t do long-distance relationship indefinitely. I need my partner to be with me and not knowing when will he be back, scares me.” She is not alone here. Think about it: how long can a long-distance relationship last without seeing each other? According to a study, nearly one-third of long-distance relationships end because plans changed suddenly and there was no fixed end date for the ‘long-distance’ part of the relationship. At some point, physical intimacy is required to keep the relationship going.

How to deal

  • Establish a clear plan: Work together to set a realistic timeline for closing the distance. Regularly revisit and update the plan as circumstances change
  • Frequent communication about the future: Have open discussions about long-term goals and aspirations. Ensure both partners are aligned in their vision for the future
  • Visit each other regularly: Plan visits to spend quality time together in person. Frequent visits help maintain the connection and build a sense of anticipation
  • Maintain flexibility: Be open to adjusting plans based on external factors. Flexibility and adaptability are crucial in the face of unforeseen challenges
  • Create milestones: Set milestones to celebrate progress in the relationship. Milestones provide a sense of accomplishment and signify forward movement
  • Explore relocation options: Discuss potential relocation plans and explore practical steps to make it happen. Investigate job opportunities, housing options, and other logistics
how long can a long-distance relationship last without seeing each other
The long distance part of a relationship has to be temporary

7. The threat of infidelity

Why do long-distance relationships fail? Nothing damages a relationship more than infidelity. You begin to question everything, the relationship, your partner’s feelings toward you, and even your own self-worth. And a mere hint of cheating in a long-distance relationship can create havoc. This is one of the challenges of long distance relationships that is very hard to overcome.

It is completely normal to find someone attractive, but if you find yourself wanting to act on the attraction or if you feel you are more emotionally invested in this other person than your own partner, then it is a sign you are straying from your relationship. This isn’t about the distance though. Plenty of cases of infidelity happen among couples who stay close to or with each other. An LDR just acts as a contributor; the degree of commitment always depends on the people involved.

How to deal

  • Establish trust: Build a foundation of trust through open communication and honesty. Address any concerns or insecurities proactively to prevent misunderstandings
  • Set clear expectations: Define healthy relationship boundaries and expectations regarding fidelity. Ensure both partners are on the same page regarding exclusivity and commitment
  • Regular check-ins: Have regular conversations about the state of the relationship. Discuss any concerns or changes in feelings to maintain transparency
  • Prioritize emotional connection: Nurture emotional intimacy to strengthen the bond. Emotional connection can serve as a powerful deterrent to infidelity
  • Plan future together: Envision a shared future to reinforce commitment. Discuss long-term plans and goals to foster a sense of unity
  • Seek professional help: Consider relationship counseling if trust issues persist. Professional guidance can offer strategies to rebuild trust and address underlying concerns

Related Reading: 11 Common Reasons People Cheat In Relationships

8. Letting the relationship become boring

Why do people lose interest in long-distance relationships? Most relationships lose their brilliance with time. And after a while boredom does set in. And in a relationship which is primarily dependent on communication, with very little time spent on doing things together and no physical intimacy, boredom creeps in rather quickly. And it’s evident in your body language. After all, there will come a time when you have run out of stories to tell and exhausted all your discussions regarding the origin of the universe and gender identity. What do you do then?

Clearly, you forgot that it is important to spend quality time together exploring common interests. Playing multiplayer games, going on virtual dates, or just reading out a book to your partner, all are examples of things couples can do in long-distance relationships to keep boredom in relationships at bay.

How to deal

  • Inject novelty and spontaneity: Surprise your partner with unexpected gestures or gifts. Introduce spontaneity into your interactions to keep things exciting
  • Explore new activities together: Find and explore new hobbies or activities that interest both partners. Shared experiences create lasting memories and prevent monotony
  • Create a shared bucket list: Develop a list of common interests, activities or places you both want to explore together. Regularly revisit and plan to check off items on the list
  • Rotate responsibilities: Take turns planning virtual dates or activities. Sharing the responsibility keeps the relationship dynami
  • Communication about feelings: Share openly if you feel the relationship is becoming routine. Discuss ways to spice things up and bring back the excitement
  • Schedule quality time: Set aside dedicated time for meaningful conversations and bonding. Quality time, even in a virtual setting, is crucial for maintaining connection and preventing boredom

Related Reading: 10 thoughts one has when dumped in a long distance relationship

9. Taking each other for granted is one of the things that kills long-distance relationships

The only people you can take for granted are the ones you trust the most. You trust them to have your back, you trust them to be there for you in your time of need. And to an extent, it does feel good to be the person who can be depended on. I don’t know about you, but I feel disconnected when my partner takes me for granted.

And this is what kills long-distance relationships. Not calling or texting when you promised, delaying plans to meet up, and not communicating, or giving attention – these are the small ways that couples take each other for granted in LDRs. These acts might seem rather trivial once in a while but they can be extremely damaging over a long term leading to a slow death of your relationship. If your long-distance boyfriend seems to be taking you for granted, it is one of the signs he losing interest in a long-distance relationship.

How to deal

  • Express gratitude regularly: Cultivate a habit of expressing appreciation for your partner. Verbalize gratitude for both big and small gestures to reinforce value
  • Prioritize thoughtful gestures: Continue to engage in thoughtful acts that demonstrate care. Surprise your partner with small tokens of affection or heartfelt messages
  • Schedule quality time: Dedicate quality time to connect despite the physical distance. Make extra effort to engage in meaningful conversations and activities
  • Celebrate achievements and milestones: Acknowledge and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. Share in the joy of achievements to reinforce a sense of support
  • Regularly check-In on feelings: Have honest conversations about how you’re feeling in the relationship. Address any concerns about feeling taken for granted promptly
  • Reflect on relationship dynamics: Regularly assess the dynamics of the relationship and adjust behaviors accordingly. Stay mindful of the effort required to maintain a strong connection
Infographic for What Kills Long-Distance Relationships
Things that kill a long-distance relationship

10. There’s no vision of a shared future

One subtle yet potent threat to long-distance relationships is the absence of shared future planning. When the horizon appears uncertain, and partners neglect to envision a life together, the foundation of the relationship can crumble under the weight of ambiguity. The vitality of having a joint vision, common goals, and a roadmap for closing the distance cannot be overstated. Navigating the challenges of physical separation requires a shared commitment to a future where proximity is not just a fleeting possibility but a tangible reality.

How to deal

  • Initiate open dialogues: Begin an honest and open conversation about long-term plans and smart goals for your relationship. Encourage your partner to share their aspirations and expectations for the future
  • Establish a timeline: Collaborate on setting a realistic timeline for when the distance might close. Break down the steps and milestones required to make the shared future a reality
  • Regularly revisit plans: Schedule periodic discussions to reassess and update future plans. Adapt the timeline as needed, considering changes in personal or external circumstances
  • Cultivate individual goals: Encourage each other to pursue individual goals that align with the shared vision. Ensure that personal aspirations complement the joint objectives for a cohesive future
  • Invest in visits and face-to-face time: Prioritize in-person visits to reinforce the connection. Face-to-face time provides a tangible experience of the shared future and bolsters commitment

Related Reading: Are Your Feelings Fading In A Long-Distance Relationship?

11. You neglect emotional intimacy

Lack of communication in a long-distance relationship and the erosion of emotional intimacy can serve as a silent killer. The absence of physical closeness can lead to emotional distance if not actively addressed. It’s easy to check out emotionally when long-distance gets hard. Neglecting the emotional aspect of the relationship can create a void that mere words or virtual interactions struggle to fill. This is one of the most common red flags in a long-distance relationship. Maintaining a deep, emotional connection is paramount in overcoming the physical separation and fortifying the relationship against the pervasive threat of emotional detachment.

How to deal

  • Prioritize quality communication: Foster meaningful and deep conversations to sustain emotional connection. Share thoughts, feelings, and experiences with authenticity to bridge the emotional gap
  • Engage in shared activities: Create a virtual shared space by participating in activities together. This could include reading the same book, watching movies simultaneously, or playing online games
  • Regularly express affection: Verbalize feelings of love and affection regularly. Small gestures, such as sending heartfelt messages or leaving surprise voice notes, can go a long way
  • Cultivate trust and vulnerability: Build a foundation of trust by being open and vulnerable with your partner. Share fears, hopes, and dreams to create a deeper emotional bond
  • Plan future together: Discuss and plan the future, reinforcing the emotional investment in the relationship. Creating joint aspirations can serve as a powerful catalyst for maintaining emotional closeness
does distance kill a relationship
Taking each other for granted is much more harmful in a long distance relationship

When To Call It Quits In A Long-Distance Relationship?

Does distance kill a relationship? Thanks to the technology that we have today, distance is not that big of a problem anymore. Even if you are unable to meet your boo, you can at least see them over a video call when you miss them a lot. According to a survey, 55% of Americans that have been in an LDR said that their time apart actually made them feel closer to their partner in the long run. Another 81% said that being in a long-distance relationship made real-life visits a lot more intimate than usual, due to the speciality of the occasion.

Related Reading: 10 Noticeable Signs You Need To Let Go Of A Long-Distance Relationship

So why do people lose interest in long-distance relationships? And how long can a long-distance relationship last without seeing each other? If you don’t resonate with these numbers and have reached the dreaded “This long-distance relationship is killing me” stage, then read ahead. When you started this relationship, you had hoped that your love for each other would overcome the trials of distance. But sometimes a relationship can get so damaged that no matter how hard we try, we can’t save it. Sometimes, you find yourself thinking, “I love him but I can’t do long distance.” The harsh reality is that when long-distance gets hard, you’re faced with a choice. In such situations, the best way to deal with a long-distance relationship is to call it quits. Here are some instances where your relationship is beyond repair.

1. When you feel sad in the relationship

It is one thing to feel sad because you miss your boo, but you can at least do something about it. You can talk to them, see them on video calls, and meet up whenever possible. All these things help you feel better.

But if the prospect of meeting or talking to your partner doesn’t get you excited, if you see their calls and you don’t feel like picking up, or if your specific love language is not satisfied due to the distance, then that shows you are in an unhappy relationship, and it is better not to drag it on.

2. When you and your partner have different goals

One of the things that kills long-distance love is the difference in what you want out of it. Different people have different values and sometimes, love can’t overcome that. If you are expecting that you will be reunited after a few years of long-distance, but your partner has no fixed date of returning and doesn’t mind continuing indefinitely, then in such situations, it is best to end the relationship.

Related Reading: 17 Signs You Are In An Incompatible Relationship

3. When your partner stops investing in the relationship

The reason that an LDR is so difficult is that you miss your loved one a lot and sometimes, despite our best efforts of trying to be sane, uncertainties in a relationship creep in. And this can be dealt with by giving your partner lots of love, attention, and time. You need to put in the effort in the relationship to make your partner feel secure. That’s the best way to deal with long-distance relationship worries.

But if your partner cannot be bothered to put in this little bit of effort, then you really need to rethink this relationship.

Infographic on things that kill a long-distance relationship
Infographic on things that kill a long-distance relationship

4. When your partner is not the first person to get an update on your life

One major sign your long-distance relationship is in its last stages is that when you get good/bad news and you want to share it with someone, the first person who pops into your head is not your partner.

Our partners are like our best friends, they are the first person who we speak to about all that is happening in our life. If your partner has stopped being the first point of contact to share important updates, then it is a sign that your relationship is already over.

Key Pointers

  • According to a study conducted around 40% of long-distance relationships never make it to the end
  • Unplanned changes and indefinite waiting are things that kill a long-distance relationship
  • Letting insecurities and unresolved issues fester can overshadow your love for each other

It is never one thing that destroys an LDR, instead, it is a series of small acts. However, neglect, inconsideration, infidelity, and insecurities are some of the common problems that kill long-distance relationships. The good news is that these are things that can be sorted if caught and worked upon early on.

So now that you are aware of what kills long-distance relationships, here’s hoping this helps you save yours.


1.  How long can a long-distance relationship last without seeing each other?

An average long-distance relationship lasts about  14 months in which couples meet up about 1.5 times a month. However, it is entirely dependent on the couple. While some couples can stay for months without seeing each other, some need to meet their partner a lot more.

2.  Is it selfish to not want a long-distance relationship?

It is not selfish at all. A long-distance relationship is not everyone’s cup of tea as it can have a lot of complications like insecurities, an unfulfillment of love languages, and unresolved issues that can make the relationship stressful.

If you are a person who has trust issues and tends to get insecure, then an LDR is not meant for you. You will spend the entire duration of the relationship being suspicious, which can cause your partner to resent you in the long run.

3. Does love fade away in a long-distance relationship?

Romantic love only lasts for about a year, post that companionship comes into the picture. For a long-distance relationship, the romance lasts a bit longer as compared to other relationships. Distance makes the heart grow fonder and the novelty of the dynamic remains longer since the couples are not able to see each other very often.

However, if a person doesn’t give their LDR enough time and attention, then the relationship suffers immensely and might not last long at all. It all depends on how much effort one is willing to invest in it.

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