What challenges but also benefits do long distance relationships bring and how can you have a happy long distance relationship?
Statistically, one in eight of us lives in a long distance relationship today. The reasons for this are very different, perhaps because the couples met on vacation or via the Internet, or because one of the partners is moving to another city or country (for a certain period of time) for job-related reasons. Long distance relationships are therefore often conducted not only between two cities in the same country, but also across national borders and continents.
Statistically, every eighth relationship today is a long distance relationship.
We seem to be much more willing to move for the job these days, even if the partner can’t move with us. While couples in long distance city relationships can often still talk about a weekend relationship, which is then not much different from the relationship of other couples who do not live together, being together regularly over longer distances is often more difficult. This brings with it advantages and disadvantages, which we would like to highlight here.
If a relationship crosses national borders or even continents, then there is often also the component of the time difference. This also means that communication has to be planned even better when it comes to video calls, for example.
Duration and design of long distance relationships
The more foreseeable the period of the long distance relationship, e.g. for a posting abroad as part of a job, the easier it is to manage/carry the period of the long distance relationship. On average, a long distance relationship lasts 2 years, followed by either moving in together or separating. But there are also couples who live in a long distance relationship for years and for whom it has become the norm.
How a long distance relationship is experienced and lived is therefore very individual. For example, some couples simply spend a few weeks together at a time and then are separated again for a few weeks, while others make a point of seeing each other at least every (second) weekend.
However, even when couples move in together after a period of long distance relationships, this does not simultaneously mean an increase in happiness and satisfaction in the relationship. Some couples may then also have to admit to themselves that life in a long distance relationship, although not easy, worked better than the everyday relationship in a shared apartment.
Therefore, the step of moving in together should also be planned consciously and the couple should take time for the transition and be in good contact about emerging challenges, maybe even get support from a couple’s counselor.
Especially in times of Covid-19, one or the other long distance relationship across national borders and continents is probably particularly challenged, because in addition to the normal challenges of long distance relationships, there is an increased level of uncertainty as to when the next reunion will even be possible again due to travel bans and entry regulations.
Is there more cheating in long distance relationships?
One might think that this is the case. However, it tends to be the other way around, couples in long distance relationships are often more faithful to each other. And there are also couples who, precisely because of the distance, live an open relationship during the time when they cannot see each other.
However, all these are arrangements that each couple makes and agrees for themselves. No matter what the agreement is, however, both should then adhere to it. Because especially in long distance relationships, trust and honesty are main pillars of the relationship.
What role do longing and jealousy play?
Longing is probably one of the main motivators in a long distance relationship. If the longing is no longer there, a closer look should be taken at the relationship as such. Often, of course, it is difficult to establish the closeness and a sense of belonging at a distance, and if this is not successful, the relationship and thus the desire can slip away.
Women seem to be able to cope better with distance and still establish emotional closeness to their partner than men (30% of women are open to a long distance relationship, only 12% of men). These often need more than conversations for more emotional closeness.
In a long distance relationship, the issue of jealousy often arises. Partners in long distance relationships not only have the challenge of not being able to fall asleep and wake up with each other, but also have to cope with the fact that the other person will meet many people whom the other person, in case of doubt, will never get to know, that they are and will remain separate circles of friends, and that new friends will join them. If one of the partners is particularly jealous, you should work together to establish more trust in the relationship, because in the long run, too much jealousy can put a very negative strain on the relationship.
Sometimes self-protection is also a good option, when you yourself realize that jealousy is so strong that it degenerates into control.
Sometimes self-protection is also a good option, when you yourself realize that jealousy is so strong that it degenerates into control. Then you can agree not to be friends on Facebook, for example, so you don’t have to worry unnecessarily about new friends joining or comments. Or you can deactivate the function on WhatsApp that a message has been read and when the other person was last online. This often already brings more peace of mind, of course, only if the jealousy is really unfounded.
Advantages and disadvantages of a long distance relationship
Not having a daily life together can have advantages as well as disadvantages. On the one hand, a common everyday life is of course a very unifying element. On the other hand, quarrels often arise in everyday life over trivial matters, which are thus eliminated in a long distance relationship.
Another advantage can be that the partner is not always exposed to his or her own whims. You have more time for yourself, you can withdraw when you just need time for yourself and you can also plan the time for yourself with hobbies and friends without torpedoing the plans of the other person with it.
In addition, the physical separation means that joint discussions take on an important role. Especially in the initial infatuation phase, you therefore certainly spend more time at a distance having intense conversations than rolling around in bed with rose-colored glasses. Through this, you get to know each other very intensively and well, especially when you have just met.
Sometimes, however, this can also lead to you coming down to earth more quickly and realizing that the fit with your partner is not as great as you initially thought. Which might have taken a little longer if the getting-to-know-you phase hadn’t been determined by a great distance and more time had been spent exchanging bodily fluids.
Another challenge can be that whenever you see each other again and can finally embrace each other, a kind of estrangement has taken place that, despite great anticipation, first needs to be bridged. Sometimes it is quick to readjust to the partner, sometimes it may take a couple of hours or longer. This phenomenon can occur especially when a lot of time passes between reunions, because then you have to adjust to each other again, at least physically.
6 tips for a successful long distance relationship:
1. Reliable planning
Especially over a longer distance, couples should plan well ahead and be able to rely on each other in this planning. Even if planning ahead is exhausting for one or the other of you, if life has been more spontaneous so far, this reliable joint planning of when and where you will meet again is important and leads to a stronger sense of connection and promotes trust in each other.
2. Joint plans for the future
If you live so far apart that it is theoretically possible to see each other every weekend, there should be clear and honest agreements between you regarding weekend planning. If one person wants to plan a weekend with friends, this should be discussed openly and should not lead to resentment on the part of the other person.
Even more important, however, are joint long-term plans: when and where you would like to move in together, how you envision your future in general, where you would like to grow old, what the dog you will get will look like, choosing the name of your child, and so on. These plans do not all have to be implemented, but it connects to have common plans. However, actions count more than words, so if tangible joint plans are repeatedly postponed, this can also lead to a crack in the relationship. So imagination and implementation in common life should be balanced.
3. Create rituals together
Create rituals together. Starting, for example, with a “good morning text message” to “watching a movie together” on the weekend. Every relationship needs rituals and especially in long-distance relationships they are important and bonding.
4. Communication, trust and honesty
Who doesn’t know that, no one likes to have difficult conversations, long-distance relationship or not. The particular challenge of a long distance relationship, however, is that after difficult conversations we cannot simply take the other person in our arms and thus express our closeness once again on a physical level.
That’s why it’s so important, especially if the conversation is difficult or sad, not to end the conversation until both have reconnected and are “fine” with each other, or at least both are clear about the way forward. This doesn’t mean that everything is always settled at the end of such a conversation, but there should be a sense of “I’m ok, you’re ok” floating in the virtual space.
There are few things worse than spending the whole day thinking about the other person because you have the feeling that something has not been said, is being concealed or has not been communicated sufficiently. That’s why it’s important, especially at a distance, to always be able to address this feeling and to be able to talk openly and honestly about everything..
5. Also learn to enjoy being alone
Enjoy the time you have alone. One man’s pleasure is another man’s suffering. Time for themselves is probably what many couples who live together (perhaps even with children) wish for. While couples in long distance relationships probably want more time with their loved one. Nevertheless, it is important not to be determined by the longing for a partner, but to have fun in one’s own life and to do the things that bring joy and make life beautiful. Because this also leads to an overall increase in satisfaction and strengthens your own immune system.
6. Create closeness at a distance
Last but not least, how can you create closeness at a distance? We’re probably in a pretty noble position these days as far as that’s concerned. Never before has it been so easy to be in contact with the other person. Via cell phone, computer, SMS, messenger, video telephony, etc.. We should use all these possibilities to create and maintain a feeling of closeness even at a distance.
Share your daily life with each other by sending a photo every now and then of what you are doing or where you are. Talk to each other regularly, not just via voicemail, and share your joys and sorrows with each other.
And yes, solo sex in front of the computer screen is not ideal and of course does not replace the closeness you would otherwise have. But honestly, it’s better than nothing, so at least you don’t forget what your partner looks like and it can be quite hot.