For most of you, this article won’t be pleasant to read. I decided to write it because I’ve been there – on the edge of a break-up while living 2400 miles apart and being convinced our relationship was going nowhere. It felt horrible. I know what lead our relationship to that stage. But now, looking back, I think breaking it off would have been the biggest mistake I could have possibly made.
What I want is to open your eyes to the harsh reality of the situation. For those who are blindly thinking that your long distance relationship is guaranteed to be happy and rewarding just because you are “trying to do your best to talk as much as possible” … it won’t.
I feel blessed because I have the most amazing man on this earth, but back then (one year into our LDR) we went through a crisis and had to re-evaluate our choices while under rough conditions. And doing all of that over long distance… sucks.
Why don’t these relationships work out sometimes?
1. The connection fades away with time. Sex, cuddling, and kissing (any form of physical connection) helps you to feel satisfied in any relationship. Is there a better feeling than a long, wet kiss after work? Or pillow talk while you cuddle just before you go to sleep? Not to mention sex whenever you like. 🙂
LDR lacks all of that. It forms a void in both of you, which sometimes, to be very honest, can’t be filled up with any amount of communication.
The only way to compensate is to meet as often as possible and basically have sex all that time you are together (I’m serious). I know everyone’s financial capabilities are different but during our time, we realized that six weeks was the maximum amount of time we could survive without having to close ourselves in a hotel room for 2 days somewhere in South East Asia.
2. It costs too much — depending on how far apart you and your pumpkin live, it can get very challenging to meet up. It will get too complicated or difficult to afford those flight tickets. Imagine: You are used to going for a nice holiday once, maybe twice a year. Now think of having to save up for at least six yearly holiday packages!
Even if you plan your finances and share the cost of plane tickets, after a while, it feels like your wallet can’t keep up to that pace. On top of that you feel like you have to, or you will go mad! Not to mention that any kind of secondary financial investments you might have been thinking of will take the back seat during your LDR stage.
3. When it comes to communication while being apart, things tend to go wrong when it comes to the attention we give and receive. If you are a socially active person, you might not dedicate enough time to your LDR. Add your career, time difference, daily activities on top of it all, and try to picture how tough it can get to keep a healthy communication pattern.
If one of the partners has more free time and their sweetheart’s call is the highlight of their day, while another lives in a busy metropolis and hardly gets any free time, it might start hurting one of you in the long run.
My honest advice: do not get there.
Have a look at this article on how to set up the rules and make both of your lives (together and apart) easier. Awareness of your partner’s expectations and some compromise are the main ingredients needed for both of you to remain as happy as possible.
4. However, don’t think that 24/7 communication is going to be a fail-safe solution. You are making a huge mistake if your LDR takes ALL of your free time.
I have a couple of friends in LDRs who FaceTime all … the … time – while they are out with friends, clubbing, drinking a mojito in a bar, shopping, doing laundry, they even sleep while on a call. Let me tell you, it will burn you out! One day, you will feel like someone switched off all your feelings. You will have nothing to say. Both of you will feel empty, tired, and probably horny.
It’s all balance, balance, balance! Always remember: there is a life outside your room (and phone). You have real family and friends, and if you become distant from them, it won’t benefit you in any way. The earlier you understand that you need to spend time with yourself and those around you, the more successful your relationship will be.
Have a look on how to start focusing on the benefits of LDR here.
5. There is a chance your partner will change. You won’t even see it coming.
Change is a natural and expected process. Both of you meet different people and go to different places. Your environments make you grow in different directions. If you are in an “In Real Life” relationship, you can grow and change together because of the habits you mutually form while living as a couple. When in a LDR, there is a chance you will meet your sweetheart after 6 months and be asking yourself “where is the person I fell in love with?” I can’t really offer a solution here, but a plan on closing the distance is the only way to protect yourselves from growing apart.
6. And, the biggest danger or all — LDR will bring a lot of uncertainty and self-doubt.
There will be A LOT of insecurity, paranoia and jealousy (the last one being the biggest problem). You can read my article on how to cope with jealousy here.
Every LDR is different. If you have been in an IRL relationship before, and one of you has to move for a certain period of time because of work assignment or studies, I believe that this scenario has the biggest chance to have a happy ending. If you have never lived together in the same place, but have visited each other and know each other’s environment quite well (friends, family, social activities etc.), it’s also quite promising.
Having said that, imagine that your sweetheart has to move away for an amazing job opportunity to another continent… with no end-date for the contract. Or, the most risky one, you’ve met each other recently and decided to try and work things out via distance, even though you don’t know each other at all.
I have been on both sides. Initially, I was living in India (we used to live there together before, so he was totally aware of my environment). He moved to China, where I’ve never been before. New colleagues, experiences, environment, and culture resulted in my partner happily soaking in everything that came his way. It didn’t mean he was doing something to damage our relationship or me. I was just going mad because of jealousy and agitation. I could not clearly imagine the simple things about his life. I wanted to know where he got his coffee in the morning, his favorite bar, his friends, where does he buy his groceries…
He never gave me reasons to be jealous and always let me know what he was up to without me even having to ask. With all that, I still felt jealous about his colleagues, clients … even about the fact that all his male friends spent more time with him than I did! I was jealous of everything, and it drove me to frustration. When I look back, I think I was just desperately wanting to be a part of whatever he was doing…
Six months down the line, his company re-located him to Turkey. It felt like a whole new game for me. It was still a long distance relationship with a time difference and huge distance between us, but I felt relieved and comfortable just because I personally knew everyone around him, met his family, stayed in his house etc. It felt much more comforting because the gap between us felt like much less.
So, if one of you has to move to a new place (or both of you haven’t visited each other’s place), visit each other as soon as you can afford it- believe me, it will save a lot of energy for both of you and will help to concentrate on the positive side and even build the connection: you can discover your favorite spots together and go there or talk about them when you miss each other, you have more subjects to talk about when you discuss something related to where both of you are based at, and, most importantly, you understand each other better.
Long distance relationships are one of the hardest experiences you might choose to go through. It can get very hard, time consuming, and, at times, discouraging – everything what a happy relationship shouldn’t be. But in the end, it will help you to build a solid foundation as a couple.
My main advice for anyone who is in a LDR: plan on closing the distance. If you decided to stay miles apart, I assume that you are sacrificing so much because you are sure about your willingness to be together. Think of a timeframe you can be apart (which shouldn’t be more than a year, to keep it healthy). Plan what has to be done to make the move as smooth as possible and start spending your time in preparing for it.
Because LDRs do work, but not for long periods of time.