A long-distance relationship is, without a doubt, one of the toughest relationship situations you can be in. It’s rewarding, romantic, and full of goal setting and anticipation, but it’s also incredibly confusing, tough to navigate, and more often than not, it ends prematurely.
The most difficult thing about a long-distance relationship is dealing with the physical separation and the waiting to see each other. Time and space seem to be completely against you, and you never really know whether the whole thing is worth it.
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What makes a long-distance relationship so special?
When you are in a long-distance relationship, you feel like you are going through something so tough that your friends – whose boyfriends are near them – simply can’t understand it. You know that it takes huge amounts of love, patience, and compromise to maintain the connection when you are physically apart.
Then, every time you do see each other, it’s like a million fireworks! It might be a little awkward at first, but nothing compares to the feeling when you see the one you love after a long period apart. It’s just so incredibly romantic.
When you spend the majority of your relationship apart, you’ve got to make the most of the time together. You plan every single moment, you research the best places to go, and you catch up not only physically, but emotionally. You just won’t stop chatting!
It’s an incredible feeling, and you know you’ve got something special. The effort you put in to maintain the relationship only amplifies that rewarding feeling when you are finally together.
Why are long-distance relationships so tough?
The downside to it all is that no matter how much you love each other, the relationship can still end up feeling like a burden. While all your friends are happily coupled with their significant others, seeing each other every day and making the most of their relationships, you feel like you are stuck when apart.
You have to strike the right balance between enjoying your life, hanging out with friends, chasing your dreams, and ensuring you are still communicating with your partner enough.
Texting, Skype, and exchanging pictures may feel like all you do, all day long. When you go out and don’t get to talk to him in the evening, you end up feeling incredibly guilty.
When he’s out with his friends and you don’t hear from him for hours, you feel anxious and jealous. The whole thing takes its toll on you. No matter how much you trust each other, jealousy is bound to show its ugly face.
And unfortunately, you are bound to have really ugly fights because you can’t hold each other and reassure each other. Virtual communication is just not enough when you feel the distance really strongly.
How do you know it’s working?
One of the issues with long-distance relationships is that you and your partner may feel differently about your situation, and, because of the distance, you may not notice the signs that something is wrong.
However, some long-distance relationships simply work, and it’s often because of the types of personalities the partners have.
So, how do you know your relationship is working? Here are a few signs that should reassure you that you’ve got nothing to worry about:
- The idea of being in a long-distance relationship isn’t so scary for the two of you. You feel grateful to have met each other and your love is more important than the distance. You tell each other that often and you remind yourselves why you are together and why the future looks bright.
- You are on the same page about what you need in the relationship and how you should nurture the spark. You are honest and open about it.
- You tell each other everything. You are fully aware that keeping secrets will ruin the relationship.
- You are not perfect – and that’s okay. You tell each other when you have doubts about the relationship or when you’ve made a mistake. You support each other to be better.
- You are friends, not just lovers. You spend a lot of time simply getting to know each other, listening to each other, and being each other’s biggest fan. It’s all about love, adoration, and support.
How do you know something’s wrong?
Some people are simply not made for a long-distance relationship, and they know that trying to maintain one will be incredibly hard and won’t last particularly long. But how do you know when to take a break or end a long-distance relationship? Read on…
He’s cheating on you
It’s hard to tell if your boyfriend is cheating on you when you don’t see him often. However, your intuition is probably right – something is wrong, and you know it. He has less and less time for you and he doesn’t seem upset at all when you don’t text or speak for a few days in a row.
It’s almost as if he isn’t that invested in the relationship anymore. If he’s got his eyes on someone close by or has already cheated on you, he might be planning his exit strategy. The last thing he needs is to spend more time talking to you – which will only make him feel guilty.
What should you do? You need to confront him about it and remain calm. You don’t own him, and he could have cheated on you even if you lived in the same town. That’s just the sad reality.
You feel emotionally overwhelmed…
…all the time. And you don’t know how to make that feeling go away. It started off fine and all romantic and you believed you could tackle anything together. But those feelings have passed, and now all you feel is confusion, anxiety, and loneliness.
You are surrounded by happy couples, and you desperately want to be one of them, but it doesn’t feel the same way. When you are together, you try to be happy and present, but all you do is end up dreading your last together.
This isn’t a happy and sustainable way to live, and perhaps it’s a sign that you need to take a break from the relationship, as painful as it will be.
You fight all the time
A long-distance relationship can be emotionally and psychologically draining. It’s unlike anything else you’ve ever had to deal with. You do your best to keep the communication and the connection, but it’s just not quite working out.
Recently, you’ve got the feeling that you are fighting all the time and making up takes ages. Sometimes it feels like it’s easier to have a fight than to deal with what’s actually going on – the relationship is over and someone just needs to acknowledge it.
Admitting that it’s over is really hard, especially after spending months or years working to maintain it all. Not only that, but the money and energy spent to meet up are considerable. It makes you feel like admitting defeat if you just break up without ending up in the same location.
There’s someone else
You love your long-distance boyfriend, but there’s someone else in your circle that you are starting to feel attracted to. He’s got one huge benefit over your boyfriend – he’s nearby.
You are starting to think about him more and more and want to see him often. He knows you have a boyfriend, but because you are always flying solo, he doesn’t seem to take your “taken” status seriously.
You are a step away from cheating on your boyfriend and you kind of want to. Sometimes, the loneliness of long-distance dating will take its toll on you, and you might just want to have some fun. It’s better to be honest with your boyfriend about it – and also honest with yourself.
A long-distance relationship can only ever work if both partners are 110% committed to each other, nothing less.
Sex is too important to give up
A long-distance relationship means no sex for long periods of time. Not just that, but no cuddling, kissing, or holding hands. It can be really tough, but particularly tough for people who have physical touch as their love language.
This isn’t about your boyfriend (or you) being a sex maniac, but it’s about how necessary physical connection is for feeling loved. Some people just can’t bear being apart from each other and hate every minute of it.
Some long-distance couples are aware that the lack of sex will take a real toll on the relationship, so they agree to an open relationship instead, making sure that they are still getting their needs met, despite the separation.
Is that the healthiest idea possible? Not for everyone, but every couple is different. If the lack of sex is too much to bear, then it’s probably time to end your long-distance relationship.
Your communication is dead
The beginning of any relationship is the so-called honeymoon period. It’s when you feel butterflies, want to talk to them all the time and tell them everything. But, after a while, just like with any relationship, communication changes and you might find that you don’t talk about anything interesting anymore.
Not only that, but you are busier and busier with your work and other obligations and the relationship just isn’t a priority anymore. Any relationship will suffer from this – especially long-distance ones – and it may be a change that you just won’t recover from.
You have no plans for the future
A long-distance relationship can be a lot of fun for a while, but you have to have a plan for the future. You can’t maintain this for long without being on the same page about what is next.
Coming up with a plan you both agree on and are both excited about can be tough. And sometimes, as soon as you start that conversation, you realize one or more of the following:
- You have no clue how to make it work
- You don’t want to compromise and give up on your life to move in closer to him
- He doesn’t want to move to be closer to you
- The relationship isn’t actually strong enough to make the next step
One of the tricky parts of a long-distance relationship is the fact that it can make everything serious really quickly. And it has to if you are to plan for a future together.
While your friends might be happily dating, or casually playing the field, you are making big life decisions, like where to live, what to do for a living, or moving in with the man you love, without any guarantee that it will actually work out.
Having no solid plan is usually a sign that you should take a break or end a long-distance relationship. Perhaps the break will prove to you both how much you love each other and that nothing else is bigger than that.
Or, it will make you realize that you’ve had enough of trying to make it work and you’d rather find someone else – someone who lives close by. It’s okay if that happens, that’s just the nature of life and love.
When a long-distance relationship is about to end, you will feel incredibly sad. But, you might also feel relieved. That’s a sure-fire sign that it is ultimately the right thing to do. You can’t drag the relationship to a future that just doesn’t exist.
The best thing you can do for each other is to learn from the experience and split up amicably, allowing each other to find happiness with someone who lives close by.