Reasons why long-distance relationships fail – and how to get them working

Long-distance relationships aren’t by nature doomed to fail.

But they can make things harder, especially if there isn’t an end date to the new set-up and if you have a love language that focuses on physically being together.

There are common pitfalls in long-distances relationships – some of which are avoidable if you go in with your eyes wide.

Holly Roberts, a relationship counsellor for charity Relate, tells Metro.co.uk this relationship dynamic can be tricky.

‘The distance may make it harder to create and maintain an emotional connection,’ she says.

‘For many people a physical connection helps to form bonds and a sense of intimacy.

‘Without that it may be hard to keep the spark alive. This doesn’t mean it’s not possible, but will need a bit more work to make sure that warmth remains.’

These are some of the main things to look out for when questioning a long-distance relationship.

Poor communication

Holly says: ‘The most common reason for it not working is likely to be bad communication.

‘This can affect any relationship, but when you aren’t able to see each other in person frequently then you need to rely on good communication.

‘Even if you do communicate a lot via message or emails, it needs to be quality communication to keep a relationship going.

‘Chatting to each other on the phone can help keep more of a real connection going, whereas constant texts might feel a bit impersonal.’

Not making time for each other

Failing to make time for each other can contribute to LDRs failing.

Holly says: ‘If you only get to see each other at weekends, and have lots of friends to see too, it can be a tricky to find time to find space to fit your partner in and do everything else you can’t do during the week.

‘You may find you’re making sacrifices you don’t want to make.’

Financial struggles

‘Finances are also affected in long distance relationships,’ she adds.

‘The petrol, train or even plane fare costs can mount up when your partner lives a long way from you.

‘Sometimes it’s not financially viable to keep the relationship going if you want to see each other a lot.’

Things aren’t progressing

If you can’t see a way for the relationship to progress, that’s a problem.

Holly says: ‘The relationship isn’t going anywhere. If you aren’t able to see each other much or the physical distance is felt emotionally too, then you may struggle to see how the relationship is going to progress.

‘The long distance between people can contribute to difficulties in reaching certain couple milestones, like moving in together.

‘If you can’t see this happening then it may be hard to see a future together.’

Personality types

Some people are going to be less naturally suited to long-distance relationships than others.

‘Your personality traits are more likely to make a difference,’ says Holly. ‘If you feel anxious or jealous in relationships then a long distance one probably isn’t for you.

‘But if you enjoy lots of space and time to yourself, but also want company from time to time then it will work better.

‘If you are both great communicators and have a solid sense of self-worth then you’re more likely to be able to manage a long distance relationship.’

It actually doesn’t make a huge difference if you’ve been together for a longer period of time, as personality will have a bigger influence than a historical bond.

Holly continues: ‘If you’ve been together for 10 years and your relationship is a bit shaky then it would struggle a little more than one that is 6 months old but really tight.

‘Having said that, some long-term relationships might benefit from a big change and doing things differently.’

How can you help make long-distance work?

Bridging the physical distance is vital to making things work.

Holly says: ‘People in long distance relationships will need to be really hot on their communication skills.

‘When you don’t see that smile first thing in the morning or the reassuring hug when you need it, feeling confident that you are loved can be tough.

‘Regular reassurance and lots of communication may be necessary to let your partner know you’re holding them in mind and you’re there in spirit even if you’re not there in person.’

Within that communication, you should be talking about your shared goals as a couple and where you want the relationship to progress.

Provided you’re on the same page, it can help you feel united.

‘Regular check-ins will ensure the couple keeps heading in the same direction.

‘Setting key milestones will also help manage those sad feelings of missing the other person and gives you something to look forward to,’ Holly adds.

It’s also a good time to get creative with how you talk, perhaps introducing things like writing letters to each other.

She continues: ‘Sharing your innermost thoughts and wonderings is also a great way to connect, tell your partner things you wouldn’t tell anyone else.

‘They will feel privileged to hear this and know they are special because you’ve shared such deep and important things.’

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