Going long distance can present a couple with more emotional trials and obstacles than your average relationship, and it can take a truly solid relationship to survive. Studies have found that most relationships fail after just over 4.5 months. Forty percent will end in a breakup, with 70 percent of all long-distance relationships breaking down because of unplanned changes.
If you’re thinking about embarking on a long-distance relationship, or are currently in one, here are five signs that could mean you’re not ready to go long distance, or that your current long-distance relationship may not be working.
- There’s a Lack of Trust
Trust is key to any healthy, successful relationship, but it is absolutely essential to the long-term survival of a long-distance relationship. Since you’ll spend more time living separate lives, you may find yourself wondering if your partner is remaining loyal. If you do feel suspicious of your partner, that could be a red flag to the state of your relationship.
Studies have found that couples who trust each other are more likely to be in a successful long-term relationship. So while it may be easier to trust your partner when you’re living physically close together, you should still give your partner the same level of trust in a long-distance relationship.
If you’re having doubts or trust issues, it’s important to understand why you’re feeling this way. Talk it out with your partner, listen to what they have to say about your doubts so you can come up with ways to soothe or banish your distrust together.
- You’re Not Being Honest With Each Other or Yourself
Honesty is essential to the health and success of a long-distance relationship. Being able to tell your partner about your feelings of frustration, loneliness, disappointment, or sadness over any missed calls is crucial to maintaining a sense of intimacy between you and your partner.
If you’re not being honest about your feelings or are letting your emotions build up, you may let it all out in a destructive explosion, or take it out on your partner during your next Skype session, neither of which is productive, helpful, or constructive to your relationship.
So, it’s essential to be honest with yourself about your feelings on how your relationship is progressing. If something is bothering you, make sure you discuss it together as quickly as possible before these feelings have a chance to pile up and fester.
- You Haven’t Made Plans For the Future
Before taking your relationship long distance, you need to come up with a long-term and a short-term plan for the future of your relationship. How often will you visit? How often will you have a Skype chat? Who will visit whom? When will you move back together permanently?
Every long-distance relationship needs an end goal, whether it is marriage or something else that will bring an end to the long distance. Having these plans in place will keep your relationship moving forward and make sure that you’re making each other a priority despite living virtually separate lives.
If you or your partner can’t or won’t deal with the future or can’t decide on an ultimate goal, that can have significant negative implications to the long-term success of your relationship. If you can’t have a serious communication about your relationship now, how will you do it when you’re apart?
- You Want Perfection
No relationship is perfect, and no one is perfect either. When you’re embarking on a long-distance relationship, there are plenty more opportunities for you, your partner, and your relationship to be imperfect. So it’s normal to feel moments of frustration, confusion, and even disappointment during a long-distance relationship.
You may also expect your visits will be perfect reunions, filled with romantic dates where all your lingering relationship problems magically vanish the minute you see each other. But that’s not realistic.
Some trips will be wonderful visits filled with amazing memories, carefree dates, and laughter, but there will also be trips that are full of arguments and dealing with various relationship problems that you may not have been able to resolve over the phone or Skype. And that’s okay.
If you’re expecting every moment in your long-distance relationship to be perfect, you risk sweeping problems under the rug, which will ultimately cause your relationship to break down.
- You’re Not Willing to Put In the Work
Every successful relationship requires a couple to make an effort to fulfill their partner’s needs, but it’s so easy to forget that and become careless when the relationship goes long distance. There will be an adjustment period at the beginning of a long-distance relationship where you and your partner start to figure out how to bond through technology, and how to maintain intimacy while being physically apart.
So if you’re not willing to put in the extra work and the time to maintain your relationship, you’re at risk of unwittingly neglecting your partner. Just because you don’t see them every day doesn’t mean you can pay attention to them only when it suits your schedule, and vice versa.
Make the time every day to make each other feel needed, wanted, and special even without seeing each other. Remember that what you need to do to make a normal relationship succeed, you’ll need to put extra effort into doing in a long-distance relationship.
Tips to Improve Your Long-Term Relationship
If you find yourself identifying with any of the signs outlined above, don’t panic. There are a few things you can start doing to strengthen your long-distance relationship and hopefully steer it back onto the right track.
Sit down together and lay out your needs early in the long-distance relationship so you can work towards meeting them for each other. Don’t forget to give feedback about how well your needs are being met and which are still unfulfilled, so you are both on the same emotional page
Remind yourselves to look at the bright side of things. When your long-distance relationship hits a rough patch, just tell yourself that if you pull through, you will come out stronger on the other side. But if you can’t find a bright side, you may need to take a step back and re-evaluate your relationship and figure out why you’re in this long-distance relationship in the first place.
Check Your Expectations
Most disappointments and frustrations are rooted in having unmet expectations. Since you can’t control your partner, it’s best to protect yourself by taking a look at your expectations to make sure they’re reasonable. If you’re expecting a “goodnight” phone call every night despite the time difference, for example, you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.
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