9 Reasons Why Long-distance Relationships Don’t Work

Last updated on November 4th, 2023 at 03:21 pm

There are many reasons why long-distance relationships don’t work. While they might work for some partners, they can be challenging for many.

It is a more difficult situation for partners who have been together prior to the separation than partners who have not had physical togetherness.

As one who experienced LDR, I have a lot to say about the situation which is not a making of any of the parties. My experience was daunting enough that I wanted to quit, but commitment from both ends made the difference.

Just like deciding to take a break in a relationship, long-distance relationships can make partners conjure different negative feelings to fill up the void left by the absence of their partners.

In this blog post, we will explore the reasons why long-distance relationships don’t work, the potential problems that can arise, and possible remedial actions to take.

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Table of Contents

An Overview of Long-distance Relationships and Why it has Become Common in Recent Times

Video Credit: Ivan Samkov

A long-distance relationship (LDR) is a romantic relationship between two people who are separated by a significant distance and are unable to see each other on a regular basis.

This geographic separation can be due to a variety of reasons such as work, education, military service, or family obligations.

LDRs have become more common in recent years due to several factors such as advances in communication technology, increased opportunities for travel, and the ability to maintain relationships online.

With the rise of social media, texting, video chat, and other communication platforms, couples can stay connected even when they are apart.

This has also made it easier for people to meet and connect with partners from different parts of the world.

Also Read: 8 Irresistible Qualities Women Find Most Attractive In Men

In addition, more people are pursuing careers that require them to move frequently or travel for extended periods of time.

This has made it more difficult for couples to maintain a traditional relationship and has led to an increase in the number of people engaging in LDRs.

Despite the challenges of maintaining a long-distance relationship, many couples feel that it is worth the effort to stay connected with their partner and are able to maintain a strong and healthy relationship despite the distance.

Reason for the Perception that LDRs don’t Work

It is commonly perceived that long-distance relationships (LDRs) are difficult and often fail due to the physical distance between partners.

The lack of regular physical contact, frequent communication, and shared experiences can make it challenging for couples to maintain emotional and romantic connections.

Additionally, the added stress of managing conflicting schedules, time zone differences, and financial constraints can further strain LDRs.

As a result, many people believe that LDRs require an immense amount of effort and commitment to succeed.

Related: Why You Are Being Exploited in A Romantic Relationship

9 Reasons Why Long-Distance Relationships Don’t Work

A happy man in a long-distance relationship speaking with partner

1. Lack of Physical Connection

One of the biggest challenges of long-distance relationships is the lack of physical connection.

Physical touch is an essential aspect of any romantic relationship, and when it is missing, the emotional connection can weaken.

Related: When To Move on After Your Partner Cheats on You

A lack of physical connection can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can eventually take a toll on the relationship.

In addition, the absence of face-to-face interactions and shared experiences can make it challenging for couples to maintain a strong emotional bond.

Communication can be more difficult, misunderstandings can arise, and trust can be tested when one partner is far away.

2. A bleak, Uncertain Future can Make a Long-distance Relationship Fail

Uncertainty about the future, such as not knowing when or if you’ll be able to live in the same city or have a stable relationship, is another reason why long-distance relationships don’t work.

If the partners are married, it would be easier, but for partners who are just dating, the uncertainty would be a daunting one and will be a major breaking point for the relationship.

Also, if a partner is putting up a carefree attitude towards the relationship, it could send uncomfortable signals to the other party who is cut off by distance to know if they have a future together.

When there is no seriousness, which LDRs can bring about, it could lead to distrust and of course, looking for a replacement.

Recommended: Why You Should Trust Your Instincts In Relationships

3. Communication Problems

Communication is crucial in any relationship, but it is even more critical in an LDR.

When partners are miles apart, it’s easy for miscommunication to occur, which can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts.

Furthermore, it can be challenging to maintain a deep emotional connection with someone through only virtual communication.

And as a result, communication plays a significant role in keeping the relationship strong.

When communication problems arise, they can quickly lead to the breakdown of an LDR.

Here are some ways in which communication problems make long-distance relationships fail:

  • Lack of Regular Communication: One of the most significant problems in LDRs is a lack of regular communication. Partners in an LDR may have different schedules, time zones, and work obligations, making it challenging to find time to talk. However, when partners fail to communicate regularly, it can lead to feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and disconnection. Over time, the lack of communication can cause the partners to grow apart and lose interest in each other.
  • Misunderstandings and Miscommunications: Another common problem in LDRs is misunderstandings and miscommunications. When partners cannot read each other’s body language or tone of voice, it becomes easier to misinterpret each other’s words. Additionally, technology can cause problems, such as dropped calls, poor reception, or messages being misinterpreted. Misunderstandings and miscommunications can lead to arguments, hurt feelings, and resentment, causing the relationship to break down.
  • Different Communication Styles: Partners in an LDR may have different communication styles, which can cause problems in the relationship. One partner may prefer phone calls, while the other may prefer video chats or text messages. When partners cannot agree on the best way to communicate, it can lead to frustration and resentment. Additionally, partners may have different levels of comfort with vulnerability, which can cause one partner to feel shut out and the other to feel overwhelmed.

Related: Tips To Build Emotional Intimacy In Your Relationship

  • Lack of Emotional Connection: When communication problems persist in an LDR, it can lead to a lack of emotional connection between partners. Without regular communication and emotional support, partners can feel isolated and disconnected. As a result, they may turn to other sources of emotional connection, such as friends, family, or even new romantic partners. This can lead to infidelity and the breakdown of the relationship.
  • Inability to Resolve Conflicts: Finally, communication problems can lead to an inability to resolve conflicts. In any relationship, conflicts are inevitable. However, in an LDR, conflicts can be more challenging to resolve because partners cannot be physically present to talk things out. When partners cannot resolve conflicts effectively, it can lead to feelings of anger, resentment, and a lack of trust. Over time, these feelings can cause the relationship to break down.

4. How Trust Issues can be a Clog in the Wheel in Long-distance Relationships

A lady in a long-distance relationship speaking with partner on the phone

Trust is the foundation of any relationship, and it’s even more crucial in a long-distance relationship. It is one of the key reasons why long-distance relationships don’t work.

It can be challenging to trust your partner when you are not physically with them.

Even if both partners are loyal, jealousy and insecurity can still arise. It’s essential to build and maintain trust by being honest and transparent with your partner.

Here are how trust issues can be a problem in long-distance relationships:

  • Jealousy: Distance can breed feelings of jealousy, especially if one partner has a new group of friends or a job that they’re passionate about. When trust issues arise, these feelings can become even more intense.
  • Insecurity: Trust issues often arise from personal insecurities. In long-distance relationships, a person’s insecurities may be triggered by not being able to physically be with their partner, leading to them feeling as though their partner is hiding something from them.
  • Fear of Betrayal: Long distance relationships can be difficult to maintain since both partners are leading separate lives. This can lead to one partner feeling like they’re being taken for granted, causing them to develop a fear that their partner may betray their trust.
  • Lack of Intimacy: Trust issues can also cause partners to retreat from intimacy, feeling like their connection isn’t as strong as it should be. Intimacy is an essential part of any romantic relationship, and trust issues can cause it to decline significantly.

Also Read: How To Get Out Of The Friend Zone

5. How Different Time Zones Can Push Long-distance Relationships to the Brink

When partners are in different time zones, scheduling can become a nightmare.

Trying to find a time that works for both partners can be difficult, and missed calls and messages can become a regular occurrence.

This can create frustration and a sense of disconnection between the partners.

Here are how different time zones can potentially cause problems in a long-distance relationship:

  • Limited Communication: When you and your partner are in different time zones, it can be challenging to coordinate a time for regular communication. One person may have to stay up late or get up early to talk, which can eventually take a toll on their energy levels and mood.
  • Lack of Spontaneity: As you’re mindful of the time difference, you may not be able to plan spontaneous activities or surprise visits as easily. This can make the relationship feel more structured and less exciting.
  • Different Schedules: If you and your partner are in vastly different time zones, your work and sleep schedules may not align. This can make it challenging to maintain consistent communication, leading to feelings of disconnection and loneliness.
  • Misunderstandings: The time difference can also cause misunderstandings when messaging or calling each other. If one person is not aware of the other’s schedule or availability, they may feel ignored or neglected, leading to resentment and mistrust.

6. Difficulty in Building Intimacy can be a Reason for the Failure of Long-distance Relationships

One of the main challenges of a long-distance relationship is the lack of physical proximity and the consequent difficulty in building intimacy.

Physical intimacy, such as holding hands, hugging, and kissing, is a crucial part of building emotional intimacy.

Unlike in-person relationships, where physical touch, eye contact, and shared experiences play a significant role in building emotional and physical connections, long-distance relationships rely heavily on non-verbal communication and technology.

When building intimacy in a long-distance relationship, couples have to rely on virtual means, such as phone calls, video calls, texts, emails, and social media platforms.

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However, these methods can never replicate the same level of intimacy that physical touch and shared experiences provide.

Moreover, differences in time zones, work schedules, and other commitments can make it challenging for couples to find the time and energy to communicate regularly and meaningfully.

The lack of intimacy can lead to feelings of loneliness, dissatisfaction, and disconnect, which can cause a long-distance relationship to fail.

Moreover, when building intimacy is challenging, couples may begin to lose trust and confidence in the relationship, which can lead to emotional distance, conflicts, and ultimately, a breakup.

7. Lack of Shared Experiences

In a traditional relationship, couples can create shared experiences through various activities such as traveling, trying new restaurants, and attending events together.

However, in an LDR, it can be challenging to create shared experiences as partners are not physically together.

This can lead to a sense of disconnection and the feeling that both partners are leading separate lives.

Here is how a lack of shared experiences can cause a long-distance relationship not to work:

  • Lack of Emotional Connection: One of the main reasons why long-distance relationships fail is the lack of shared experiences. The absence of physical contact, shared experiences, and daily interactions can cause an emotional disconnection between two partners. As a result, they may not feel as connected as they once did, leading to a relationship collapse.
  • Difficulty in Maintaining Communication: When two people in a long-distance relationship are not sharing experiences, they may run out of things to talk about. This can lead to long periods of silence, and sometimes, the relationship can lose its spark. In addition, different time zones, busy schedules, and irregular communication patterns can make it difficult to maintain a healthy communication routine.
  • Feeling Alone and Isolated: When two people are in a long-distance relationship, they can feel lonely and isolated if they are not sharing experiences. It’s important to have shared experiences even if distanced to create a sense of belonging, emotional connection and inclusion.
  • Wandering Attention: When people are not sharing experiences in a long-distance relationship, the likelihood of wandering attention is high. When one partner feels isolated, they may seek solace and attention from third parties, and in some cases may lead to cheating or affairs leading to the downfall of the relationship.

8. How Financial Constraints Can Make a Long-distance Relationship Not Work

Long-distance relationships can be expensive. Frequent traveling, phone bills, and internet bills can all add up, which can create financial stress for both partners.

Financial constraints can lead to stress and tension in the relationship, which can eventually lead to a breakup.

Here are how financial constraints can cause a long-distance relationship to fail:

  • Inability to Meet Frequently: Financial constraints can make it challenging to meet one’s partner frequently. LDRs require more financial resources to bridge the distance gap than regular relationships. Travel, hotel, and other expenses can quickly pile up and add to the overall costs of maintaining a long-distance relationship. If one partner cannot afford to travel regularly, it can take a severe toll on the relationship.
  • Emotional Strain: Financial constraints can create emotional stress in a long-distance relationship. If one partner is bearing the majority of the burden of travel and communication expenses, they may feel resentful or stressed. This can lead to tension and arguments, eventually causing the relationship to deteriorate.

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  • Difficulty in Planning Joint Activities: Long-distance relationships are not just about keeping in touch through texts or calls but also about planning activities together. If financial constraints limit the options for shared activities, one partner may eventually lose interest in the relationship.
  • Different Aspirations and Goals: Financial constraints can also cause issues if one partner cannot afford to pursue their ambitions or goals while the other has ample resources to do so. This can create feelings of inadequacy and jealousy, making it difficult for the couple to maintain trust and mutual respect.
  • Lack of Support: Financial constraints can make it challenging for couples to support each other’s individual needs. If one partner is struggling financially, they may be unable to offer the emotional and financial support that their partner requires.

9. How Loneliness and Isolation Can Make a Long-distance Relationship, not Work

Being in a long-distance relationship can be lonely and isolating. Without the physical presence of a partner, it’s easy to feel alone and disconnected.

This can lead to feelings of sadness and depression, which can eventually affect the relationship.

Here are some ways loneliness and isolation can impact a long-distance relationship:

  • Lack of Emotional Support: Being in an LDR can already be emotionally straining, and when there is no emotional support from either partner, loneliness may arise, causing feelings of sadness and disappointment.
  • Communication Challenges: In a long-distance relationship, the primary means of communication is through technology, such as texting or video calls. However, when a partner feels lonely and isolated, they may shy away from communicating, causing a lack of communication between both parties, leading to misunderstandings, and ultimately, a breakdown in communication.
  • Feelings of Neglect: When one partner feels neglected or left out, it can lead to feelings of resentment and unhappiness. While the other partner might be busy with work or other commitments, the lonely partner may feel unheard, and if not addressed, can lead to extreme disconnection and eventually cause the end of the relationship.
  • Physical Distance: Long-distance relationships require a lot of commitment to work. Not being able to be around one’s partner when needed can lead to isolation and loneliness, which can strain the relationship and cause it to fail.

How to Make a Long-distance Relationship Work?

A happy lady in a long-distance relationship

However, it is important to note that many long-distance relationships can and do work.

LDRs can be challenging, but with effort, commitment, and communication, they can work.

Couples who are committed to making their relationship a priority, who communicate openly and frequently, and who find ways to stay connected can overcome many of the challenges of physical distance.

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Technology such as video calls, text messaging, and social media can help bridge the gap and keep couples connected.

Here are some tips to make a long-distance relationship thrive:

  1. Communication is Key: Make sure to communicate regularly, whether that’s through texts, phone calls, video chats, or emails. Share your thoughts and feelings with your partner, and make an effort to listen to theirs.
  2. Make Time for Each Other: Even though you’re in different time zones, make an effort to find a time to talk or video call regularly. Schedule virtual dates and activities, such as watching a movie together, playing an online game, or cooking a meal together over video chat.
  3. Trust Each Other: Trust is crucial in any relationship, especially in a long-distance one. Be honest with each other, and avoid jealousy or possessiveness.
  4. Be Supportive: Even though you’re not physically together, you can still be there to support each other emotionally. Be there for your partner when they need it, and offer encouragement and motivation.
  5. Have a Plan: Talk about your future plans as a couple, whether that’s visiting each other or eventually moving closer together. Having a plan can help you both stay committed to the relationship.

Remember, a long-distance relationship takes effort from both partners. If you both commit to making it work, it can be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience.

Conclusion

Why long-distance relationships don’t work might not be a direct fault of the partners, its threat to the beauty of relationships can’t be ignored.

LDRs are challenging, and they are not for everyone. While some couples can make it work, many others struggle with the challenges that LDRs bring.

The lack of physical connection, communication problems, trust issues, different time zones, difficulty in building intimacy, isolation, loneliness, and other added difficulties can make it more challenging.

Both partners must work to establish meaningful communication, regular time spent together, and emotional support to keep the relationship healthy and successful.

A long-distance relationship will not work if these standards are not met.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Long-distance Relationship?

A long-distance relationship (LDR) is a romantic relationship where the partners are separated from each other geographically, usually by a considerable distance.

Why do Long-distance Relationships Fail?

Long-distance relationships fail for a variety of reasons, including lack of physical intimacy, poor communication, trust issues, differences in time zones, and limited opportunities for shared experiences.

Can Long-distance Relationships Work?

Yes, long-distance relationships can work if both partners are committed to making it work, communicate effectively, trust each other, and maintain a strong emotional connection.

How Can I Make My Long-distance Relationship Work?

To make your long-distance relationship work, you need to prioritize communication, trust, and understanding. Some strategies that can help include scheduling regular virtual dates, sending thoughtful messages and gifts, sharing your daily experiences, and setting clear expectations.

How can Distance Affect the Quality of a Relationship?

The distance can negatively affect the quality of a relationship by reducing opportunities for physical intimacy, limiting shared experiences, causing misunderstandings and miscommunications, and increasing feelings of loneliness and isolation.

What are the Signs that a Long-distance Relationship is not Working?

Signs that a long-distance relationship is not working include decreased communication, lack of effort from one or both partners, loss of emotional connection, increased conflicts and arguments, and lack of future plans.

How can I Cope with the Loneliness of a Long-distance Relationship?

To deal with the loneliness of a long-distance relationship, you can stay connected with your partner through regular communication, maintain a strong support system of friends and family, stay busy with hobbies and activities, and focus on personal growth and development.

Is it Worth staying in a Long-distance Relationship?

Staying in a long-distance relationship is worth it if both partners are committed to making it work, see a future together, and are willing to put in the effort and sacrifice needed to maintain the relationship.

REFERENCES:

  1. Why LDRs Fail
  2. 11 Reasons Why Your Long-Distance Relationship Won’t Work
  3. 7 Reasons Why Your Long Distance Relationship Is Doomed
  4. The No. 1 Reason Long-Distance Relationships End
The Conducts Of Life | piousclements@gmail.com | Website | + posts

Pious Clements is the insightful voice behind "The Conducts of Life" blog, where he writes about life ethics, self-development, life mastery, and the dynamics of people and society.

With a profound understanding of human behaviuor and societal dynamics, Pious offers thought-provoking perspectives on ethical living and personal growth.
Through engaging narratives and astute observations, he inspires readers to navigate life's complexities with wisdom and integrity, encouraging a deeper understanding of the human experience and our place within society.