The Pros And Cons Of Being In A Long-Distance Relationship
By Marie Miguel
Updated December 10, 2018
Reviewer Audrey Kelly, LMFT
Long-distance relationships can be difficult to navigate sometimes, but they can also be rewarding. Want to know how to make a long-distance relationship work?
Long-distance relationships happen for several different reasons. An existing couple might get accepted to colleges in different cities but decide to stay together, for example. Two people might meet on Facebook, start sending messages back and forth, and eventually fall for each other even though they live in different states or even countries.
Not everyone has what it takes to make a long-distance relationship work. They aren't everyone's cup of tea, but some people feel comfortable with the distance. Making a long-distance relationship work takes willingness and commitment.
If you're in a long-distance relationship chances are you'll run into the occasional roadblock, especially if you're both new to dating from afar. If you're having relationship problems, talking to a BetterHelp counselor can help. BetterHelp is an online counseling service that's affordable and convenient, allowing you to get help from a qualified professional who is specifically matched to your needs.
Do long distance relationships work? Here are some of the pros and cons of dating long-distance:
Pros of Being in a Long-Distance Relationship
- Not just physical
Have you ever started dating someone and felt like they were just in it for your looks? Physical attraction has its place in a healthy relationship, but you want someone who you can carry on a conversation with too. If someone agrees to be in a long-distance relationship, chances are they're looking for something that's not purely physical.
- Builds trust
Want to know how to make long distance relationships work? Being in a long-distance relationship requires trust. You can't be texting or calling your significant other 24/7 to make sure they are being faithful to you - it just doesn't work that way.
If you don't naturally trust each other at the beginning, you're going to have to build trust if you want to make it work. Taking the time to check in on a regular basis (without being overbearing) can show that you care and help make sure the two of you stay on the same page.
- Strong bond
Chances are if you're in a long-distance relationship, you've started to develop a pretty strong bond. Through hundreds of text messages, long phone calls, and Skype dates, you become a big part of each other's lives even if you're never in the same room.
Some couples who live together don't have as strong a connection as couples who are dating long-distance. After living together for a while, couples can start to lose interest in spending time together because they're around each other all the time.
- Learn if your relationship can survive stress and distance
Whether one of you moved after getting together in-person or you met online, most people in long-distance relationships hope to be together in-person someday. Dating someone long-distance is interesting because it shows you if your relationship can stand the stress, not being close physically, and not always being able to talk. If your relationship still flourishes under these conditions, you know that it's right.
- Appreciate your time together more
The thing about being in a long-distance relationship is that it makes you really appreciate when you do get to spend time together. That time might just be daily calls and chats when you live far apart, but if you visit each other on weekends and holidays those times are going to be that much more special. Unlike couples who spend too much time together, you're less likely to get on each other's nerves.
Cons of Being in a Long-Distance Relationship
- Communication problems
Unfortunately, being in a long-distance relationship isn't always fun and games. If you tend to have trouble with communication, a long-distance relationship might not be for you. When your communication with your partner consists mostly of texts and phone calls (with the occasional video chat here and there) a lot can be lost in translation.
Communication problems in long-distance relationships can easily cause misunderstandings that lead to arguments. Once tensions are high it can be hard to solve things when you aren't able to see and talk to each other in person. In this scenario, the couple's temperaments are important and will determine if they'll take the time to talk and work things out.
When you're in a long-distance relationship, things can get a little lonely. You might find yourself wondering if it's worth it when you see your friends going on dates, moving in with their significant others, and making plans. You may wonder if that's ever going to be you, if you're ever going to get to live with your partner, and who will eventually make the big move.
One way to help beat loneliness is by making small gestures to show each other you care. You can look up long-distance relationship quotes, like, "You're worth every mile between us," or, "I'm jealous of the people who get to see you every day," to express yourself. You can also search for cute long-distance relationship gifts (like these cute custom picture frames) to show you care.
- Lack of physical intimacy
Lack of physical intimacy is another thing that can stunt a long-distance relationship. It's great to have an intellectual relationship with someone, but not getting to hug and kiss them gets hard after a while. This can be especially difficult if you've never met in person and don't know when you will.
This could cause problems if one of you starts looking for intimacy elsewhere when you're in a committed relationship.
- Potential for lies, jealousy
If lack of physical intimacy ends in cheating (emotional or physical), it could potentially cause a breakup. You can't keep tabs on someone 24/7 especially if you live far away from them. If you don't trust each other, this can create huge problems for your long-distance relationship. Catching each other in little lies can send your jealousy spiraling out of control.
Working through trust issues in a long-distance relationship takes effort. If you decide to stay together and try to make things better, you both need to be willing to rebuild trust and make honesty a priority. Looking for long distance relationship ideas to help you stay together? Try connecting with other couples who have done the long-distance thing and see how they made it work.
- Drifting apart
Another possibility when it comes to long-distance relationships is that eventually, you will start to drift apart. When life gets busy with work and friends or you meet someone interesting, you might not know how to break it to someone you've been dating long-distance. Your calls and texts might start to become less frequent, and eventually, you might 'ghost' your partner or get 'ghosted' by them.
Being in a long-term, long-distance relationship that ends out of nowhere without any explanation can be very difficult. Chances are you'll want to know why things ended but you can't exactly go knocking on their front door demanding answers. If they don't want to talk it can be hard to force them, which can stop you from getting closure.
- Meeting people online can be dangerous
If you're dating someone you've only ever met on the internet, you need to be extra careful. Unless you video chat the person, be aware that there's always a small chance that they might not be who they say they are. As the MTV show Catfish has shown us, people can easily steal pictures from other social media profiles and pretend to be someone they're not.
Many people have fallen for someone they met on the internet and were blindsided to find out that the person they thought they loved was really someone completely different. When it comes to long-distance relationships that begin online, you need to keep your guard up until you meet the person face to face. Be wary of people that seem to be hiding something or situations that sound too good to be true.
Long-distance relationships are complicated but under the right circumstances, some couples can make them work. Part of making a long-distance relationship work is knowing the pros and cons and being willing to work around them. There are a lot of trade-offs to being in a long-distance relationship. You need to decide if the person you're interested in is worth the effort.
Looking for long-distance relationship advice? If you're struggling to make your relationship work, confiding with a counselor, friend or family member, or a couple who you know have dated long distance can help. Talking to someone can help you gain clarity on what your next move should be. Ultimately, it's important to do what's best for you.
If you're thinking about getting into a long-distance relationship but you're not too sure, take another look at this list of pros and cons. Do you both have strong communication skills? Can you stand not being physically close to your significant other? These are all important questions to ask yourself before making a commitment to be in a relationship that's long-distance.