The Pros And Cons Of Being In A Long-Distance Relationship

Updated January 13, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

A long-distance relationship can be difficult, but these relationships can also be rewarding.

Do You Have Questions About Your Long-Distance Relationship?

In this article, we’ll examine some statistics on long-distance relationships and their advantages and disadvantages. We’ll also dive into tried-and-true tips for keeping the flame burning across the miles, as well as a few helpful resources for long-distance partners determined to make their love last.

According to the New York Post, approximately 60% of long-distance relationships work over the long term. More than half of individuals in a long-distance relationship believe absence does make the heart grow fonder, according to a 2018 study. This means that you’ve got statistics on your side.

Maintaining any relationship takes effort, dedication, and understanding. And while it may seem like the distance between you could amplify problems, some studies suggest that long-distance relationships are the strongest relationships of all. Unfortunately, heartache may be unavoidable when you love someone from far away. By weighing the pros and cons, you and your partner can determine whether to make your relationship a priority or consider other options.

The Pros Of Being In A Far-Away Relationship 

People enter a long-distance relationship for many reasons. Existing partners may enroll at colleges on different coasts or land their dream jobs in different cities. Thanks to advances in technology, many people in search of companionship begin their relationships online despite being hundreds or even thousands of miles apart. Both new and long-time partners can benefit from a long-distance relationship in the following ways:

Your Connection Isn’t Purely Physical

If you’ve ever dated someone primarily due to a mutual physical attraction, you know that this type of relationship can fizzle out quickly. Since long-distance partners can’t rely solely on physical chemistry, they must learn effective communication skills, and work on building their emotional connection. Some may use popular apps for couples to bridge the physical gap.

Long-Distance Relationships Build Trust

Trust is a key component in any relationship. If you and your partner are committed to making your relationship work despite the distance, discussing your expectations and concerns at the outset can lessen the chance of unnecessary heartache. Since most long-distance partners can’t be in touch 24/7, individuals in long-term relationships learn to respect their partner’s time while enjoying their own solo time. They also tend to get into a rhythm by checking in with each other at various times throughout the day, which can help build trust and instill a sense of comfort.

There is typically an adjustment period when partners go from seeing each other regularly to entering a long-distance relationship. Be patient with yourself and your partner during this transition.

Long-Distance Love Strengthens Your Bond

Because building and maintaining an emotional connection is essential for a long-distance relationship, partners who make their relationships work from a distance typically have strong bonds. They may communicate in a multitude of ways, from phone calls, emails, and texts to FaceTime dates and letters tucked inside thoughtful care packages. By mixing up communication, the relationship remains fresh, and the bond continues to strengthen.

Proves Whether Your Relationship Can Survive Stress and Distance

Most long-distance partners look forward to being together one day. Distance is a stressor for even the strongest of couples, so if you and your partner handle the separation well, your relationship will likely withstand stressful situations.

You’ll Truly Appreciate Your Time Together

Anticipation builds as long-distance partners look forward to their next meeting. These partners tend to truly appreciate the time they spend together, and the holidays and events they experience side-by-side become that much more special.

The Cons Of Being In A Far-Away Relationship 

While ups and downs are expected in any relationship, distance can intensify negative emotions. It’s difficult to kiss and make up when you and your partner are hundreds or thousands of miles apart. A long-distance relationship can negatively affect a relationship in the following ways:

Communication Problems

If you and/or your partner have trouble communicating, now is a great time to sharpen your communication skills. There are many excellent resources available, including the award-winning book,4 Essential Keys to Effective Communication in Love, Life, Work-Anywhere! Consider reading this book with your partner and checking in regularly to discuss—and practice—each skill. Keep in mind that text messages and emails can be difficult to interpret whether your relationship is new or long-standing. In many cases, partners in a long-distance relationship may agree to discuss important topics via phone or video chat rather than text or email.

Loneliness

When you’re in love with someone who is in another city, state, or country, feeling lonely is unavoidable. Surrounding yourself with loving, supportive family and friends can lessen loneliness. It’s also important to be open with your partner when you’re feeling blue. To beat loneliness, some partners chat on the phone while watching their favorite TV shows or movies. Others surprise each other with occasional gifts to brighten their partner’s day. Making plans for the next time you’re together is also an excellent way to beat those long-distance relationship blues.

Lack Of Physical Intimacy

If you value physical intimacy, trying to love someone from a distance can take a toll on your mental health and overall wellbeing. Lack of a physical connection can also wreak havoc on a relationship, especially if you and/or your partner express yourselves through physical touch.

In his bestselling book, The 5 Love Languages, author Gary Chapman highlights the five different ways people experience love. Along with words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and quality time, Chapman explains that some individuals prefer to communicate through physical touch. Those with this love language feel most connected to their partners when they are holding hands, hugging, kissing, etc.

Potential For Jealousy And/Or Lies

As mentioned previously, trust is a must when it comes to long-distance love. If one or more partner lacks trust, the relationship is bound to end on a sour note. A stable long-distance relationship requires making honesty a priority. Partners must work through any deep-seated trust issues to make the relationship work long term.

Drifting Apart

Life is unpredictable, and some long-distance partners eventually drift apart. It can be difficult to maintain a relationship across the miles when the responsibilities of everyday life get in the way. Along with prioritizing your relationship, it’s important to allow for flexibility. If you have a standing phone date with your sweetheart every Tuesday night at 10, but you’re invited to a movie with friends, coordinate another time to connect with your partner. Maintaining a social life is important, both for you and your long-distance relationship.

Do You Have Questions About Your Long-Distance Relationship?

Use Caution When Meeting People Online 

Many long-distance relationships begin online. Whether you meet a potential partner on a dating app or a website, always use caution and don’t ignore any red flags. Once you feel comfortable communicating with the other person, suggest a video chat. Don’t rush the relationship; if the time feels right, meet the individual in person. If possible, choose a public meeting place. In some online dating scenarios, people are blindsided when they find out the person they’ve been communicating with for weeks, months, or even years turns out to be someone completely different from the persona he or she has portrayed online. Never ignore a gut instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

Helpful Resources For Partners To Use 

Keeping any romantic relationship going strong can be difficult. Add distance to the equation, and there’s no getting around it—you simply have to commit to doing whatever it takes to make your relationship work. The components of a strong, successful, happy relationship are different for everyone, so finding what works for you and your partner is the key to long-term success. The following resources may help you and your long-distance love build a stronger connection:

Modern Love Long Distance

With advice articles, quotes, gifts, and activities to help you and your partner feel more connected, this website is chock-full of information and creative ideas for long-distance partners.

201 Relationship QuestionsBy Barrie Davenport

Whether you’re in a new relationship or you’ve been with your long-distance partner for years, this book will strengthen your bond. The questions are thought-provoking and will help you get to know your partner on a deeper level.

10,000 Miles for Love By Milena Nguyen

Described as “the bible for long-distance relationships,” this popular book offers practical tips for long-distance partners. While it’s intended for women, the tried-and-true tips and tricks will work for virtually any relationship.

Online Therapy Can Help  

Solo or together, those in long-distance relationships may benefit from professional advice. Online therapy has been proven effective in dealing with complicated relationship issues. One study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy examined the benefits of online therapy for partners experiencing strained relationships. The study notes that the majority of couples avoid seeking out therapy due to various concerns, including perceived stigma, logistical issues, and cost. The study notes that online therapy platforms are an effective way of dealing with those concerns, providing increased flexibility at a lower cost than traditional counseling.

When you are unable to meet face-to-face to discuss your relationship, BetterHelp offers convenient, affordable online counseling. They’ll match you with a licensed therapist who will help you communicate effectively and teach you the necessary skills to build a healthy, lasting relationship. And because BetterHelp allows you to avoid commuting to an office, you can spend more time working on your connection with your partner and less time sitting in traffic. 

Final Thoughts For Those In Or Considering A Long-Distance Relationship  

Long-distance relationships can present great challenges, but they also provide opportunities to build a thriving, long-lasting romance. By combining the information and resources provided in this article with online therapy, you can weigh the pros and cons of your long-distance relationship and make decisions based on your needs, both as individuals and as partners. A lasting, fulfilling relationship is possible—all you need are the right tools and an open mind.

For additional help & support with your concerns

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started