When to WORK on a Long Distance Relationship and When to QUIT
A long-distance relationship is often a balancing act between two different individuals and their schedules.
There are times when the distance between a couple is a short-term situation.
Then there are other experiences when a couple has just decided that the long distance in the relationship is an actual fixture of their relationship.
So, when is a long distance relationship worth working on and when is it time to call it quits? A long-distance relationship is worth the work if both individuals in the relationship are committed to keeping the relationship alive. The time to quit a long-distance relationship is if the individuals in the relationship are not equally invested and committed to keeping the long-distance fires burning.
If your considering ending a long distance relationship, you’re going to want to continue reading because I have everything you need to make the right decision, and if a parting of ways turns out to be the best choice, you’ll want to know how to do it.
Are Long Distance Relationships Worth It?
Long-distance relationships are worth the effort they take to maintain if the time and commitment are present for both people. A long-distance relationship can be a rich, loving, and giving experience that can last a lifetime. Many people in long-distance relationships say the benefits of the relationships far outweigh the downfalls.
According to an article in Psychology Today, it is stated that long-distance relationships have a 58% of success. The research also found that many new long-distance relationships have actually begun because of meeting either other out of town or online from the beginning. The article went on to state that 27% of those surveyed have never lived near their partner.
Most people who say they are in a long-distance relationship report that while the long-distance relationship requires overcoming some unique challenges, they believe their relationship is worth the effort.
These are the people who seem happy regardless of whether or not their significant other is nearby. They have accepted the situation of being in a long-distance relationship, and for whatever reason, it works for these people.
How Do Long Distant Relationships Work?
Long-distance relationships involve a different kind of communication and flexibility in order to work. The couples who have met because of technology also state that technology is what helps to keep the relationship alive. Individuals in a long-distance relationship report texting back and forth during the week on average close to 400 texts per week.
Couples in long-distance relationships also say that talking on the phone an average of 8 hours per week is pretty normal. Even though they live apart, couples who are in long distance relationships seem to do a number of different things to make the relationship work.
These things are both in person and at their long-distance locations:
Technology is the number one go to.
So much of a relationship is in the day-to-day normal routine. By using technology like Facetime, Snapchat, and other communication technologies, long distance couples are able to stay connected and fulfilled in their relationship.
Communicating in real time and face to face allows for a deeper connection compared to letters or long-distance phone calls. And, because people in long-distance relationships rely more heavily on technology to stay connected, this allows them to communicate verbally even more than couples who see each other in the same locale.
Not that but people who live far away are more diligent and tend to work harder and keeping the lines of communication frequent and open. Even using technology, these couples tend to discuss heart to heart matters in open and honest ways.
Commitment to the long-distance relationship.
It seems this would be stated without explanation. But a long-distance relationship takes a different type of commitment than a relationship in closer proximity. As previously stated, there needs to be a different kind diligence to make sure each person is having their emotional and physical needs met.
The physical aspect of a long-distance relationship is tricky, and again, this is where the commitment comes into play. Do the couples make time and plans to be together? Do both individuals understand what their partner needs from this long-distance love?
It’s crucial to know that you’re truly committed to a person before you spend precious time. This is especially true if the couple is younger or in college. “If you’re in college, you really need to think about if you love this person, and if they’re worth foregoing being single in college,” says Bela Gandhi, the founder of The Smart Dating Academy.
See the long-distance relationship as an opportunity for growth.
View this as a time of learning and growing for each individual. While you may be in a relationship, you are still on your own much of the time. People who are in long-distance relationships say they often use this time to work on other activities such as:
- Learning a new language
- Starting a book club
- Learning a new skill
- Finish a degree
- Extra hours at work
Make plans to get together.
Often having something tangible to look forward to will get you through the difficult times of separation. Plan to get together in one local or the other. Couples often meet in an entirely different city or county.
Having the longer-range plan to meet and be together is often what some couple say is one of the foundations of how to make the long-distance relationship work. When people have something fun to look forward to, often this makes the here and now much easier.
Especially in long-distance relationships, if you know a definite time to see each other, this brings renewed hope to the time apart. Thinking about the joy of seeing a partner and visualizing this out, almost produces the same feelings as the act.
Talk everything out.
This is in a different category than communicating. Talking everything out takes the communication to a deeper level. Being able to share when you are frustrated or upset is important for the relationship to still go through some of the same things a relationship nearby experiences.
If a long-distance partner only sees the “vacation” side of you, this isn’t the real you. You need to share ups and downs in order to make a long-distance relationship work in the long term. If a relationship is indeed moving toward a long-term commitment, each partner should know the different facets of individual personalities.
Signals Your Long-Distance Relationship Is Struggling
While long-distance relationships are very rewarding for many couples, there are times when a long-distance relationship may not be working.
There are some subtle signs that could help you to determine if your long-distance relationship may be struggling. Just because your partner is exhibiting one sign that is causing you to worry, it doesn’t mean the worrying is founded. Communication is a must.
When the worrying about the relationship happens, or fear about the relationship’s stability first begins, this is when open communication is crucial. If you see a sign that causes you concern, you have to talk with your significant other.
These are some things you may want to discuss:
One or both of the individuals make excuses not to communicate.
According to research, if your “communicate no matter what” promise is starting to disappear, your relationship may be in trouble.
A partner may have all kinds of excuses as to why he or she cannot talk or Facetime. It could be an excuse, from running errands to working; basically, this is a clue the interest and commitment may not be as strong as it was in the beginning.
When a relationship feels different, it may be different.
Pay attention to your gut. More often than not, there is knowledge deep inside when a relationship is starting to lose some of its luster. This doesn’t mean you’ve settled into a more comfortable routine, but rather, the relationship is not moving forward.
Your partner is less accessible.
The texts are not coming as often as before. The phone calls are lack-luster or don’t happen because of excuses, and pre-made schedules talking are not being met. A few times is forgivable, but when you find you are making most of the effort to be accessible and present, and your partner is not making the same effort, this may be a strong sign this relationship is struggling.
You are not scheduling times to see each other like before.
Being in a long-distance relationship is often harder than a relationship that is nearby. If one or both partners are making less of an effort to get together, this may be a sign the relationship is not moving forward.
You don’t actually know where your partner lives.
This is more common with relationships that meet online. This is a big red flag if you do not know the address of a person you are dating. The home address should never be a secret.
Your partner is making plans to do things, and you are not included.
Couples do activities apart all the time, but when your long-distance partner is making plans to see family and friends, and you have the opportunity to be a part of these events, then your partner should want you to be a part of these events. Of course, this isn’t a sure sign that you need to end things, but it is a sign that something is up that you need to talk about.
You’ve never met any past family or friends.
This is another red flag. There are times when you meet online, and everything is on the up and up. And then there are times when you should be wary.
There is a danger if this person is not who they claim to be and may actually be a scammer. With all of the technology available, you should have at least met one family member or friend, even if the meeting is just through social media.
Catfish, as they are called, specialize in finding people online to prey upon. They get people to trust them and enter long-distance relationships with them, but things soon turn sour. Eventually, this person starts having emergencies or other problems and needs immediate cash. There are stories upon stories of these types of long-distance relationships.
Your long-distance partner may show signs of waning affection.
Whether you meet in person or communicating long-distance, you notice that your partner just doesn’t seem as loving or attentive. A major shift in the usual amount of affection is a possible red flag the relationship may be in trouble.
Any change in level of interest, the desire to connect, says that someone is not as into you as they were. If you know the signs, you can try to open the lines of communication and try to find out what is going on. Be ready to hear the answer.
Communication is no longer happening on a daily basis.
If daily communication was something you and your partner had been doing and now you are not, this may be a sign that one or both of you are not as interested as before.
Your ideas of what you want out of life and the ideas of your long-distance partner have changed.
This could be anything from marriage to politics. People change and they grow, and some times these changes are insurmountable.
Differences of ideas and opinions may range from anything to future marriage plans to religion of possible children in the future. You may love shows like The Walking Dead, and all your partner wants to do is watch Disney cartoon movies. There is nothing wrong with either, but this vast amount of difference indicates there has been a change in one person or the other. Whatever the case, something in the relationship needs to be discussed.
When to Call a Long-Distance Relationship Quits
One of the situations mentioned above may not make or break a long-distance relationship, but when several things don’t add up, it may be time to call the relationship quits.
It’s difficult to end any relationship, but to end a long-distance relationship is sometimes harder. The people involved may second guess how they feel. An individual may think they are imagining things due to the distance. Lack of attentiveness or less communication may just be due to circumstances of the time and space between the couple.
Long-distance relationships are in many ways the same as any romantic in-town relationship. The proximity of the partners involved is not as close, but other things remain the same. However, it is the lack of proximity that takes a different communication skill set from the beginning. Most people who have long-distance relationships realize the facts and still commit to the dedication it takes to keep a long-distance relationship alive.
With all of those considerations, there still may be signs or a feeling that the relationship seems to not be clicking as it did in the beginning. The ease a relationship is supposed to have as two people grow together, instead starts being somewhat awkward or insecure.
These feelings indicate that you should take a second look at the relationship and be sure that you want to stay committed. After reflection, if there still seems to something amiss, it may be time to heed some of the signs. If the relationship is starting to merely coast or even maybe is sliding in a backward direction, it may be time to call the long-distance relationship quits.
How to End a Long-Distance Relationship?
A long-distance relationship has a unique set of requirements to make the relationship work. But if a long-distance relationship is ending, how should this be handled? Do you call your partner on the phone? Do you end the relationship in a text? What about using facetime to end a relationship? What is the best way to end a long-distance relationship when you are sure that’s the direction to go?
If you are the person who is instigating the end of a long-distance relationship, what are some steps you should take to make this sad situation a more settled decision for you both?
- Make sure your feelings are clear, and you know why you’re ending the relationship. It may be for the simple reason the distance is just too painful, and there doesn’t seem to be closer proximity anywhere in the near future for you as a couple.
- Talk this over with a friend and get some feedback. It could be that your dearest friend has noticed for a long time something just doesn’t “seem right” with you. Often realizing the people who have known you the longest are agreeing with your findings, will give you extra strength to end a long-distance love.
- Reflect again on what you really want to do and say when you finally get together with your significant other. Making sure you are clear will make meeting and talking so much easier.
- Make sure that by the time you meet, you are using words about what “you need” rather than placing blame. A mature relationship conversation always goes better when each partner can talk about what they as individuals both need. Again, there may be several reasons for the break up. Keep the language as to what you have noticed, how this makes you feel, and where you need to go from this point forward.
Once you have your thoughts together, this conversation should happen in person or at the very least face to face in real time using technology. A breakup should never be in a text to your former partner or in an email, for that matter.
If you have been in an intimate relationship with someone both physically and emotionally, the very best you should do is handle a breakup in person. And the very least you should do is make sure the conversation happens face to face. Is this going to be uncomfortable?
You might be surprised or not surprised to know your partner is feeling the same way. If both people have noticed a decrease in the original fire of the long-distance relationship, then this is probably the best possible end result. This is a way both people are able to move on without feeling resentment toward each other.
How to Move Forward After a Long-Distance Relationship Ends
Fewer things are harder than moving on from than a long-distance relationship that had lasted for more than a few months or even longer.
This may be a long process, especially if everyone in your town is used to you being busy with someone out of town. Friends may forget to include you if they think you are busy with someone else, but give it time, and you will get through this breakup.
The following are some suggestions to work through some of the pain:
Go ahead and cry it out.
This is a loss and acknowledges the grief. It’s not the end of the world, although it may feel like it at first. You are a human being, so let yourself express the pain you feel. However, do not let the depression of leaving the relationship cause you to miss out on moving forward. Being single again can be fun!
Look forward to the future.
Move the concentration of thinking about the loss of the close relationship of the past and begin to focus on the possibilities of the future. Be your own best cheerleader to become even better than you were before.
Make sure you have the closure you need to move forward.
Closure about any relationship is important. And having closure with a long-distance love can help you both settle issues, apologize, and part ways in a civil way. You may not get back together, and for good reasons, but at least when you think about your past or when you accidentally meet somewhere, the past will not be still holding either of you down.
Instead of being swallowed by depression, get out of your house or apartment. Go to school or work and get move involved. Put a renewed effort so you can make progress in whatever it is you are doing.
Be with people who understand what you are going through.
This does not mean that every time you are together with these people, you dominate the time talking about your troubles. Just make sure the people you are with understand your loss.
We all need our people when life goes south. And whether it is about a relationship or a job, your close family and friends who are your foundation are the ones you usually turn to when life takes a direction that makes you sad. A long-distance relationship can be incredibly heartbreaking. You need your people to stand beside you.
Use this time to refocus and set new priorities for yourself.
Focus on what you truly want. Some people end a long-term relationship and realize they aren’t even sure about what they want out of life. Is there a dream you want to achieve? Do you want to explore some large life changes?
This may be the time to pursue that degree or perhaps try a complete career change. You may decide to learn more about yourself through a retreat or spiritual practice. Or maybe, you have some healthy habits you want to learn. It only takes 21 days to make a new routine a habit. Now may be the time for some positive changes that are easier to do when you are single.
A long-distance breakup for many people is just as hard as the end of a relationship when two people have been living together. The feelings and emotions may be very similar. But just like when ending any other relationship, the sooner you can deal with all the perimeters involved and move forward, the better.
Is a Long-Distance Relationship for you?
After reading all the pros and cons of a long-distance relationship, you may see similarities in the success or maybe even some of the negatives of this way of relating to a partner. There are times when a long-distance relationship is worth the work, and then there are times when the relationship needs to stop. For whatever the reasons, one or both partners have decided it is time to quit.
Any relationship, be it long distance or right next door, takes an element of care and commitment. Even if a person is involved in a relationship that is moving toward a lifetime commitment, it is so important to not become completely lost in the other person.
Keeping a sense of self will help you to be honest about what you want, and the same is true for your partner. If a person cannot be open and be themselves to the one person they intend to commit to, then the relationship needs some re-evaluation. Far too often, people get lost in others before they have actually evaluated who they are as individuals.
Healthy relationships, whether they be long-distance or in the same town, need to have open lines of communication and a willingness to be flexible. Each person in a healthy relationship is allowed to grow. And when your partner celebrates your growth with you, and vice-versa, you know you may have something very special.