Your Long-Distance Relationship – What Can Kill It?

Relationship Rules
22 Sep 2023
12 min read
10 Culprits, or What Kills Long-Distance Relationships

There is an old saying – “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and a sequel phrase adds, “But too much absence makes the heat wander.” How true is this? At which stage should you know what kills long-distance relationships to prevent the disaster? Calm down, we’ll give you the answers.

If you are in a long-distance relationship, you are already aware of the challenges:

  • Expecting to find a partner near you on a dating app, but hooking up with someone who lives far away,
  • Keeping your initially local relationship strong when one of you had to move because of school or a job,
  • Being married to a member of the armed services who gets deployed for months at a time to places you can’t go to,
  • Constantly overcoming logistical problems like scheduling mutually good times to get together, covering the transportation costs, and adjusting to time zone differences.

But what about all of the mental and emotional challenges of long-distance relationships? That’s what this article is about. If you’re in a long-distance relationship, you will be able to identify any issues your relationship may be having and learn what you can and/or should do.

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10 Real Challenges of Long-Distance Relationships

In long-distance relationships (LDRs), people tend to idealize their partners, creating a more perfect image of them than their realities. As a result, once the couple reunited and the realities came to light, the relationship soured, and partners split up.

But the final breakup is just the tip of the iceberg. Even early in your long-distance relationship, you may already be experiencing some of these issues. And the longer you are in an LDR, the more issues and challenges there will be.

So let’s look at why you may fail while in the process. Here is a list of what kills many long-distance relationships, figure out ways to head off these issues, and deal with them after they have arrived to help your bond survive.

1. Going Into a Long-Distance Relationship with Blinders On

This is one of the biggest reasons why long-distance relationships fail. You’re in love; you’ve developed emotional intimacy; and if you are geographically together, there has been plenty of physical intimacy too. You have been able to spend quality time together, learn a lot about each other, and have a shared vision for your future together. You’re feeling pretty optimistic about the relationship overall.

“None of this will change just because we have to be apart,” you both say, “our relationship is so strong, distance makes no difference.”

Really? If you haven’t taken the time to discuss and realize how each of your lives will change, what challenges you will face, and how you plan to deal with them, then you are not ready for this separation. Simply put, you leave the future of your relationship to chance.

Related reading: Is It Love or an Illusion? 16 Clear Signs You Love Him

2. You Are Not Together on Your Expectations

What are the expectations that each of you has for this long-distance relationship? How often will you talk, message, have phone calls, etc.? Video calls are easy; couples can video chat anytime, day or night. It helps to see your partner while you talk; that’s how physical intimacy is possible long-distance.

Even though it’s all digital, you still can connect intimately in a long-distance relationship.

But expectations go much further than that. One partner may expect the other to move closer so they can be together eventually. The other partner expects they will be separated indefinitely while pursuing their own educational and/or career goals. The unresolved issues that come from differing expectations can kill long-distance relationships.

Without much communication and compromise, different expectations will cause partners to slowly and sometimes painfully drift apart. These are things long-distance couples must discuss all along the way.

3. One or Both Are Just Unhappy

It’s just plain hard to be separated when you are in a relationship, and no amount of phone calls or video chats can substitute for real physical intimacy.

Some partners can stand this long-distance relationship challenge, but others may feel sad often. They see their best friend going out with their SO, having fun, and being intimate – and long for the same connection. They try to keep busy with other things, but that does not become a satisfying diversion when there is physical distance.

Unhappiness can lead to conflicts and a lack of patience. It is one of the common reasons why long-distance relationships fail. Again, at least one partner begins to drift away and may look for a new romantic connection where they are.

That’s how being sad kills long-distance relationships over time. If this sounds like you, you should discuss your options to remedy the situation and keep your relationship alive. Is one of you willing to move closer? Can you transfer to schools that are closer? Is one of you willing to look for employment where the other is? It’s really a matter of how important the relationship is to both of you.

Related reading: 8 Damaging and 6 Good Psychological Effects of Being Single Too Long

4. Someone Has Cheated

Oh boy. This is one of those deadly mistakes that will kill long-distance relationships pretty quickly, especially if one partner has remained faithful. This person will rightly feel the betrayal.

On the flip side, though, the partner who erred may have done so as a one-time thing, in a moment of weakness, possibly even promoted by alcohol. But it will poison the relationship once and forever.

Fixing the cheating problem will not be easy to accomplish long-distance. It will require the partners to spend time together, putting effort into the relationship repair. Trying to fix a long-distance relationship while still far apart does not have a good prognosis.

Related reading: Psychology Behind Cheating and Lying

5. Boredom Can Lead to a Lack of Effort and Attention

Yeah, even pure boredom often kills long-distance relationships. This is how dissatisfaction causes their slower death.

Let’s say you always video chat at 11 p.m. before going to sleep. Your co-workers have organized a retirement party for someone, and you go. You stay later than you thought and miss that call. You think, “Oh well, I’ll talk with my partner in the morning and apologize.”

You could have texted and said you were at the party, but you didn’t. Why? Because you are becoming a bit bored with this routine and beginning to see it as an effort or obligation rather than a joy. Absence is getting “old” and not making the heart grow fonder. Ultimately, this drifting can cause arguments and dissatisfaction – and kill your long-distance relationships.

So, what can you do to decrease the boredom? Just what people do in non-long-distance relationships!

Change things up to add some excitement to the relationship. Of course, this is harder in a long-distance relationship, but get creative. Plenty of ways exist to put some pizzazz in your long-distance relationship and keep things new and exciting:

  • Send surprise gifts
  • Have their favorite meal delivered
  • Produce a porno film featuring just you
  • Read the same book or watch the same movie

Just come up with many surprising things – keep them wondering what’s next.

6. Insecurities Causing Lack of Trust

When one partner is insecure in the relationship, they can do things that annoy or anger the other partner:

  • Call and text to the point of irritation
  • “Stalk” social media accounts and question new friends or followers they don’t know
  • Reveal the need to know where their partner is at all times of the day or night

By seeing this, another partner starts to feel a lack of independence. That’s why nothing kills long-distance relationships faster than these actions become a habit.

In this scenario, the root cause may not be the distance between the people involved – the partner may have deep-seated insecurities for other reasons. The long distance just magnifies those insecurities.

“When you love someone, truly love them, you lay your heart open to them. You give them a part of yourself that you give to no one else, and you let them inside a part of you that only they can hurt – you literally hand them the razor with a map of where to cut deepest and most painfully on your heart and soul. And when they do strike, it’s crippling-like having your heart carved out.”

Sherrilyn Kenyon

Insecure people have a tough time trusting others. So if you’re the one feeling these insecurities, do not accuse your partner of being unfaithful. Remember that your partner wants to be independent and confident you, even if you have to fake it till you make it.

Related reading: How to Build Trust in a Relationship: 15 Tips

7. Differences Start to Crack Common Ground

Relationships tend to blossom when partners share common interests, beliefs, values, goals, etc. But while spending more time apart, these common things may become different. One partner may be exposed to a different “world” that is no longer compatible with their partner’s. That’s how the future compatibility of these relationships takes a hit.

These growing differences are often a cause for what destroys long-distance relationships – and ultimately, the relationship ends. Unfortunately, communication about these changes on the part of one partner may only serve to widen those cracks in the relationship. Partners discover they don’t have a lot to talk about anymore.

The distance is no longer just geographic – it is mental and emotional too. These long-distance relationships end quietly as each person realizes they are no longer on the same journey.

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8. Consistent Communication Breaks Down

When a long-distance relationship is new, each partner vows to keep communication going on a regular basis. They have even set scheduled times for phone calls and video chats. And in between, they may send sweet texts. But as time goes on, and life just gets in the way, gradually the schedule breaks down. A partner gets busy with school or work; the other does the same.

The feelings may still be there, but they don’t seem to be focused on making enough time for that critical communication, if only just talking about their days and feelings.

Couples do not focus on each other as they should when this breaks down, and, over time, it kills long-distance relationships. They die a slow death. This is not to say that the spark cannot be rekindled when the absence ends, but it will be like starting the relationship again.

Related reading: Does Distance Really Make the Heart Grow Fonder?

9. Not Being Honest

All relationships rely on honesty, but a long-distance relationship is even more so. That’s why in LDRs, each partner must honestly assess their feelings about their partner and the nature of the relationship:

  • Are you frustrated that you do not see the other person often enough? Are you afraid to speak those feelings? If so, that’s dishonest.
  • Are your feelings for the other person beginning to wane? And you haven’t been talking about this? Not only is it dishonest, but it’s unfair.
  • Are your future plans changing? Are you avoiding having conversations about it?
  • Do you feel the need to take a break and date others?

Trying to express that everything is fine rather than speaking the truth is wrong. It will come out eventually. And if you’re looking to kill your long-distance relationship, that’ll do it. It’s no crime to put a relationship on hold or to end it if it’s not working for you. Just be honest with yourself and your partner.

10. Thinking Too Idealistically

Refer to the study mentioned above. Partners cannot go into a long-distance relationship believing there will be no struggles, relationship issues, frustration, etc. Two people about to embark on a long-distance relationship must be realistic and understand that life apart is hard to maintain and that one consequence may be the end of the relationship.

At the same time, it’s not good to go into this relationship with a negative attitude – that kills long-distance relationships before they even begin.

The goal is to maintain a realistic approach, keep that communication open and honest, and find ways to love and support one another from afar, getting physically together as often as possible. It takes commitment and real effort.

How to know that your long-distance relationship is over

6 Signs It’s Time to Let Go

You begin your long-distance relationship with the best of intentions – both of you. But just like any relationship, breakups happen for many reasons. In looking at things that kill long-distance relationships, these biggies can help you decide it’s time to break things off.

1. Things Become One-Sided

There are clues along the way. You feel that you are pouring far more into keeping the connection than your partner. The relationship has become one-sided.

You are the one taking the lead on conversations – setting up video chats, keeping lines of communication open, sending those random “I love you” texts, etc. In return, you’re not seeing the same. You can try to ignore the feeling, but reality tells you this gal or guy is just not as much “into” you as before.

You deserve more. You can try to maintain this one-sided relationship hoping things will change but the chances are not good. It is possible they have tired of it and have already moved on without the courage to tell you.

2. Maybe You’re the One with a Failing Commitment

Both long-distance relationship parties should be 100% in it. If not, there’s no reason to continue.

If you’re the one whose commitment is falling off, admit it, express it honestly to the other person, and let them move on with their life. This is morally crucial, and the importance of being honest cannot be overstated.

Related reading: Coloring the Grey Zone – Is Flirting Cheating?

3. You’ve Developed Big Trust Issues

It’s agonizing to be continually plagued with trust issues. It affects your sleep, well-being, and, of course, your relationship. And it’s a thing that kills a long-distance relationship pretty fast.

Your partner doesn’t want to be the recipient of a lack of trust, and you can become obsessed with suspicion. Ultimately, it will impact your emotional intimacy. Continually talking about your worries to your friends can cause relationship problems there too.

If you spend at least one-third of your time in this type of agony, you would be better off ending the relationship, as painful as it might be.

Related reading: 11 Common Relationship Issues and What You Can Do About Them

4. Communication Becomes Negative

No separation in a relationship is easy, and emotions can sit close to the surface. If your communication is becoming more negative and you end calls and chats unhappy, you need to take a break from each other at least.

Continued negativity kills long-distance relationships and can be a slow, unhappy process.

5. The Relationship Is Just Not Meeting Your Needs

It’s okay to decide that a long-distance relationship is not what you want, no matter how much you thought you could do it.

If you just need a partner who is close by, then that is what you should pursue. Keeping things physical and dating someone nearby is a valid need.

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6. The Two of You Are Growing in Different Directions

When you both faced the separation, you were on the same page in your relationship. And you were sure the relationship would survive the distance.

As time progresses, you find that you are becoming different people as you grow and evolve. You put in extra effort in the best way you know how. You try to keep the relationship afloat. But maybe it’s not to be. Suggest you take a break and re-evaluate your relationship.

In the End…

Long-distance relationships are hard; they are challenging; they may or may not work out. But if you have studied this article, you are much wiser now and you know what or who kills long-distance relationships, how that happens, and the options you have to make it work or to walk away.

Love&Sex Expert
Cherie Hamilton
I’ve always been inspired by women who are outgoing, very sure of themselves, and not afraid to be who they were, including their sex lives. Under their tutelage, I gradually shed my old self, hung out and socialized with them, and, over time, became the empowered, self-confident, and sexual woman I am today. Happy to share my insights with other women today!
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