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Long-distance couples face many of the same problems as those who live together. However, some problems are unique to a long-distance relationship as they come as a result of being geographically separated and physically apart.
Here are common problems long-distance couples face:
- Not handling the distance the right way
- Having false and unrealistic expectations from a long-distance relationship
- Not having boundaries in a long-distance relationship
- Not having goals, plan and timeline for a long-distance relationship
- Communication problems in a long-distance relationship
- Intimacy issues in a long-distance relationship
- Trust issues in a long-distance relationship
- Loosing interest in a partner or relationship
- Personal issues in a long-distance relationship
- Staying in an unhealthy long-distance relationship
- Expecting to resolve all problems without professional help
To have a healthy relationship, you should know how to resolve these problems in a loving way. Unresolved problems can strain your relationship and turn it into a struggle instead of an enjoyable experience. With clear and effective communication, you can understand each other and address any challenges you face right away. In the absence of physical closeness emotional connection becomes even more important.
In this article, we will cover the most common problems couples face in a long-distance relationship, and how to fix them.
1. Not Handling the Distance the Right Way
In a long-distance relationship, you have to deal with problems that come from being in a romantic relationship, and also the problems associated with being apart.
To make a long-distance relationship work, you need to understand how the distance affects your relationship.
To handle the distance in the right way, you should realise what a long-distance relationship is and what it involves.
A long-distance relationship is a romantic relationship where a couple is separated by geographical distance. As a result, you can not to see your partner every day as you would in a regular relationship.
Distance affects how you communicate and manage your intimacy. As a result, many couples struggle to maintain a healthy long-distance relationship.
Until you move in and live together, physical intimacy is only possible during your visits. That is why a long-distance relationship that lasts a long time becomes increasingly harder practically and emotionally.
To learn more about how the distance affects your relationship, check out this article.
The primary means of communication in a long-distance relationship are text messages, phone calls, and video calls. It means that the only way you can express yourself is through words. This is contrast to a regular relationship, where you can express yourself and feel connected being next to each other. A physical touch can express your feelings much better than hours of conversations.
Long-distance relationships are not meant to last a long time. They can be great to get to know someone online or maintain an existing relationship for a few months.
Trying to keep a healthy long-distance relationship for a long time can be challenging.
If not handled properly, problems that come with the distance, can bring a lot of suffering and ruin a relationship.
To effectively handle the distance in your relationship, you need to maintain an emotional connection through effective communication and physical intimacy by frequently visiting each other.
When you are starting a long-distance relationship, you might be having doubts about whether or not you can make it work.
Long-distance relationships are great for getting to know someone who lives far away. But after you get to know each other online, it will be time for you to see how you get on in real life. After a few months of visiting each other, you may discover that you want to move in together. To do that, you need the willingness and resources to make a move.
If you are not in the position to move in together, your long-distance relationship can extend indefinitely. Without a plan, your relationship may turn into a struggle where most of your time would be spent wishing for something you cannot have.
A way to handle the distance is by setting specific goals and realistic expectations from the very beginning.
Many couples skip this step and end up struggling in a perpetual long-distance relationship, which, without a direction. Since it can be a challenging task for many long-distance couples, we have created a workbook that will guide you to fix the issues that distance brings.
If you meet someone special online, distance should not put you off getting to know that person. However, you should also know how to handle the distance and be clear of a long-distance relationship is, so can set realistic expectations.
2. Having False and Unrealistic Expectations from a Long-Distance Relationship
Long-distance relationships are romantic relationships, so it is normal to expect physical intimacy with your partner.
Since physical intimacy is only possible during your visits, unless you have the means to visit each other regularly, you should expect to be sexually frustrated.
While sexual frustration in itself is manageable, it can have a more profound effect on other aspects of your relationship and your life as a whole.
That is why long-distance relationships can work very well, but only for a short period.
The best way to handle it is by becoming aware of the false expectations you may have about your relationship. You can then recognise the reality of your situation and set a more realistic expectations by talking about it openly and honestly with your partner.
3. Not Having Boundaries in a Long-Distance Relationship
Boundaries are borders between deeper values and preferences. Deeper values are things you must have a certain way, whereas preferences are things you are more flexible about.
To build a healthy relationship, you and your partner should discuss your values and preferences. In other words, talk about what is really important for you to have and be done in a particular way and what do you prefer to be done a certain way but with a degree of flexibility.
Understanding personal boundaries will help you develop understanding where you can respect each other boundaries. In doing so, you will create harmony and avoid unnecessary arguments.
4. Not Having Goals, Plan and Timeline for a Long-Distance Relationship
Many long-distance couples do not set specific goals for their relationship. Couples tend to have a vague idea of how they would like to be together and in some cases discussing their ambiguous future.
These discussions are usually based on what partners want, rather than what they can have. Such behaviour can set them on a slipper slope towards dissatisfaction from never getting what they want. Soon, a long-distance relationship turns into a relationship of struggles and limitations.
An easy solution is to incorporate your circumstances and possibilities into the discussion. Once you know your options and limitations, you can set more realistic goals, which will give your relationship direction.
This guide will help you and your partner set specific personal and relationship goals.
The next step is to make a clear plan to achieve your goals. When making a plan, remember to include your personal life goals and ambitions. In a long-distance relationship, you spend a lot of time on your own. So, it is important to maintain a balance between your personal life and the time you spend talking to each other.
A solid plan includes a timeline for when you achieve your main goals. It should also have specific dates for the smaller achievements along the way.
A timeline will help you navigate your relationship until you move in together. Without the plan and a timeline, you will encounter many uncertainties in your relationship that will put extra strain on your relationship.
A plan and a timeline will give a direction to your long-distance relationship. It will also give you and your partner the reassurance that you know where you stand with each other and with your relationship.
Here is a workbook for you and your partner to make a working plan to achieve your personal and relationship goals.
5. Communication Problems in a Long-Distance Relationship
Effective communication is how you build and maintain emotional closeness when you are away from your partner. In some way, the health and success of your whole long-distance relationship greatly depends on your ability to share your feelings, listen to each other and resolve problems.
Here are some common communication problems long-distance couples often face:
- A lack of communication
- Excessive communication
- Arguments and fights
- Silent Treatment
- Difficulty to maintain an emotional connection
- Boring conversations
If you are interested to learn more about communication in a long-distance relationship, here is an in-depth article.
Many long-distance relationships fail because of bad communication. Poor communication leads emotional disagreements, confusion and arguments, most of which can be avoided.
When you communicate solely via online means, misunderstandings are easy to create and hard to fix.
Let’s talk briefly about different ways you can fix communication problems in your relationship.
First, agree with your partner on the best time for you to talk. If you live in different countries, the time difference can be a significant obstacle in your communication. One issue with the time difference is syncing your schedules. Another problem is being in the right frame of mind to talk. Depending on your routine and the time difference, one of you may be fresh and ready to have a conversation. At the same time, the other one is going to be tired after work needing a rest.
Try to avoid excessive communication which will make your long-distance relationship boring and take away time from doing fun things with the people you love.
The lack of communication can be a problem. If you or your long-distance partner do not talk enough, you can start drifting apart, and with time your feelings may fade away.
As a rule of thumb, tried to keep text messaging and phone calls for more casual conversations. If you want to discuss something meaningful with your partner, it’s best to do so face-to-face or via video calls.
Effective communication allows you to maintain an emotional connection by expressing your thoughts, feelings, doubts and concerns to your partner openly and honestly. When you feel comfortable discussing any topics, you can talk about any issues, and find a way to fix them together.
Most relationship problems can be fixed, provided you have a transparent, open, and honest communication.
Here is a step by step guide to help you improve communication with your long-distance partner.
6. Intimacy Issues in a Long-Distance Relationship
A romantic relationship implies having physical intimacy with your partner.
When you live with your romantic partner, you see each other every day and physical intimacy is not as much of a problem. But the only time you can be physically close with your long-distance partner is during your visits, or when go on trips together.
Here are common intimacy issues for long-distance couples:
- Feeling lonely
- Feelings sad
- Being sexually frustrated
- Being needy and clingy
- Feeling distant
- Drifting apart
- Losing feelings
- Losing the spark
- Not coping emotionally with being apart
Here is an in-depth article on intimacy in a long-distance relationship.
There are things you can do online to spice up your relationship. You can have dirty talks to each other via sexting, play naughty games online or have virtual sex.
Gifts and care packages can give you a sense of physical connection. Gifts are tangible things. Having something you can touch that you associate with your partner can give you a sense of closeness during the times when you feel alone.
However, nothing can replace the physical touch and intimacy when you are together.
To maintain a healthy long-distance relationship, you should have a clear plan to move in together and know how to manage a lack of physical intimacy until then.
Having an end date for your long-distance relationship and frequent visits will help you maintain physical intimacy. If you do not have the means to visit each other as much as you would like, you rely on emotional connection to maintain your relationship. But it is only healthy for a short while.
Here is a workbook to help you address intimacy issues and build a more intimate long-distance relationship.
7. Trust Issues in a Long-Distance Relationship
Trust is a foundation for any healthy relationship. When it comes to long-distance relationships, trust is even more crucial.
In a regular romantic relationship, partners see each other every day and feel each other’s demeanor and presence. In contrast, long-distance partners do not get to see each other face to face and can not feel each other’s presence.
Without the tactile feedback the only way emotions and feelings can be shared are through words. This is where effective communication comes into play.
So, already partners face a challenge of sharing their feelings as well emotionally support each other by holding hands or hugging.
Without physical intimacy, it is normal to expect sexual frustration. When you combine sexual frustration with the lack of physical connection and potentially poor communication, two problems become possible:
Jealousy often comes from personal insecurities mixed with inherent uncertainties of a long-distance relationship.
Cheating, is a combination of trust issues and sexual unfulfillment. Here is an in-depth article about trust issues in a long-distance relationship.
You can address jealousy and cheating by building trust through open and honest communication. You and your partner should feel comfortable sharing your feelings, thoughts, doubts and concerns without the fear of being judged.
This workbook will help you and your partner talk about, address and fix trust issues in your long-distance relationship before they negatively impact you and your relationship.
8. Losing Interest in a Partner or Relationship
When long-distance partners do not see each other for a long time, their feelings may change and may drift apart. While there are ways you can spice up your relationship by playing online games and sending gifts, they can not replace physical intimacy.
With time, partners may also start losing interest in their relationship, despite having feelings for each other. Here is an article that explores the signs of losing interest in a long-distance relationship and what you can do to fix it.
Excessive communication, for example, may lead to boring conversations. In an attempt to stay connected, partners end up spending a lot of time on the phone, even when they have nothing to say.
One thing you can do to maintain interest in your relationship is by giving it some space but not too much. Personal space in a relationship gives you a chance to do something exciting with your life, so you can share it with your partner. Too much space, however, may lead to emotional distance. So, balance is the key.
Here is a step by step guide to help you and your long-distance partner spice up your relationship.
9. Personal Issues in a Long-Distance Relationship
Common personal issue people face are:
Personal issues have a great deal of influence on your long-distance relationship. You can ask your partner to help you deal with your personal issues, as long as you remember the limitation of how much they can do and say from the distance.
That said, it is up to each person to sort out their individual issues. Some people expect their partner to help them and while it is a healthy expectation to a degree, it can also create pressure for the other partner and compromise the relationship.
So, it is a good idea to share your personal issues with your partner, but do not expect them to solve these issues for you.
A healthy long-distance relationship is based on the balance of many aspects of a relationship and a personal live of each partner.
It can be hard to know everything you need to do to make your long-distance relationship work. So, to make it easier for you, we have created a complete step by step guide that will take you and your partner through every aspect of a long-distance relationship. Use this guide to identify and address the problems you are facing and find solutions that work for both you and your partner.
10. Staying in an Unhealthy Long-Distance Relationship
Long-distance relationships become unhealthy when partner do not resolve their problems. When these problems remain unresolved for a long-time, a relationship can become toxic.
Despite a relationship being unhealthy or toxic, some long-distance couples choose to stay together. If you are unsure how healthy your relationship really is, use this guide to find the answer.
If you feel that your long-distance relationship is becoming too much and you can not handle it any more, consider taking some time apart.
Tell your long-distance partner that you would like a week apart to get in touch with yourself and your feelings. It will allow you to reflect on your relationship and bring your mind to knowing what you want from it.
It will also allow your partner a chance to reflect on themselves and this relationship.
After a week apart you may discover that you can see things more clearly and find solutions for your problems. You may also find that your long-distance relationship is not working for you and you may want to end it. Whatever you discover, try to share it with your long-distance partner.
Instead of concluding for yourself that your long-distance relationship is not working and you decide to break up, tell them why you feel that way. Share with your partner what you think is not working. This way, you can determine your next steps together, instead of giving them an ultimatum.
Before you try to fix your long-distance relationship, ask yourself if it’s worth it. Sometimes, a long-distance relationship does not work, and it can be time to let it go.
If you decide to make it work, here’s how you can fix your long-distance relationship:
- Figure out what is not working in your long-distance relationship.
- Write down your thoughts and feelings on different aspects of your relationship.
- Share your feelings, thoughts, and concerns with your long-distance partner.
- Allow your partner the time to reflect on what you said.
- Take time to listen to your partner’s feelings, thoughts, doubts, and concerns.
- Discuss your issues with your long-distance partner.
- Together with your partner, you can find a solution that works for both of you and your relationship.
Long-distance brings a lot of uncertainties and confusion into a relationship. Because of this, problems are likely to arise, so you need to learn how to handle them. Having a strategy to resolve problems will help you maintain trust and connection in your long-distance relationship.
The longer you are apart, the harder the problems become to resolve.
To make a long-distance relationship work, you need to keep it interesting and fun. A boring relationship brings suffering, and becomes a chore.
If you are serious about making your relationship work, here is our complete step by step guide. It will take you and your partner through every aspect of your long-distance relationship, so you can address any issues you may have.
11. Expecting to Resolve All Problems Without Professional Help
Problems are part of life and are completely normal for a long-distance relationship. It is failure to address these problems effectively in a timely manner that leads to a broken relationship.
Most problems can be resolved with effective communication which involves openness and honesty. However, some problems are circumstantial and can be beyond partner’s capacities to work them out.
Many long-distance couples tend to struggle in their relationship feeling powerless in the face of circumstances. While some challenges are expected, staying in a toxic relationship without resolution can negatively impact partner’s lives and well-being.
The most effective way to handle long-distance relationship problems is by having open, honest, and clear communication. Poor communication is a source of many unnecessary arguments in long-distance relationships.
At the same time, effective communication can help you maintain emotional intimacy and resolve most of the issues you might face.
If you feel that your long-distance relationship has an issue, the first thing you should do is talk to your partner about your concerns. Take time to hear their point of view and listen to their feelings.
As long as you have understanding and willingness to hear each other, most of the time, you can find a solution that works for both of you.
However, sometimes overwhelming emotions can make it extremely difficult to look at your situation objectively. So, in an effort to address the problems in your relationship, you may end up with more problems.
In this case, a professional input can go a long way. Be it communication problems or sex and intimacy issues, we are here to help. So, if you have a burning issue you would like to discuss, book a coaching session or check out our coaching options.
When you are in a long-distance relationship, you face many of the same problems as couples who live together. However, some problems are specific to long-distance relationships.
The key to keeping your long-distance relationship strong and healthy is trust and effective communication.
Long-distance relationships are great in many ways. However, they have two main challenges: communication and lack of physical intimacy. Suppose you don’t know how to handle these two aspects of a relationship. In that case, it will get more challenging, and with time will ruin your relationship altogether.
When you begin a new relationship, first of all you get to know each other. But soon after that, particularly if your relationship is getting serious you should consider setting some specific goals for your LDR.
Many couples do not have the luxury of visiting each other regularly. And, after some time, the lack of physical intimacy can manifest as sexual frustration. Sexual frustration can affect other aspects of your life, leaving you frustrated about many things most of the time.
If you don’t have a plan for your long-distance relationship or if it lasts a long time, a lack of physical intimacy can lead to sexual frustration. Growing frustration can result in anxiety and will gradually turn your whole relationship into a struggle.
Long-distance relationships can be hard to handle. If you treat them like a normal relationship, you will run into many problems.
If you find yourself struggling in a long-distance relationship here is how you can handle it:
- Recognise your long-distance relationship for what it is and not for what you want it to be.
- If something is not working, figure out what it is.
- Assess your possibilities and set realistic expectations about your relationship.
- Recognise your feelings and talk to your partner about how they feel about being in a long-distance relationship.
- Agree on the means and frequency of your communication.
- Maintain trust, honesty, and openness.
- Remember to talk about meaningful things.
- Avoid talking too much about nothing.
- Make a plan and a timeline for how often you will visit each other, and when you will move in together.
Having problems every now and then is inevitable and normal. As long as you know what to do with problems and have a strategy to deal with them, you can fix them.
When you face a problem, acknowledge what is causing it. Discuss it with your partner, and together, find a solution that works for both of you.
How Healthy Is Your Long-Distance Relationship?
If you are having doubts about your long-distance relationship and are not sure if you should try to fix it or let it go, here is our step by step guide to help you and your partner reassess your relationship and make an educated decision that works for both of you.
Relationship Coaching for Long-Distance Couples
Long-distance relationships are hard to maintain without knowing exactly what they involve.
However, once you understand what long-distance relationships are, what they are not and how to navigate them, you are a lot more likely to make it work.
We specialise in helping long-distance couples create and maintain a healthy relationship by building intimacy, trust and effective communication.
If you are starting a long-distance relationship or are already in one, send us a message to book an individual coaching session for yourself or a couples coaching session for you and your partner.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the problems with long-distance relationships?
The main problems with long-distance relationships are communication and lack of physical intimacy. Bad communication can lead to confusion and misunderstanding and result in unnecessary fights and arguments. The lack of physical intimacy can lead to sexual frustration and anxiety. Anxiety and depression can make your long-distance relationship more of a struggle than a fulfilling experience.
What problems do you need to overcome to make your long-distance relationship work?
One of the main problems is the lack of physical intimacy. A romantic relationship involves physical closeness, and when you can’t share a physical connection with the person you love, there is a void. After some time, you may feel increasingly distant from each other. While physical distance can be managed, it’s the emotional connection that keeps your relationship alive.
How do you deal with long-distance relationship problems?
You can deal with long-distance relationship problems by having understanding. You can build understanding by having open, transparent and honest communication. When you have understanding in a relationship, you can freely express yourself as well as be able to see your partner’s point of you. As long as you have a willingness to hear and understand each other, you have a chance to make your long-distance relationship healthy and successful.
How to fix problems in a long-distance relationship?
To fix problems in a long-distance relationship, you need to know what these problems are. Once you identify the problems, see if they are worth fixing. As long as you and your partner have a willingness to fix problems in your relationship, you can try to do so. However, if your feelings have changed and you drifted apart, perhaps it’s time to move on from your relationship altogether.
How do you fix a struggling long-distance relationship?
If you’re struggling in a long-distance relationship, ask yourself if your relationship is worth it. When you start a relationship with someone, you expect it to bring joy and fulfilment into your life. Every relationship has problems. But, if all you have in your relationship is a struggle, you might be better off moving on. Some problems are easy to fix. But sometimes the best thing you can do is to end the relationship that isn’t working and create a more healthy one with someone else.
How to solve long-distance relationship problems?
You can solve problems in a long-distance relationship through effective communication. When you have effective communication, you can navigate your long-distance relationship and identify issues when they come up. It will also give you a chance to work out your problems before they destroy your relationship. Having a plan can reassure you that your long-distance relationship is going in the right direction.
How to emotionally deal with a long-distance relationship?
When dealing with emotions in a long-distance relationship, you should be careful not to create unnecessary arguments. If you are feeling strong emotions take some time to recognise what they are, and the source of your feelings. Once you’ve learnt more about your feelings and needs, you can share them with your long-distance partner in a calm and informative way. Try to avoid acting on your emotions right away, because your partner can be unsure how to deal with them and might become defensive.
How to deal with the stress of a long-distance relationship?
To deal with the stress of a long-distance relationship, take some time away from your relationship. It will allow you to reassess how this relationship contributes to your life. It will also give a chance to your partner to reflect on how they feel about your relationship. When you take some time away from the situation, you can come back to it with some discoveries and ideas on dealing with it.
How to deal with long-distance relationship pain?
To deal with pain in a long-distance relationship, you need to understand the source of your pain. Once you know what is causing your pain, you should share your discoveries with your long-distance partner. Try and avoid keeping them to yourself, because that deprives your partner opportunity to help you.
How to deal with a long-distance relationship while pregnant?
To deal with a long-distance relationship while pregnant, you need to have a supportive partner. It can help to have a plan and a timeline in a long-distance relationship. It’s even more important to have a plan if you’re expecting a baby. Make sure you plan how your long-distance relationship will work, how long it will last, and when you will be able to move in together.