Why Couples Struggle in Long-Distance Relationships?

Why Couples Struggle in Long-Distance Relationships?

You may find yourself struggling in a long-distance relationship. While it can be hard to be away from your partner for a long time, it doesn’t have to be a struggle.

Many couples experience struggles in a long-distance relationship. These struggles give the impression that long-distance relationships are hard. It can be hard to stay away from your romantic partner for an extended period. But your long-distance relationship doesn’t have to be a struggle when you know how to handle it in the right way.

Here is the list of everyday struggles for long-distance couples:

  • Handling the distance
  • Managing the time difference
  • Maintaining a healthy amount of communication
  • Agreeing on things
  • Distrust of your partner (because of your insecurities, or their behaviour)
  • Being apart for extended periods
  • Personal insecurities
  • Setting boundaries
  • Managing expectations
  • Uncertainty of how your long-distance relationship will work out

If you find yourself struggling with a long-distance relationship it can be because the distance makes your relationship harder or it could be your relationship that is not going well regardless the distance.

In this article, we will talk about the common struggles long-distance couples face and give you some direction to explore them in other articles.

Handling the Distance

Every person has their preferences as the amount of physical intimacy they need to feel emotionally connected, anything less than that creates emotional distance and anything more contributes to a needy behaviour.

A common mistake is trying to compensate the lack of physical intimacy by texting and calling your partner more often. This can have the opposite effect where excessive communication leads to boring conversations and sucks the fun out of the relationship.

A healthy relationship cannot last when partners feel emotionally disconnected.

When a one or both partners are struggling to handle the distance it may manifest as:

  • Sadness
  • Depression
  • Lack of interest in the things you normally enjoy doing
  • Spending too much time talking to your partner that you don’t live your own life
  • Calling them all the time

Use this guide with your partner to address any distance related issues in your relationship.

Managing the Time Difference

The longer the time difference the harder is to manage your relationship practically and emotionally.

Practically, it can be hard to sink your schedules and find a few hours where you can talk without interruptions or worrying about other things.

Managing a long-distance relationship with a significant time difference can become an emotional struggle.

For example, when you are in the mood to talk, your partner may be busy or may need some rest.

Managing the time difference in a healthy way requires a special approach to the way you interact and consider each other. Click here to learn exactly how you can do it right away.

Maintaining a Healthy Amount of Communication

A healthy amount of communication is when you keep in touch enough to feel connected but not too much so that you have nothing to talk about.

There are two ways that communication can be an issue:

  • Excessive communication
  • A lack of communication

The lack of communication in a long-distance relationship is a big deal. Without physical closeness, the only way you can express your love is through words. This makes effective communication a key element in a healthy long-distance relationship.

The next time you talk keep an eye on how much time you spend and what things you talk about. Then, see how you feel about the time you talk and check if you managed to share everything you wanted to share.

There is not an exact amount of time you need to spend talking to each other. You just need to make sure each of you are happy with the time you spend talking to each other and that you are sharing what is important.

Learn more about communication in a long-distance relationship in this article. If you are keen to improve communication with your partner, here is a step by step guide for you to get started.

Agreeing on Things

When making plans both partners need to express what they want, how they feel and how they want to do certain things.

Agreeing on things is not easy because we want things our way, in the way that is important for us. However, when being in a relationship means considering another person, their feelings and what is important for them at a time.

Knowing how to agree on things without compromising your own needs is essential to make your long-distance relationship work.

If you cannot agree on things it will manifest as arguments, unnecessary conflicts and even resentment. Which can eventually turn into a toxic relationship.

Click here to learn how you can handle arguments and fights in your relationship.


In a long-distance relationship you don’t get to see each other that often, so you need to trust what your partner says.

Being apart leaves you alone with your own thoughts, unless your partner is very open and clear about what they do, when and with whom, you are likely to feel in the gaps with stories of your own creation.

However, the other partner who receives the information needs to be very open and feel secure. Otherwise, such information may start triggering personal insecurities, and jealousy, which will instead of creating deeper intimacy and trust, will lead to conclusions that are not factually accurate.

Then, you can be upset about things that don’t exist, even go as far as confronting your partner about something they didn’t say or questioning them for what they did.

Check out this article to learn how to build and maintain trust in a long-distance relationship. Alternatively, get your trust issues resolved by following the steps in this workbook.

Being Apart for Extended Periods

Long-distance relationships are romantic relationships where a couple is separated by geographical distance. Since it is a romantic type of relationship, you expect to have physical intimacy with your partner.

In a long-distance relationship, physical intimacy is only possible when you visit each other. If you have the means and the time to visit each other as often as you’d like, you can make your long-distance relationship last for a little longer. Many couples don’t have the luxury of visiting each other regularly. And, after some time, they start feeling sexually frustrated.

If you and/or your partner feel sexually frustrated, you should be mindful of how this frustration affects other areas of your relationship. Without this awareness, you may find yourself in an unhealthy relationship that leaves you feeling on edge most of the time.

Here are some ideas on how to keep your long-distance relationship alive.

Personal Insecurities

Personal insecurities need to be recognised, addressed and managed before they become a problem in your relationship.

Long-distance relationship give a lot of time and space to each partner, this can be either good or bad, depending on how people use them. Many times, being with your own thoughts can be dangerous as you may create stories about what your partner may or may not be doing.

Your insecurities can influence the way you see your relationship. While rationally, you can assess your circumstances, insecurities can affect the way you perceive reality.

In a relationship, it can manifest as creating stories that are not true, or stories that have no basis. which leads to doubts, arguments and conflicts with your partner.

Click here to learn more about insecurities in a long-distance relationship.

Setting Boundaries

Boundaries are all about informing your partner about your preferences regarding different aspects of your relationship. Not setting boundaries in a relationship is quite common, but it is one of the most important things to do, particularly in a long-distance relationship.

A common mistake is to assume that your partners know what you like and how you like it. Then, it is an assumption that if your partner doesn’t know it they don’t love you. It would sound like “If you’d love me, you’d know…”. This is a dangerous assumption that creates unnecessary pressure and strains your relationship as a whole.

Instead of assuming that your partner knows everything about you, let them know how you feel and what you need at the time, every time.

Click here to learn how you can express your needs and set boundaries in your relationship.

Managing Expectations

In order to expressing your expectations with each other, you first need to know what these expectations are.

You need to be clear about what you want from this relationship and expect from your partner and be open to hear what your partner wants from this relationship and from you too.

It is also worth taking the time to reflect on what you expect from yourself as a partner. Once you know each other’s expectations, making a long-distance relationship work becomes that much easier.

For a complete guide on what it takes to make a relationship work over a long distance, take a look at this article.


Uncertainty stands from the lack of planning. The lack of planning can be a result of not being clear of your goals and expectations or finding it challenging to create a plan, and not knowing what to consider.

Relationships is general have many uncertainties, but long-distance ones can have even more, just because of the nature of being apart and not knowing when, or how you can be together again.

If you still don’t have a plan for your long-distance relationship, click here to create one today together with your partner.


Long-distance relationships are certainly challenging for many reasons. For the most part, with good communication and trust, most issues can be resolved with relative ease. The problems turn into struggles when couples fail to recognise and address their issue in time.

Take a look at the most common problems in long-distance relationships to get ahead and sort them out before it’s too late.

Many long-distance couples face struggles of emotional nature, which can be managed with some knowledge and understanding. In terms of circumstances, some are harder to manage than others due to resources like time and money.

In any case, start by reflecting on your relationship with your partner to see where both of you stand with it, how committed you are to making it work and what it would take for you to be together.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I cope with a long-distance relationship?

For you to cope with the long-distance relationship, you should understand why your relationship brings you suffering instead of joy. When you know what’s not working, you can share it with your long-distance partner and together find a solution to these problems.

How do couples cope with long-distance relationships?

Couples cope with long-distance relationships in different ways. Some suppress their negative emotions and try to make the long-distance relationship last as long as they can. Others try to work out their problems and attempt to have a healthy and successful long-distance relationship.

How to cope with being in a long-distance relationship?

When you are in the long-distance relationship, you should aim to enjoy it rather than trying to cope with it. Coping implies a struggle. A relationship should contribute to your well-being and happiness and not make it hard. That’s why the separation while long-distance shouldn’t last for too long.

What if I can’t cope with a long-distance relationship?

If you can’t cope with a long-distance relationship, sometimes it’s better to end it. When you are in love with someone who lives far away, you can try to make your long-distance relationship work for a short while. Effective communication and regular visits will help you to do so. However, being away from your romantic partner for a long time can bring you suffering instead of joy. If that is the case, it can be better for everyone to end your relationship and find a romantic partner with whom you can be together.

What are everyday struggles in a long-distance relationship?

Most common struggles in a long-distance relationship are miscommunication and lack of physical intimacy. It’s hard to make your long-distance relationship work if you cannot express your thoughts, feelings and hear each other out. To deal with the lack of physical intimacy, you could schedule regular visits and romantic trips together.

How do you fix a struggling long-distance relationship?

– Agree with your partner on how long the distance in your relationship will last.
– Make a plan to maintain your long-distance relationship for as long as it lasts.
– Discuss when and how is the best way for you to communicate.
– Avoid excessive communication, which can lead to a waste of time and a boring relationship.
– Agree on how often you will visit each other while in a long-distance relationship.
– Spice up your long-distance relationship with gifts, romantic surprises, and spontaneous trips together.
– Have a specific end date for you to move in together.

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.

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