Why Long-Distance Relationships Fail

Long-distance relationships fail for several reasons. But there are ways to work around most of them.

Long-distance relationships fail because couples don’t plan how long the distance will last and how they will manage their relationship in the meantime. When your long-distance relationship lasts for too long, your feelings change and may fade away. If you don’t know how to fix the problems, they will accumulate and ruin your relationship.

Long-distance relationships fail for many different reasons. In a lot of cases, the lack of physical intimacy can be too much to bear. Sometimes it can be as simple as a couple deciding that they are not a match. But I wouldn’t say it’s a failure.

In this article will take a look at the main reasons why long-distance relationships fail. We’ll see how a few fundamental things can make or break your relationship.

The #1 Reason Why Long-Distance Relationships Fail

While there are many reasons for your long-distance relationship to end, there’s only one reason for it to fail. Any healthy relationship needs a couple to communicate well and understand each other.

Likewise, guilt, blame, shame and ignorance are destructive for any relationship. And a long-distance relationship is not an exception. If you get on as a couple, then you would be happy to put in the effort to make your relationship joyful and exciting. 

But, if your circumstances change or you no longer feel the attraction, it’s best to end it. If you get on with each other but aren’t feeling the romance, you can stay friends. To create a successful relationship, you need to understand each other. You also must be able to identify the problems and fix them with effective communication

What separates a long-distance relationship from any other is the distance. If you are starting a long-distance relationship, find out how the distance affects your relationship. A long-distance relationship is an incomplete romantic relationship, so don’t expect it to fulfil your physical affection needs. This expectation is the main reason why long-distance relationships fail. 

For the time you are apart, expect your need for physical intimacy to remain unfulfilled. Without physical closeness, you may feel sad or frustrated. But at least you won’t feel lost and confused.

When you know the reason for your sadness or frustration, you can find a way to manage it.

Do Long-Distance Relationships Always Fail?

According to statistics, you aren’t very likely to succeed in your long-distance relationship. But the very reason long-distance relationships fail is the same reasons why you can make it work.

Many couples approached a long-distance relationship the same way they do a regular one. But a long-distance relationship isn’t a real and complete romantic relationship because you are away from your romantic partner.

Being away from your partner means that you will have a lack of physical intimacy as long as you live apart.

It means that you can maintain a long-distance relationship for a short while. Still, long term it will lead to sexual frustration, loneliness, anxiety, depression.

Your long-distance relationship may start because you met a special someone on holidays or maybe you’ve met online. When you meet a new person, it’s a clean slate, aside from a ton of baggage each of you carries. With time you get to know this baggage, and this may cause you to grow fonder or call it off. 

Either way, you gave it a go and hopefully, you enjoyed the journey of getting to know someone new.

Your long-distance relationship is more likely to fail if you don’t deal with the baggage you bring into your relationship from past experiences. If you’d like to work on some issues, talk to your partner about them to see if they can help.

Be open to learning everything there is to know about your special someone. 

Likewise, make sure you are comfortable sharing your story, your values and your preferences. If you find yourself less than free to express and share, then maybe it’s not the right person to share it with. Or you may need to practice sharing. 

When Do Long-Distance Relationships Fail? 

Long-distance relationships fail when a couple doesn’t have a plan for how long it will last. Without the plan, your long-distance relationship becomes an ongoing experience. Doing long distance without a plan and a timeline is enough for your relationship to fail.

When you have a plan for how long your long-distance relationship will last, you will know when you will be able to move in together. In difficult times, this knowledge will reassure you that long-distance relationships aren’t that bad and actually have many benefits.

While you can see the extra time you get to spend by yourself as loneliness, it can also be an opportunity for you to do the things you enjoy with people you love.

But at some point, you will want to be with your partner. Having a plan and a timeline help to reassure you that you are heading in the right direction. And that your long-distance relationship is temporary and you will be moving in and living together with the person you love at a specific date.

Long-distance relationships also fail when you don’t have a strategy to resolve problems. Clarity of your communication with your long-distance partner can help you maintain understanding and emotional connection. It will also help you resolve problems.

Without effective communication, you won’t be able to express yourself clearly, which will lead to confusion and misunderstandings. Constant misunderstandings will lead to unnecessary fights and arguments, which will ruin your relationship or at least make it very unpleasant.

If you are serious about making your relationship work, communication is the very first thing you should be focusing on. While it may be hard to know where to begin, you can use this workbook to give you guidance and take you through necessary steps:

Improve communication in your long-distance relationship - WORKBOOK

How Do Long-Distance Relationships Fail? 

Usually, long-distance relationships fail slowly over time. You share intimate things with someone who is part of your life even if they are not physically present all the time.

However, there comes a time in a long-distance relationship when it lasts for too long. For the first couple of months, you may wish to be with your partner, but there are things you can do with people around you and fun things you can do online with your partner.

But after some time, you’re naturally asking yourself what kind of relationship is this. You’re having a romantic partner while you are deprived of sexual intimacy, and close to forming another romantic relationship. It can be confusing for your body and your mind.

When you feel deprived and frustrated, it can lead to increased arguments and negative feelings. The worse you feel, the more you argue, and the more you argue, the worse you feel. At this point, you are entering a perpetual cycle of things going from bad to worse.

Depending on your attachment and commitment, you can get stuck in this cycle for months and even years. The constant struggle and suffering that you end up experiencing, is the very reason why long-distance relationships get a bad reputation.

Signs Your Long-Distance Relationship Is Failing 

Here are some signs that your long-distance relationship is failing:

  • You feel sad, upset, and miserable more often than what you feel happy and fulfilled.
  • You or your partner have lost interest in your long-distance relationship.
  • You rarely talk with your long-distance partner.
  • Your partner is not making any effort to come to see you.
  • You rarely visit each other.
  • You don’t have a plan for moving in together.
  • You don’t share your feelings or intimate things.
  • You’re feeling confused about why you are in this relationship.
  • You tried fixing the problems, but nothing works.
  • Your feelings changed, or you have developed feelings for someone else.
  • The sexual frustration is getting too much.
  • You stayed in a long-distance relationship for a long time, and now you have drifted apart.

How Do You Fix a Long-Distance Relationship Failure? 

If you feel your long-distance relationship is failing, you can try to fix the problems that cause this failure.

Many long-distance relationships fail because couples don’t acknowledge that a long-distance relationship can only work healthily for a short period. When you are in a romantic relationship, you need to have your partner next to you. Otherwise, your relationship is friendship.

To fix problems in a long-distance relationship, you have to be at least willing to explore the issues and make some changes. Both you and your partner must be interested in this relationship and in making it work.

While you can try and work on some issues, sometimes the relationship has run its course.

For example, if you are fighting because of misunderstandings, you need to work on your communication. If you’re struggling with the lack of physical intimacy, you can visit each other more frequently.

However, if your feelings have changed and you drifted apart, it’s time to reassess your relationship and consider moving on.

But, before you make any major decisions, see if this workbook will help you out:


A common problem that people come across in a long-distance relationship is the lack or decrease of intimacy. Often, people refer to a reduced frequency in physical contact and particularly of sex. There is also an expectation of emotional fulfilment.

Long-distance relationships fail when a couple treat it as a complete romantic relationship. The romantic relationship includes physical affection, closeness, intimacy. Without it, it’s not a full relationship. While it’s ok for a short period, if it lasts longer, it can damage your relationship.

Physical touch reassures you that your relationship is going well and lets you know whenever is a problem. Lack of physical contact makes it hard to navigate your long-distance relationship. The only way to maintain the emotional connection and understanding is with effective communication.

Long-distance relationships fail because couples are fighting with circumstances instead of understanding them. When you view your circumstances as obstacles to your happiness, it’s a struggle. And you may choose to struggle for a short while to achieve your goal. Just remember that every moment you spend “surviving” your relationship is one moment less you get to enjoy it.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do long-distance relationships fail?

Long-distance relationships fail because couples don’t know how to handle living apart. When you try to treat a long-distance relationship as you would any other, you will fail. When you are in a romantic relationship, you should be together with your partner. It’s okay to be away for a short while, but staying in a long-distance relationship for a long time will bring more suffering than fulfilment.

Why do some long-distance relationships fail?

Some long-distance relationships fail because couples don’t have a plan for when they will be able to move in together. Others fail because of poor communication or a lack of physical intimacy. Clear and open communication will help you solve problems and maintain an emotional connection.

Is my long-distance relationship failing?

You can tell that your long-distance relationship is failing when you’re feeling miserable most of the time. Relationship supposed to bring you joy and fulfilment, not struggle and suffering. If you don’t know how to handle the problems with effective communication, these problems will accumulate. After some time, you will start feeling depressed and frustrated most of the time. That’s how you know it’s time to move on.

Are long-distance relationships doomed to fail?

Long-distance relationships fail when couples don’t recognise them for what they are. A romantic relationship with a partner who isn’t next to you is more like a friendship. You can try to maintain a physical and emotional connection for a few months. But suppose the distance lasts for too long. In that case, it will be harder to maintain this connection, problems will accumulate, and your relationship will turn into a struggle.

What makes long-distance relationships fail?

One sure thing that makes long-distance relationships fail is a lack of planning. If you have to maintain a long-distance relationship for a short while, you can do so by having effective communication, trust, and regular visits.

Why did my long-distance relationship fail?

It’s always a good idea to reflect on your long-distance relationship to see why it failed. Was it because it lasted too long? Did you have trust and understanding? Were you able to solve the problems as they come? Did you have a plan to move in together? Did you visit each other regularly to maintain physical intimacy?

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