Long-distance relationships (LDRs) can be challenging for anyone. The physical distance can be frustrating, life can tempt you at any time, friends are not always friends when it comes to supporting an LDR couple, and so on. But you've decided to power through anyway and see what comes your way. Still, there are bound to be a lot of unanswered questions in your mind about long-distance relationships, such as "Do they work?", "Can I make my LDR work?", "What are our chances of staying together long-term?" and so on. That's why we've curated this list of Long-distance Relationship FAQs or Frequently Asked Questions for Long-distance Couples. If they help you stay connected and build a healthy relationship with your long-distance partner, we consider our job done.
The FAQs of Life for Long-distance Relationships
Let's begin with the hardest question of all...
Do long-distance relationships really work?
Statistically speaking, long-distance relationships have similar 'break-up' rates; i.e., the percentage of couples in such relationships who break up after a specific period of time compared to the same percentage for GCRs or geographically close relationships. Based on five different research studies and surveys, the percentages of break-ups between couples in an LDR situation are as follows:
Between 3 and 6 months:
GCR Break-up Rate = 21%
LDR Break-up Rate = 37%
On the surface, it appears that LDR couples have a higher break-up rate in the crucial 3 to 6 month period after the relationship begins. But look what happens when you cross the 6-month threshold:
Between 6 months and 1 Year:
GCR Break-up Rate = 30%
LDR Break-up Rate = 25%
Interesting, right? What this data shows is that if LDR couples stay together until the critical 6-month stage, they're actually less likely to break up after that. In contrast, GCR couples who remain together for longer than 6 months have a higher chance of breaking up. The whole equation has now been turned on its head. Now look at couples who have been together for more than a year:
1 Year and Above:
GCR Break-up Rate = 25%
LDR Break-up Rate = 8%
Whoa! Did you see that? The break-up rate for long-distance and online dating dropped down to less than 10% after a year, while GCR break-ups still remained at the 25% level.
While this does not conclusively prove anything, it is certainly an indication that long-distance relationships aren't necessarily doomed to fail, as many people around you might want you to think. So, the next time someone says to your face, "It won't work", just throw this statistic in theirs!
How common are long-distance relationships?
Data shows that nearly 3% of America's couples are in a long-distance relationship - and that's just married couples who are separated by reasons other than marital discord or voluntary separation. Moreover, at least 10% of the population has been in a long-distance relationship for some duration of the first three years of marriage. This is most likely due to the fact that getting married early means you're also dealing with new career choices at the same time, and there are more options to move somewhere else for a better job.
With the onset of the novel coronavirus and the global COVID-19 pandemic looming large, millions of couples around the world are now forced to be away from each other. The main reasons are travel restrictions, border entry bans, and the rising number of new positive cases in many parts of the world. If you're in a forced LDR because of COVID-19, we have some tips to help you
. We hope they're of help.
Is infidelity more common with LDRs than with GCRs?
This is one of the most common questions we get asked. Logically speaking, it's understandable that people would think this is true. After all, your partner is in a different location, your social life hasn't come to a complete halt, and you're a human being with human needs. There's good news and bad news here for long-distance couples.
The good news is that LDR couples are no more likely to cheat on their partners than GCR couples. This comes from various research studies that show no discernable difference in the number of instances of infidelity between the two groups.
The bad news is that LDR couples tend to worry a lot more about infidelity because they feel that there's a lack of control over the physical movements and whereabouts of their loved ones. While this is certainly more of a psychological fear than an evidence-based one, it is, nevertheless, a problem.
The only way to calm your mind is to talk to each other and strengthen your commitment to one another in various ways. Communication is key, but a high level of mutual respect is equally important. Make sure you spell it out that the other person means a lot to you. Sadly, most couples think it's a given; it's not.
Is an LDR less satisfying than a GCR?
As you can imagine, satisfaction in this case is a hard metric to measure. It's not about numbers. It's about how a person feels. Nonetheless, various studies have been conducted on the level of trust, intimacy, and commitment in different types of relationships. From the vast amount of data generated around these subjects, psychologists have gathered that a GCR is not necessarily more satisfying than a long-distance relationship.
They way they arrived at this inference is by comparing the different positive and negative effects of a particular fact as it applied to GCR and LDR couples. For instance, physical proximity; they found that while this is a negative for LDRs because there's a lack of it, they also found that it's not always a great thing for GCR couples. Couples living together are more often than not irritated by each other's personal habits and mannerisms, which is something that people living away from each other are not burdened by.
The sum total of these analyses is that a long-distance relationship cannot be considered to be less satisfying than a geographically close relationship. Interestingly, they also found out that the absence of physical intimacy in the form of hand-holding, cuddling, kissing, etc. is not a major point of concern for couples in any kind of relationship - GCR or LDR. According to Jenny Oyston, a professional counselor with nearly twenty years of experience:
In healthy relationships, although the level of passion may decrease, the emotional connection gets deeper and more fulfilling; partners who are able to talk openly feel no inhibitions about sharing any concerns and expressing their needs and responses.
In the end, satisfaction is a visceral experience rather than a physical or even an intellectual one. It has to be felt inside, and that's not something that comes from physical intimacy alone.
How often should long-distance couples meet?
The unambiguous answer to that one is: as often as you can. Despite the quality of relationships being equal for both GCRs and LDRs, there's something about physical proximity that stirs the heart and kindles passion in a way that nothing else can.
Despite what scientists say about LDR couples being as satisfied as GCR couples, when LDR couples DO meet after a period of separation, it does a tremendous amount of good in terms of fortifying their relationship with each other and the commitment that both of them have toward the relationship itself.
What is usually the biggest challenge in a long-distance relationship?
Most experts agree that the hardest part about being in a long-distance relationship with someone is the emotional disconnect that you feel after a while. To counter the effects of this feeling, they suggest engaging in virtual activities together, like watching the same movie, reading the same book, or even engaging in an actual virtual reality experience, if that's an option.
The disconnect, though emotional, can feel very physical as well, which is why the experts also recommend trying to visit each other as often as you can afford to. These meetings act like touchpoints that satisfy your mind's craving for the other person's physical presence, and they can be emotionally fortifying.
Another idea is to keep something with you that can act as a constant reminder of your long-distance love. A photo works well in some cases, but an intriguing idea would be to get yourselves a pair of relationship lamps. Also known as Friendship Lamps
or Wi-Fi Touch Lights, these lamps connect to each other via your respective Wi-Fi connections. Once you set them up, if one of the lamps is touched on the sensor plate at the top, the other one lights up in a pre-selected color of your choosing. It's an instant way to send a "hey there" to your partner without having to get on a phone call or a messaging app.
You could also write and send love notes to each other and have them posted in various spots around your home or at your desk at work. All these are great ways to stay emotionally connected
with each other when the pain of physical distance starts to weigh on you.
We hope this small selection of the most important questions frequently asked by long-distance relationship couples has been of help to you, personally. Use the stats and data to strengthen your resolve to last the distance, and use the advice to create a strong and healthy relationship that will last a lifetime.
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and keep coming back for more. We hope to see you again real soon!