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Why Long-Distance Relationships Don’t Work

By , 18, Staff Writer Originally Published: September 10, 2012 Revised: August 22, 2013

When you hear the phrase “long-distance relationship,” the first thought that probably comes to mind is a romantic correspondence through beautifully written letters stained by a lone teardrop. Sadly, this is a fantasy created by Hollywood. In reality, long-distance relationships are rarely this romantic and often don’t work

Long-distance relationships are relationships between two people where they are rarely able to see each other because of how far apart they live. I don’t mean that your boyfriend or girlfriend lives in the next town over and you can’t get a ride. I mean a serious distance like from the West Coast to the East Coast.

I know from experience that long-distance relationships typically start out very positive, with both partners saying things like, “I will call you every weekend,” or, “Let’s video chat every night.” Sure, these promises may work out at first, but as time goes on the two of you communicate less frequently. When your only interaction with a person is through the Internet or over a phone, communication with your partner can begin to take a backseat to hanging out with your friends or writing a paper that is due next week. As both of your lives go on and your conversations continue to decline, the feelings you once had start to fade and the relationship loses meaning.

Chances are that even while you are in a relationship, you will have moments where you feel attracted to a different person.

Technology Doesn’t Make You Feel Closer

A lot of people think they can maintain a relationship by using new technology, like video chatting and texting. While it’s true that these forms of communication are great because they let you talk frequently and give you “face to face contact,” they are never a substitute for actually being with a person.

In fact, relying on video chats and texts can even be detrimental to a relationship. A key part of most relationships is the sexual attraction and connection between partners. In person, it is easy to convey these feelings through hugging, kissing and other expressions of physical intimacy. In a long distance relationship these forms of expression are often replaced with “sexting” and sexual video chats. Sure this gives you both a thrill, but a relationship cannot be sustained through this type of behavior because your interactions become predominantly sexual and your emotional connection will likely fade. I know this because I speak from experience.

Remaining Faithful in a Relationship

If you and your partner don’t sext, you will be faced by another challenge: staying faithful. Chances are that even while you are in a relationship, you will have moments where you feel attracted to a different person. It’s possible to never act on these urges and remain faithful, but this can be hard in a long-distance relationship. I don’t mean to say that every long-distance relationship ends in cheating, but the reality is that if you spend time with someone other than your partner, while rarely seeing your partner, you may develop feelings for someone else.

Right now most of you are probably thinking, sure, that happens to other people, but those things would never happen in my relationship. It is true that you may have a successful long-distance relationship, but there is also the possibility that it will be too difficult to maintain a relationship when you rarely see each other in person.

Be Close Friends

If you care for someone and have a close bond with them, is a long-distance relationship the best idea? Wouldn’t it be safer to stay close friends and not risk the emotional fall out of breaking up after trying to make a long-distance relationship work? If you feel strongly enough for a person that you want to be in a relationship with them, it probably means that you have a very powerful bond with them. I don’t think this type of bond should ever be risked by entering into a long-distance relationship. In the long run, it is better to ensure that you will always be friends.

Editor’s Note: Read “Long-Distance Relationships Can Work” for a different view of long-distance relationships.

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