10 Disadvantages of Long-Distance Relationships

Updated on May 1, 2019
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Paul has had a number of long-distance relationships, including international. Born and raised in the UK, he now lives in Florida, USA.


With the creation of the internet and new ways to connect and communicate—such as Skype, email, social media, and text messages—long-distance relationships have become easier and increasingly common.

Even the most successful long-distance romance faces additional challenges when compared to a "normal" relationship, however. This article lists 10 of the disadvantages.

The 10 Main Downsides of Long-Distance Relationships

  1. The Traveling Can Get Tiresome
  2. Expense
  3. You Can't See Each Other Daily
  4. Your Physical Relationship Is Limited
  5. Misunderstandings
  6. Trust Issues
  7. You Live by a Schedule
  8. Loneliness
  9. Partner's Friends and Family
  10. Growing Apart

I will discuss each disadvantage in detail below.

1. The Traveling Can Get Tiresome

Whether you are traveling to another town or city each weekend to see your partner, or flying to another country several times a year, the travel can become hard work over an extended period. Even though you may look forward to meeting with your partner, you can dread the travel.

2. Expense

Long-distance relationships can be costly. For starters, all of the traveling involved can eat up a lot of money. Then there is the extra expense that can be occurred from internet, phone calls and text bills. It may seem mean to mention money, but the truth is that strained finances can be a source of contention in relationships, especially if one partner earns more than the other. Ideally, the costs should be shared.

3. You Can't See Each Other Daily

In a "normal" romance, the relationship is built and maintained through regular one-to-one contact. As wonderful as Skype is, it can never be a full replacement for this. It's true that when you do meet up together, it is more special, but you can still end up missing everyday things like eating together or watching a movie.

4. Your Physical Relationship Is Limited

Obviously your sex life is going to be almost non-existent in a distance relationship, but things like cuddling and holding hands are absent too. Generally, you just have words to convey your feelings and sometimes that doesn't feel like it's enough.

5. Misunderstandings

When you are communicating through words and there is little body language and other social clues to go on, it's much easier for misunderstandings to occur. Emails and texts can be particularly bad for causing confusion and arguments. If you are in an international relationship, the different time zones can make life difficult when you are scheduling to chat. There are just a lot more things that can go wrong when you are trying to communicate over long distance.

6. Trust Issues

Two people socializing and having fun separately can create an atmosphere of mistrust and jealousy. Both of you have to learn to be both trusting and trustworthy if the relationship is to work. You are very much reliant on what your partner is telling you, compared to a "normal" relationship. Even if they are completely open and honest, you only get their personal take on things, which may be different to what your own interpretation would be, were you there.

7. You Live by a Schedule

Although I generally enjoyed chatting with my partner after work each day, when I was in a long-distance relationship, there were times when I wished I could have more flexibility. In order for a long-distance relationship to work, you generally have to strictly schedule all your Skype chats and meet-ups and it can be difficult to alter plans at the last minute. Problems are particularly acute when you are in an international relationship, the different time zones mean that there are only a few time windows when you are able to chat.

8. Loneliness

No matter how strong that your long-distance relationship may seem, there will be times when you just want your partner to be there for you. Maybe you have had a tough day and need a hug. Maybe you feel sexually frustrated. Maybe you just want to relax and have fun with someone in person, rather than via a computer screen. There is a limit to how much involvement there can be when two people live far apart.

9. Partner's Friends and Family

One issue that is easily overlooked is that when you are in a "normal" relationship there is a tendency to have more contact with your partner's friends and family. This is useful as you get to see your partner operating in different social contexts. It is also important to know how well you get on with your partner's friends and family, if you plan ultimately to get into a serious relationship where you cohabit. Not having that wider contact can be a negative.

10. Growing Apart

This issue tends to be bigger if your relationship started out as a "normal" one, but was forced to change due to you or your partner having to move away due to college, or through work requirements. The whole dynamic of the relationship can be radically altered, as it can be easy to be drawn in by new surroundings and people, and the "old" relationship can gradually fade. The challenges can be very serious in this scenario, especially for younger people.

© 2019 Paul Goodman


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    • dashingscorpio profile image


      16 months ago from Chicago

      Excellent article!

      " The challenges can be very serious in this scenario, especially for younger people." - This is very true!

      Ultimately the goal is to be with the person you love. Older people are more likely to be in a position to travel more or relocate. Teens and college students aren't likely have a realistic timeframe for when one of them will be able to relocate to be with the other.

      Last but not least there is higher possibility for cheating.

      See numbers 3, 4, 6, 8 10 as being major contributors.

      At some point especially for college students one of them is likely to make new friends on campus, pledge a fraternity/sorority, attend parties, dances, sporting events, and find them self attracted to someone they do see and engage with frequently.

      As the old adage goes: "One thing led to another."

      Last but not least # 1, 2, and 7 often leads to #10.

      No one can go on for {eternity} in a long distance relationship.

      The longer it goes on beyond a year the less exciting it becomes having to pack bags, buy airline tickets, travel, just to spend a few days together. You can only "romanticize obstacles" for so long.


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