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4 common long-distance relationship problems and tips to avoid them

If you and your partner can survive a long-distance relationship, your relationship can probably outlast just about anything.

According to a 2018 survey, more than 40 percent of long-distance relationships don’t last in the long run.

That’s a sobering number, but it’s not insurmountable. On the flip side, it also means that more than 50% of these relationships do indeed stand the test of time. So maybe it isn’t so bad after all.

What distinguishes the relationships that make it from those that don’t? As with most things, there’s no single answer. But you can anticipate problems and address or even prevent them with a little bit of foresight and understanding.

With that in mind, here are four common problems found in long-distance relationships, and how to avoid them.

Lack of intimacy

This is the clearest and highest hurdle for long-distance relationships. Intimacy is not only physical but emotional, making it an indispensable component of any romance.

Luckily for long-term relationships, physical intimacy can be achieved, even when you’re not face-to-face. Even if frequent visits are not in the cards for you and your partner, intimacy is still possible without sex.

No matter how you define intimacy, the key is communication. More on that below.

And as for sex, with modern technology being what it is, long-distance sexual interaction is more possible today than it’s ever been. Use your imagination, talk to your partner, and get creative!


Where intimacy is lacking, jealousy is sure to follow close behind. Jealousy presents enormous challenges in any relationship, and over long distances, it can be a deal-breaker.

When many miles lie between partners, it’s hard to stay in the loop with your significant other’s activities. The worst fear is that of the unknown,which can stoke the fires of jealousy. So, even when suspicion is completely unfounded, it does make logical sense that jealousy would be only too happy to fill in for, you know, actual information.

Jealousy can be controlled. If you or your partner is feeling jealous, you can help yourself by asking these questions:

  • What is triggering my jealousy?
  • Is jealousy interfering with my relationship?
  • Has jealousy been a problem in any of my previous relationships?
  • Do I trust my partner, or is there reason to have doubts?

Communicating too much

Communication is the linchpin of a long-distance relationship together. But like an overwatered plant, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

It’s easy to communicate more frequently than you’ve intended, which can make your partner feel smothered. So if you feel like you may be communicating more than your partner, ask whether you’re sending too many messages. As with many other things in a relationship, you’ll have to find the happy medium, and that can mean communicating less frequently. This will be particularly difficult if you’re experiencing jealousy, but as previously noted that can be worked on as well.

Finally, remember to listen and receive as well as give. Good listening is an easy and effective way to build intimacy.

Not communicating enough

There’s a flip side to the communication coin. If you’re more introverted or simply do not engage in much social interaction, you may run the risk of under-communicating.

Again, the goal is finding the Goldilocks communications solution — not too much and not too little. If you’ve been known to let messages go unreturned, or if you are simply not available for lengthy or meaningful exchanges, that may cause the relationship to wither on the proverbial vine.

Communication does come easier for some than others. Having trouble thinking of what to say? Keep the ice broken and develop that all-important intimacy with these topics or activities:

  • Likes and dislikes
  • Sharing a hobby
  • Reading or movie “club”
  • Play games together
  • Discuss things that are important to you
  • Seeking and sharing opinions on important and/or personal topics

The specifics of communication are up to you and your partner, but be ready to take an active role in the relationship.

As you may have noticed, all four of these challenges are interrelated. You can’t get intimacy without effective communication, and without effective communication, jealousy can rear its ugly head.

So, pay close attention to your long-distance relationship, and make sure you’re paying attention to your partner and what he or she needs from it. One thing is for certain with long-distance relationships: if you’re not both fully invested, it can’t go very far. If you and your partner are in it for the long haul, being aware of these potential stumbling blocks will help keep your relationship on track.

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