How many long distance relationships work? The surprising truth

Long distance relationships have always been a topic of debate. People usually stereotype them as doomed to fail, but in reality, the statistics show a different picture. The average long distance relationship lasts about 4.5 months, and about 40% of all long distance relationships do eventually end up in a breakup. But despite these numbers, some long distance relationships still manage to work out.

Why are Long Distance Relationships so Challenging?

The biggest challenge that long-distance couples face is the distance itself. Physical distance can make it difficult to develop intimacy, trust, and communication. Moreover, other factors such as conflicting time zones, busy schedules, and financial constraints can make it even harder for long distance couples to stay in touch and stay connected.

The Importance of Good Communication

Effective and open communication is the key to any successful relationship. But when it comes to long distance relationships, communication becomes even more crucial. Without the ability to communicate effectively, couples can’t bridge the physical distance that separates them. Therefore, it is essential to establish a good communication pattern that works for both partners.

  • Set a schedule to talk regularly
  • Use multiple forms of communication like phone calls, video chats, texting, or handwritten letters
  • Be honest and open about your feelings
  • Express appreciation and affection
  • Listen actively and pay attention to your partner’s needs

Trust is crucial

Trust is the foundation of every successful relationship. But, in a long-distance relationship, trust becomes even more critical. Without the physical presence of your partner, it’s easy for insecurities and doubts to creep in. However, building trust requires consistent behavior, honesty, and action to fulfill commitments made.

What are the Factors that Contribute to a Successful Long Distance Relationship?

A successful long-distance relationship requires a couple of essential qualities like communication, trust, mutual respect, and love. Besides these qualities, several other factors contribute to a successful long distance relationship.

The Right Mindset

One of the most critical factors for a successful long-distance relationship is having the right mindset. Couples who view the distance as an opportunity rather than an obstacle are more likely to thrive. A positive attitude creates a sense of optimism and motivation to make the relationship work. Couples who focus on the advantages of the distance, such as independence, personal growth, and the ability to pursue individual interests, are more likely to maintain a healthy relationship even in the absence of physical proximity.

Mutual Support

Couples need to support each other in the pursuit of their goals and aspirations. Even though you may not be physically present to support your partner, showing support through compliments, encouragement and celebrating their successes, can strengthen the relationship and build an emotional bond.

A Plan for the Future

A long-distance relationship cannot thrive indefinitely in a vacuum. Eventually, couples need to consider a plan for the future. Discussing the possibility of living in the same city or country can create a sense of direction and hope. Having a plan helps couples stay committed and motivated despite the current distance.

What are the Challenges of a Long Distance Relationship?

A long-distance relationship is not without its challenges. In addition to the physical distance, there are several other hurdles that long-distance couples face. Some of these challenges include:

Changes in Circumstances

Over time, circumstances can change, making it difficult to maintain a long-distance relationship. Events such as job loss, family emergencies, or unexpected personal responsibilities can all impact the relationship dynamic. When such circumstances arise, couples need to come up with ways of dealing with them together.

Mistrust and Jealousy

In long-distance relationships, it’s easy to start questioning your partner’s activities and motives. Partners may notice a lack of transparency or become possessive, causing mistrust and jealousy to creep in, which can damage the relationship. Honesty, transparency, and trust take time to build, but they can go a long way in overcoming these feelings of mistrust and jealousy.

Limited Physical Intimacy

Physical intimacy is essential in any romantic relationship. Still, in long-distance relationships, it’s harder to maintain that intimacy. Although technology has made it possible to maintain some level of physical contact, it’s impossible to replace the real thing. Couples need to be creative and find ways to keep the physical aspect of their relationship alive, even at a distance.


Long distance relationships can be challenging, but it’s not impossible to make them work. Although numbers show that about 40% of all long distance relationships do eventually end up in a breakup, a good number still manage to maintain their relationship or even strengthen it. Building trust, communication, mutual respect, having a positive attitude, supportive mindset and a plan for the future are all hallmarks of any successful long distance relationship.


Q: Can a long-distance relationship work?

A: Yes, a long-distance relationship can work depending on the mindset, dedication, and mutual commitment to make it work.

Q: How long do long-distance relationships usually last?

A: The average long-distance relationship lasts about 4.5 months, but couples who are dedicated to maintaining their relationship can last much longer.

Q: What are the challenges of a long-distance relationship?

A: Some of the challenges include distance, limited physical intimacy, changes in circumstances and mistrust and jealousy, which can impact a long-distance relationship.

Q: How do you maintain a long-distance relationship?

A: Maintaining a long-distance relationship requires effective communication, trust, mutual respect, having a positive attitude, supportive mindset and a plan for the future, among other things.

Q: What are the benefits of being in a long-distance relationship?

A: Some of the benefits include personal growth, heightened independence and autonomy, time to pursue individual interests and careers, and the ability to build an emotional connection based on communication and other non-physical aspects.


  • Stafford, L., Kline, S. L., & Rankin, C. T. (2004). Couples in long-distance relationships. Communication Studies, 55(2), 200-217.
  • Pistole, M. C., Roberts, A., & Mosko, J. (2010). Help seeking in couples’ long-distance relationships: Maintenance behaviors and commitment to the relationship. The Journal of Social Psychology, 150(3), 288-307.
  • Khazan, O. (2015). The Myth of the Successful Long-Distance Relationship. The Atlantic. Retrieved from

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