In this guide we’re going to address eight specific long distance relationship problems that you might be familiar with, but are unsure how to approach them.
All relationships, long distance or not, will have their struggles. What’s important is how you navigate your way through them as a team.
So to take it a step further, we’re giving you actionable advice and tools to tackle the following LDR problems head on:
- Fighting & arguments
- Making time go faster
- Sex & intimacy
- Running out of things to talk about
- Uncertainty about the future
- Losing attraction
- Fear of cheating
1. Jealousy In A Long Distance Relationship
Jealousy can feel like it’s eating you from the inside out, as it slowly impacts your emotional state and potentially your relationship (if not dealt with quickly).
The question is, how can we manage jealousy so that it doesn’t get to that point? The answer comes in two stages; identification and communication.
Identifying what makes as feel jealous
This is where self-awareness is important. As you start to have feelings of jealousy, you need to ask yourself:
What is triggering these feelings?
- Specific situations your partner puts themselves in?
- Specific people your partner hangs out with?
- Trusting what your partner tells you?
Once you have a better understanding of what the cause is, the next step is to be open with your partner.
Having a calm discussion
While it might feel like a daunting experience, calmly expressing and clarifying how you feel is the most important factor. Without it, there is no chance of fixing the issue in front of you.
2. Fighting A Lot In A Long Distance Relationship
We all know that fights and arguments are normal part in any relationship. What isn’t normal is when they occur too often and put unnecessary long term stress on a relationship.
How do we deal with inevitable long distance relationship fights in a way that allows us to come to a resolution quickly?
It’s not a war
When we normally start an argument, we see each other as two opponents that have an issue to “debate”.
We tend to focus on bringing the right arguments to ‘win’. In reality, this scenario only creates losers.
The next time you’re having an argument, remember that you are both on the same side. The real enemy is not your partner, but the conflict itself, which is why you need to work together to understand it and defeat it.
Truly understanding the problem
Many fights skirt around the real issues that need resolving. Without addressing and understanding the actual problem, you’re likely to have the same unnecessary arguments over and over.
Answering these four questions can help:
- What are we actually fighting about ?
- Why are we fighting about this issue?
- What can we do to fix it?
- What can we learn from this?
For more details on how to approach these questions, check out our article: How To Handle Long Distance Relationship Fights In 4 Simple Steps.
3. Making Time Go Faster
Two things that every LDR couple goes through at some stage are:
- Feeling lonely 🙁
- Missing each other like crazy!
Trying to limit these issues as much as possible can be a big help when it comes to ‘making time go faster’ between visits. Here are three areas worth exploring.
Involving yourself in time-limited activities
Have you noticed how fast time seems to pass when you’re in the middle of a test? While tests might bring back unhappy memories, they make you focus on the task in front of you.
It’s this level of focus that makes time fly by.
One way to create time-limited activities is to break down chores or tasks into ‘blocks’ and give yourself a time limit. Knowing you don’t have all day to complete something will remove any distractions and help you to focus and complete your goal.
TIP: The Pomodoro Technique, created by Francesco Cirillo, is a process that helps to break up tasks into 25 minute focused blocks. Find out more about his technique here.
Doing something you enjoy
Being in a long distance relationship means making sacrifices because of the limited time we have with each other. But it shouldn’t come at the expense of your individual happiness.
As the saying goes:
Time flies when you’re having fun!
Whether it’s physical activity, being creative, expanding your mind etc. There are things we enjoy doing so much that time completely escapes us.
If you don’t have ‘your thing’, then it’s time to find something!
Diving into something new
We all have an interest in something, but haven’t taken the leap to trying it.
No more thinking: “I wish I did this.” or “It’s too late”. Now is the time!
There are also major health benefits to trying something new. When we challenge our brains, become physically active and engage socially our thinking skills can become sharper.
4. Long Distance Intimacy Issues
Distance can put stress on the physical aspects of a relationship but it doesn’t have to be this way. Sex and intimacy are completely possible, just not in the sense you might expect.
Options like sexting, phone sex and being intimate on video calls are all great alternatives.
You may not be willing to dive in straight away, which is 100% okay. So here are three things to think about before jumping in.
Being comfortable with your sexuality
Talking about sex is likely to be uncomfortable at first, but it will get easier over time.
Without it we won’t know each other’s wants or desires, and more importantly, each other’s limits.
Talking about these things promotes a healthy sexual life, which can only be beneficial for your relationship. Especially when you’re together physically.
Creating special moments
It may feel like a hard task when you’re miles apart. But putting extra effort into your intimate moments will make them even more memorable.
Setting the mood, creating a comfortable atmosphere and easing into it can only be of benefit. Especially if this is a new experience for you or your partner.
Being open to trying new things
We know being open and honest, sexually, can create better intimate experiences.
Trying new things can have the same result. But only if you’re comfortable doing so!
If you are, connected sex toys may be a great option. These are devices that have been developed to allow long distance couples to create immersive intimate experiences by controlling each other’s pleasure from afar.
5. Running Out Of Things To Talk About
While communication is important for all relationships, it’s imperative for long distance couples.
Most of the time, it’s all we’ve got!
At some point we drain out all the conversational topics and as a result, awkward silences start to kick in, or the conversations become more and more predictable and boring.
These are very common scenarios, which are easily fixed:
So how can we make conversations more interesting?
Expand on topics
A simple subject like “What did you do today?” can turn into an hour-long conversation if you know how to direct the conversation.
An easy way to do this is by asking follow-up questions. For example, if your partner is talking about things they did during the day, you can ask:
- How did that make you feel?
- What happened after that?
- How is he/she?
- Tell me more about it, etc.
These examples are known as open ended questions as they can’t be answered with ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Use questions for couples
The internet is always ready to help in your time of need.
There are literally millions of Google results on questions for couples.
Rather than picking the first option you find, think about the types of questions that are appropriate for the occasion.
- Are you just starting a relationship?
- Having a long distance date night?
- Do you want to ask deep and meaningful questions?
Knowing the theme of questions you’d like to ask each other will give you a much better result.
Here are some we recommend:
- 67 fun & lighthearted questions for couples: LoveToKnow.com
- 100 Qs to ask your partner on date nights: LifeHack.org
- 36 deep Qs to truly know your partner: ScienceOfPeople.com
Create interactive conversations
Immersive and interactive conversations are built when you’re doing something together where you can also communicate.
Try things like:
- Visiting random websites together
- Taking virtual tours of museums you can visit online
- Taking a relationship quiz and comparing answers
Creating new experiences can open up a lot of doors when it comes to conversations and learning about each other. You may even discover things about yourself that you didn’t even know!
Teach each other or learn something new
If your partner has taken an interest into one of your passions, why not teach them more about it?!
Their interest already shows they are inquisitive and are likely to have many questions about it, which is great for conversation.
Or if you both have a common interest in a topic, why not learn about it together?
Online courses are a great option, check out Udemy, which is one of the largest websites for affordable courses.
6. Uncertainty About The Future
It’s hard to fight for something that feels like it’s going nowhere. We didn’t have a plan for “closing the distance” until two years in.
Figuring out our plan was one of the best things we ever did, as it gave us a common goal that we could work towards as a couple.
Your uncertainty may not be about closing the distance, it could be about your next (or even first) visit. Whatever the case, there are ways to tackling these problems in a similar fashion.
What can we do to remove feelings of uncertainty about the future in our long distance relationships?
Create manageable goals
This quote by Benjamin Franklin rings true for long distance couples:
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Having an end goal is great. But trying to understand everything you need to do to reach the end result can be completely daunting.
This alone can give people feelings of anxiety and overwhelm, making it hard to even start.
One way of removing these feelings is to break down your goal into smaller actionable steps.
As an example, think about some of the milestones a couple in an international LDR might need to complete to plan their next visit:
- Travel insurance
- Request time off work
Now let’s add the steps they would need to take to hit those milestones:
- When can I or my partner travel?
- Research and select the right visa
- Download and fill out documents
- Send to country’s immigration office
- Review expiry and renew if needed
- Research best dates/prices to fly to X
- Book when comfortable (before or after receiving visa, time off work etc)
- Travel insurance
- Research plans and coverage
- Purchase best fit while in home country
- Request time off work
- Talk to manager
- Send request to HR
- Approved? Move on with other milestones
- Clothes for X days
- Travel documentation
- Gifts for partner and family
While it may feel like you’re creating more work for yourselves, this will paint a clear picture for moving forward. As you start to cross steps off the list you’ll start to see everything taking shape.
7. Losing Attraction
It is hard to keep the flame going when you can’t physically be together.
Overtime, this might result in feeling less “into each other”.
To be completely honest, you need to work on your relationship continuously and these are some simple ways to do it.
Look good & feel good
I get it. Why would you get out of your sweatpants when your date is via video chat in your bedroom?
The power of being well dressed should not be underestimated.
Whenever possible, make an effort to wear clothes you feel good in.
If you feel confident and sexy, they’ll see it and feel it too.
After being together for a while, conversations might have become more neutral and based on daily subjects.
Switch it up, go back to when you first met and when you were trying to win each other over.
Make them laugh
Research shows that humor and laughter are important factors in romantic attraction.
So don’t be afraid to joke and fool around!
8. Fear Of Cheating In Long Distance Relationship
One thing we have a lot of when we’re not together, is time. Time to think about our relationships, time to think about what the future holds, and time for those thoughts to sometimes spiral out of control and turn negative.
I am afraid that they’ll fall for someone else!
There goes that little inner voice again when we feel insecure.
You definitely aren’t alone in this situation and it’s totally normal to feel this way when you’re far away from your partner. Don’t forget that they might be thinking or feeling this way too.
How do we deal with the fear of cheating in a long distance relationship?
Regular communication and transparency
If you have these thoughts or feelings, it doesn’t help to bottle them up and keep them from your partner.
A conversation about cheating can feel daunting, especially when you think about how your partner will feel about bringing up the subject.
In this scenario, we are after reassurance and that’s what we should give each other when it comes up.
This does not mean we have to be controlling, or stop doing the things to make each other happy.
It’s all about making a conscious effort and doing the right thing by each other.
Throughout your relationship, some, if not all, of these LDR problems are likely to pop up. It’s how you approach and deal with them that will determine the impact they have on your relationship.
If any of these problems resonate with you, take the time to work through whichever is the most important to you right now. As you start to address them and work out how, as a couple, you can fix them. They will become easier and easier to deal with.
Final Thoughts On Long Distance Relationship Problems
While this article focuses on some of the downsides long distance couples face. It’s important to remember that there are also many upsides too.
In terms of a relationship, what you and your partner are experiencing is likely to be completely different when compared to every other couple around you.
That’s special and shouldn’t be taken for granted!
Livius founded Long Distance Lover in 2012 to bring straightforward and actionable advice to couples looking to strengthen their long distance relationships. He now acts as an advisor to the LDL team.
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