9 Long-Distance Relationship Mistakes That Can Lead To A Breakup (2023)

When you and your partner live in different cities — or even different countries — a lot of your energy as a couple will be devoted to maintaining your connection. You’ll send an abundance of texts, have standing FaceTime dates, and maybe mail each other a cute letter or two. But even when you do your best to stay in touch, there are a number of mistakes long-distance partners make that can lead to a breakup.

While any type of relationship takes work, long-distance relationships require a little extra effort and dedication — and it has to come equally from both partners, says Boston-based psychotherapist Angela Ficken. Big issues, like not being on the same page about communication or boundaries, will definitely chip away at your connection. But small issues can have an impact, too.

Even though it’s tough, it is possible for long-distance relationships to thrive, says Kalley Hartman, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist. If you notice any of the issues listed below, find time to chat — preferably on a video call — so you can talk it out as a duo. “It’s important to acknowledge these challenges and work together as a couple to address any issues that arise,” Hartman tells Bustle.

Here are some mistakes that people can make in a long-distance relationship, according to experts.


You Don’t Have Any Relationship “Rules”

Since long-distance relationships can lead to, well, distance, it helps to go in with a clear understanding of what your LDR will look like. In order to stay on the same page, “it's important to have open and honest conversations about what each partner wants and needs from the relationship,” Ficken says.

That means ensuring you agree on boundaries, communication, and expectations. If you part ways without having agreed on the basics — like how often you’d both like to text or even the status of the relationship — the resulting misunderstandings and frustrations can lead to a breakup.


You Make Assumptions

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Relationships that aren’t long-distance are a tad easier to navigate because you get to read body language, make eye contact, and get a sense of how your partner is feeling, and vice versa. Since that’s tougher to do in long-distance relationships, it sets the stage for assumptions, which in turn set the stage for a breakup.

That’s why, according to Hartman, it’s essential that you talk through misunderstandings ASAP before anyone has a chance to get the wrong idea. If you can do this on a video call, even better. Seeing each other while you chat lessens the chance of miscommunication — and it helps you feel closer.


You Let Other People’s Opinions Cause Doubt

“There are a lot of haters out there when it comes to long-distance relationships,” notes Samantha Newton, LCSW, a licensed clinical social worker and owner of The Therapist Suite PLLC. When you’re in one, chances are your friends and family will express doubts and worries.

According to Newton, they might suggest you date someone who lives closer or express worry that your partner will cheat. And before you know it, you’ll start to feel like they’ve got a point. While it doesn’t hurt to hear them out, these concerns are often more about them than you.

“Be cautious about who you open up to about your relationships and do not allow their personal relationship preferences to place doubt in your mind about your own,” Newton says. If your relationship is happy and strong, that’s all that matters.


You Don’t Have A Visit Planned

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Not knowing when you're going to see each other again can be really challenging, says Erin Dierickx, LMFTA, a licensed marriage and family therapist at Erin D Therapy. It can heighten feelings of loneliness, distrust, and doubt — and it’s also just kind of a bummer.

“If at all possible, schedule when you'll see each other next,” Dierickx tells Bustle. “Even if it's months out, having a set date provides hope for the relationship and lessens the discouragement and fear around what may happen in the coming months due to not knowing when you'll see each other next.”


You Forget To Schedule Dates

Scheduling date nights is just as important in an LDR as it is in person, so don’t let too many Friday nights go by without doing something fun. Think HBO watch parties, FaceTime dinner dates, or a long walk while you chat about your week.

"We become closer to others through spending time with them and a great way to do this is through some kind of activity," Dr. Alisha Powell, Ph.D., LCSW, a therapist and licensed clinical social worker, tells Bustle. "Long distance makes it more challenging, but watching movies, having dinner together, or video chatting while doing the same activity can increase emotional intimacy.”


You Miss The Red Flags

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Red flags are a little easier to miss in long-distance relationships. When you’re in person, you can kind of tell when someone’s pulling away or when you need more communication. But it’s a lot tougher to detect when you’re already miles apart.

They’re also easy to brush off as a side effect of distance, so don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s OK that you don’t text or talk about the future or hang out. “It’s important to pay attention to warning signs that the relationship is not going well, such as a lack of communication, too much distance, or a decrease in quality time,” Hartman says.

If the relationship is worthwhile, you’ll both be willing to find ways to get back on track.


Not Making Time For Intimacy

When was the last time you had phone sex? If it’s been a minute, it might be time to send a frisky text or two. According to Adina Mahalli, MSW, a certified relationship expert and mental health consultant, this is a fun way to feel closer than you actually are. "Intimacy will be heavily lacking without being in close proximity to one another, so setting time aside to have a ‘date night’ is vital for the relationship," she tells Bustle. Even though you can't physically touch, you can form a strong virtual connection.

If this is something that feels awkward for you and your partner, maybe try starting out via text message, and then working up to more intimate methods like phone and video.


You Neglect Your Own Lives

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Too much of a good thing can sometimes be a problem. For example, if you're both working hard to create a healthy relationship, it can get to the point where most of your time is spent thinking about each other. While that’s adorable, you need to take care of yourselves, as well as your partnership, in order for it to last.

As Powell says, “It’s important for both partners to have their own lives so that they won’t end up resenting each other." It’s totally OK to put your phone down, take a breather, see friends, or spend some time alone.


You Only Talk About Important Things

"Staying open and communicating regularly is very important in a long-distance relationship," Mahalli says. But in addition to the frequency that you connect, the actual things you talk about are important, too. In other words, not everything has to be big and heavy or related to your relationship. In fact, it shouldn’t be.

"Speaking about trivial things that happened during the day is equally important for maintaining a healthy long-distance relationship," she says. Think about it: if you lived with your partner or saw them often, you’d probably share work stories and dumb jokes, and you’d talk about the weather or a dog you saw. These everyday comments are what make a relationship fun — and they build a lasting connection.


Angela Ficken, psychotherapist

Kalley Hartman, LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist

Samantha Newton, LCSW, licensed clinical social worker

Erin Dierickx, LMFTA, licensed marriage and family therapist

Dr. Alisha Powell, Ph.D., LCSW, therapist and licensed clinical social worker

Adina Mahalli, MSW, certified relationship expert, mental health consultant

This article was originally published on


Is it reasonable to break up because of long-distance? ›

You shouldn't throw away a good relationship just because of distance, but if you can't live together because neither of you will compromise (with or without good reason), then the distance is no longer the issue but the commitment to each other is. That's OK, but you need to admit it to each other.

When should you call it quits in a long-distance relationship? ›

If you feel like your long-distance partner is keeping you down or holding you back, it's time to end the relationship. This is especially true if you're young or still in school—you don't want to look back on these years and think that you wasted them with someone you didn't truly love.

What causes breakup in long-distance relationship? ›

The absence of genuine love. You don't love your partner, and you're just not strong enough to tell them that. You think that your relationship was only good because you have something to gain until it all changes. You think more of how an LDR can be complicated and exhausting rather than focusing on making it work.

What can break a long-distance relationship? ›

Reasons to Break Up a Long-Distance Relationship

They don't have a specific goal, a plan and a timeline. They have too much uncertainty, which causes doubts and worries. Poor communication that leads to confusion.

How do you not ruin a long-distance relationship? ›

Tips for Surviving a Long-Distance Relationship
  1. Talk in the Morning and at Night. ...
  2. Meet in Person Regularly. ...
  3. Always Have Your Next Outing Planned. ...
  4. Visit One Another in the Places Where You Live. ...
  5. Be Prepared to Schedule Emergency Visits. ...
  6. Surprise One Another With Gifts. ...
  7. Don't Be Afraid to Sext.
Sep 22, 2022

How to tell if someone is cheating in a long-distance relationship? ›

So if worst comes to worst, here are signs to look out for that point to a partner who is cheating in an LDR.
  1. Your partner's always busy.
  2. Communication has gone quiet.
  3. They're hanging out with new friends but they're being vague or sneaky about it.
  4. If you ask questions, your partner gets angry or defensive.
Aug 3, 2018

Does love fade away in a long-distance relationship? ›

Fading Feelings in a Long-Distance Relationship

Without intimacy of meaningful conversations and physical closeness, the feelings that you once shared for each other may begin to fade away. The more time you spend apart, the higher the chances you have of meeting someone else.

How do you know when a relationship is over? ›

If you're not sharing what's really on your mind, it might be a sign that you no longer want a deep connection. Similarly, if you've found that the usual fun banter between you is gone, or it's difficult to have engaging conversations, your bond could be getting weaker.

How many months does a long-distance relationship last? ›

It can also last a varying amount of time. Some couples might go long-distance for a month or two, while some can spend years living apart. Having a long-distance partner doesn't mean that the relationship isn't healthy, but they might need more effort from each partner in certain areas.

What is the survival rate of long-distance relationships? ›

It turns out that 40 percent of long-distance relationships eventually come to an end. Plus, long-distance relationships that fail when changes aren't planned for are at 28 percent.

How to break up with someone you still love in a long-distance relationship? ›

Consider breaking up with a phone call or a video chat, if you can't break up in person. It's important to express your feelings as personally as possible so that your partner can get the closure that they need. Avoid breaking with a text message or using online messaging.

What is the sad thing about long-distance relationship? ›

It is common for people in long-distance relationships to report symptoms of mild depression such as difficulty concentrating, general disinterest in things, difficulty sleeping, and feeling blue. If you are in a long-distance relationship, you will without a doubt miss your partner every day.

How do I make my long-distance relationship miss me? ›

20 ways on how to make him miss you in a long-distance...
  1. Waiting is important.
  2. Don't initiate conversations.
  3. Make the most of your time.
  4. Have a separate space.
  5. Respect his space.
  6. Hangout with friends.
  7. Give him glimpses of what he is missing.
  8. Surprise him.
Sep 27, 2021

How do you save a boring long-distance relationship? ›

Activities for Long Distance Couples
  1. Personality/compatibility tests. ...
  2. Choose a book to read together. ...
  3. Cook together, taking turns to choose a recipe. ...
  4. Play some simple verbal games together. ...
  5. Exercise together. ...
  6. Change up your settings. ...
  7. Ask more detailed questions. ...
  8. Keep a daily diary but share it.

What not to say in long-distance relationship? ›

Don't be dishonest

Be brutally honest about how you feel. Never take each other's love for granted. If you sense something wrong in your partner's behaviour, talk about it.

How to deal with silent treatment in a long-distance relationship? ›

"So, how do I handle silent treatment on long distance relationship?" Take my time to have a cooling-off period to get a breath and calm down. Give my partner space, he may needs more time to calm down. After a week or two weeks but he still didn't try to reach me, I will text him.

How do you know if he loves you in a long-distance relationship? ›

If they truly love you, they will respect you and the things that matter to you, which can be anything from your dreams for the future or what you want in life. It's not enough to love someone. They must also respect who you are as a person in your absence if it's going to work out in the long run.

What is Microcheating? ›

Micro-cheating is a term used to describe small, seemingly harmless actions or behaviours that may indicate a partner is emotionally or physically involved with someone else.

Who cheats more in long-distance relationship? ›

Who cheats more in a long-distance relationship? In a long-distance relationship, the person who has stronger unfulfilled needs is more likely to cheat. For example, you might be okay to go without sex for a few weeks, while your partner may start craving sex after one week.

When the spark fades in a relationship? ›

Relationship challenges, conflicts, and concerns can cause partners to feel that the initial “spark” of love has gone. When couples say they no longer feel a “spark,” it may mean that they're missing the initial feeling of infatuation or that long-term commitment has become challenging.

How do you know if a long-distance relationship is fading? ›

Signs Your Long-Distance Relationship Is Falling Apart
  • You don't talk as much as you used to.
  • You don't see each other often enough.
  • You or your long-distance partner avoid meaningful conversations about your feelings and your relationship.
  • You don't have a plan to get together.

Why do I feel like I'm fading away? ›

The exact triggers for the feelings of Depersonalization aren't known, but in the vast majority of cases it's caused by stress and trauma. This can be something like a car accident, abuse, violence, a panic attack, or as is becoming more common, a bad experience on drugs like weed and LSD.

What are the 5 stages of breakup? ›

They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, according to Mental-Health-Matters. These are the natural ways for your heart to heal.

What is stonewalling in a relationship? ›

What does it mean to stonewall someone? In simple terms, stonewalling is when someone completely shuts down in a conversation or is refusing to communicate with another person.

What are red flag warnings in a relationship? ›

Red flags in a relationship include excessive jealousy and frequent lying. You should also be wary of a partner who frequently criticizes you or puts you down. Another major red flag is an unwillingness to compromise — relationships shouldn't be one-sided.

What month is the hardest in a long-distance relationship? ›

The four-month is the hardest mark to achieve in a long-distance relationship and the moment with the highest probability of breaking up. The odds of success grow significantly after eight months into the relationship.

What's the longest a long-distance relationship lasted? ›

Long distance relationships are not temporary.

Far from it. The longest clocked in at 44 years (!) but there were five relationships reported over 30 years and at least a dozen more that lasted over a decade. Keep this in mind next time you think a week away from your significant other is too much.

Can long-distance exes get back together? ›

That being said, the good news is that it's absolutely possible to get back together even if your ex lives far away. I've seen my coaching clients succeed in reversing their long distance breakups hundreds of times in the past, so it can certainly be done.

Are long-distance relationships unhealthy? ›

Long-distance relationships can be problematic for the growth of a healthy relationship. The ramifications can also affect your mental health in negative ways. But it's also possible to thrive in a long-distance relationship. Distance can indeed make the heart grow fonder.

Do long-distance relationships fight? ›

Long-distance relationships are sometimes more stressful than people expect. When daily life is busy and you don't have enough time for each other, the pressure starts to build up. That's often when couples notice that they're fighting more often than they'd like to.

Are long-distance couples stronger? ›

The great thing about a long-distance relationship is that it can help strengthen the bond that goes beyond the physical between you and your partner, because you have more time to talk to each other about yourselves and about each other. A long-distance relationship fosters communication and trust-building.

What does an unhealthy long-distance relationship look like? ›

A red flag for an unhealthy relationship and controlling behavior is if your partner is messaging you constantly, asking where you are or demanding that you send pictures of people that you're with. They might say, “I want to make sure you're not with anyone I don't like,” or “I'm just checking in on you.”

Why do long-distance relationships feel so hard? ›

LDRs require a huge amount of open, straight-forward communication to properly work, and this can often be difficult to manage over the phone. Heck, it's hard to manage in person! It can also be hard to establish boundaries and the right amount of communication if you're doing long distance for the first time.

What makes a man crave you? ›

Just like every woman loves to be desired, men too love the feeling of being wanted or appreciated. Make sure your compliment your man more often than not. Do not restrict your compliments to just his looks. Tell him how you appreciate him doing things for you or how you liked the way he dealt with a certain situation.

How do you get your connection back in a long-distance relationship? ›

Activities to try
  1. Watch a movie together. Thanks to the rise of streaming, you can watch movies or TV shows on opposite sides of the world. ...
  2. Go for a walk. ...
  3. Take up a hobby together. ...
  4. Cook and eat a meal together. ...
  5. Plan a date night. ...
  6. Make each other a part of family and friend gatherings. ...
  7. Do chores together.
Oct 28, 2019

How do you make him miss you and want you back? ›

10 proven ways to make a guy miss you
  1. Deliberately leave things behind. ...
  2. Give him some personal space. ...
  3. Make him wait before replying his texts. ...
  4. Take things slow. ...
  5. Wear a unique perfume. ...
  6. Add some mystery to your experiences together. ...
  7. Have adventures with him (and your friends)
Jan 18, 2018

How to make your long-distance boyfriend miss you like crazy? ›

How To Make Him Miss You In A Long Distance Relationship
  1. You Must Have An Endpoint. ...
  2. Use The Extra Time You Have Effectively. ...
  3. Make Yourself Happy. ...
  4. Be Your Own Source Of Self-Assurance. ...
  5. Make Your Calls Something He Looks Forward To. ...
  6. Deliver Boyfriend Benefits From Afar. ...
  7. Support, love and companionship.
Nov 1, 2017

When long-distance relationship becomes boring? ›

Focus on keeping your conversations to the point. Avoid boring phone calls; find something exciting to share. Explore different ways to feel connected other than talking on the phone. Send your long-distance partner an occasional handwritten letter with a few photographs of yourself doing something fun.

What is the boring stage of a relationship? ›

A boring relationship is often characterized by a loss of interest, affection, and attention. Being comfortable in your relationship is a good thing—but boredom can signify that things need to change.

What percentage of long-distance relationships break up? ›

It turns out that 40 percent of long-distance relationships eventually come to an end. Plus, long-distance relationships that fail when changes aren't planned for are at 28 percent.

Is it worth staying in a long-distance relationship? ›

The great thing about a long-distance relationship is that it can help strengthen the bond that goes beyond the physical between you and your partner, because you have more time to talk to each other about yourselves and about each other. A long-distance relationship fosters communication and trust-building.

Do I need to break up with my long-distance boyfriend? ›

Reasons to Call it Quits in Your Long-Distance Relationship

You feel emotionally overwhelmed. You no longer enjoy being with your partner or talking to them. You and your partner have different life goals. You don't see that moving in together is realistic, given your current circumstances.

Do long-distance relationships last? ›

First of all, be comforted in knowing that long distance relationships can absolutely succeed. In fact, most couples find themselves geographically separated at some point during their dating or marriage relationship. Many couples even point to a season of long distance as the cornerstone of a stronger relationship.

How many miles is considered long-distance relationship? ›

Most people consider 125 miles or more apart a long distance relationship. Of course, there are differing opinions on this. If you can't see your partner daily or a few times a week, it's long distance.

Does long-distance relationship break up hurt? ›

But, if you really love someone, then, of course, they're doable and worth all that extra effort. Until they aren't—and it's time to call it quits. Ending a long-distance relationship will likely fare you well later down the road, but the initial breakup will be painful, as with any other breakup.

How many long-distance relationships end in failure? ›

A study found that 40% of long-distance relationships fail. While not every long-distance relationship will go wrong, and there's nearly always nuance when it comes to the ins and outs of individual romantic partnerships, it is true that people in long-distance relationships face unique struggles.

Does absence make the heart grow fonder? ›

The absence, they say, helps them to appreciate their partner more and makes the relationship stronger. In fact, people in long-distance relationships tend to maintain their relationships longer, be less likely to break up, and be more in love and satisfied than people in geographically close relationships.

How do you know if long-distance is worth it? ›

Here are 10 signs that you and your partner could go the distance.
  1. They ask about your day. ...
  2. They send packages in the mail. ...
  3. They tell their family about you. ...
  4. They listen. ...
  5. You're able to work through arguments together. ...
  6. They trust you. ...
  7. They give you space. ...
  8. Every visit is a reminder of why the distance is worth it.
Nov 26, 2018

How do you end a long-distance relationship nicely? ›

How to End Your Long-Distance Relationship | The Right Way
  1. Acknowledge your feelings.
  2. Share your feelings with your partner.
  3. Ask your partner how they feel about your relationship.
  4. Share your worries and concerns.
  5. Together, make a decision that works for both of you.

How do you know if your long-distance boyfriend is losing interest? ›

Signs Your Long-Distance Partner Is Losing Interest
  • They don't communicate with you as often as they used to.
  • Your partner avoids having meaningful conversations.
  • When you talk to your long-distance partner, they keep their conversations short and avoid talking about feelings or the relationship.


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