Updated April 14, 2020

Long Distance Relationship Statistics May Surprise You

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Long distance relationships are supposed to end. Isn't that what everyone says? They say you'll never make it work. The numbers tell a different story, though.

Today, 14 million couples are in long distance relationships. College, military assignments, and work keep couples apart.

How long do long distance relationships work?
4.5 months is all it takes for a long distance relationship to dissipate. It's not that the couples can't work things out. The majority let themselves worry about cheating. This causes the disaccord between partners.

How do you keep a long distance relationship?
There are 2 distinct rules:

  • Don't isolate yourself from other social situations. You need a life while your loved one is gone. If you sit and pine for him/her, it will only turn into resentment. This usually results in a break up.

  • Face any issues when you are face-to-face. Too many couples ignore the issues. They want to enjoy their time together. This only makes problems worse. Get it out in the open when you can. Then you can enjoy your time together.

How long is a 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.

How many long distance relationships don't make it?
40% of long distance relationships don't make it. Not because of the distance, though. It's because they didn't plan for changes. 70% of the broken-up relationships didn't plan for changes. In fact, the average LDR breaks up after just 4.5 months. Going from a close relationship to long distance requires quite a bit of work. There's a lot of give and take that not everyone can offer.

What percentage of high school sweethearts last?
Studies show that only 2% of high school sweethearts last.

Those who go away to college rarely make it past Thanksgiving. They call it the Turkey Dump. Thanksgiving is usually the first time high school sweethearts are back together. It's at that point that one party usually breaks off the relationship. Many chalk it up to wanting to "explore the possibilities."

Can you be in love with someone you never met?
It seems ridiculous. How could you love someone whom you've never seen face-to-face? The truth is, it does happen. Relationships often last. Verbal communication takes out the superficial feelings. You don't judge someone on their looks or nitpick their habits. Instead, you fall in love with what's inside.

What is the percentage of failed marriages?
Almost 40% of marriages end up in divorce. Of the 2 million marriages in the U.S., 800,000 fail.

How many relationships do you have in a lifetime?
According to Claire Jarvis, Director of Communications at Siemens, men and women fall in love just twice in their lives. This means just 2 "real" relationships. But most people have a total of 7 or more relationships in their lifetime. These relationships may be more casual than "true love," though.

How long should you date before getting married?
According to Ted Huston, relationship researcher, couples who dated for 25 months stay happily married. Surprisingly, couples dating for only 1½ years stay married for 7 years. Those who dated more than 3 years often divorce right away. If you're planning on getting an engagement ring soon, make sure to look at online jewelry retailers, such as Blue Nile, to save some money. If you're asking "Is Blue Nile a good deal," make sure to read our full review.

More Surprising Statistics About Long Distance Relationships

  1. Long distance relationships are a part of the college experience.
    It's almost like a rite of passage. Almost 75% of college students claim to have had an LDR at least once during college. Maybe it's a part of growing up? High school sweethearts are the most common long distance couples. Not all start in high school, though.

  2. Even married couples have long distance relationships.
    Almost 3.75 million American couples live apart from one another. Spouses in the military make up a large portion of the couples. But today, the economy forces more married couples to live separately. Better opportunities away from home keep couples apart.

  3. Long distance relationship couples often have better communication.
    Living apart from a significant other forces deeper communication. You lose that sense of mundaneness when you don't see one another every day. Many consider it the "honeymoon" phase. You just get to live it over and over again.

  4. Your loved one wants to hear the daily "boring" stuff.
    It might seem more important to get melodramatic. You think you must profess your undying love. Dr. Gregory Guldner of the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships says don't. Instead, talk about the boring stuff. Talk about what you ate for dinner or your recent issue at work. Loved ones want to hear the daily stuff; it helps them feel connected.

  5. Communication means more than talking.
    Intimacy is complicated in a long distance relationship. Sexting is a necessity, according to Rachel Moheban-Wachtel, a relationship psychotherapist. Sharing fantasies and staying open helps you stay connected.

  6. Texting isn't enough to keep the relationship alive.
    Texting is convenient, but it's not personal. Acronyms and emojis aren't the same as a real conversation. Rachel Moheban-Wachtel suggests making it a habit to have nightly talks. It helps keep the connection alive, something texting can't do for you. Get on the phone or Skype. Connecting verbally can save your relationship.

  7. Worrying about cheating can cause breakups.
    LDR couples aren't at any higher risk of a cheating on a significant other than close couples. However, the worry it can cause can wreak havoc on a relationship. It's all about trust. If you can't trust your loved one, your relationship may be doomed.

  8. Long distance relationships aren't more likely to end during the first 3 months than other relationships.
    A study conducted by Central Michigan University found that LDRs and other relationships were tied; they both had the same statistics within the first 3 months. It's after that honeymoon phase that things start to change.

  9. LDRs often last because of fantasies or idealizations.
    People in an LDR often fantasize about their relationship. They aren't faced with the daily trials and tribulations. They remember their loved one in a somewhat falsely positive manner. They overlook the negatives they would see in person.

  10. Relationship quality isn't based on geography, but on individual personalities.
    A study between close couples and LDRs showed no difference between the relationships themselves. The differences occurred between the individual personalities. Couples in a long distance relationship aren't doomed because of the space between them. Their communication and level of trust dictates their success.

  11. Women aren't as fragile as you think.
    Women are often portrayed as the weaker sex. Research shows that they handle the distance in long distance relationships better than men. They even handle breakups better. Women have an easier time adjusting, which is just a part of their nature. Men often resist change. This makes the physical separation difficult for them.

  12. Many relationships end at the physical reunion.
    You'd think couples would be happy to be back together. The opposite is often true, though. 33% of reunited couples end up breaking it off 3 months after the reunion.

The Takeaway

Falling in love with someone hundreds of miles away isn't hopeless. The statistics speak for themselves. It's about how you handle the relationship that matters. Don't restrict your love interests to your zip code. Broaden your horizons and see who's out there waiting for you.

Sources and References:

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