Are Long Distance Relationships Worth It? The Stats May Surprise You

From the physical separation to the often-conflicting time zones and schedules, long-distance relationships are difficult to live through.

Making it work as a boyfriend and girlfriend is hard enough, but having long distance as part of your marriage is a whole other ballgame.

It could be that you married a foreigner or one of you moved to another city for work or studies. Whatever the case, with the new status and expectations come new issues that are only amplified by the separation.

So, is it really worth it?

Does the relationship even stand a fighting chance?

Let’s take a look at what long-distance relationship statistics say for some perspective.

4 Science-Backed Long-Distance Relationship Statistics

75% of engaged couples have been in long-distance relationships

We live in an era of globalized opportunity, not only in career paths but also in love. As a result, long-distance relationships are more common now more than ever before.

In fact, an estimated 75% of engaged couples in the USA have had a long-distance arrangement at some point in their relationship.

Some were short term and others long term. Some were long distance within the same country while others were intercontinental.

Of all these, about 50% met online, including international dating sites responsible for most mixed nationality relationships.

32.5% of all long-distance relationships are college relationships

Ah, young love. There is truly nothing as pure and magical (at least to the teenagers involved)!

High school sweetheart relationships contribute to a huge chunk of long-distance relationships. This is because the couples rarely get to go to the same school either intentionally or due to chance.

While 75% of first-year college students may be in long-distance setups with their high school flames, statistics on the senior end of things are not very impressive. In fact, only 2% of high school relationships survive separation during college years or make it to marriage.

Most LDRs start to fall apart at the 4.5-month mark

This does not mean that long-distance relationships are doomed to fail after four months. However, it is at this point that the cracks in faulty foundations start to show. Routine communication may start to feel like a chore, and loneliness and insecurities settle into your mind. You start to question whether or not it is worth it.

The best way to make it through is to create a safe space for open communication. It is also crucial to never get too comfortable but constantly find new ways to keep things interesting instead. If not you might head-up for a long distance relationship breakup.

60% of long-distance relationships are successful

Don’t mind the people saying that LDRs don’t work. According to statistics, 60% of long-distance relationships work!

If you are in a long-distance marriage or relationship, this is, without a doubt, a very encouraging statistic. It shows that with hard work and commitment, it can be worth it.

This, however, does not mean that things cannot go south. In fact, a 40% failure rate is something that should scare you straight. You cannot afford to be complacent in these relationships with so much working against you.

The funny thing is that a lot of these relationships end when the issue of distance is removed. Suddenly, having someone in your space forces you to examine the strength of the foundation you have laid. Unfortunately, most people fail.

The trick is open communication and adequate planning for the future, including planning your eventual reunion. 

Other surprising LDR statistics

Long-distance marriages and relationships not only work but can be more fulfilling than regular relationships.

Don’t believe it?

Well, let’s take a look at some interesting and eye-opening statistics of long-distance relationships that prove these setups are worth fighting for.

Effect on health

People in long-distance relationships tend to be healthier than those nearby relationships. This is according to a study that was conducted by Northwestern University on 150 married couples.

Couples in LDRs demonstrated more signs of mental and physical health. The signs included higher energy levels and less stress.

The researchers attribute this to the independence afforded to individuals in these types of relationships. Having time to yourself every day ensures that you get to take care of yourself properly. This means healthy lifestyle choices, including a better diet, regular physical activity, and improved sleeping patterns.

Levels of fulfillment and contentment

This one might come as a shocker to most long-distance relationship skeptics, but LDRs are more fulfilling than ordinary relationships. This is according to many specialists and relationship experts, including Queen’s University Ph.D. student Emma Dargie.

So, how can this be when there is so much frustration from being apart nearly all the time?

The answer is simple: absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.

Experts have demonstrated how being physically apart makes couples value time together more than those in ordinary relationships. This translates to happier and more content couples with higher chances of succeeding in the long run than their close proximity counterparts.

Distance isn’t the worst thing

If you are in a long-distance relationship or about to enter one, you probably firmly believe that distance is the greatest challenge you will face. This couldn’t be further from the truth. This geographic limitation might end up being the least of your worries.

Many people in long-distance relationships have reported that being let down by their partners is worse than being far away from them.

It could be that your significant other isn’t making as much of an effort to communicate as you wish. Or maybe the two of you are not being honest about your expectations regarding substitutes for physical intimacy are concerned. Not having these seemingly small needs met might end up being your undoing as a couple.

The good news is that this challenge is very easy to fix. All you need to do is be honest about exactly what you expect from your partner. This makes the conversion into reality a whole lot easier and reduces instances of disappointment and frustration.

The depth of connections and intimacy

A 2013 study by Cornell University and the University of Hong Kong on 63 couples produced results that shocked the world.

Of these subjects, about half were in long-distance relationships. The investigations sought to determine, among other things, how connected and emotionally intimate each couple felt. The LDR couples performed exceptionally well, with their depth of connection being significantly higher than normal relationships.

But how can two people who hardly ever meet in person be closer than people who (practically) live together?

Sounds unusual, huh? The results don’t mean that people in ordinary relationships aren’t connected or intimate. It just means that couples in long-distance relationships do it better. It has a lot to do with the desperation to be as open and vulnerable as possible in the little time spent together.

The power of certainty

One of the best things about long-distance relationships is the relative degree of certainty provided. It is significantly higher than what you would get with couples who are geographically closer.

So, what exactly does certainty mean?

You know when you will get to see the person next, what you are working towards, and that the distance is temporary.

Knowing all this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is guaranteed to go as planned. However, the assuredness creates a sense of emotional security that you can look forward to with this type of relationship.

Quality vs. quantity of time spent together

Obviously, couples in close geographical proximity spend more time together than LDR couples (especially if they live together).

Unfortunately, this proximity does not always translate to great interactions. There is something about knowing that you get to see this person whenever you want that makes people take time together for granted.

If you are in a long-distance relationship, however, you probably make better use of your time. With your busy schedule, you know that getting the time to reply to that text or return the call isn’t easy. This makes LDR couples more appreciative of time together, leading to higher-quality interactions.

And of course, quality beats quantity when it comes to building stronger relationships between long-distance or international couples.

Bottom Line

Do long-distance relationships work?

Statistics say yes. If you are in such a relationship yourself, you now have facts to back up your hopes. So the next time an LDR doubter tries to get you down, just hit them with one of these stats. It will be game over there and then.

I am Jesse, a specialist in long-distance relationships. I have had quite a few great LDR with foreign men. Today I wnat to share what I learned over the years. I hope you will enjoy reading my tips about long distance relationships.

More LDR Advice: