Life & Relationships

What it’s actually like to be in a long distance relationship

long distance relationship

In one of my old posts, I shared about making long distance relationships work. Because, on top of misunderstandings, fights, and other issues, the distance between the couple adds to the situation. That is why many people believe LDRs don’t really work. Maybe, for some, especially if your love language is physical touch. But, maybe, it does work for only a few lucky couples who happen to have the same level of commitment, patience, and understanding.

I’ve seen people get very hesitant about entering this kind of relationship. In fact, I was in the same position when my boyfriend told me he wants to work overseas. I never even thought my first ever relationship would be like this so I kept overthinking, quietly imagining the things that could happen. All the negative thoughts rushed in and it’s not really a good feeling to have.

Related: How to manage a partner with relationship anxiety

In case you’re wondering what it is actually like to be in a long distance relationship, below are some of my real-life experiences. This post is for those who are having a dilemma of whether to stop or continue dating someone who lives on the other side of the Earth. Or, perhaps, just curious about LDR couples and how they survive it.

You’d be sleepless most of the time

Depends really on the time zones and your time differences. But I’d like to talk about couples who live a hundred miles away from each other. Long distance relationship will really challenge your sleeping routine, especially when your nighttime is his daytime or vice versa. Sometimes, one has to sacrifice their precious sleep just to talk to their significant other because you know it’s the only time you both can make it.

In my experience, when my boyfriend was working on a cruise based in the US, I had to wake up at 3 am so we can do a video call during his break as they were not allowed to use mobile phones on duty. Likewise, before he went to sleep (around lunchtime in the Philippines), he usually had to spend at least an hour talking to me – so that left him at least 6 hours of sleep.

It really needs a bit of sacrifice to make it work, to be honest.

long distance relationship
via Unsplash

Time flies so fast when they’re home

Let’s say your partner decides to visit you, finally, or he goes home for a vacation from work for a month or two. Of course, you’d be excited and all but you will both realize how months have passed so quickly. Everything feels like it all happened just yesterday. He’d be leaving again and you’re back in your old routine. Make the best out of your precious time together! Avoid petty quarrels because you’d regret the number of hours wasted over unnecessary fights.

Special occasions won’t be celebrated together

I feel like this is the saddest part of being in a long distance relationship. Birthdays, graduation, anniversaries, and whatever special occasions you think of – LDR couples, sometimes, don’t get the chance to celebrate all of it together. Thankfully, there are video call apps where you can greet each other and virtually date but you’ll really feel the difference. However, there are couples who still make an effort despite the distance. They manage to send gifts to their partner on these occasions, and I think that’s a commendable gesture.

Related: Thoughtful gifts your girlfriend will appreciate

It’s harder to make up after a fight

Maybe it’s just me but I realized it’s much harder to make up after a fight when you’re geographically away from each other. Seriously, it’s more challenging to fix a conflict when your only means of communication is chat. Words, tones, or silence can be misinterpreted one way or another, and these only make misunderstandings even worse.

long distance relationship
via Pexels

You’ll feel envious of other couples

I’d say it’s normal to feel envious of other couples who are physically able to spend their time with each other. It’s a pain that you’ve got to endure sometimes, especially when you’re drunk (just kidding), emotional, and in need of a hug. Oftentimes, you’ll see couples at a party and wish you have your partner with you, too – someone who could also send you home at night. You get the picture.

It’s okay to feel this way but you must not let insecurity steal your happiness. If you’re contented with your long distance relationship, then always think about the happy thoughts. Look at it as a glass that is half-full.

More time for hobbies

Being in a long distance relationship gives you plenty of time for yourself. That’s one of a few good sides of this kind of set up. When you have different schedules, you will have more time to do other things outside the relationship. That includes writing, sports, video games, playing an instrument, etc. When you know they’re busy or asleep on the other side of the world, respect their trust by spending your time on valuable activities and not by cheating, texting, and flirting with other people.

I’d like to add more things but I don’t this post to take much of your time. I hope this post did not discourage you from trying LDR because it’s really just what it is. In my opinion, there’s really no standard when it comes to making long distance relationship work. All those tips about this are generally true, but, at the end of the day, it’s really just about the two of you. It’s teamwork. It’s like learning a new dance routine together without any idea about it, but, after some time, you will both get the hang of it.


(29) Comments

  1. Swarnali says:

    You are right thank god, we have video call apps now, where we can greet each other. Thanks for sharing.

  2. We did do long distance for a few months and I hated it to be honest. When I love someone, I need some hugs and that’s just not possible. And the WiFi was bad, so there were days where video calling wasn’t an option so we could only call. However, it did make me realize even more what he meant to me!

    1. That’s actually the beauty of it. You’ll cherish the person even more. 🙂

  3. I honestly don’t know how people in long distance relationships do it. I personally couldn’t so hats off to anyone that makes it work!

  4. Michelle says:

    I’ve never been in a long distance relationship, and I don’t think I would be able to make it work. But I’m glad your long distance situation worked out 🙂

    All the best, Michelle (

    1. I have never been in a long-distance relationship, but this was very eye-opening on what one will be like. Thank you for sharing something so personal.

      All the best, Ali

  5. It’s really hard – I agree. It help if you have a solid foundation before the long distance part starts.

  6. Long-distance relationships have ups and downs, like all things. Having more time for hobbies is a plus, if you end up feeling lonely and need something to do. Also, they say absence makes the heart grow fonder! 🙂

    1. It makes the heart grow fonder, indeed! 🙂 I can attest to that. Thanks for reading.

  7. I can relate to everything! I am not a fan of LDRs but when I met my husband, I was willing to risk. So many good points in this post.

  8. This speaks to me! I’ve just moved back to Australia but my boyfriend can’t join me yet due to border restrictions😞 it’s tough but thank goodness for technology! But I agree that arguments are harder to make up; so much harder to read tone over text

    1. Yesss, and when we’re angry, people have the tendency to leave their partner on read. Sometimes, it makes the conflict even worse.

  9. I think LDR works for some. My parents personally were LDR for awhile but they weathered through. It really does depend on the people involved in the relationship.

  10. Michelle says:

    Congrats, you’ve been nominated for the A-Z favorite things challenge.

  11. I was in a long distance relationship with a guy for a long time who worked all over the world. It was amazing when we were together but horrible when we were a part. I think there are many different types of long distance relationships though. For instance, military families or relationships have their own “rules”. They can’t really just up and leave and come home when they want to so it takes even more understanding on both parties part to live through that. For ones where it’s just two people living in two different places, it definitely takes a lot of work to stay together and stay on the same page. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. I’m sure other people in long distance relationships will find comfort in your words.

  12. I genuinely believe it must be so difficult being in a LDR. I live over an hour away from my partner and see them maybe once a fortnight and even that feels like a struggle sometimes. This really gives people insight to LDR’s.

    Kerry-Ann |

  13. Interesting read! My previous relationship was partly long-distance because my boyfriend traveled a lot and for long periods of time. And this time around my boyfriend works on a cruise ship so he’s away for 3 weeks, at home for 3 weeks. Oh yeah, and I live abroad 😀 Right now things are okay, because we’re both stuck in the same city, thanks to travel restrictions so we can really see how this works when we’re in each other’s company 24/7. And I have to say, I don’t mind the occasional ‘days off’. I really like my own space and need it at regular intervals, but that’s probably largely down to my nationality. Time apart also makes one miss the other one and seeing them again is always extra special. 🙂

    Teresa Maria | Outlandish Blog

    1. When you really love the person, the love doesn’t disappear because of distance – you miss them even more and love them more when you see them 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience x

  14. Long distance relationships are very hard and I love how honest this post is! Thank you for sharing this and highlighting the issue x

  15. Good post. When I was younger, I used to had a long distance relationship with a Portuguese guy I get to know from socmed. But unfortunately it doesn’t work at all. We only last 3 months.

  16. Long-distance relationships are tough. No doubt about that. I was in one a long time ago. No chats. No texts. The internet was dial-up. No cell phones. It was tough. We fell out of touch because we both got so busy with our lives and responsibilities while we were away. Hats off if you can do it. Maybe it’s a little easier now but it’s still hard. You’re right, especially with the birthdays and anniversaries.

    1. I couldn’t imagine a relationship without constant communication, it’s key to the success of any relationship. Thankfully, we have internet now, we can message or video call someone from anywhere in the world.

  17. When I was in an LDR with my husband we didn’t have all the apps and video calls, etc that we have now so we existed through phone calls, letters and care packages/gifts. Our LDR definitely worked (we’re still together) but it was a truly difficult time in our lives. Great post!

  18. As someone who has never really dealt with long distance relationships, I always give props to the ones who have. Relationships are work even when you are close by, so I can’t image being miles a part. You pinpoint some great realizations here. I think people who are dealing with this right now, will find peace & clarity through this post. Thank you. 🙂

    ~ Brittany

  19. Definitely sounds hard but I’m glad you and your boyfriend make it work. I live 1 1/2 hours away from my husband and see him once a fortnight usually. That does work for us, but I can’t imagine what it’d be like for us to live further apart. That being said, during lockdown for a while we couldn’t see each other at all and our relationship survived that too.

    1. I’m happy the set up works for both of you, because not every couple survives LDR. Best of luck!

  20. Amber Page says:

    I know a couple where one of them lives in New Jersey in America and the other lives in New Zealand I do not know how they do it!

    Amber | The Unpredicted Page

  21. I think there are serious pros and cons to LDR. My husband and I were long-distance for the first full year of our relationship. In fact, we began our relationship long-distance after meeting at a wedding and going back to our separate states. It took a LOT of work, but it built our trust and communication skills and we constantly talk about how grateful we are for that time because it strengthened us in marriage! Of course, a ton of it sucks so much, but in the long run it can be really good!

  22. I agree with what you said here. It requires a higher level of commitment, more so, maturity, to be in a long distance relationship.

    I may not be in a long distance relationship, but I and my boyfriend’s life has become too hectic in the past two years due to his MA and work and my law school and work. Plus, count the pandemic in when we hadn’t seen each other for almost a year.

    Ours may not be the typical LDR thing, but there were certain things we learned and discovered.

    What we learned from our experience is how much we had become mature as couples over our 5-year relationship. We learned that being in love isn’t always about being together and being present physically. It’s all about holding on and TAKING CARE of the trust you have for each other.

    Throughout the process, we also discovered more about ourselves because our separation from each other afforded us more time to be introspective. We found out more of our capabilities, hidden talents, and how much we are willing to sacrifice just to let our relationship thrive.

    Everything was hard at first but I wouldn’t trade anything for all these twists and turns. Because of these, I’d say our 5-year bond became even stronger.

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