It is all too easy to believe certain long distance relationship myths when they are coming from the mouths of people you love and respect.
More often than not these opinions do come from a place of love. But they don’t come from a place of experience or fact.
If your partner has recently moved away, or if you have met the love of your life on the internet, you may wonder whether it’s worth taking things further because of the myths you hear about.
Here, we take a closer look at the truth behind these myths, so that you can make an informed decision about whether the distance could work for you.
Common Myths About Long Distance Relationships Debunked
1. Your partner lives in another country and is thousands of miles away? They MUST be cheating on you
Trust forms the foundation for any successful relationship, whether you live in close proximity to your partner or a thousand miles away. A relationship without trust is like a car without gas…
You can sit in it, but you can’t go anywhere.
Regardless of whether you’re long distance or not, your partner could cheat on you. That’s a fact of life.
But research studies suggest that couples in long distance relationships had no greater risk of having an affair than geographically close couples.
2. Long distance relationships never work out in the long run
You’ve probably had one common response whenever you’ve told your friends and family about your long distance relationship – “It’ll never work.”
However, this kind of negativity is not just unhelpful, it simply isn’t true!
There are countless examples of long-distance relationships which have worked perfectly. We need only look at our grandparents’ generation to appreciate the many couples who were separated during World War II, and who went on to have long and happy marriages.
3. Long distance relationships aren’t “Real” relationships
An unknown author once said: “I wonder why people still underestimate the authenticity of long-distance relationships. I fell in love with his soul before I could even touch his skin. If that isn’t true love, then please tell me what is.”
This completely sums up the reality of a long-distance relationship. After all, what is the definition of a relationship?
If it means sharing your emotions and feelings with each other, being dedicated to each other and caring deeply for your partner wherever they are in the world, then a long-distance relationship is every bit as real as one where you are together 24 hours a day.
4. You have to talk to your long distance partner every day
The key to success in any long-distance relationship is to feel strong and independent enough to be able to manage without having to constantly be in touch with your partner.
Going for a day without talking to each other shouldn’t make you feel any less secure in your relationship.
If you’re in a long-term relationship, you shouldn’t feel the need to stay constantly in touch. After all, if you were in the same place, you wouldn’t spend 24 hours a day together.
Space, both physical and virtual, is critical in any relationship. It allows you not only to maintain your independence but also to appreciate each other more the next time you’re in contact.
There really can be such a thing as talking too much.
5. Never go to bed angry
We tend to believe that we should never go to bed on an argument, but that is actually poor advice.
Attempting to resolve your anger late at night when you’re exhausted is never a good idea. You won’t put enough thought into your words and this could result in you saying something you’ll later regret. An even bigger argument may brew.
This is especially the case when your partner lives miles away. When you can see your loved one in person, it can be easier to make up after a fight, but when you’re apart, it can be more difficult to forgive and forget.
Rather than rushing into more anger, take some time out. Talk about your problems the next day after you’ve slept on them and you’ll find you have a much better perspective on the issues in question.
6. You shouldn’t have to ask someone to make time for you
We often think that our partners should automatically know that we want them to make more time for us. However, all too often we fail to pick up on the signals.
Communicating openly is vital for any healthy relationship, but especially so in a long distance one.
Physical signals are often only visible in person, so it isn’t surprising if your loved one doesn’t realize the way you feel.
If you want to share more of your partner’s time, you should never be afraid to talk to them about it.
7. Don’t start hard conversations when you’re long-distance
If you have something to discuss with your partner that may be difficult, such as a frustration or a worry that you have, it may be tempting to wait until the next time you’re together before you raise the issue.
However this is a bad idea.
When you’re finally together, you’ll be too worried about spoiling the visit to get your problems out in the open, and anyway, it’s important to become accustomed to having difficult conversations on a regular basis.
The bedrock of any healthy relationship is being able to discuss the things that bother you, even when they’re difficult to address.
8. What about sex? You can’t have a relationship without sex
Yes; a bold and opinionated acquaintance once brought this up with me!
Of course, for many couples, sex is an integral part of building and maintaining a healthy relationship. But just because you’re miles apart from your partner and physical sex is out of the question most of the time, that doesn’t automatically mean you can’t or shouldn’t pursue a relationship.
You can have a relationship without physical sex! Some people would even say that removing sex from the equation much of the time while you’re separated can help you focus on other things (like talking) which will serve your relationship well in the long run.
And, of course, with long-distance-friendly technology on the rise (such as Skype and Vibease – definitely check this out!) anything is possible, even when you’re separated.
9. Stop going out with your friends if it makes your long distance partner feel jealous & insecure
If your partner is chronically jealous and insecure about your friendships, your long-distance relationship is unlikely to have any mileage.
It’s important to have your own life outside your relationship, whether you’re together or apart, but especially so when your loved one lives in another part of the country or even the world.
Giving up your friends just because of your partner’s jealousy will only isolate you and lead to feelings of resentment and frustration – hardly the foundation of a solid and strong relationship.
Your partner should understand your need for a social life outside your relationship, and should encourage you to strengthen your friendships, not break them down.
If there is any particular friendship which seems high risk, this may be worth discussing. But otherwise shutting yourself off from your wider friendship group is a very bad idea.
10. You have found the perfect person
Often, in the early days of your long-distance relationship, it can feel like your partner is perfect in every way.
While it can be tempting to think that, it isn’t true. Nobody can be perfect, and this distance between you is causing you to view them through rose-coloured glasses.
While you’re still getting to know each other, it can be all too easy to focus solely on the positive sides of their personality and to downplay the negatives.
Eventually, once you know each other better, you’ll come to realize all the facets of their character. Nevertheless, take heart that just because you are going through the halo effect with your long-distance partner, doesn’t mean that they aren’t the right one for you.
While they may not be the perfect person, they may be just perfect for you.
11. Once you close the distance, everything will be perfect
It may be tempting to think that once you close the distance, everything will be absolutely perfect in your relationship.
This is not the case, and in fact, the exact opposite could be true.
In the short term, you may find it harder to make things work as you begin to learn new things about each other, settle into new patterns, and start to figure out how your relationship works when you’re up close and personal without the miles to separate you.
12. FaceTime sex isn’t a big deal
You might think that long distance sex isn’t that big of a deal. After all, you’re not actually touching each other.
Well, yes and no. Yes, you’re not actually touching your partner’s body. However, words can touch something just as powerful, maybe even more powerful—his or her imagination and emotions.
Any sort of sexual activity—whether in person or across distance—builds intimacy. In addition, engaging in FaceTime sex across the miles will make it much more tempting to have sex when you meet in person.
If you do want to experiment, know what your boundaries are (both virtual and real-time, since you will presumably meet this person at some point if you haven’t already).
Don’t let yourself be talked into doing or saying anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Also, keep in mind that if your LDR is becoming 20% talking and 80% heavy breathing, that’s not a relationship.
That is a free phone sex hotline.
13. I trust my partner, so it’s safe to send nudes and get naked in front of a webcam
With the technology available today, your partner can record you with the click of a button.
You won’t even necessarily know that you are being filmed. Even if you do know you’re being recorded, and neither of you intend for those images to end up anywhere but a password-protected file on your computer, good intentions are not always enough.
Laptops get stolen. Breakups happen, and formerly loving partners can turn vindictive. Videos can live forever and end up on YouTube or amateur porn sites without your knowledge or permission.
You might think this couldn’t happen to you. Think again.
Holly Jacobs, Ph.D. didn’t think it could happen to her, either. As Metro Toronto reports, Holly…
was in a committed long-term, long distance relationship with a man she trusted. To keep the romance alive, she participated in a private sexual video chat with him. She didn’t know he’d recorded it, but he did. She didn’t know that after she broke up with him it would go viral on the Internet, but it did. Along with her full name, workplace and contact info.
This sort of behavior by vindictive ex-partners is becoming such a problem that some countries and states are starting to try to make it illegal to post “revenge porn”.
The bottom line for you? It might be a long time before you can truly depend on those sorts of laws to protect you from “unwanted exposure.”
Don’t Let These Myths Impact Your Long Distance Relationship
If you are struggling to know right from wrong, which is common when you’re filled with uncertainty about your long distance relationship. We recommend you join a support group like our free community for long distance couples.
There you can ask questions and get thoughtful, non-judgemental advice from others that have faced similar situations.