Why Long-Distance Relationships Don't Work

Doctor of Psychology By Danielle Dowling, Psy.D.
Doctor of Psychology
Danielle Dowling, Psy.D. is a doctor of psychology and life coach, helping ambitious, driven women achieve the financial, spiritual, and lifestyle abundance they desire and deserve. She holds a bachelor's in business from American University, and her master's and doctor of psychology degree from Ryokan College.
Why Long-Distance Relationships Don't Work

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Long distance relationships are not for the fearful; they’re for the audacious, the brassy, bold, and brave. You exchange massive time alone for fleeting doses of joy with your beloved.

Critics say the long-distance relationship is doomed.

Heartache inevitable.

Dreams decimated.

“You can’t go on that way forever,” they tout.

But you insist you can.

And as long as you do, you’ll be required to practice the qualities of faith and fortitude. Independence and imagination. A long-distance relationship is for those who find possibility in the improbable. It can be a shelter for the noncommitters, for the less-than-motivated.

Yet, to be enamored with someone’s absence is to be a quintessential romantic. And who can thwart the benefits?

The urgency of every second together. Because they all count.

Elation rushes in as each kiss is savored, every touch cherished.

Reality is divinely air-brushed and memories pristinely sealed—set aside to be deliciously revisited later.

On the phone, your makeup is perfect, your legs are always shaved, and your sweatpants and decal tee shirt become silk shorts and a lace bra.

You never have to pick up his laundry, wash the dinner dishes, or ask him to finally for-the-love-of-god-turn off the TV. How many times can you watch Transformers, the movie, anyway?

Yet, love and doubt aren’t mutually exclusive. And in the case of long distance relationships, bliss can certainly require sweat.

Someone is:

  • Giving too much and getting too little in return
  • Wanting to close the distance gap but repressing the need to express it for fear of “rocking the boat” and risking a breakup.
  • Tired of living a double life. one with their partner and generally, a bigger one without their partner.
  • Being crushed by anxiety and jealousy.

And oh, those phone bills! Distance can work for friends and relatives but when it comes to romantic love, the long distance relationship will always fall short.

Short on satisfaction. It's a rare population of couples that can pull it off –and that's only because it genuinely works for them. Both feel they are getting their needs met and do not secretly wish for an alternative situation.

If that’s you, congratulations. Ignore everything I said and keep on, keepin’ on.

But chances are that’s not you, because the only way to make a long distance relationship work is to close the separation gap—eventually.

Short-term, long distance relationships—not usually a problem. Long term, open-ended distance is the stuff hell is made of.

With the imperfections and benefits of long distance relationships glaringly clear—

Do you stay or go?

Roll the dice or walk away now?

The answer begins and ends with the truth.

Always with the truth.

How deep do the roots of this relationship go?

Deep enough to sustain your spirit during the days and weeks of separation?

What do you need from your partner on a daily basis?




Witness what comes up for you. Write it down. Articulate it.

First to yourself and then to them.

Can they provide it?

Will your situation allow it?


You know the answer.

Even when you deny you don’t.

Tune in.

Listen up.

Your heart and gut want to educate you on limitations and expectations.

When to go harder.

When it’s been enough.

When to very lovingly, calmly say:

I loved you while I could. As best as I could. With all I could. 

Thank you for you. When I had you. 

Good luck.


And love pulses along in spite of it all.

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