featured image surprising benefits of a long-distance relationship
Transatlantic Life

Surprising Benefits of a Long-Distance Relationship

Long-distance relationships create a unique set of challenges that can be extremely hard to navigate. Finding positivity within a distinctly demanding situation may seem hopelessly optimistic, but there are some benefits to loving at a distance.

Depending on the circumstances that prompted people to become involved in a long-distance relationship (LDR); statistics generally show that they can be more successful in a range of ways — including leading to long-term love after the gap has been closed — than some realize. Whether couples begin a relationship online or they’re in an existing relationship but have to spend some time apart; there are a number of things about LDRs that are rewarding even if things don’t work out in the end.

Foreground Text: Surprising Benefits of a Long-Distance Relationship; a Transatlantic Life post on Transatlantic Notes. Background Image: very large metal lettering with light bulbs spell out the word ‘LOVE’; by asbe via Canva.

I was in a long-distance relationship for a little over 4 years; and while that time was relentlessly disheartening until we reconnected, there were some valuable life lessons to take from the experience. I’m in no way dismissing the emotional toll that some LDRs can take, but in the hopes of helping anyone get through something similar; here are 6 ways a long-distance relationship can be valuable and enlightening …

Develops Patience

Long-distance relationships typically involve a lot of waiting; whether it’s for the next phone call or FaceTime, the anticipation about an email, letter or care package, or (the ultimate goal) a face-to-face visit; you learn patience has to be in abundant supply. LDRs force you to become adept at mastering how to tolerate delays and stretches of time where you can’t connect with your loved one. Although being patient may sometimes feel like an itch you can’t scratch, it’s a useful personal skill applicable to many other everyday situations.

Romance Takes Many Forms

I think it’s safe to say; no other situation makes it understood that love is articulated through a multitude of simple, familiar things quite like being in an LDR does. Romance and affection come from thoughtful, little actions such as getting up extra early/staying up late to make sure an online chat isn’t missed or sending a card/gift to show someone you’re thinking of them. Learning that love can be expressed in any number of ways opens our eyes to how widely and universally tenderness and devotion can find us; this is a reminder we should all hold onto no matter what our relationship status is.

Time Management 

For many in LDRs, living in different timezones is reasonably common. Being able to find precious moments to connect over the phone or via video chat can be an organizational nightmare. After a period of trial and error, you pretty much become super efficient at scheduling/planning time to spend with your loved one. Flexibility and being capable of making timetable revisions — sometimes at a moments notice — eventually becomes second nature. Learning how to generate time when it seems like there is none represents a skill that will likely be used in a number of alternative ways throughout life!

Two men stand next to each other and hold hands; photo by Jenna Jacobs via Unsplash.
photo via Jenna Jacobs/Unsplash

Clear Communication

When moments together are time restricted or limited, you become extremely adept at communicating effectively with one another. Broad-ranging topics of conversation can be crammed into short periods of time; listening skills and problem-solving become productive because you have to develop a rhythm of communication that weaves each other’s existence into separated lives. Being able to articulate our thoughts, emotions, needs and boundaries; in a clear, concise way remains a vital skill we can apply to all aspects of our daily existence.   

Self-Reflection

Potentially the most insightful aspect of loving at a distance is the self-exploratory learning you undertake; helping to develop a thorough understanding of what you bring to the table — good and bad — and what you’ll accept from someone else. Despite sometimes feeling as though you’re stuck in some kind of perpetual pause; LDRs can provide time to get to know yourself and what you’re really willing work for. 

Builds Resiliency

Being able to handle challenges and develop emotional strength comprises a key component of resiliency; something which sustains us through all the relationships we have (familial, friendship-based, intimate or otherwise). Finding ways to recover from setbacks or disruption builds the type of adaptability that leads to finding future success; even in ways we may not have considered before. Resiliency in the face of romantic challenges not only builds trust and a deeper emotional connection as a couple, it strengthens our individual sense of self; bolstering confidence wherever in life we may need it.

As mentioned before, long-distance relationships often encounter obstacles that make navigating this type of romantic connection exceedingly delicate. Finding positives in the middle of all this may seem futile; however, welcoming all the life lessons that this experience may teach us will ultimately promote personal growth that can be used to support us as we move forward. I hope this article serves as a reminder that loving at a distance can have some surprising benefits.

Do you have any advice for someone in an LDR? What life lessons have you learned from your relationships (does not have to be long-distance)?


Further Info:

10 Things Resilient Couples Do – Psychology Today

How Technology Fuels Long-Distance Love – The Statesman

45 thoughts on “Surprising Benefits of a Long-Distance Relationship”

  1. These are some great points. Long distance relationships always looked so scary to me, like how do you build a proper connection with someone? But I can see now that LDRs offer many benefits, especially for self-discovery, and growth. LDRs offer room for each individual to develop some valuable life skills from patience, resilience, communication, time management to understanding your love language. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Exactly — LDRs always seemed impossible to be until I was in one. It takes so much work and dedication so it’s good to know that no matter what there are things that we can take forward with us. Thanks for reading!

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  2. I can certainly see the challenges of being in a LDR and your experience is sure to guide others who may see themselves in one. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. This is a great post! We experienced an LDR a few years ago, and it really opened our eyes about how to prioritize a relationship. Patience, communication, and trust are the pillars of a successful LDR. While our love languages include touch, we learned a lot about alternative means of love during our brief LDR. Thank you for sharing, and check out our three most recent posts on productivity, personal growth, and open-mindedness!

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  4. I never thought that I’d be in a LDR, but there has been so much self-growth and resiliency that I’ve developed since I started dating long-distance. I’m planning to visit my partner and his country again soon. This post reminded me to reflect on the beauty and advantages of our LDR in the meantime.Thank you for this! x

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  5. I really enjoyed this read. I like how you broke it down in a way that people may not have considered. I know, I didn’t. You’re right, through that test of resilience and commitment, you develop so many other skills that can be used in personal and professional relationships and interactions. LDRs are not for everyone, but like in your case, it can be unavoidable. In the end, it comes down to that love/ commitment, intent and compromise to get you through.

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    1. I think so many people don’t initially realize what can be learned from an LDR (and then applied in everyday life). It’s a steep curve but holds a lot of useful lessons. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this!

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  6. My wife and I have had three work-related separations: one for nine months, one longer with visits…and it made us closer in so many ways….it takes all that you have shared – nice job!

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    1. This was a lovely read. I personally could not be in a ldr, I do t have patience and honestly I’m very needy. Trust and commincation would have to be developed really early on I should think.

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      1. It’s so important to know what we can bring to the table and what we’re willing to give/receive so the fact you know exactly why an LDR would not work for you is really great. Being able to communicate our needs (and identify when they’re unable to be met) is vital in any relationship. Thanks for reading!

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  7. Great post Molly! You can learn so much about yourself and others through a long distance relationship. It definitely teaches and develops patience, time management, and allows you to learn new and better ways to communicate with one another. Thank you for sharing!

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  8. These are some great benefits. I have not been in a long distance relationship, but I know many others who have. My parents dated for 5 years long distance before they were married. It developed patience and let them get to know each other in different ways. That was before video calls so they only talked on the phone and wrote letters. Talk about romantic!

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    1. Your parents did amazing; it really does help you develop patience and appreciation for each other. There is no way around how hard a long-distance relationship can be so you definitely learn how to make the best of it. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this!

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  9. I am honestly not a believer in long distance relationships. I don’t think they can be sustained or maintained for longterm. I guess LDR may work for some people depending on their love language. I understand what you meant that love can be expressed in different forms, but if one love physical touch as one of their love languages, a committed LDR will not work for the long run. Another interesting post Transatlanticnotes. I always enjoy reading your perspective.

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    1. One of my love languages is physical touch so experiencing a long-distance relationship for 4 years was really hard; but ultimately worth it. Long-distance love is not a long-term option and nobody should ever think it is; it’s always based around the fact that you close that distance at some point and it should never drag on for too long (mine being so long is most likely an outlier — thank goodness). LDRs are certainly not for everyone (sometimes circumstance mean they’re unavoidable) and I think knowing that before you embark on one will save a lot of confusion and emotional upset. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts!

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  10. My current boyfriend and I began dating at uni so were around each other and then I graduated but he still had a year left so we experience long distance for about a year. It was definitely hard and eye opening but I agree with your points and communication and making effort were key. We always scheduled in a FaceTime even if it was just 5 minutes and I tried to get down to see him as much as I could. Great points! X

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  11. I can imagine you learn a lot from long distance relationships and for some people they really do make your relationship stronger. I could never be in one – I’m far too needy haha! I’ve been away from my partner before for a few weeks whilst he’s been away working and it was horrendous x

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  12. I love reading this post. My hubby and I were on a 3 year LDR before we got married. And yes, I learned a lot from that experience. It did make me more patient, flexible, and resilient. Most of all, it made our love stronger.

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  13. I am in a long distance relationship and yes it is hard when you are apart but I definitely feel we are stronger because of it. Everyone talks about the negative aspects of long distance relationships but there are a lot of benefits. You have shared some great ones. Thank you for sharing your post.

    Lauren x

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    1. I think people naturally turn to the negatives as it’s a type of relationship that many cannot see themselves in (but who does, tbh most of us who end up in them didn’t plan it that way). There are benefits and lessons to learn and I think remembering that while you’re in the middle of it all is good to hold onto!

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