Long-distance relationships bloom – or bust

Long-distance dating makes up an increasing chunk of today’s relationship demographic pie.

You only need to look at the increase in internet dating and matchmaking sites, the mass movement of migrants across the globe, and the rising statistics of people working away from home to see evidence of this. 

But how many of these remote relationships blossom into long-lasting unions, and what are the chances of distance daters staying together?

Long-distance for Australia 

Due to its geographic nature, Australia is likely to have one of the biggest long-distance relationship demographics in the world. This is due to the large distances between major cities, an abundance of well-paying jobs in remote mining towns, a high immigrant population, a diverse array of foreign workers, thousands of young Australians meeting their partners while overseas, and an estimated 4.5 million Australians using online dating sites each year (according to a survey by Relationships Australia in 2017).

For example, migration figures show Australians bring more than 50,000 foreign partners to the country each year. Additionally, in the last national Census in 2016, almost half of the Australian population of 23,401,892 were born overseas or had at least one parent born overseas.

It is impossible to quantify how many of these people were involved in long-distance relationships and whether they stayed together. What is more certain is that long-distance relationships are fraught with challenges.

Technology helps

The good news is that advances in technology are improving long-distance partners’ chances of achieving happily ever after.

In fact, a 2013 joint study between Cornell University and the City of Hong Kong University found that partners in long-distance relationships demonstrate equal or even more trust and satisfaction than partners who are geographically close, thanks to digital communication.

After analysing text, phone and other digital communication data, the study found that when long-distance couples practiced open communication, it brought them closer together. By openly communicating, these couples disclosed more about themselves more freely and more frequently than couples living together. 

In line with an explosion of online dating sites, there is a myriad of dating advice apps, dating coaches, free communication apps, and online gaming that help couples to maintain contact and strengthen their relationships. 

Tips to survive long-distance relationships

Long-distance relationship advice varies from source to source, but there are many key recommendations that can help smooth the path to a successful relationship.

For instance, a recent article in the Huffington Post shares twelve quirky but helpful tips from long-distance couples:

  1. Make it a point to talk every day, even when you’re busy or not in the mood;
  2. Separate ‘update’ conversations from ‘connection’ conversations;
  3. Schedule ‘date nights’ while eating a meal, or watching a show or movie together over FaceTime;
  4. Send each other postcards and love letters by real mail;
  5. Start a new project together, such as a joint Instagram account to remember your experiences;
  6. Find little excuses to celebrate each other instead of waiting for a big occasion;
  7. Hide little notes in each other’s suitcases after a visit;
  8. Plan something special for each visit so you always have something to look forward to;
  9. Do your favourite activities, such as cooking together, at the same time over video chat so it feels like you’re doing them together;
  10. Send each other care packages or surprise gifts in the mail;
  11. Make the most of the time you have together in person; and
  12. Utilise technology to find new ways to connect, such as connecting with a ‘thumb kiss’ on a Couples App. 

It’s up to you

Any relationship requires commitment, good communication and a determination to overcome the difficulties that are inherent in sharing your life with another person. 

Long-distance relationships certainly add extra relationship challenges, such as loneliness, uncertainty and barriers to communication. Many people throughout the world are experiencing just how hard these challenges are to tackle, but many are also making those relationships work despite the setbacks of long-distance dating.

If you are truly committed to each other, you and your partner can instead view those long-distance setbacks as opportunities for your relationship to strengthen. If your relationship can handle long-distance, it can handle anything.