A long-distance relationship is a challenge for any couple. You have to decide before going in to the relationship if you can handle the distance, and it takes good communication, compromise and a lot of work. It is easy to get stuck in a routine in your LDR, which can make it hard to realize when the relationship just isn’t working. Her Campus is here with advice from Dr. D Ivan Young, author of Break Up, Don’t Break Down, and firsthand experiences from collegiettes to help you determine if your LDR is holding you back. Lookout for these five red flags and compare them to your own experiences in your LDR.
1. Your LDR routine is changing.
In any relationship, you form certain patterns of behavior. For instance, you might talk to your SO on the phone every night since you can’t see each other easily. Dr. Young explains that one of the first indicators that a LDR isn’t working is when these patterns start to break.
Your partner might be bored with the relationship, or he or she may be interested in other people. Whatever the reason is, your LDR is suffering because of it.
2. Your LDR is holding you back.
Being in a LDR can be challenging, but it is doable. When you start getting into trouble is when you find the relationship is keeping you from enjoying other things in your life.
“If you feel like you're missing out in activities, going out, making friends, etc., then you should reevaluate,” says Kasia Jaworski, a senior at Villanova University who is currently in an LDR.
LDRs can be time-consuming even though you don’t necessarily see your partner very often. You have to learn to communicate other ways, and that takes time out of your day. Sometimes that time and effort keeps you from enjoying doing other activities. For example, if you’re finding that you’re always ditching plans with your friends for Skype dates with your SO, that’s a problem.
Your LDR could also be holding you back from other opportunities. “If you meet someone interesting and have a connection with them, yet you feel tied down to your long-distance partner, it might be time to really consider if the LDR is working or not,” Kasia says.
3. Your partner stops communicating.
Long-distance relationships require a lot of communication to keep them going. Many LDR couples communicate via Skype or FaceTime. Dr. Young warns collegiettes that a major red flag is when your partner stops communicating, especially via video chat. It can be a sign that your partner doesn’t want you to see him or her or that he or she doesn’t want to see you.
Hayley Brunk, a junior at Tiffin University, says that she sees a lack of communication as a major warning. “If your partner starts to distance him/herself from you and doesn’t talk to you much, or acts like they don’t want to talk when you do, you might have a problem,” she says.
4. You’re no longer excited for visits.
Even in a LDR, you want to see each other when possible. You should feel excited to visit each other, especially if you have to go for long periods of time without doing so. Dr. Young says a major sign that a LDR isn’t working is when the desire to physically see each other goes away.
Victoria Hunt, a senior at North Carolina State University, transitioned from having a boyfriend near home during high school to an LDR when she started college. She says it’s crucial for both parties in a relationship to make an effort to see each other; one person shouldn’t always have to compromise. “That’s the whole point of a relationship: to make time for the other person,” she says.
5. Your LDR feels like an obligation.
A relationship is supposed to be fun! You should never feel like your LDR is a chore.
“I think the biggest red flag is when you feel like the relationship is a burden or obligation instead of something that makes you feel happy,” Kasia says. “Talking to your partner shouldn't feel like something you have to fit in your schedule or an inconvenience in your life. The moment you stop thinking, ‘Oh, I can't wait to talk to him/her, I miss them so much, etc.’ and start thinking, ‘Ugh I have to call them now, make time to see them,’ that's a huge sign that it isn't working.”
If you realize that your LDR isn’t working, the best thing to do is end it. It only makes it worse when you try to drag out the relationship. Dr. Young says that the best way to break up with your partner is to be truthful with him or her; tell your SO why the relationship isn’t working for you.
It can be frustrating when a relationship doesn’t work out. But that just means you aren’t dating the right person, and you can’t date the right person until you stop dating the wrong one!