Not All Long Distance Relationships Have to Fail

June 25th, 2015 by Nick Notas 9 Comments

Long Distance Girl

Studies now estimate 14 million Americans are in long distance relationships.

College students move across the country from their high school sweethearts. Someone gets a new job a few states away from their partners and they try to make it work. People meet through online dating, fly to meet up, and then continue building their connection through video calls. 

The thing is, long distance relationships are hard. And from my experience as a dating coach, most of them fail. But I don’t think they have to.

The #1 reason long distance relationships don’t succeed

A lack of physical intimacy.

We all want to feel desired. We want to be held in someone’s arms. We want to be kissed and comforted. And we want to be vulnerable with someone and connect deeply – through sex.

Intimacy is essential to romantic relationships. It’s a core human need and it’s what separates romantic connections from any other type of connection.

And no matter how many Skype calls you have, you just can’t replace being physically close to someone you care about.

I often discourage these kind of relationships because they require a huge investment of time and energy with a lot of risk. They test your trust and security in yourself. They subject you to loneliness and longing. They will test your limits in a relationship.

That’s why it’s important to determine if both you and your partner are going long distance for the right reasons. You can’t be doing it out of convenience or fear of putting yourself out into the real world – that will only end up hurting both of you. 

The two keys to successful long distance relationships

But if this is something you want to pursue, then remember this…

The successful long distance relationships I’ve witnessed followed these two rules:

  • You must see each other on a semi-regular basis. At least once a month is ideal. Every 3 months is tough but doable. Anything more than that is extremely risky and requires serious fortitude on both ends.
  • You must have plans to turn this into a short distance relationship. You don’t have to commit to living together but you do need to move closer together within 1-2 years. That usually means one of you is willing to change jobs or move to a different city after college.

You need that real-world intimacy, especially at the start of long distance relationship. I’ve seen this scenario play out too often…

You meet a woman online. You guys talk, text, and video chat for weeks. You spend hours every week opening up to each other and you start to feel like this is something amazing.

Then one day she starts acting distant. She says she’ll call you later but she doesn’t follow up. Soon after, you hear those dreaded words, “I don’t think we should keep seeing each other.”

As great as your connection may have been, having someone in-person to touch trumps everything. Once she has sex with them, they’re instantly prioritized over you.

This isn’t because she’s heartless and you meant nothing. When this happens, it’s usually not a conscious decision but an unexpected, emotional one.

She becomes emotionally invested in that guy and starts to develop a deeper bond. This is why it’s so critical to meet up as soon as possible.

How to cultivate more intimacy remotely

In the meantime, there will be a lot of waiting between in-person interactions. So you can’t just wait until you see each other to create intimacy.

Acting like best friends over the phone and then trying to be romantic in-person doesn’t work. You can’t just stick to platonic conversations. You need to still be her lover, no matter how far away you are.

  1. Follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of your conversation can be friendly, sharing stories, catching up, and getting to know each other. 20% should be flirtatious and sexual. Add in those romantic elements within every discussion.
  2. Have phone or video sex. The thought of this makes some people cringe. It’s something they’ve never done before and requires a lot of vulnerability. But this is the closest you can get to the real thing. Follow my guide here.
  3. Explore your sexuality together. Encourage her to open up about what turns her on and tell her about your fantasies, too. Ask her about what she’s always wanted to try with someone. Share wild stories with each other. Get her to dress up and have a hot webcam striptease.
  4. Send flirtatious messages throughout the day. Tell her how you’re thinking of her sexy voice. Tell her how you couldn’t wait and had to touch yourself to her earlier. Ask her to send/Snapchat a naughty picture of herself so you can think about her.

    Hint at all the sexy things you’ll do when you meet up. Let her know you can’t wait to touch her all over. We all love a good cliffhanger and anticipation drives women wild.

A lot of long distance advice focuses on having cute date nights, giving space, and dealing with jealousy. While that’s all extremely important, it’s meaningless without a strong sexual connection.

But remember that while you can try your best to imitate, nothing ever replaces that real-world physical togetherness.

  1. Gregory on June 25, 2015

    I dated my girlfriend in high school and when we were going to college we decided it was best to break it off. After college, I got a job back in New York where she was and we decided to hang out again. We started dating again and now we’ve been together for 3 years. I think sometimes the best idea is to let them go be independent and if it’s meant to be, you can get together if you move closer.

    • Nick Notas on June 25, 2015

      That’s awesome man — congrats! I’m glad things worked out. My old boss has a similar story that him and his now wife were broken up and apart for 7 years. She eventually got a job near him, they got together, and the rest is history.

  2. Fabricio de Oliveira on June 25, 2015

    Hi Nick,
    Im from Brazil , i have a dilema in these days, i trying to get a remote dating, but, she’s very insecure about that, i like her, and she likes me(she says to me), but, we are far from each other, how to convince her to try ?

    • Don on June 26, 2015

      You really can’t just convince her. It has to be mutual. If it is meant to be, she will be open to it. Don’t try too hard, there are plenty of girls out there, and probably more close than you think.

  3. Nana on June 26, 2015

    My boyfriend and I are in a LDR and though it is difficult we manage to overcome the distance! With couple apps like the happycoupleapp, we keep spicing up our relationship despite the distance 🙂

    • Nick Notas on June 28, 2015

      I’d never heard of the app but looks interesting. Thanks for the recommendation and best of luck with the relationship!

  4. Jon on June 26, 2015

    I can’t tell you how relevant this is for me now! The good thing is, I’ve already considered, and communicated to her, my thoughts on both of the two ways to keep the relationship going that was mentioned!

    Thank you for this post, Nick!

    • Nick Notas on June 28, 2015

      You’re very welcome Jon, glad this is relevant and helpful to you. Communication is another absolutely huge part of a successful relationship — especially one over long distances.

  5. Chris on June 29, 2015

    Long distance relationships are tough, but as a traveler, I’ve had to resort to it often … these tips will make them easier!