The very concept of a long-distance relationship sounds contradictory.
How can romance survive between two people when they barely spend time together?
More importantly, humans need to be touched.149. shows that it can be risky to transition from communicating via technology to communicating face-to-face and vice versa.
And yet, long-distance relationships exist and persist.
Let’s dig into the facts and figures about long-distance relationships to better understand how and why they work.
How many Americans are in long-distance relationships?
1. About 14 million people in the US are in long-distance relationships.
2. 76% of American couples have never been in a long-distance relationship.
How many married couples in the US are in long-distance relationships?
3. 3.75 million married couples are in long-distance relationships.
4. 2.9% of married couples are in a long-distance relationship.
5. Married Americans ages 18 and older in long-distance relationships grew from around 2.7 million in 2000 to about 3.9 million in 2017.
6. 75% of engaged couples have been in a long-distance relationship (at some point).
What percentage of long-distance relationships get married?
7. 10% of marriages started as long-distance relationships.
Why do people go into long-distance relationships?
8. 40% of couples cite work as the reason for their long-distance relationship.
9. 31% cite studying why they are in a long-distance relationship.
Source: Sexual Alpha
What percentage of relationships survive long-distance?
10. long-distance relationships have a success rate of 58%.
11. Long-distance relationships have the same chance of lasting within the first three months as geographically close relationships.
12. There’s a 27% chance that long-distance relationships will end within the first six months compared to 30% with geographically close relationships.
13. A 2013 study shows that long-distance couples are not disadvantaged compared to couples in geographically close relationships when it comes to the quality of the relationship. It’s the characteristics of the individuals and their relationship that matter.
14. Long-distance couples think they are less likely to break up with their partner.
How long do long-distance relationships last on average?
15. According to a 2010 German study, long-distance relationships last 2.86 years on average compared to 7.25 years for geographically close relationships.
Source: Humboldt University Berlin
What percent of long-distance relationships fail and why?
16. 42% of long-distance relationships break up at some point.
17. 2 out of 3 long-distance relationships break down because of no planning for the future.
18. 70% of long-distance relationships that break down fail because of unplanned changes.
19. The top three reasons people say why long-distance relationships fail are:
- Lack of communication — 40.2%
- Jealousy — 28.7%
- Cheating — 17.5%
Long distance relationship definition
20. 51% of people define long-distance relationships as living at least 2 hours away, while 50.8% define it as living in different states or countries.
21. The average distance between couples in long-distance relationships is 125 miles.
22. On average, couples in long-distance relationships:
- Visit each other 1.5 times a month.
- Write each other 3 letters a month.
- Talk to each other over the phone for 30 minutes.
- Call each other after every 2.7 days.
- Send 343 text messages to each other weekly.
Long-distance relationships and moving back together
23. Couples in long-distance relationships expect to move back together after 14 months of living apart.
24. 31% of American couples who have been in long-distance relationships have reunited with their partners.
25. In a study of 335 undergraduates who were in long-distance relationships then become geographically close, 66 ended their relationships while 114 continued.
97% of such couples note a change in their relationship after becoming geographically close.
However, the survey respondents mostly gave positive comments when asked about having more face-to-face time and spending more time together after becoming geographically close.
26. A third of long-distance couples break up within 3 months of becoming geographically close.
27. Couples that are uncertain about ever living in the same city as their partners are more distressed and less satisfied than couples who feel more certain about reuniting.
How many college students are in long-distance relationhips?
28. College relationships make up 32.5% of all long-distance relationships.
29. Up to 75% of college students have been in a long-distance relationship at some point.
30. Only 2% of high school romances survive a long-distance relationship.
31. 3 - 4% of 25 to 29-year olds with a bachelor’s degree are in long-distance relationships. The figure is a bit higher for those with a master’s or doctorate degree at 5 - 6%.
Long-distance couples and open relationships
32. 5.1% of long-distance couples have open relationships.
33. 8.8% of long-distance couples ages 65 and up have open relationships, topping all other age groups and doubling those aged 25 to 34 years old.
Sources: Sexual Alpha
How technology affects long-distance relationships
34. In a 2018 survey, 27% of long-distance couples never lived near each other and 50% met each other online.
35. 11% of long-distance couples have never met each other in person.
36. 24% of internet users with recent dating experience have used the internet to maintain a long-distance relationship.
37. 88% of long-distance couples say technology lets them feel closer to each other.
Effects of long-distance relationships on couples
38. A study of 296 married couples in long-distance relationships show that such couples have better physical and mental health than those who see each other most days.
39. 55% of US adults feel closer to their partner after being in a long-distance relationship with them.
40. 81% of people in long-distance relationships experience more intimacy upon finally meeting their partner.
- 5% of these people say the time spent apart brought them closer than ever to their partners.
- 70% say they talked more to their partner when they were apart.
41. A 2007 study showed more romantic idealism and satisfaction in communication among long-distance couples compared to couples in geographically close relationships.
The top 8 challenges of long-distance relationships
42. 66% of long-distance couples note the lack of physical intimacy as the biggest obstacle.
55% worry that their partner will meet someone else.
50% feel lonely.
45% say it’s too expensive to visit each other.
43% mention growing apart is a big challenge for them.
40% cite a lack of communication
33% say that the time difference is hard to deal with.
24% having a different opinion on how to communicate with each other (call, text, etc.)
Long distance relationship cheating statistics
43. 22% of people in long-distance relationships have admitted to cheating.
44. Long-distance couples that meet more often are less likely to cheat.
45. 68% of those who met once a month said they were certain their partners have been loyal.
Only 46% of those who met every 4 - 6 months could say the same.
Do men or women fare better in long-distance relationships?
46. Women can better deal with the difficulties of adjusting to a long-distance relationship than men.
Source: Sage Journals
The appeal of getting into another long-distance relationship
47. 32% of American couples who have been in long-distance relationships would not want to be in the same situation again.
38% of 45-year-olds who have been in a long-distance relationship wouldn’t do it again.
27% of those ages 18 to 24 also wouldn’t go into another long-distance relationship.
Sources: Sexual Alpha
How does face-to-face contact affect long-distance relationships?
48. Couples in long-distance relationships who don’t have face-to-face contact experience more jealousy and have significantly lower levels of satisfaction, commitment, and trust than those who do or are in geographically close relationships.
49. A 2006 study on long-distance relationships shows that it can be risky to transition from communicating via technology to communicating face-to-face and vice versa.