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How to Make Long-Distance Relationships Work (How I Failed)

Have you had a long-distance relationship before? Did it go well? Or is it still going?

I am a traveler since I was 21. I have been to many places and luckily I have met so many cool people. I have had some romantic relationships now and then. Unfortunately, none of them lasted after a long-distance relationship.

I am not saying long-distance relationships don’t work. I have seen quite a few couples get married after their long-distance relationships. It’s just that I suck at the long-distance relationship thing.

For Japanese people, studying English in the Philippines has been quite popular these days until Covid hit. As well as it isn’t uncommon to see Japanese students and Filipino teachers walking together in the mall.

But the question is what they are going to do after one of them left. “Are they going to continue dating?” or “It was just a 3 months romance thing then!?”.

I am not an expert on long-distance relationships, since I have never succeeded in any of them. However, I somehow know why all of my relationships did not work or what I should have done to make them work. Also, I know some of my Japanese friends who went through long-distance relationships, ending up surviving or breaking up.

If you currently are in a long-distance relationship, I will tell you the reasons why all of my long-distance relationships ended in failure and the examples of successful long-distance relationship couples.

 

 

5 Reasons Why Your Long-Distance Relationships Never Work

As I mentioned in the introduction, I have been to many places and I have had someone more than friends now and then. Some had gotten serious and we started long-distance relationships.

There were times I was in Japan and my ex-girlfriend was in the Philippines, I was in Australia and my ex-girlfriend was in New Zealand, or both were in Japan but far away from each other.

We both tried to work it out, but somehow they all ended quicker than I expected when I was with them. I came up with some reasons why my long-distance relationships did not work.

 

Separation Problems

No one likes to feel lonely and the feeling of being separated from each other is devastating. This separation problem is one of the biggest reasons why, in my opinion, most long-distance relationships including mine do not work.

Some people crave physical intimacy, not necessarily sexually but hugging and kissing are very important elements of tying the relationship.

I do not mean you cannot build a strong emotional connection without physical intimacy. However, if two people are physically separated from each other, it is hard to stay emotionally connected.

Especially if your partner is in another country or, just like my case, I never knew when we were going to meet again, it is not easy to keep the spark alive. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

How to Keep the Spark Alive in a Long-Distance Relationship?

When I look back, I notice there is one thing in common in all of my failed long-distance relationships. That is not making any plans for the future.

When I came back from the Philippines, I didn’t know when I was going to see her again. I was still young and wanted to travel more. I could not see myself settling down in the Philippines in a short time. Not knowing when I would see her again and stay together slowly made me lose interest in the long-distance relationship.

If you are dating someone from another country, chances are you are just like me. He/she sooner or later realizes that there is no point in continuing the long-distance relationship. The key to making it work is to make a plan. You need a plan to make your partner believe that your relationship is going somewhere.

If your boyfriend is a Japanese student from your English school, talk about you visiting Japan or him coming back to the Philippines, and start the countdown for your reunion. It does not have to happen, but knowing that you are going to meet again sooner or later makes a world of difference.

 

Sometimes It Just is Not Meant to Be

Unfortunately, some relationships are just not meant to last forever. It sucks and I find it really sad when you are right at the moment and one of them has to go away, leaving your love behind. I mean it feels much better to break up with someone when he/she was cheating on you.

A long-distance relationship is definitely an option that you two decide to make and the majority just go for it. However, not every person is capable of not seeing each other for a long time.

If you need someone right next to you all the time, you may not be suitable for a long-distance relationship. You miss her but she is not there. The frustration is real. You may be more likely to lose feelings and find someone who can be there for you.

Moreover, if you are someone who hates texting and talking on the phone, or you just started dating, a long-distance relationship may be harder than you expect. Definitely not for the travelers.

Not every relationship is meant to last forever, and the ending of a long-distance relationship can only be caused by the distance itself. Things happen for reasons and sometimes there is nothing you can do to fix it. You never know when your feelings for your partner go away or meet someone new. Some people are caught up by work or friendship, and these unforeseeable outcomes make them even further apart from each other.

 

Learn to Let Go of a Long-DIstance Relationship

If you think of yourself or your partner as one of those listed above, your relationship with your partner is likely to fall apart after separation starts. (likely not 100%)

Some couples decide to stay together even though they feel things differently. However, it is not a healthy decision and an unhealthy relationship can cause a lot of suffering. If you notice your partner has changed since moving out, he may not be there for you anymore, and it is very hard to fix it unless he is physically there to talk it out.

 

How to Let It Go?

No one likes to break up with someone. But sometimes, you just gotta do it. Some people choose to end their relationship on their own and tell their partners later. It surely ends the relationship but it’s not the best way to do it and either one of you may end up hurting.

I had a girlfriend in Japan. She was living far away from where I was living. We lived together for a while but started a long-distance relationship. After 4 months, I decided to end it since I thought there was no spark between us. I called her and told her that we should break up. I thought she was thinking the same thing but she started crying. I was surprised and couldn’t say anything. I waited for her to stop crying and hung up the phone. I felt terrible. I still feel terrible actually.

The best way to do this is to share your thoughts and concerns as much as possible. Once you decide to break up, you cannot go back anymore, but if you talk first you may be able to find your way to fix it or let it go. This also allows your partner to sense your feelings and be able to talk about the break-up.

 

Too Much or Too Little Communication

People in long-distance relationships must work hard to make up for the lack of physical intimacy. Luckily, we have so many ways to communicate with anyone anywhere in the world.

However, people are usually busy after moving to a new place with a new job, new friends, and new environments. They try to communicate as much as possible at the beginning but they start to feel lazy after a while.

If you do not have good communication with your partner, you will encounter many problems. No need to mention that communication in a long-distance relationship is challenging due to the distance. Chatting through Messenger or talking on the phone twice a week would not be enough to feel loved.

On the other hand, some people try too hard and it leads to excessive communication. They try to compensate for the lack of physical intimacy. However, it just doesn’t work like that since nothing you do on the phone can replace what they used to have when they were together.

It may seem normal to have hours and hours of talking to each other on the phone or texting throughout the day in the beginning. But it may become a routine and it feels like it’s your job to call at 10 pm every day. You may start questioning “Why I am the one who always calls or texts first?” or he may be tired of spending all his time calling every day.

5 years ago, I had a girlfriend in Australia. After she had moved to New Zealand, she started calling me every single day, day and night. I was fine at first but I found myself getting tired of answering the phone since I am not a big fan of those things and I had something else to do. As I was avoiding the phone calls and messages that I would plan to respond to later, my feelings of affection turns into annoyance. I was very confused with the mixture of love and hatred that I chose to believe that was hatred.

I started ignoring the calls and we eventually broke up without a proper goodbye. That was 100% my fault but there are people like me who feel like it’s just too much.

 

How to Communicate in a Long-Distance Relationship?

If you want to build a healthy relationship, you need to know how to communicate with each other. Communication is a two-way street. Both you and your partner should be able to tell everything and listen on the same level.

My relationship in Australia did not work because I couldn’t express myself and chose to ignore her. Both my ex-girlfriend and I did not know about each other very well. She liked to be connected all the time while I needed a space for personal development.

If your partner does like spending 3 hours on the phone every night, that is amazing. But if it’s your first time having someone in a long-distance, you need to make sure what he wants from your relationship.

Just like you freshly meet someone and try doing something nice to get him like you, ask him questions and let him get used to the new environment without you. Your partner in a long-distance relationship is a different person. You need to know him first and find the best way to communicate with each other.

 

Some Relationships Cost Too Much

I don’t like to talk about money and I certainly do not want money to be the reason for ending my relationship. But this can become the main source of resentment and it leads to many problems, especially in a long-distance relationship.

Of course, if you are rich, this is not your problem. But traveling to see each other can be very expensive, and sometimes either you or your partner has to spend a lot more money than the other in order to have a weekly or monthly meetup.

This may not sound as bad at first. But when your partner never comes to visit you and you are the ones who always spend a lot of money to see their partner, you need to talk about it. Sooner or later, you will start feeling that it is unfair and you are being used.

I had this problem before, and I was not the one who paid for his plane ticket to see her. I was the one who was waiting for her to come.

I don’t know if she saw it as a problem to spend a lot of money to see me but I, as a man, couldn’t stand the fact that I was that person. In Japan, we have this culture where men pay for everything on a date and my dad taught me that way.

It’s just I didn’t have enough money to see her since my university costs an arm and a leg. But I couldn’t talk about money with her either and kept feeling guilty about it. When she came to see me, I felt like it was my turn to do the same in return which I couldn’t afford to, it was a vicious cycle. Eventually, I told her that I would come, so she wouldn’t have to come to see me, but it never happened.

 

How to Talk about Money

Talking about money is not easy, especially if you are in a new relationship. There are several things you can do to make it as affordable as possible, but you must find a way to talk about it.

It doesn’t have to be exactly split 50/50, one has more money and the other has less. You can be in charge of flying and your partner can pay for your meals and your stay.

It is extremely difficult to keep things “fair”, especially, in a long-distance relationship unless you two talk and agree.

People tend to forget hidden expenses such as the cost of taking long holidays and the transportation fees other than plane tickets. If you don’t talk about these hidden expenses, your partner will never know and you will start feeling “unfair”.

If your partner will be gone for a few months, you don’t really have to see him. He will come back for you as long as you have healthy communication. However, if he will be gone for longer than a few months, you may need to see him in person to keep the spark alive once in a while. But as I said, you need to talk about money!

 

Trust Issue

Trust in a relationship is very important, especially in a long-distance relationship. This will become a problem when you are constantly anxious preoccupied and manipulate your partner.

When you are apart from each other, both you and your partner have a lot of time to spend on your own. As explained in the preceding section, healthy communication is key to keeping your long-distance relationship.

As time goes by, both you and your partner will do a lot of things, and your partner may not share everything with you even if you tell him everything. People are different. Some people like to talk about little things whereas some say “nothing” when being asked.

But some people cannot understand the fact that their partner is not sharing and start questioning everything, making your partner call you every Friday night to make sure your partner is not with someone else. But it is just suffocating. It only makes things worse.

 

How to Deal with Trust Issues?

There is nothing better to be open and honest. If you are not happy with your partner not sharing everything, talk about it. Don’t try to make him share everything, try to make him understand that you like to share everything and try to find the reasons why he does not like sharing everything.

It is quite normal that you have doubts, but how you can know everything about your partner. If your partner realizes that you don’t trust him/her, that’s when they start changing.

Women and men are different, but I like to chase. When I feel like I am being chased in a relationship, I tend to feel scared and want to run away.

If you have any doubts about your long-distance relationship or trust issues, just talk about it. Your partner will understand and appreciate your honesty rather than feeling scared and watched.

 

Examples of Successful Married Couples

To be honest more than 90% of couples who I met overseas broke up during their long-distance relationship. However, all of them had international long-distance relationships where both are in different countries. If you are in the same country, 60% of long-distance relationships last.

It is not easy to maintain a long-distance relationship, but if you look on the bright side, 10% of them overcame all the difficulties and got married.

 

Married After 6 Months in Cebu and 1 Year in Canada

When I was studying English in Cebu, there was this Japanese girl who came to the school one week later. She had a boyfriend who was 10 years older than her and she left him in Japan to study English for 6 months in Cebu and 1 year in Canada. She would often tell me that she was worried since she was in a long-distance relationship for 18 months.

She was a little chubby and cute girl that I thought she was going to be popular in Canada and make a new boyfriend. But After she returned to Japan, she announced on Facebook that she was engaged.

I had a chance to see her and her husband after a while and they seemed pretty happy.

 

Successful Marriage But…

I know one more girl who got engaged after more than a year of a long-distance relationship. Now she is a mother of 2 children and has a happy family as I can see on Facebook. But she was dating so many guys in Australia.

I met her in Australia and she was also on a working holiday visa. She chose to have a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend in Japan and came to Australia alone.

She was very short and cute with a big smile on her face 24/7 that I was pretty sure she would attract some men who like typical Japanese girls. We were the same age, but her English was super good that once I thought she was a native English speaker while she was on the phone.

She was very nice to everyone and certainly didn’t look like the one who would date many guys, but at least I know 3 guys. She was always smiling and cute but once she got drunk, she would change and start flirting. She also had a Japanese boyfriend who lived together while she had her long-distance boyfriend in Japan. I actually once got drunk and slept with her, but she started dating another Japanese man the very next week.

Her long-distance boyfriend came to visit her in Australia without knowing anything while she was living with another man. I saw the post on Facebook and I knew everything that I felt bad for her boyfriends.

If her long-distance boyfriend had known what she did in Australia, they would never have gotten married, and they seem happy getting married and having 2 beautiful kids. So, sometimes you don’t need to know everything (maybe) just like there is this say “what you don’t know won’t hurt you”.

 

Conclusion

Long-distance relationships are hard, especially when your partner is in another country, you really need to work hard to make it work.

Just because you and your partner love each other doesn’t mean your long-distance relationship turns out okay. You also need to know the patience and the best way for you and your partner to communicate effectively. But most importantly, you 100% must do the talking. Without talking, nothing can be fixed.

I know many friends who are currently going through long-distance relationships and I hope this post was helpful.

If you are interested in some cool Japanese culture, check these posts too!

➡ 7 Things You Believe Exist in Japan Is Not True

➡ Do You Really Know about Ramen!?

Let me know what you think about my post in the comment below or you can reach out to me on my Twitter account. Thank you!

「How to Make Long-Distance Relationships Work (How I Failed)」への8件のフィードバック

  1. {Unfortunately, some relationships are just not meant to last forever. It sucks and I find it really sad when you are right at the moment and one of them has to go away, leaving your love behind. I mean it feels much better to break up with someone when he/she was cheating on you.}
    Almost made me cry 😭. Every word is so true.
    You know, people says”Love is mute”. Lovers feel love in the eyes instead of words. it’s so difficult to make long-distance relationship works. I felt several times, too,a long time ago…
    Anyway,my husband is in another country currently but we love each other with no doubt because marriage is a different issue 🤣

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