long-distance

Is Your Long-Distance Relationship Unhealthy?

This post was written by Gabriella, a loveisrespect intern.

You might be in a long-distance relationship because of a high school graduation, a connection you made with someone over the internet, or any number of reasons. Long-distance relationships have a bad rap for being notoriously difficult and complicated, requiring even more commitment from both partners than usual. Sure, everyone knows they aren’t easy, but how do you know if your long-distance relationship is healthy or not? Are they all doomed?

Thankfully, the answer is NO, not all long-distance relationships fail! But it can be tricky figuring out if yours is healthy. Here are some warning signs of an unhealthy long-distance relationship:

Texting frequently

Everyone feels differently about how much communication is too much, so it’s important that both you and your partner respect each other’s boundaries around texting. A red flag for an unhealthy relationship and controlling behavior is if your partner is messaging you constantly, asking where you are or demanding that you send pictures of people that you’re with. They might say, “I want to make sure you’re not with anyone I don’t like,” or “I’m just checking in on you.” Healthy relationships are based on trust, and everyone deserves freedom in their relationship without fear of angering their partner. It’s okay to make spontaneous plans with friends while you’re in a long-distance relationship, and you shouldn’t be punished or guilt tripped for taking a while to respond or hanging out with other people.

Digital monitoring

Lots of couples use digital methods of communication in their long-distance relationships to feel closer to each other. Tools such as Skype or social media apps like FaceTime can be a great way to catch up with each other’s day! The problem we hear at loveisrespect is that these tools can sometimes lead to intense digital monitoring. It’s normal to feel some insecurities during a long-distance relationship, but these feelings need to be handled in a healthy way, with lots of communication and respect for each other’s feelings. Unhealthy behaviors include your partner asking you to give them password access to social media accounts, leaving Skype on so they can see you do your homework or check that you’re watching a TV show at the same time, or even getting upset if you don’t leave your video chat on while you sleep.

Sexual coercion

If you feel pressure from your partner to send explicit photos or participate in filmed sex acts during chat hangouts, this is also a red flag for abuse. In healthy relationships, partners don’t pressure the other to do something that they’re not comfortable with; you always have the right to protect both your privacy and your body. If you feel that a line is being crossed, listen to your gut. Digital abuse is never okay.

Over-scheduled visits

Nothing is better in a long-distance relationship than when you finally get to hang out with your partner! So why is it that you aren’t thrilled to give up another weekend? A tightly controlled visiting schedule in a long-distance relationship can be straining, especially if you are forced to give up ALL your weekends or free time to see your partner. You can get burned out when you aren’t allowed to relax or hang out with friends and family. Visits not only cost time, but money for travel expenses as well! It’s important that both you and your partner feel comfortable with how much time you’re spending together and that neither of you feels pressured to sacrifice study time, family time, or other important things to please your partner.

Excuses

When a partner begins to use distance as an excuse for hurtful behavior, this is a warning sign that the distance isn’t a problem, the behavior is. Being abusive is a choice, and no one deserves to experience abuse. Excuses like, “It’s just because we’re far apart,” or “It won’t be like this when we’re in the same place,” do not justify controlling behaviors or invasion of privacy.

If you recognize any of these issues, you might need a relationship check-up. Most importantly, if it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right. If you feel suffocated by clingy behavior or find yourself getting constantly jealous, it may be time to re-evaluate your relationship. You can always chat, text or call us if you have questions!

15 replies

Comments

  1. SANDRA NYANTEH
    SANDRA NYANTEH says:

    HY I MET A GUY 22 DAYS AGO ONLINE.HE LIVES IN UK AND AM IN AFRICA .WE HAD A CHAT FOR ABOUT 5 DAYS ONLINE AND WE EXCHANGED NUMBERS AFTER THAT WE STARTED A CHAT ON WHATSAPP. ON THE 6TH DAY WE HAD A LONG CHAT ON WHATSAPP VIA TEXT COS WE WANTED TO KNOW EACH OTHER MORE.THE NEXT DAY WE HAD A VIDEO CHAT I INITIATED THAT .SINCE THAT VIDEO CHAT HE SENDS ME TEXTS VIA WHATSAPP GOODMORNING HOW ARE U? AND GOODNYT. NOTHING ELSE UNLESS I INITATE A CONVERSATION WHICH HE RESPONDS TO. IF I DONT START A CONVERSATION HE WOULDNT START ONE ALL HE SENDS IS GOODMORNING AND SOMETYMES GOODNYT. . I LOVE TO HAVE VOICE CALL CONVERSATIONS. I CALLED HIM ONCE HE PICKED UP ALRYT BUT HE WAS AT WORK AND HE SAID HE WAS GONNA CALL BACK HE NEVER DID BUT HE SEND ME A GOODMORNING MESSAGE ON WASAPP THE NEXT DAY I HAVE DEVELOPED SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR HIM(LOVE) BUT AS TO WHETHER HE FEELS THE SAME WAY OR WANTS TO BE SERIOUS WITH ME I CANT TELL PLEASE KINDLY ADVICE ME WHAT SHOULD I DO TO KEEP HIM OR PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF ITS A WASTE OF TYME SO I CAN MOVE ON
    THANK YOU AND I HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU SOON….

    Reply
    • LIR-Advocate
      LIR-Advocate says:

      Hi Sandra,

      Thank you for reaching out. It can be confusing to know how to navigate the beginning of a relationship. There isn’t a way to know what he is thinking or the motivation behind his behavior unless he shares that information. For a relationship to be healthy there needs to be open and honest communication. Possibly talking to him about what he is wanting and how he wants to communicate. I want to let you know about some other pages on our site that maybe helpful

      What Should I Look For in a Partner
      How Can We Communicate Better?
      Relationship Please Define

      Take care,
      LIR Advocate

      Reply
  2. caleb
    caleb says:

    Hi i met a girl on kik 8 months ago and we you know had skype and we texted eachother every once in awhile and last tuesday her mom called me and told me to give her space and so i did, then that saturday she texted me and told me to leave her daughter alone ,her daughter was put in a institution for depression and the doctor told her that our relationahip was healthy her mom blocked me on i stagram and skype and blocked my number, whats the best way to show her mom that i love her daughter??

    Reply
    • LIR-Advocate
      LIR-Advocate says:

      Hi Caleb,

      Thank you for reaching out. It can be very stressful and confusing to have someone else step in and block the relationship. This is someone you care about and want to have in your life which can make her mom’s disapproval very frustrating. It also sounds like she is going through a lot right now and may need some space to focus on herself and healing from the depression. Talking with your girlfriend about what she wants and what is a safe way to communicate can help. If you do not have a safe way to reach out to her, waiting for her to reach out to you is an option. We also have a page on when family disapproves of relationships here. If you would like to talk to an advocate about your situation and how to move forward, we are here 24/7 on chat, text (text “loveis” to 22522), and at 1-866-331-9474.

      Take care,

      Advocate LC

      Reply
  3. pan
    pan says:

    I had a relation ship for two years before my girlfriend went abroad .(iam greek and she is georgian)
    i find it diffycult.!
    both are very respective with our choise but….problems arise sometimes
    i feel insecure so is she
    i feel lonely nd i miss her smell and the feeling of her skin her voice and eye contact
    we were lining together for two years and now she went to georgia but they cancelled her visa and we dont know when she is going to return.
    iam not pressing and nor she is //
    luckily she found a job there and i have mine here
    we talk to the phone every day
    and some nights at askype …
    i know that i cant do more than waiting (with all my things around the day )to see her at our conversations (skype)
    sometimes is too uncaficient and cold the touch via skype..
    i try to be thoughtfull and so isi she but…
    many things linger around insecurity with both of us ..
    i feel like iam loosing her and even thogh i know its a mind game its stressfull
    sometimes she feels like this
    we get over it really quick with talks but the jealusy isnt fading even though i believe that she is faithfull and i am to her…
    today i feel more stressed without logical explanation and i fear that in tonights conversation i will try to hide it because i find it unfair to press our realationship without any logical evidence to talk about mu todays unstability …
    i know she will be understanding but…..
    i have never done a ldr before and i was against it because i want the physical presence and believe in the equality of the presence in someones life…
    now i try this because she means alot to me .but its too damn hard sometimes …
    i try alot of things …..
    work
    walks
    paintings
    and other hobbies as writing …
    but
    my brain is stcked …
    can you please tell me what to do …or advise me somewhat?

    thnx alot

    Reply
    • LIR-Advocate
      LIR-Advocate says:

      Pan,

      It sounds like you are going through so much right now, so I am happy that you reached out for help. It seems like a lot of the anxiety that you are experiencing is happening because there was a change that you could not control. Your relationship unexpectedly turned into a long distance relationship, and this was really hard on both of you.

      However, even in a healthy relationship it is good to take time for individual needs and obligations instead of focusing solely on your partner or their needs. It seems like from what you said, that you have been taking some steps to relieve your stress and self-care, that is so positive! Maybe you could take it even further and start writing or journaling your thoughts? Not only can this help with self-awareness, but it can also release negativity.

      It could also maybe be helpful to hang out with friends or others who can help support you? Talking to your partner constantly, or only talking to them can be unhealthy in some cases. However, it is always healthy for you AND her to have other fulfilling friendships with people outside of the relationship. So maybe it could be helpful to build stronger friend relationships to help fill that gap you are feeling?

      If you wanted to talk more about this situation and get more ideas for how you could handle long-distance, we definitely encourage you to contact us directly. We are always here 24/7 through phone at 1-866-331-9474 or by chat at loveisrespect.org Thanks for being brave enough to reach out!

      Best Wishes,
      Advocate KB

      Reply
  4. Clarivel ------
    Clarivel ------ says:

    My name is Clair. I’m going to start off by saying I was in a controlling/abusive relationship the end of my sophomore year, junior, and senior year of high school. I was finally able to end the 2 year relationship by jumping into another one a month later. I spent the whole summer getting to know this boy and fell in love. I am currently in Missouri while he’s in Texas. We Have been 5 months together and everything seemed to be going fine. I started noticing signs of controlling behavior but started telling him I was not going to put up with that. You could tell he was frustrated that I was not following what he said. Last night he went on a party bus with some friends, clubbing and refused to text me the rest of the night. I went to sleep mad but didn’t tell him how I was feeling. I expected him to text me today but I didn’t receive a single text. Instead, he was putting up pictures on social media so I knew he was enjoying his time with his friends. I ended up texting him at the end of the day and he broke up with me. Said he didn’t like how I didn’t follow his rules. I told him not to give up on this relationship and He said he would talk to me on Monday. He warned me he was going to tell me off so for me to be ready. I have the choice of letting him go, or staying with him. What should I do? I’ve based all my life choices off of him, I’m transferring back home next semester so I could be with him. It’s all so frustrating.

    Reply
    • LIR-Advocate
      LIR-Advocate says:

      Hi Clair,

      Thank you so much for being a part of our online community and opening up about your situation! It sounds like you’ve been going through a lot, and you deserve support through this. It sounds like you tried to discuss what your Boundaries are with your partner, which is a really great step, and it is not your fault that he is choosing to disregard that. A Healthy Relationship isn’t about rules, it is about trust, respect, and open communication. That means that when an issue comes up, working through that together in a supportive and respectful way. Rules are often a way for one person to create areas where negotiation isn’t an option. If you have no room for your own input, one person’s wellbeing will be prioritized over the other’s. That’s not okay at all. Saying something threatening like warning you to be ready because he is going to tell you off is really problematic, and these things create a clear difference in power in the relationship.

      The choice about what to do moving forward is one that only you can make. Something that may be helpful to keep in mind, though, is that you never need a reason to end a relationship that is not working out for you. You deserve to have your wellbeing prioritized, and if you feel like that is not something that your partner is willing to do, it may be the point to think through whether or not this relationship is the healthiest option for you right now. Asking If You Should End Your Relationship can be a really tough question, and it is completely reasonable to take the time you need to find the right answer for you.

      I would like to address a couple of the things you said – both your comment about immediately getting into a new relationship and that you are basing all of your life choices around your current relationship really concern me. Your life is your own, and while you can share experiences with someone, another person should not dictate the course of your life. It seems like you may be sacrificing what you want to meet his expectations, and that’s not healthy for you. A healthy relationship is about your partner supporting you on your own path and sharing experiences, not feeling like you have to change your path to suit someone else.

      If you would like to talk through your situation, I encourage you to reach out to us anytime. Our advocates are here 24/7 by phone (1.866.331.9474), online chat and text (text: loveis to 22522) to offer a safe space to talk.

      Take care,
      Advocate GR

      Reply
  5. Peter ----------
    Peter ---------- says:

    Hello everyone , I needed to speak out about this and get some advise on what to do , i have been in a LDR for 4 years now with my girlfriend, she lives in Italy and I live in the USA . My girlfriend gets mad about everything , if I say I’m going to hang out with my cousins and my friends she gets really pissed , she give me ultimatums all the time saying “it’s me or them ” .. She says it’s disrespectful to her that I go to party’s with out her . I’d like her to come with me to parties , but how can she if she’s across seas ?? .. My family sees this behavior and they all hate her , they litterly tell me to leave her and that my life will be a living hell if I stay with her . Godforbid a girl messages me on Facebook or tags me in a picture , I never hear the end of it from her . She is always interrogating me as if I was being questioned by the FBI … Everything always has to be her way , I tried talking to her about it but when I mention she’s controlling she says “ok bye ” and I don’t hear from her for two days … She doesn’t ever change and I thought it would be different if she comes here thinking it’s because of the distance . I recently got engaged to her and now I’m having second thoughts . Please help me :/

    Reply
  6. Peter ---------
    Peter --------- says:

    Hello it’s me again I just left a comment but I needed to add more . She also has major trust issues , I “cheated” on her not physically but was messing around with a website for couples and flirting ” so I kinda understand why she has trust issues however she has my Facebook password and my snapchat password . So she can monitor me and makes sure I’m not messing around . It makes me feel so low it makes me feel like I’m being choked on a leash , I deserve some privacy right ? ..even when I talk on the group chat with my guy friends about guy talk, she checks that and gets mad when I mention girls an during that has to go with other girls she’s freaks out about

    Reply
    • LIR-Advocate
      LIR-Advocate says:

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks so much for reaching out about this. It does sound like a very unhealthy, and potentially abusive, relationship for you to be in. Even in a relationship, partners are entitled to privacy and should not be required to share their social media passwords to have their partner “check up” on them. You are definitely allowed to have privacy, and it’s concerning that she feels the need to digitally control you like that. It’s also not ok for her to be telling you not to go to parties or to hang out with your friends. You are definitely allowed to have a life outside of your relationship, even if you are living close by. Trust is fundamental to a relationship, and it sounds like she is not trusting you and using that lack of trust to control you, and that’s not ok.

      Even if you did something in the past that betrayed her trust in a way, it’s still not ok for her to keep tabs on you or control you. Building trust after cheating (even if in your case it was not physical) is something that both partners have to work through, and it sounds like she is using your past mistake as an excuse to be abusive to you, and that is not fair to you at all.

      You deserve to be in a healthy relationship where your partner trusts you and treats you with respect. I would encourage you to reach out and talk with one of our advocates about your situation sometime, if you think that would be helpful for you. It sounds like you have a strong support network of friends and family, but we are also here 24/7 at 1-866-331-9474, by chat on loveisrespect home page, or by texting “loveis” to 22522.

      Best,
      Advocate CC

      Reply

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  1. […] again, trust is a choice you make. You can trust someone whether they’re right next to you or along distance away. When there is trust, a person doesn’t feel a need to monitor or control their partner. They […]

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