Your guide to long distance relationships
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Your Guide to Long Distance Relationships

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 Long Distance Relationships Statistics

Long Distance Relationships (LDR) statistics

Due to an ever growing and improving spectrum of technology which enables us to communicate in varied ways from across the world, long distance relationships (LDRs) are on the rise.  In fact, in 2005, according to The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships[1]  an estimated 2.9% of US marriages were considered long distance[2], with 1 in 10 marriages reported to have included a period at long distance within the first 3 years.[3] This means that in 2005 approximately 3,500,000 people in the US alone were involved in long-distance marriages.[4]  It is harder to know precisely how many non-married couples are in a long distance relationship but according to The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships there was an estimated 4 to 4.5 million college couples in the US which were in non marital LDRs.[5]

Even if this data is slightly outdated, it is reasonable to consider that due to the increase in globalization those numbers must have grown since 2005. Another important point is that no statistics currently exist about long distance relationships outside the US (Also according to About 1/3 of the married couples in large cities around the world are actually living apart due to job commitments, studies and military deployment)[6]. However it is fair to assume that similar numbers are valid for, at least, Western Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

These LDRs are due to social, environmental and economic factors such as participation in the military, studying abroad, increased opportunities to work overseas and the emergence of online relationships. Today we can telephone, e-mail, text, video conference, and expedite mail like never before.[7]

Sending flowers to your partner in Beijing can be done at the click of a button from London, and all you need in order to see their reaction is a computer and webcam.Th ese technological advancements have meant that we can readily communicate with the people we love, and sustain better, healthier relationships despite the physical separation they have helped to bridge the distance like never before.

With the worlds population growing, increasing pressure is being placed on local education systems and job markets, forcing some to relocate as required. This has changed the dynamic of our relationships, and challenged conventions of what we actually need in order to sustain a relationship with someone.
Long Distance Couple

The key to many successful LDRs is ultimately not proximity, but a true compatibility with one another.  It is also important to note that the frequency of break ups in LDRs is not greater than that of relationships were the partners are in proximity to one another[8], suggesting that our needs from romantic relationships are more emotional and psychological than physical.

The Centre for the Study of Long Distance Relationships provides the following statistics for the comparison of Proximal Relationships (PRs) and Distance Dating (percentages below relate to the percentage of break ups during a particular time in the relationship):

         30% PRs vs. 27% LDRs during the first month

         21% PRs vs. 37% LDRs during the first 3 months

         35% PRs vs. 42% LDRs during the first 6 months

         23% PRs vs. 11% LDRs during the first 8 months

         25% PRs vs. 8% LDRs during the first year


These figures demonstrate that couples in LDRs are not necessarily at a disadvantage, or at risk of committing to a relationship which can not last.  People are conditioned to believe that the lives of their parents should be a grounding point for what they themselves should seek in a relationship; however, we must remember that the baby boom generation was the first to experience skyrocketing divorce rates.

Whilst the idea of remaining by our partners side at all times is a wonderful one, it is not always possible in our current environment of change and expanding opportunities.

There are statistics which capture distance relationships in broad strokes, but many people will probably find themselves in a bracket of their own. However, to get an overview of long distance relationships a study from The Centre for the Study of Long Distance Relationships compiled data of over 200 couples and found the following averages:

         Average distance apart: 125 miles

         Average number of visits: 1.5 times per month

         Average number of phone calls: once every 2 days

         Average length of phone calls: 30 minutes

         Average number of letters written (excl. E-mail): 3 letters per month

         Average amount of time couples expect to live apart before they can move closer: 14 months

A 2002 study by a large US southeastern university of approximately 450 university students reported the following statistics[9]:

           20% of respondents were currently in LDRs

           37% of respondents have been in LDRs

           11% of respondents in LDRs managed to see their partners weekly while

           16% of respondents in LDRs never saw them at all

           56% of respondents in LDRs spoke on the phone several times a week

           53% of respondents in LDRs e-mailed daily

           1/5 of respondents in LDRs reported that being in an LDR made their relationship worse

These are averages, but what works or is right for an individual couple, may vary from these figures.  Essentially, it is up to the persons involved in the long distance romance to determine together what makes them feel good and secure within their own boundaries.  Going to college or university away from home, serving in the military or working abroad all present the need for a couple to create its own unique style LDR to make their distance relationship, a  successful and happy one.

Other articles you might want to read
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What impact has a LDR on your social life?

Best Long Distance Relationships Songs

Go back to the Articles section

[1] The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships,    

[2] The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships,   

[3] The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships,

[4] US census data 2000,

[5] The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships,


[7], Cheap ways to communicate with your long distance lover,

[8] The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships,

[9] Absence makes the heart grow fonder?: long distance dating relationships among college students, College Student Journal,  Sept, 2002  by David Knox,  Marty E. Zusman,  Vivian Daniels,  Angel Brantley,;col1