How to Balance Long-distance Relationships and Your Mental Health

Long-distance relationships can be extremely hard, but communication is key. Here's why

Long-distance relationships can be extremely hard, but communication is key. Here’s why


With a lack of physical contact and dependency on technology to keep in touch, couples in long-distance relationships face additional woes compared to those who are geographically close.

Whether you reside at a distance by choice or because life circumstances have forced you to, long-distance relationships can affect your mental well-being. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, couples can experience high levels of distress and low levels of satisfaction in a relationship, particularly if there is uncertainty about a physical reunion.

Loneliness can be overwhelming and lead to depressive episodes, while insecurity about your partner’s behaviour or lack of validation from a social entourage may lead to anxiety.

“We rely on having our relationship supported and respected by social connections and when that support isn’t there, it can affect the relationship and, in relation, the mental health of the people in the relationship,” says Carrie Jenkins, a University of British Columbia professor who researches romantic love.

How far can you get from stereotypical romantic relationships before getting uncomfortable with your feelings and the reactions of your social circle? How comfortable are you with relying on technology for everything from daily updates to sexual intimacy? For Jenkins, these types of questions are crucial for individuals in long distance relationships to understand.

The more comfortable someone feels with the conditions attached to their long-distance relationship, the more open their communications channels will be and the more opportunity for planning exists. That openness and communication is crucial to maintaining a healthy relationship, whether you are separated by a wall or by a continent.