Long Distance Relationships [Statistics]

In an era where digital connections often transcend physical boundaries, long-distance relationships (LDRs) have become a significant facet of modern romance.

This study not only highlights the prevalence and success rates but also delves into the challenges and triumphs experienced by couples separated by miles. From understanding the dynamics of college LDRs to the role of infidelity, this report provides a holistic view of the complexities involved in maintaining love from afar.

Dive in to discover the resilience, commitment, and heartaches that define long-distance relationships today.

Here’s what you’ll find in this piece:

Key Takeaways

  • Long-distance relationship success rate: 58% of LDRs work out, while 42% fail.
  • Percentage of long-distance relationships working: 16.09% of people are currently in a successful LDR.
  • A significant proportion of both married couples (5.95%) and college students (32.51%) are currently in long-distance relationships.
  • Cheating statistics in long-distance relationships: 25.14% of people have experienced infidelity, either by cheating themselves or being cheated on.
  • Long-distance relationship prevalence: 81.12% of people have been in an LDR with any partner, and 51.11% of relationships started as a long-distance relationship.
  • On average, long-distance couples live 125 miles apart and expect to reunite within 14 months.
  • Key challenges in LDRs:
    • The most common reasons for failure include lack of planning (70%), cheating (12%), and growing apart (9%)
    • The biggest obstacles in long-distance relationships include loneliness (72%), absence of physical intimacy (66%), and jealousy (54%).

How Many Are In a Long-Distance Relationship

The main focus of this study was creating a nationally representative dataset – and keep it updated throughout the years. The primary aim of having a large sample size (big N) was being able to precisely estimate nationally representative insights.

The below data shows some of the key insights in the data such as the current rate of long-distance relationships, how many have previously been in one, and how many started their relationship out in one.

  • 16.09% of all couples, which equates to 14.1M in the US, are currently in a long-distance relationship (LDR).
  • 21.20% of all couples, or 18.44M, have been in an LDR with their current partner.
  • A significant 81.12% of all couples, or 70.57M, have been in an LDR with any partner.
  • Over half, 51.11% of all couples, or 44.5M, started their relationship as an LDR.
  • 18.88% of all couples, or 16.42M, have never been in an LDR.
  • 25.14% of all people, or 21.87M, have experienced infidelity in any LDR, with:
    • 39.29% admitted to cheating themselves, which is 8.59M couples.
    • 61.32% having been cheated on, which is 13.41M couples.
AllUS, %US, Total
Have been in an LDR with any partner16.09%14.1M
Have been in an LDR with my current partner21.20%18.44M
Started as an LDR81.12%70.57M
Have never been in an LDR51.11%44.5M
Have never been in an LDR18.88%16.42M
Experienced infidelity in any LDR 25.14%21.87M
: Cheated yourself39.29%8.59M
: Was cheated on61.32%13.41M

Married Couples

Our research findings highlight some interesting statistics concerning married couples and long-distance relationships (LDRs).

The table below presents key insights, revealing that 5.95% of married couples are currently in an LDR, while 14.71% have experienced an LDR with their current partner.

Additionally, 10.32% of married couples began their relationships as LDRs.

Infidelity is a significant concern in these relationships, with 27.29% of couples reporting having experienced infidelity, either by cheating themselves (35.71%) or being cheated on (64.29%).

  • 5.95% of married couples, which is approximately 3.75M in the US, are currently in an LDR.
  • 14.71% of married couples, or about 9.17M, have been in an LDR with their current partner.
  • 10.32% of married couples, or roughly 6.43M, initiated their relationships as LDRs.
  • Married couples constitute 22.84% of the total LDRs.
  • Infidelity is prevalent among these couples:
    • 27.29% of married couples, or 17.01M, have faced infidelity in their LDR.
    • Of those who experienced infidelity:
      • 35.71% (or 6.07M couples) admitted to cheating.
      • 64.29% (or 10.94M couples) were victims of cheating.
Married couplesUS, %US, Total
Currently in an LDR5.95%3.75M
Have been in an LDR with my current partner14.71%9.17M
Started as an LDR10.32%6.43M
% of total LDR22.84%
Experienced infidelity in any LDR 27.29%17.01M
: Cheated yourself35.71%6.07M
: Was cheated on64.29%10.94M

College Students

The data on college students and long-distance relationships (LDRs) reveal several notable trends.

As shown in the table below, a significant proportion of college students (32.51%) are currently in an LDR, and 35.28% have been in an LDR with their current partner. Of these relationships, 14.11% started as LDRs.

Infidelity is also a factor for college students in LDRs, with 19.75% having experienced infidelity either by cheating themselves (39.95%) or being cheated on (60.05%).

  • 32.51% of college students, which equates to approximately 6.14M in the US, are currently in an LDR.
  • 35.28% of college students, or about 6.67M, have been in an LDR with their current partner.
  • 14.11% of college students, or roughly 2.67M, began their relationships as LDRs.
  • College students make up 32.51% of all current long distance relationships in the US.
  • 19.75% of all college students (3.73M US students) have encountered infidelity in an LDR.
  • 39.95% of college students have admitted to cheating on the LDR partner (1.49M students).
  • 60.05% (or 2.24M students) have had a partner cheat on them in their long distance relationship.
College studentsUS, %US, Total
Currently in an LDR32.51%6.14M
Have been in an LDR with my current partner35.28%6.67M
Started as an LDR14.11%2.67M
% of total LDR32.51%
Experienced infidelity in any LDR 19.75%3.73M
: Cheated39.95%1.49M
: Was cheated on60.05%2.24M

Success and Failure Rates

The following section is a rough tabulation of the data on how many of the long-distance relationships work out. Additionally, we asked respondents to provide insight into what obstacles they experienced. And, if their long-distance relationship did not work out, we asked why it did not succeed.

  • 58% of LDRs work out successfully.
  • Conversely, 42% of LDRs fail.
  • 37% Of the failed LDRs, couples only split up after being reunited.
  • On average, couples stayed in the LDR for 4.5 months before splitting.
% or months
LDR that works out58%
LDR that fail42%
: Split after re-uniting37%
: Average time in LDR before split4.5 months

Reasons respondents report for failed long distance relationship

Our research has identified the primary reasons for failed long-distance relationships, as reported by respondents. As seen in the table below, the top reason for failure is a lack of planning (70%), followed by cheating (12%), growing apart (9%), worrying about the future (3%), and other factors (6%).

  1. Failure to plan is the top reason for splits, with 70% of respondents citing it as the cause, ranking it #1.
  2. Cheating is the second most common reason, with 12% of respondents mentioning it, placing it at #2.
  3. Grew apart is the third reason, with 9% of respondents attributing their split to it, ranking it #3.
  4. Worrying about the future is cited by 3% of respondents, making it the fourth reason and ranking it #4.
  5. Other reasons account for 6% of the splits, placing them at #5 in the ranking.
Reasons for split%Rank
Fail to plan70%#1
Grew apart9%#3
Worrying about future3%#4

Biggest obstacles respondents report

Our findings also highlight the most significant obstacles faced by individuals in long-distance relationships. As summarized in the table below, respondents reported loneliness (72%) as the biggest challenge, followed by the absence of physical intimacy (66%), jealousy (54%), drifting apart (45%), sadness (17%), and insecurity (11%).

Biggest obstacles%Rank
Absence of physical intimacy66%#2
Drifting apart45%#4

Contact and Meeting

One of the last main things we chose to focus on in the data collection is the contact between couples. Both the physical meetings as well as messaging, calling, and more traditionally – letters sent. Nowadays, a lot of people create intimacy at a distance by using remote controlled sex toys

per weekper monthdays betweenLength
Any contact4 times17.3 times1.75 days
: Online messaging347 messages1502 messages0.61 days
: Calls2.59 times11.25 times2.74 days30 minutes per call
: Meetups0.35 times1.5 times20 daysSpends 3 days together
: Letters0.69 times3 times10 days