We go where no research has gone before by looking at the most comprehensive data set ever compiled to provide real insight into long distance relationships.
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In this dataset we have surveyed and aggregated over 1,330,000 data points from 33,910 respondents. It is by far the largest study of long distance relationships ever made.
This report provides a comprehensive walk-through of how prevalent long distance relationships are. How successful couples living in long distance relationships are at making it work out. We also cover infidelity rates, average distance between couples, the biggest reported obstacles and reasons for splitting as well as much much more.
- 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 in an LDR, 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, how many started their relationship out in one.
|All||US, %||US, Total|
|Currently in a LDR||16.09%||14.1M|
|Have been in a LDR with current partner||21.20%||18.44M|
|Have been in a LDR with any partner||81.12%||70.57M|
|Started as a LDR||51.11%||44.5M|
|Have never been in a LDR||18.88%||16.42M|
|Experienced infidelity in any LDR||25.14%||21.87M|
|: Cheated yourself||39.29%||8.59M|
|: Was cheated on||61.32%||13.41M|
- 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% admitting to cheating themselves, which is 8.59M couples.
- 61.32% having been cheated on, which is 13.41M couples.
Married couples and long distance relationships
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%).
|Married couples||US, %||US, Total|
|Currently in a LDR||5.95%||3.75M|
|Have been in a LDR with current partner||14.71%||9.17M|
|Started as a LDR||10.32%||6.43M|
|% of total LDR||22.84%||–|
|Experienced infidelity in any LDR||27.29%||17.01M|
|: Cheated yourself||35.71%||6.07M|
|: Was cheated on||64.29%||10.94M|
- 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.
College students in long distance relationship
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%).
|College students||US, %||US, Total|
|Currently in a LDR||32.51%||6.14M|
|Have been in a LDR with current partner||35.28%||6.67M|
|Started as a LDR||14.11%||2.67M|
|% of total LDR||32.51%||–|
|Experienced infidelity in any LDR||19.75%||3.73M|
|: Was cheated on||60.05%||2.24M|
- 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 a 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.
Success and fail rates: How many long distance relationships work out?
The following section is a rough tabulation of the data on how many of the long distance relationships that 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?
|% or months|
|LDR that work out||58%|
|LDR that fail||42%|
|: Split after re-uniting||37%|
|: Average time in LDR before split||4.5 months|
- 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.
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%).
|Reasons for split||%||Rank|
|Fail to plan||70%||#1|
|Worrying about future||3%||#4|
- Fail to plan is the top reason for splits, with 70% of respondents citing it as the cause, ranking it #1.
- Cheating is the second most common reason, with 12% of respondents mentioning it, placing it at #2.
- Grew apart is the third reason, with 9% of respondents attributing their split to it, ranking it #3.
- Worrying about the future is cited by 3% of respondents, making it the fourth reason and ranking it #4.
- Other reasons account for 6% of the splits, placing them at #5 in the ranking.
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%).
|Absence of physical intimacy||66%||#2|
Contact and meeting in a long distance relationship
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 in distance by using remote controlled sex toys
|per week||per month||days between||Length|
|Any contact||4 times||17.3 times||1.75 days||–|
|: Online messaging||347 messages||1502 messages||0.61 days||–|
|: Calls||2.59 times||11.25 times||2.74 days||30 minutes per call|
|: Meetups||0.35 times||1.5 times||20 days||Spends 3 days together|
|: Letters||0.69 times||3 times||10 days||–|
More insights in the dataset
To avoid extensive use of tables and work on tabulation here is a summary of the most interesting findings in the dataset. This should also give an idea of what data is available and thereby which types of tabulations, correlations and other statistical analysis is possible with the dataset.
- On average long distance couples live 125 miles apart.
- 33% of couples that reunite break up after just 3 months of reuniting.
- Couples living in long distance relationships expect to reunite on average within 14 months.
- We looked into how many long distance relationships agreed on an open relationship, and found that 5.1% of couples have decided on an open relationship. The data additionally showed that the older the couples the more likely it is that the couple decided on opening up their relationship.
- 11% of long distance relationships have never met in person before.
- 81% report being more intimate with their partner after reuniting.
- Only 5 % report feeling closer together.
- 32% of people who were in a long-distance relationship would not do it again.
- Just 2% of high-school couples survive becoming long-distance when starting college.
As statistics show, the lack of intimacy and feeling lonely can be a reason why LDR fails. Here are a few tips on how to stay together even at a distance.
- Use couple sex toys that works remotely, such as remote butt plugs, remote vibrators and dildos or remote controlled eggs
- Stay in touch often, and make sure to talk about how often both of you want or need it. Also, how – phone, text, etc.
- Make sure to do fun things together even when far away, for example, it’s possible to play sex games even if you are not physically together.