What is a Long Distance Marriage?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2019
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A long distance marriage is a marriage in which the partners live at separate addresses, typically at a great distance from each other. Such arrangements can be found in many parts of the world, and married couples embark upon them for a variety of reasons. A number of conditions must be met for a long distance marriage to be effective; the most important is probably a deep sense of commitment to the relationship, along with a willingness to foster open lines of communication.

One of the most common reasons for a long distance marriage is dual careers; a dual career couple may be forced to live apart to further the careers of both members. Academics, for example, may have teaching positions at different institutions, and members of the military cannot always ensure that they are sent to the same posting, especially as they move up in military ranks.

A long distance marriage may also occur when one partner has a demanding career which requires travel, as all sailor's wives know. Journalists may also be involved in long distance marriages, as they may live in remote locations for six months or more while they gather material and report on breaking news. Some specialists also find themselves in similar positions, as they are asked to travel to various locations to meet the needs of clients.


Typically, a couple involved in a long distance marriage will try to make time for visits. In some cases, the couple may meet in various locations around the world, and in other instances, one person may travel to be with the other for a set period of time every year or every few months. The two households are run largely independently, although one couple may rely on the other to look after a house or apartment during periods of extended travel.

Long distance marriages are not for everyone. They do require a great deal of sacrifice, along with a deep sense of commitment to the partner involved. Being in a long distance marriage will not necessarily increase the risk of infidelity and other issues, but these issues should certainly be addressed when a couple sits down to negotiate the terms of a long distance marriage. Couples who face a situation where they may be forced to live apart are encouraged to seek professional counseling, along with advice from people in similar situations.


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Post 4

@purplespark- I am not completely disagreeing with you, but my daughter and her husband had been married for 13 years. For the most part, they got along great. They had 3 children and were active in their church.

I do agree that people get lonely. However, before he left, their marriage was a strong one.

Post 3

@malena- I think that whether the long term relationship will work is determined by the strength of the relationship in the first place. Also, we as humans, get lonely. It is our nature to thrive for attention and companionship. It can be difficult being the one left behind without that intimacy that we are accustomed to.

Post 2

@malena- My daughter married a man who was in the Army reserve. He had a full time job as a welder. He only served one weekend out of each month.

The opportunity came along for him to go to Korea for one year. It was not mandatory. It was a voluntary assignment but they got paid a nice chunk of change to do it. After they, as a family, sat down and discussed it, they determined that it was the best thing to do, financially speaking.

He was allowed to call home 2-3 times a week. After a while, the phone calls stopped coming in. He would have many different reasons as to why. To make a long story short, he found a girlfriend over there and my daughter is now a divorced mom.

So, to your question, "do long distance relationships work long term"; I'm sure there are some that do. Unfortunately, for my daughter, it did not.

Post 1

Can long distance relationships really work long term?

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