As the most romantic day of the year approaches, those of us lucky in love are no doubt planning something special for our other half. From something simple like a red rose, to a lavish romantic meal or a weekend escape, there’s a lot of pressure to show your other half how much you love them on Valentine’s Day. But what about those couples in long distance relationships?
A survey by ParcelHero has found that nearly half of people in the UK (40%) have had a long-distance relationship. Unfortunately, not everyone has a private jet to fly them back into their loved-one’s arms whenever they’re feeling lonely. Whether they’re living in different cities or as far as different continents, Valentine’s Day can be particularly tough for couples who live far apart.
Going the distance
How do people come to find themselves in long-distance relationships? The most common reason was people living in separate locations when they met (40%). Relocating for work was another reason, with nearly a fifth of people (18%) working far away from their partner. However, for people aged 16-24 the most common reason was attending University in a separate city, at 37%.
The challenges of long-distance love
Does absence really make the heart grow fonder? We asked people to share the most challenging part of being in a long-distance relationship. Lack of physical intimacy was found to be the biggest challenge, with a third of people (32%) saying this was the most challenging aspect of their partner living far away.
One respondent said: “The hardest part was talking day in, day out but not seeing each other for months.” Another said: “The physical separation of not having that person with me every day.”
Difficulties in communicating (17%) and emotionally drifting apart (16%) came a close second and third.
A fifth of people aged 40-54 found difficulties in communicating the most difficult aspect of their long-distance relationship. Perhaps this is because keeping in touch wasn’t as simple in the days before the internet. One person said: “This was a while ago, so comms weren’t very good, so it was the frustration of missed calls and lost letters.”
It might come as a surprise that lack of trust and jealousy were the least of people’s concerns, at just 4% and 3% respectively. One person said: “We never really had an issue with jealousy – we’re both quite independent and both quite like having lives outside of our relationship.” Perhaps people who are willing to give a long-distance relationship a try are more trusting and open in general – although 7% did say that infidelity was the biggest challenge!
The rise of online relationships
Although there may have been a stigma attached to it at first, online dating hit the mainstream years ago. Around a third of relationships started between 2015 and 2019 began online.
It may come as a surprise that 6% of people in long-distance relationships have never met their other half. It may be less surprising to learn that over a third of those (35%) are aged under 25. With 16-24-year-olds spending on average 34.3 hours per week on the internet, it could be said that an online relationship comes more naturally to younger people.
The phone call – not as dead as you might think!
Data from The Guardian back in 2015 found that the number of people using their phone to make voice calls was falling, with a quarter of people making voice calls less than once a week. However, people in long distance relationships seem to counter this trend, with three quarters (75%) of people surveyed saying that they used phone calls to keep in touch with their long-distance partner.
Even among Millennials, who have been dubbed ‘generation mute’ due to their apparent distaste for telephone calls, when it came to their long-distance partner, 75% of them reported speaking on the phone to keep in touch. This compares to 83% of 40-54-year-olds and 71% of people aged over 55 who have had long-distance relationships.
Young people (aged 16-24) are leading the charge when it comes to video calling. They are more likely to video call (77%) than phone call (70%) to contact their long-distance lover.
Unsurprisingly it was the younger generation who used messaging apps as their primary method of communication with their long-distance partner. A whopping 83% of 16-24-year-olds reported using apps like WhatsApp, Viber and Facebook Messenger to keep in touch. This compares to just 23% of those aged over 55 – although it must be said that this could be down to how long ago the long-distance relationship took place, and when messaging apps became available.
Make Valentine’s Day special, no matter how far apart you are
If you’re in a long-distance relationship and aren’t going to be seeing your partner on Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t mean you can’t make their day romantic and special. Go a step further than calls, texts or video messages and send your special someone a bespoke care package made by yours truly! With ParcelHero it’s easy to send bespoke parcels worldwide. Read our guide on making a romantic Valentine’s care package for your partner and show them how much you care.
 Number of people, survey by yougov