When to Let Go of a Long-Distance Relationship? (19 Ways to Tell)

Love knows no bounds, and distance can make the heart grow fonder… so they say. But let’s be honest, keeping the spark alive in a long-distance relationship isn’t for the faint-hearted. It requires grit, patience, and loads of mutual effort.

Sometimes, though, despite giving it your all, you hit a point where you start to wonder: “Is this really working?” If you’re nodding along, you’re not alone.

If you’re searching for that little voice of reason or a gentle push towards making the difficult decision, I’ve got your back. Let’s talk about some key signs—and maybe some red flags—that could be telling you that it’s time to rethink your long-distance relationship.

Stick with me, and let’s figure out if it’s time to close this chapter of your life.

You And Your Partner Don’t Talk Much Anymore

We all know that communication is super important in any relationship, but it’s even more crucial when you’re miles apart. So if you notice that you and your partner aren’t talking as much anymore, it’s a sign that something might be off.

Remember when you used to chat about everything and nothing all at once, and hours flew by as if they were minutes? If those days are far behind and you find the silence stretching longer, it’s worth paying attention.

Let’s break this down:

  • You used to text all day, but now it’s just the basic “good morning,” and “good night.”
  • Calls have become quick check-ins rather than meaningful conversations.
  • You feel awkward starting a chat because it somewhat feels forced.

What you can do: Open up to your partner and be honest about how this shift makes you feel. If it turns out you’re both just stuck in a rut, that’s something you can definitely work through. But if these efforts don’t work, well, that’s a cue to think about what you both really want from this relationship.

"...Maybe you got to the point that you can go for several days without talking to your partner. Maybe you start feeling like chatting with them or video calling them has become a chore. And when you do end up talking, there’s actually nothing to talk about, or worse, there’s silence on the other line."

Sam Nabil | CEO and Lead Therapist, Naya Clinics

There’s No Excitement For Future Plans

Planning your next visit used to be the highlight, right? You used to count down days until you could finally hug your partner again. But now, it’s like, “Eh, maybe next month.”

If you’re noticing that you don’t really get excited about future plans anymore, it might be a red flag. It’s pretty normal for life to get in the way sometimes and the initial excitement to fade a bit, but total indifference is an entirely different thing—it’s concerning.

Here’s a thought: When discussing potential holiday plans with your partner, did the both of you feel excited? Were you looking forward to it? Or did it feel like…nothing? Maybe you even catch yourself thinking, “Could I be doing something else with my time and money?” Or, maybe when you bring up visiting, your partner always has an excuse.

If figuring out the next time you’ll see each other feels like more trouble than it’s worth, it might be a sign that your hearts are trying to tell you something important.

"If you find those important conversations like planning visits and talking about the future (closing the distance) are pushed to the side, virtual date nights are continually canceled or communicating via text is infrequent and feels like a chore. The relationship will suffer, as it creates many uncertainties around the future of the relationship."

Nate and Lolo | Founders, Lasting The Distance

There’s No Romance Left

This one’s a tough pill to swallow. Remember when you couldn’t wait to send (or receive) cute or flirty texts with your partner? Or maybe you used to surprise each other with little gifts or letters? If these moments have completely disappeared, it might be more than just a passing phase.

I understand that, sometimes, the grind of daily life can push romance to the back burner, but if it’s completely off the stove, it’s time to figure out why.

What this looks like:

  • You don’t celebrate anniversaries or important dates anymore.
  • The sweet “I miss you” or “I can’t stop thinking about you” messages have dwindled.
  • Date nights? More like “Let’s just watch TV separately and call it a day.”

What to do: Try to reignite that spark you once had. Plan special virtual dates or send a surprise package! However, if efforts to bring back the romance don’t make a difference, it might mean the relationship has drifted too far apart to recover.

"Too much distance and too much time apart can kill the romance between two people. Some can make it work, but some won’t be able to. There’s no point in continuing if you are no longer excited to talk to your partner or you actually feel nothing when you see them on video."

Sam Nabil | CEO and Lead Therapist, Naya Clinics

You Constantly Question Your Future Together

It’s pretty normal to have doubts once in a while, but if you’re constantly questioning if you and your partner have a future together or if it’s worth, that’s pretty telling.

Maybe you used to dream about a shared future—living in the same city, moving in together, starting a family, or traveling the world together—these things should be exciting to think about, right? But now, these plans have a big question mark at the end.

Reflect on why you’re feeling uncertain. Is it the distance? Or have you perhaps changed as individuals? Make a list:

  1. What are your major concerns?
  2. How often do these thoughts occur?
  3. What triggers these doubts?

If you’re continually finding more reasons why it won’t work rather than why it will, it could be time to have a heart-to-heart talk with your partner about these feelings.

You’re Not Excited To Share Good News With Them

Remember when you couldn’t wait to call them about a good news from work or when you just had to text them about something funny that happened? If these moments are now just another part of your day, it may be a sign that something’s changed.

For example, you receive a promotion at work or achieve a personal milestone, and instead of immediately wanting to call or text your partner about it, you hesitate or don’t bother at all.

What to do: Try to figure out why you don’t feel like sharing. Is it because you think they won’t care? Is it because you’ve grown apart? Or is the thrill of sharing with them just not there anymore? This might help you understand if the disconnect between the two of you has grown too wide to bridge.

You Feel More Lonely Than Happy

Long-distance can be lonely; we get that, but being in a long-distance relationship should still make you feel connected, even when apart. So, if you’re feeling lonelier than you are happy most days—even after talking with your partner on the phone—it’s not a great sign.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Identify why you’re feeling lonely. Is it the time difference? Are they making less effort to connect?
  • Share these feelings with your partner. Sometimes, they might not be aware that you feel this way.
  • Plan regular activities to do together, even if it’s just watching a movie at the same time.

If you’ve tried bridging that gap and still feel alone, it might mean the relationship isn’t meeting your emotional needs anymore.

"You know it is time to let go of something in your life when it is no longer serving its purpose or was to serve in the beginning. [...] It is important to recognize that most people form a romantic relationship to meet their needs for companionship, love, intimacy, and a true sense of belonging. 

This is achievable when the relationship can be nurtured. However, when the relationship is being nurtured from afar, the needs for companionship, true intimacy, and belonging tend to fall short.

[...] Each individual must ask themselves to be honest in their assessment of whether this relationship is meeting their needs. If the answer is "no," there are three choices:
• Continue as it is.
• End it, end it now.
• Do what is necessary to make it work. Even if that means someone has to make a logistical and career move.

A word of reason here. It is probably not the wisest idea to move across the country or overseas to be with your “one true love” if the relationship did not originate in an environment where it was allowed to grow and thrive.

The decision should be made with the head, not the metaphorical heart. Unless a person feels grounded, safe, secure, and confident in themselves, their partner, and the relationship, moving will not cause these things to happen."

Jacqueline Burnett-Brown, Ph.D | Marriage and Family Therapist and Psychology Professor, Prosperity Haven Treatment Center

There’s More Fighting Than Talking

Arguments are normal in any relationship, but if you find there’s more fighting than talking, that’s a big problem. If you notice that you’re bracing for an argument every time you pick up the phone or open their texts, then that stress can take a toll.

What this looks like:

  • Small disagreements turn into full-blown fights.
  • You’re keeping score of who’s right or wrong.
  • Conversations become tense and filled with misunderstandings.
  • You dread bringing up even minor issues because it always turns into a fight.

Arguments can be healthy, yes, but constant fighting drains your energy and happiness. Here are some things that could help:

  • Look at what you’re fighting about. Is it small stuff blowing up or big issues not being resolved?
  • Try to solve disputes calmly. No shouting matches. Respectful discussions are key.
  • Seek help if needed. Sometimes a neutral third party, like a counselor, can help a ton.
"...You hardly get to see each other or even talk on the phone and, when you do, all you do is fight. You have either tried to work through these conflicts unsuccessfully, or one or both of you are unwilling to even try."

Kimberly Panganiban, LMFT | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist | Writer, Choosing Therapy

You Avoid Talking About Problems

Avoiding problems doesn’t make them disappear; it just pushes them under the rug until you trip over them.

For instance, let’s say, you’ve been feeling neglected in the relationship. But instead of addressing it and talking to your partner about it, you stay silent because you’re afraid of causing conflict or maybe because you’re worried they’ll react badly. You let things slide, hoping they’ll get better on their own.

But the thing is, you’re just piling up the issues until it’s way too much and everything spills over.

So, what to do? Choose a calm moment to talk about your concerns openly; be honest. If this approach doesn’t change anything, or if the idea of even bringing things up feels too exhausting, it might be time to reassess if this is the relationship you both need right now.

Visits Are Filled With Stress

Ideally, spending time with your partner should feel exciting, right? But if they’re filled with stress, tension, and even anxiety, then something’s definitely off. You might find yourselves arguing over small things or feeling on edge the entire time.

Ask yourself: When you meet after a long time apart, do you feel relieved and happy, or do you find yourself counting down until it’s over? Do you fight more in person than when you’re apart?

What you can do: Try focusing on planning low-stress activities and talk about expectations beforehand. Make your time together enjoyable rather than another thing to stress over.

"Picture this scenario, you have been planning a trip for over two months now, and during the last week, you have been talking on the phone multiple times per day out of sheer joy and excitement to see each other. 

[...] However, when you get there, almost immediately, it begins to feel like the cogs in the wheels are off track. You are zigging and they are zagging, and you just aren’t sure what exactly has gone wrong. Although it unnerves you a bit, you pull yourself together and try to begin again. It doesn’t work, and it falls flat.

By the time the visit is over, you can’t believe you were ever excited about this gathering, and vow never to return."

Shayna Meyer | Founder and Creator, The Enjoyment Method

You’re The Only One Making An Effort

Relationships should be a two-way street, but if you feel like you’re always the one putting in all the effort, that’s a problem. Whether it’s initiating calls or making compromises, if it’s mostly on you, resentment can build up.

Think about it: Are you always the one adjusting your schedule, crossing miles to visit, or making the majority of the sacrifices? One small example could be when you’re the one who always initiates video calls, and they seldom do so.

What to do:

  1. Talk to your partner: Mention how this imbalance makes you feel.
  2. Ask for what you need: It’s only fair they meet you halfway.
  3. Observe changes: See if they make efforts to share the load.

If your partner steps up, that’s fantastic! But if not, it might be an indication that they’re not as invested in the relationship as you are.

"Effort is everything in keeping a long-distance relationship alive. Both of you must go out of your way to make it worthwhile despite the distance. If you suddenly notice that your partner is starting to slack off in terms of calling you and other things that keep your connection intact, it’s time to talk to each other and re-assess the relationship."

Sam Nabil | CEO and Lead Therapist, Naya Clinics

Personal Growth Is Pulling You Apart

People grow and change, and that’s a good thing! But sometimes, we grow in ways that take us in different directions, and that’s okay too, but these different paths might not mesh well together.

Maybe you’ve started a new career, embraced a new lifestyle, or developed new interests, and you feel that your partner just doesn’t fit into this new chapter of your life. You might find that conversations revolve less around common interests and more around individual pursuits that the other isn’t interested in.

What to do: Sit down for a heart-to-heart. Can you find common ground? Is there a way to support each other’s dreams without sacrificing your own?

If you find that you’re becoming more of strangers than companions, or you’re both evolving apart and mutual support isn’t there, maybe it’s time to face the tough choice: pursuing personal growth or holding onto a relationship that no longer serves you well?

You Feel Emotionally Drained

Being in love should lift you up, not tear you down. If you find yourself feeling emotionally drained more often than not, it’s a serious concern. It can feel like you’re constantly giving but getting nothing in return.

What this looks like:

  • You dread the emotional toll of your conversations.
  • You feel exhausted after interacting with your partner.
  • You notice that your energy and happiness are low after your calls or texts.

Reflect on what exactly is making you feel this way. Is it the arguments, the length of time apart, or something else?

You Feel Tied Down Or Resentful

Relationships should be about support and freedom, not feeling trapped. Maybe it’s because you’re making too many sacrifices, or perhaps you’ve given up things important to you for the relationship.

Feeling resentful can happen when you start to feel like you’re compromising more than you’re comfortable with.

Think about this:

  • Do you feel like you’re missing out on personal opportunities because of the relationship?
  • Has resentment started to creep into your interactions with your partner?
  • Are you beginning to feel stifled or restricted?
  • Are your needs being met?

It’s natural to make some sacrifices in relationships, but not to the point where you lose yourself.

"If you feel that you have to struggle with your partner, compromise your values, or sacrifice your happiness to be with them, then it’s time to let go. This is not healthy for you or the relationship. Your happiness is important, don’t settle for less."

Dr. Mike Anderson, Ph.D | Sex and Relationship Expert

Trust Is Becoming A Major Issue

Trust is non-negotiable in long-distance relationships, or any relationship, really. So if trust starts to fade and suspicion creeps in, it can create a lot of stress and anxiety.

What this looks like:

  • You find yourself constantly checking up on your partner’s social media.
  • You worry about what they’re doing when you’re not in touch.
  • You find yourself doubting their words or actions.
  • Maybe there’s a nagging feeling you can’t shake off when they mention new friends or outings.

What to do: Figure out what’s causing the trust issues. Is it past mistakes, lack of communication, certain behaviors, insecurities, or something else? Either way, it’s important to address these concerns transparently with your partner.

"It’s not easy to become paranoid and wonder if your partner is seeing someone else in your absence. A little suspicion every now and then can be normal, as is the case with jealousy. But if you find yourselves getting consumed with your suspicions and if you actually have evidence that your partner may be unfaithful, it may be time to cut it loose. This is no longer a healthy relationship and there’s nothing to gain from staying."

Sam Nabil | CEO and Lead Therapist, Naya Clinics

Support Feels Inconsistent Or Absent

Having each other’s backs is crucial, especially when you can’t be physically together. You need to know your partner is there for you, no matter the distance. If the support feels inconsistent or absent, it can make you feel isolated, uncared for, or even neglected.

Think about these things:

  • When you reach out for help, what’s their response? Does it feel half-hearted or dismissive?
  • When you’re dealing with big life changes, do you feel alone? As if your partner isn’t a part of it?
  • Does your partner miss important events in your life? Or maybe they don’t provide emotional support when you need it most?

If things don’t change even after talking to them about it, it might be a sign that your partner cannot provide what you need in this relationship.

The Relationship Is Starting To Hold You Back

A relationship should help you grow, not hold you back. So, if you feel like it’s keeping you from opportunities – personal, professional, or otherwise, it’s a serious issue.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you putting your dreams and goals on hold for the relationship?
  • Have you passed up career opportunities because they don’t fit with the relationship?
  • Have you given up hobbies or interests to make more time for a relationship that isn’t reciprocating?

If your answer is “yes” to any of these, maybe it’s time to pause and reflect on what you truly desire from your life and relationships. A partnership should encourage your growth, not hinder it.

"We all want to make others happy, but at what point do you sacrifice your own happiness for someone who’s not willing to do the same? This is a question everyone needs to ask themselves at some point in their life.

If you know you should leave but are still staying for some reason, then something isn’t right. [...] If you’re not happy, then why bother?

[...] If you know deep down inside that you need to do what’s best for yourself, then why are you still trying to convince yourself that it’s worth it? Why is your partner more important than you? If you feel like there’s nothing else you can do, then maybe a break will give you some time away to figure out what you need.

Dr. Mike Anderson, Ph.D | Sex and Relationship Expert

You Fantasize About Being Single

If you catch yourself often fantasizing about a life without your partner, it’s worth pausing and considering why.

For instance, when you see other couples or your single friends living their life, and you think,That could be me, but I’m stuck in this relationship,” that’s a huge red flag.

What to do: Reflect on why you’re feeling this way. Is it because of the distance? Or maybe deeper issues in the relationship? If these fantasies persist even after attempts to rekindle the relationship, it might be a sign that your heart is leaning towards a different path.

Your Goals No Longer Align

As you grow and evolve, so do your aspirations and life goals. It’s completely normal. However, when your dreams start to diverge significantly from your partner’s, it can cause friction and a sense of drifting apart.

Think about:

  • Are your career paths taking you in opposite directions?
  • Do your personal goals and dreams for the future seem incompatible?
  • Have you had serious discussions about topics like where to live, marriage, or children, and realized you want very different things?

It’s crucial to talk about these goals to see if there’s a way to find a middle ground. If not, it might indicate that it’s time to part ways and pursue your individual goals.

You Have A Gut Feeling That It’s Just Not Right

Don’t ever underestimate your gut feeling; sometimes, that little voice inside you knows more than you give it credit for. If something deep down tells you it’s not right, it probably isn’t.

Discomfort, dissatisfaction, dread—if these are the feelings you get when you think of your relationship, pay attention. Our bodies often know things before our brains decide to acknowledge them.

Here’s a thought: Spend some time alone, away from your partner’s influence, to really listen to your intuition. Talk to someone you trust about these feelings. If common sense and instinct both say something’s wrong, and if this gut feeling persists, it might be time to take that brave step and let go for your own well-being.

"As the moment your intuition tells you to, walk away no matter who it is. I personally had a few of those steamy, long-distance romances, one of which is now my husband, and also a couple that fell quite flat. 

[...] At the age of 41, almost three decades after I initially left my parents’ home, I finally drew my boundaries and chose to love myself first. I did what I did to most of my previous long-distance romantic relationships – I listened to my intuition and walked away, knowing it wasn’t serving me."

Shayna Meyer | Founder and Creator, The Enjoyment Method

Excerpts From the Experts

When you’re staying together to keep them happy. We never want to hurt our partner, and there are many times when we will put their needs in front of our own. Ending the relationship is never easy, but we manage to pick ourselves up and move on with time. The longer you don’t make the decision to let go, the more pain it will cause in the long run.

When you’re not all in. LDRs take a lot of strength and sacrifice to make them work. If you find you or your partner aren’t willing to make the same sacrifices as you once were, it shows that priorities are changing.

If you find yourself preferring or wanting to do other things than spend time with your partner (go out with friends etc.), your relationship may not be as high of a priority as before.

[…] Before making any decisions, you need to talk to your partner about how these signs are impacting you. […] Having these open and honest conversations will lay the foundation for your next steps. You’ll have a better understanding of if you should end things or know that there are reasons for these signs, which you can make a plan to work through together.”

Nate and Lolo | Founders, Lasting The Distance

Is your partner worth it?

Sometimes, people get so caught up in their relationship that they forget what they want or need. You can’t let someone else’s wants and needs always come before your own without getting something in return.

Ask yourself if this person is really worth it to you. If someone doesn’t care about your happiness and just stays with you because they’re “comfortable,” then why would you want to be with them?

Do you have something else going on in your life?

Many times, people get so involved in their long-distance relationships that they neglect other aspects of their lives. You can’t let every single thing revolve around your partner, no matter how much you want to. Your life has value outside of someone else. If something is missing, then maybe it’s time for you to reevaluate what you’re doing.

Is it worth it in the end?

This is the question that I think everyone should ask themselves at one point or another. No relationship has a perfect ending, but would it be worth losing your happiness over something that might not even happen?

Are you doing this for them or for yourself?

Some people get so caught up in what their partner wants that they forget to think about themselves for a change. If you don’t want to be with someone if they’re not willing to change for the sake of their own happiness, then you need to think about what you really want.

If you’re doing something because it makes them happy, then why are you still there?”

Dr. Mike Anderson, Ph.D | Sex and Relationship Expert

“Long-distance relationships are never easy. It is hard to continue to feel connected to someone you can’t be with physically. But how do you know when it’s time to say goodbye?

  • Betrayals have occurred, trust has been broken, and you and your partner have been unsuccessful in repairing the trust in the relationship.
  • You feel very distant and disconnected from your partner and they (or you) are unwilling/unable to make changes to improve the connection.
  • You have grown in different directions and no longer share future goals, dreams, and visions.
  • You are unhappy and overwhelmed in the relationship most (if not all) of the time.”

Kimberly Panganiban, LMFT | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist | Writer, Choosing Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions

How do i know if my long-distance relationship is healthy?

A healthy long-distance relationship is built on mutual trust, consistent communication, and shared goals. You both make an effort to stay connected, support each other’s growth, and look forward to your future together. If your relationship feels balanced and fulfilling despite the distance, it’s likely healthy.

Can long-distance relationships work in the long term?

Yes, long-distance relationships can absolutely work in the long term, but it requires a lot of effort, trust, and clear communication. Both partners need to be committed to making it work and have a shared vision of eventually closing the distance.

What steps should we take before deciding to let go?

If you’re uncertain about letting go, consider these steps:

Have an honest conversation about your feelings and concerns.
Evaluate your goals, both personal and shared.
Seek advice from a relationship counselor for a professional perspective.
Reflect on your needs and well-being—are they being met?

Final Thoughts

So, we’ve laid all the cards on the table. If these signs are feeling all too familiar, it might be time to take a step back and be honest with yourself. Muster the courage to do right by your heart. I think you owe it to yourself to find happiness, even if that means going solo for a while.

And who knows? This might just clear the path for something better to come your way.

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Leah is a creative soul with a passion for telling stories that matter. As an editor and writer at UpJourney, she channels her natural curiosity and imagination into thought-provoking articles and inspiring content. She is also a registered nurse dedicated to helping others and making a positive impact.

In her free time, she indulges her artistic side as a hobbyist photographer, capturing the world's beauty one shot at a time. You can also find her in a poor-lit room playing her favorite video games or in a corner somewhere, reading and immersing herself in the rich worlds of fantasy and dark academia.

At home, Leah is surrounded by love and laughter, living peacefully with her partner and their three adorable shih tzus.