How long do long-distance relationships really last?

Long-distance relationships are tough. You meet, you fall in love, and you decide to give a relationship a go in the hopes of building a future together at some point in the future. But then new career opportunities or family obligations arise, and, all of a sudden, you're looking at the possibility of spending the next few months — or even years — apart.

It helps to know that long-distance relationships aren't necessarily doomed to fail. Clinical psychologist Dr. Joshua Klapow told Elite Daily that long-distance relationships might be tough, but they're totally doable. "Despite the challenges, successful long-distance relationships happen every day," he said. "If there's a strong emotional bond, effort, and dedication to helping each partner feel safe, connected, and independent, long-distance relationships are realistic."

Attitudes toward long-distance relationships appear to be changing too. According to data from dating site OKCupid, 46 percent of women and 45 percent of men are now open to the idea of a long-distance relationship if it's with the "right person," as reported by Refinery29, and another survey showed that 58 percent of Americans in long-term relationships will most likely stay together (via Page Six).

Not all long-distance relationships crash and burn

While the average length of a relationship is approximately 7.3 years, a German study said that long-distance relationships tend to last less than half as long, or just under three years. And while long-distance relationships might be more stable, thanks to factors such as better communication and positive memories, a third of couples broke up within three months after they reunited and settled down together, according to a study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships in 2007 (via Refinery29).

Long-distance relationships may be a challenge, but modern technology can help build stronger bonds within a partnership — or help break them. In announcing the results of a study on social media within the framework of a long-distance relationship, EurekAlert! editor in chief Brenda K. Wiederhold said, "Social network sites are used more frequently by those in long-distance relationships." She noted, "As long-distance relationships become more common, and continue to succeed, it becomes increasingly valuable to understand the role that technology plays in strengthening or damaging a romantic relationship."

So how long could a long-distance relationship last? With the right tools and the right mindset, a long-distance relationship could end up being a forever relationship — if you and your partner work to nurture it, that is.