How To Recognize Red Flags Emerging In Your Long-Distance Relationship

In the era of Tinder and online dating, long-distance relationships are now more common than ever. When you're dating someone in another city, state, or even country, it becomes even more important to communicate your needs and expectations, make a solid plan, and uphold healthy boundaries. It's all too easy for insecurities to emerge and simmer under the surface when two partners are prevented by geographical distance from being as involved in each other's lives as they would like to be.

Since a certain base level of frustration is expected in a long-distance relationship, it can become very difficult to decipher whether your partner's behavior is a normal result of stressful circumstances or an emerging red flag. Abusive or controlling behavior is never acceptable, no matter how emotionally charged the circumstances of your long-distance relationship may become. Here are some of the most common red flags to watch out for. 

Privacy limitations

When you're in a long-distance relationship, it is normal to feel a little insecure and to find yourself wondering what your partner is doing and who they're spending time with. In a situation where all you want to do is to be with your partner, feelings of frustration, worry, and jealousy can easily boil over with little provocation. It may be tempting to wish that you could track your partner's location or access their private messages to alleviate some of your anxiety.

Experiencing thoughts about your long-distance partner being unfaithful or wishing that you could know more about their day-to-day interactions is a normal response to a difficult situation. Acting out in reality to invade the privacy of another person is not. If your partner asks you to hand over your passwords to social media or email accounts or to use video chatting software to confirm what you're doing and who you're with, this is a major red flag. You should never have to sacrifice your personal privacy to quell the insecurities of your partner. 

Demands and coercion

All healthy relationships are based on trust, love, and mutual respect. Those pillars leave no room for demanding behavior or downright coercion. A partner who uses the distance between you to pressure you into actions you aren't comfortable with, such as sending sexually explicit photos or videos, is directly violating your trust and engaging in abusive behavior. The same can be said of any partner who demands that you travel to visit them when you have other plans or sets up a rigid video chatting or texting schedule without your consent.

While distance may add an extra stressor to a relationship, it is never an excuse for behavior that is manipulative, coercive, or abusive. If you've experienced any of these red flags in your long-distance relationship, it's time to perform a serious assessment of whether it's time to get out. If your partner isn't willing to take a serious look at their actions and motivations, preferably with professional guidance, the relationship is likely not salvageable. Cut your losses and consider taking yourself out on a few solo dates to rebuild your confidence. 

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website