Recent research has revealed six per cent of people in a long-distance relationship have never met their partner in person.
Courier services specialist ParcelHero, conducted a survey into long distance relationships (LDR) via YouGov in an attempt to better understand how changes in communication have affected long-distance relationships.
The survey also found 40 per cent of people in the UK have had a LDR with the most common reason being people living in separate locations when they met (40 per cent) and relocating for work was another reason, at 18 per cent.
For people aged 16-24, the most common reason was attending University in a separate city, at 37 per cent.
Of the six per cent of people in LDRs have never met their partner, over a third (35 per cent) 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.
Lack of physical intimacy was found to be the biggest challenge for those in a LDR with a third of people (32 per cent) saying this was the most difficult part of living far away from their partner. One respondent said: “The hardest part was talking day in, day out but not seeing each other for months.”
Difficulties in communicating (17 per cent) and emotionally drifting apart (16 per cent) came a close second and third. One person surveyed said: “I knew that it was hurting him every time I didn’t reply or didn’t want to phone him because I was too busy.”
Lack of trust and jealousy were the least of people’s concerns, at just four per cent and three per cent 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.” However, seven per cent did say that infidelity was the biggest challenge.
The number of people using their phone to make voice calls in the UK is falling, but people in long distance relationships counter this trend, with three quarters 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 per cent of them reported speaking on the phone to keep in touch. This compares to 83 per cent of 40-54-year-olds and 71 per cent of people aged over 55 who have had a long-distance relationship.
Young people (aged 16-24) are leading the charge when it comes to video calling. They are more likely to video call (77 per cent) than phone call (70 per cent) to contact their long-distance partner.
Unsurprisingly it was the younger generation who used messaging apps as their primary method of communication with their long-distance partner. A huge 83 per cent of 16-24-year-olds reported using apps such as WhatsApp, Viber and Facebook Messenger to keep in touch.
This compares to just 23 per cent% of those aged over 55 – although this could be down to how long ago the long-distance relationship took place, and when messaging apps became available.
David Jinks, head of consumer research at ParcelHero, said: “Although technology has changed the way people communicate in modern relationships, the desire for thoughtful, personal messages and gifts from loved ones hasn’t diminished.
“Every year around Valentine’s Day ParcelHero sees a rise in people sending their partners presents and personal items, such as jewellery to clothing, to places as far away as the US and Australia.
“That’s why at ParcelHero we make it easy to send parcels worldwide – to keep people in long-distance relationships feeling close to their partners, no matter how far apart they are.”
In response to these findings, ParcelHero has created a guide to making a care package to send to long distance lovers for Valentine’s Day.
For more information, click here.