Cheating in a Long-Distance Relationship

Cheating in a Long-Distance Relationship

If you are in a long-distance relationship, you very likely thought of the possibility that your long-distance partner may be cheating on you or maybe you might have been tempted to cheat.

Cheating in a long-distance relationship is something everyone wants to avoid but that many couples experience. To prevent cheating, you must agree on your freedoms and boundaries with your long-distance partner. If one of you cheated, you could try to save your relationship by understanding the reasons for cheating, instead of judging your partner.

While there is a specific definition for cheating, what it practically means is different from person-to-person and from couple to couple.

Here, we’ll talk about common reasons for cheating, how to avoid it, and what to do if you or your partner cheated.

What Is Cheating in a Long-Distance Relationship?

Cheating is something that you do outside the agreement with your partner. When you start a relationship, you make promises and set boundaries.

Both of you need to be happy to keep these promises and stay within these boundaries. The moment you feel limited, unhappy, or unwilling to maintain this agreement, you should talk about it with your long-distance partner.

It’s normal for feelings to change. It’s also okay to change your mind about your relationship or to recognise that you’re no longer feel the same way about your partner.

What isn’t okay is to suppress your feelings, nor is it okay to act upon them without telling your partner. As long as you’re honest with your partner, there is always a chance you can work things out. The moment you break this trust, your relationship is over. You can try to make it work, but it will never be the same.

The clearer you are with your long-distance partner about your agreement, the easier it will be for you to maintain a healthy relationship based on trust and understanding.

Is a Long-Distance Relationship Possible Without Cheating?

While it is possible to have a long-distance relationship without cheating, you should consider that cheating is a possibility in your relationship.

One of the ways you can minimise the chances of cheating in the long-distance relationship is by always being open and honest about your feelings. The reason partners cheat is because some of their needs are unfulfilled in their current relationship.

For example, in a long-distance relationship, you may have excellent communication and strong and healthy emotional connection and intimacy. However, in a long-distance relationship, physical intimacy is lacking.

While it’s relatively easy to manage without physical intimacy for some time, if your long-distance relationship lasts for more than a few months, a lack of physical intimacy can become an issue, at least for one of you.

Let’s say you are very much in love with your long-distance partner, and you have complete trust and understanding. At the same time, you have a clear unfulfilled need for physical intimacy. You want to experience physical closeness with another person. After all, it’s the reason you are in a romantic relationship.

Now you face a dilemma. You love your partner, but you also need physical closeness. So what are your options? Well, you can stick to the plan and try to maintain your long-distance relationship for a little while longer until you move in together. By the way, if you don’t have a plan and a timeline for your long-distance relationship, you better make one.

A healthy option is to share your feelings and needs with your partner. When they know how you feel, they can try to help you fulfil your needs one way or the other. This way, whatever you decide will be fair, and you will not need to cheat. One of the options there is to have an open long-distance relationship.

You may decide to suppress your feelings, needs and desires for sexual intimacy. It might seem like a good idea at the time, but it will only lead to increased sexual frustration and will put more strain on your relationship.

Lastly, you may fulfil your need for physical intimacy with someone else, without telling your partner. Provided you have a committed monogamous relationship; this would be cheating.

The issue with cheating isn’t the sexual act itself. The problem is compromising the trust on which you’ve built your relationship. Even if you don’t tell your partner about your ventures, you will know that your long-distance relationship no longer has trust. 

With time you may start feeling guilty and overtime, this can lead to depression and anxiety, which once again will put your relationship at risk.

Fear of Cheating in a Long-Distance Relationship

When you are in a long-distance relationship, sometimes it goes for weeks without seeing your partner. All this time, you can’t help but have doubts about whether or not your long-distance relationship will work out.

At some point, you start thinking if your partner might be cheating on you. The more afraid you are of this idea, the more it bothers you. Suppose you keep letting it fester in your mind. It will start affecting your behaviour. Before you know it, you start distrusting your long-distance partner and trying to control what they do and with a whom.

If you put enough pressure on your long-distance partner, it will strain your relationship, and it may be the very thing that will push your partner to cheat on you.

If you find yourself alone with the fear of cheating, talk to your partner about it. The moment you bring it out, it will no longer have as much power over you. And, if there is a real reason why cheating is an option, this will give you a chance to discuss these problems with your partner.

Temptation to Cheat Long-Distance Relationship

When you are in a romantic relationship, you expect physical intimacy. In the long distant relationship, lack of physical intimacy is one of the main problems.

When you can’t be physically intimate with your romantic partner, you will naturally try to find someone else to fulfil your need. While it’s okay to recognise that you have a strong need to be sexually intimate with someone, you should talk about it with your partner before acting on it.

Together with your long-distance partner, you can try to find a solution.

This solution may be moving in together sooner, or you may consider an open long-distance relationship.

Being away from your partner means that neither of yours physical/sexual needs will be satisfied. One way to manage this is by talking openly and honestly about all your feelings and desires. Once you get it out in the open, it will allow both of you get on the same page and together you can make the best decisions that work for both of you. For this to happen you need to have an amazing communication skills and the ability to bring up the sensitive topics. Since it is not always an easy task, this workbook can help you a lot in getting comfortable to talk about different things. It is also a guide that will help you have important conversations:

Improve communication in your long-distance relationship - WORKBOOK

Emotional Cheating in a Long-Distance Relationship

Emotional cheating is a term used to describe emotional intimacy with someone outside of your monogamous relationship.

When you look beyond the judgement of wrongdoing, you can see the reason why somebody opens up emotionally to another person outside of the relationship.

For example, suppose you are not feeling emotionally connected to your partner because they’ve been away for a long time. In that case, you will need to share your feelings and find an emotional connection with someone else. That’s why effective and honest communication is the key to having a successful long-distance relationship.

What if Your Long-Distance Partner Cheated on You?

Suppose your long-distance partner cheated on you. Try to understand their reasons for cheating. Avoid creating an argument and judging them for it. All it will do is to prompt your partner to avoid telling you things. 

If you approach the situation with understanding, your partner will feel more comfortable telling you what happened and why. In turn, it will give you a chance to understand the problem and decide the best way to move forward.

How Do You Know if Your Partner Is Cheating on You in a Long-Distance Relationship? 

In the long-distance relationship, it’s hard to tell when your partner is cheating. For example, just because they’re spending less time talking to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are cheating. Maybe your partner is just really busy with things in their life.

At the same time, some things can tell you that your partner might be cheating. One of these things is an apparent lack of interest in you or your relationship. If your partner tries to avoid meaningful conversations or to share their feelings, that’s a sign that they are growing apart from you.

If you feel that there is a distance building up between the two of you, you should talk about it with your partner. Even if you love them, you’d be better off knowing the hard truth rather than living a lie.

What if You Cheated on Your Long-Distance Relationship?

If you cheated on your long-distance partner, first of all, try to understand why. If it was a spur of the moment, then there is still room in your life for your relationship. If you cheated because you cannot fulfil your needs in your relationship, then perhaps it’s time to break up.

Signs of Cheating in a Long-Distance Relationship

In a long-distance relationship, it’s hard to tell if your partner is cheating on you. When you live together, you can notice the slightest differences in your partner’s behaviour. When you’re away from your romantic partner, you only know what they say in text messages, phone calls or video calls.

Furthermore, if your long-distance partner behaves differently, it can be for several reasons and doesn’t necessarily mean that they are cheating on you. That’s why trust in a long-distance relationship is even more critical than in a relationship when you live with your romantic partner.

Here are some signs that your long-distance partner might be cheating:

  • They spend significantly less time talking to you.
  • You partner avoids meaningful conversations.
  • They are uncomfortable talking about their feelings.
  • Your partner is unwilling to make any effort to work out issues or arrange visits.

Husband or Wife Cheating in a Long-Distance Relationship 

A long-distance marriage can be very hard for both partners. When you are married, you are committed to each other and your relationship.

However, a long-distance relationship works the same way whether you are married or not. At the end of the day, if you don’t see your romantic partner for a long time, you will have an unfulfilled need for physical intimacy.

The best thing you can do is to discuss your feelings and needs with your spouse. Until you are in their predicament of being away from your husband or wife, you may think that a long-distance relationship is something you can manage. However, you may find that at some point, you are no longer willing to be in a long-distance relationship.

If your feelings or thoughts about being in a long-distance relationship change, talk about it with your partner as honestly and openly as you can. As long as your partner is aware of what is going on with you, then they can do things to help you.

If you don’t share your feelings with your husband or wife, they won’t know what’s going on inside of you. So even if your partner wants to help, they will not know what they should do.

One thing you shouldn’t do is to act on your desires without talking to your husband or wife first. Doing so will take away the opportunity from your partner to participate in the resolution of the problem.

Cheating in College While in a Long-Distance Relationship

Long-distance relationships while in college are very tricky. College is the time to meet new people, study, and explore different relationships.

Being romantically involved with someone who is away while having a lot of like-minded people right next to you can be burdensome and even unnecessary.

The fact that the partner that goes to college will have so many opportunities to be with different people makes cheating even more likely than in other types of long-distance relationships such as in a long-distance marriage. 

It’s tough and sometimes even unhealthy to try to restrain yourself with all the temptations around you while in college.

A good option for a long-distance relationship in college is to remain friends or to have an open long-distance relationship. This way, you can still maintain trust and respect between each other without having to sacrifice fun experiences.

Is It Cheating if You’re on a Break from a Long-Distance Relationship? 

If you have agreed to break up with your long-distance partner, you should discuss if it is a temporary break or a complete breakup.

If one person no longer wants to be together, but the partner wants to keep the hope of reuniting. This can lead to confusion about what is cheating and what isn’t.

Talk to your partner to agree on the boundaries and freedoms of your relationship.

If you are no longer happy in your relationship, consider changing your agreement or break up completely. To be on the safe side, before doing something check in with your partner that this is what you feel like doing and see what they say. This way, you will always know where you stand and will avoid confusion and cheating.

How to Forgive Cheating in a Long-Distance Relationship 

If your long-distance partner cheated on you, understanding is more important than forgiving. If all you do is forgive your partner for cheating, you will not know why they did it, so the chances are they will do it again.

So, instead of judging and forgiving, try listening and understanding. It will undoubtedly be a tough thing to do, considering all the emotions flowing through you at the time. However, this approach will give you more clarity about your situation, your partner’s point of view, and the state of your long-distance relationship.

Their understanding of your situation will give you the power to make a healthy decision and avoid future heartache and pain.

How to Fix a Long-Distance Relationship After Cheating? 

You can only fix a long-distance relationship after cheating if you understand what to change.

If one of you cheated, you had your reasons for doing so. In the long-distance relationship, you likely have an unfulfilled need for physical intimacy. If you don’t have effective communication with trust and openness, you may lose an emotional connection, which can also be a reason for cheating.

Once you understood why the cheating took place, you can try to fix your relationship if it was a one-off situation. For example, if cheating was due to a lack of physical intimacy, moving in together or visiting each other more often could be a solution.

However, if you lost interest in your long-distance partner, then ending your relationship could be a better solution.

Whatever you decide to do, it’s always better to make a rational decision based on understanding, rather than a decision that is based on your emotions and judgements of wrongdoing. The moment emotions subside, you may regret making that decision.

Cheating Advice for a Long-Distance Relationship

The best way to avoid cheating in a long-distance relationship is by talking about it with your partner when you start a long-distance relationship. The moment you decide that your long-distance relationship is a serious one; you need a plan and make a timeline to make it work

Equally, you need an agreement of freedoms and boundaries that both of you are comfortable with. You can expect that these freedoms and boundaries can change with time, so prepare for it and agree on the best way to bring it up to your partner if that happens.

One way to manage your needs for physical intimacy is to regularly visit each other. This workbook will help you prepare for your visits and make the most of your time together:

Visiting In A Long-Distance Relationship - WORKBOOK


Trust and understanding are the key aspects of a healthy and successful long-distance relationship. Chances of cheating in a long-distance relationship increase if you don’t trust each other or think your openness won’t be welcome.

To make a long-distance relationship work, you need to maintain emotional and physical intimacy. You can maintain emotional intimacy via open and honest communication.

Physical intimacy can be a little harder to maintain. To keep your physical intimacy, you need to schedule regular visits and have a plan for when you will move in together if you are in a serious long-distance relationship.

Without effective communication, there is a chance of emotional cheating. There is either you or your long-distance partner trying to find an emotional connection with someone outside of your relationship.

If you don’t have the means to visit each other often enough or you don’t have a plan of moving in together shortly, you risk one of you cheating by having physical intimacy with someone else.

The best way to avoid cheating in a long-distance relationship is to keep on top of your communication. Try to make an effort to see each other frequently, and have a clear plan of managing your long-distance relationship and then date for when you move in together.

If one of you has cheated, the best thing you can do is to talk about it rationally to identify the reasons for the cheating. If you can address the reasons for cheating, then it won’t need to happen again. If you don’t resolve the issues that led to cheating in the first place, the chances are it will happen again.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the signs of cheating in a long-distance relationship?

Signs of cheating in a long-distance relationship may be a lack of interest from your partner towards you or your relationship. While spending less time talking isn’t necessarily a sign of cheating, avoiding meaningful conversations and emotional connection could be a sign that they are drifting apart.

Can a man stay faithful in a long-distance relationship?

It’s possible to stay faithful for some time in a long-distance relationship. However, the longer your long-distance relationship lasts, the harder it is to remain faithful.

Who cheats more in a long-distance relationship?

In a long-distance relationship, the person who has stronger unfulfilled needs is more likely to cheat. For example, you might be okay to go without sex for a few weeks, while your partner may start craving sex after one week. In this case, they are more likely to cheat than you.

How do I know if my long-distance partner is cheating?

The signs of cheating in a long-distance relationship are speculative. In other words, you can assume that your partner might be cheating because they don’t spend much time with you. But you will not know whether or not they are cheating unless they tell you. The only way your partner will say to you if they’re cheating is if they know that you will not judge them. Instead of telling them how bad they are, try to understand why your partner did what they did.

How can I stop cheating in a long-distance relationship?

If you keep cheating in a long-distance relationship, it means you’re trying to fulfil some of your needs. Stop and ask yourself what needs are being and unfulfilled in your current relationship. Then, you can try to find a way to talk to your partner about your unfulfilled needs to see if you can find a solution.

Can a long-distance relationship survive cheating?

A long-distance relationship can survive cheating provided you can rebuild the trust. However, once the trust has compromised, it’s tough to trust your partner the same way or expect them to trust you. And without trust, the quality of your relationship won’t be the same.


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Alex Barinov

Hi, I’m Alex:) I am a relationship coach. My passions include understanding life, relationships and human behaviour. As a coach, I help couples resolve their conflicts and create a harmonious and loving relationship.

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