When you're so far away from me
I'm tired of making out on the telephone
'Cause you're so far away from me"
Perhaps Alice and Bob started out dating while they lived close together and one had to move away (at least far enough away where they can't see each other on a regular basis); perhaps they began the relationship through the mail (or, in more modern stories, over the Internet) and never met in real life at all (but may be planning to at some point).
At any rate, a story that has a long distance relationship often deals with its pitfalls, the #1 being that Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder. If they've promised to reunite but one party takes his / her (generally his) time, it may result in I Will Wait for You; if outside pressures force the waiting party to be with someone else, this then becomes You Have Waited Long Enough. For when someone pretends they have a long-distance relationship as a transparent cover-up for actually being single, that's Girlfriend in Canada.
- Voices of a Distant Star, 5 Centimeters per Second and Your Name. Makoto Shinkai loves this trope.
- Koyuki and Maho in BECK, but only in the manga.
- In GunBuster, Kazumi's relationship with Coach Ohta is not only long distance, it very quickly becomes a Mayfly–December Romance because relativistic effects means that Kazumi will outlive Ohta (and most of human civilization, as a matter of fact) by a long shot.
- Sailor Moon:
- During the Sailor Stars arc, Mamoru went to America to study, leaving Usagi behind for a large part of the series. (And then it turns out that Mamoru actually was killed by having his Star Seed stolen at the airport, and Usagi witnessed it, but she was so traumatized that she repressed this memory. In the anime it's slightly changed; Mamoru gets killed off a little after his plane took off, and since Usagi didn't see it she truly believed Mamoru wasn't able to contact her, unti Galaxia shows her Mamoru's Heart Star Seed and tells her how she killed him..)
- A lesser example is Motoki and Reika. Reika agonizes over accepting a two-year trip to Africa because it will take her away from Motoki. He promises to wait and, after the usual monster attack, she goes. In a later season she returns, only to turn right around and go back to Africa again—this time for ten years.
- The anime version of Marmalade Boy had this for a while, when Yuu takes a scholarship and goes to study in America leaving his girlfriend Miki behind in Japan. It didn't work very well though: they did their best to try mantaining their bond, but Miki is emotionally exhausted due to being pursued by other two guys and, after a rather tasteless prank from an American Clingy Jealous Girl who's after Yuu, they break it off for a while and it takes them quite the time to mildly rekindle their bonds.
- In Kodomo no Omocha, Sana goes on an extended film project out in the woods and is plagued by rumors and angry fangirls of her colleague Naozumi, who hate her for apparently dating him. Later, the prospect of her love interest Hayama going overseas to recuperate from serious injury is enough to send her into a Heroic B.S.O.D., though eventually she comes to terms with it and they are reunited in the Distant Finale.
- Subaru and Teana fell into this after Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers when their personal goals stationed them in different posts. But as Teana told Subaru in an annoyed tone when they reunited in StrikerS Sound Stage X, the latter kept on bombarding her with so much e-mail that she didn't even notice the distance.
- Detective Conan:
- A variant. Ran thinks that Shinichi has run off to investigate some kind of case, but in truth he's Conan, aged down thanks to plot.
- Sonoko and her boyfriend Makoto, who's a world-ranked karate practitioner and is always travelling.
- Implied at the end of Psycho Staff.
- The Conditions for Paradise is a Girls Love manga that centers around the challenges of maintaining a long-distance romance.
- Planetes often deals with this, given that most of its characters are astronauts working in orbit. Some relationships even get more long-distance than most when Hachimaki and Goro depart for Jupiter.
- Used in Kimi no Iru Machi and ended badly, when the female lead Yuzuki decided to cut off all contact with the male lead Haruto and date her dying childhood friend as a pity date. Since this is a Seo Kouji series, it never crossed her mind to explain this in any way shape or form to the male lead. They try it again later when Haruto gets a job that requires him to move. He is initially encouraged when he finds out his senior at work has maintained a successful long distance relationship with her boyfriend for five years. Until she shows up at his apartment distraught and begging to sleep with him since she just broke up with her boyfriend. The distance was more emotional in her case. As much as she and her boyfriend loved each other, their dreams for the future were just incompatible. Her boyfriend wanted her to quit her job and move in with him so they could raise a family, and she wanted to stay at her job. They avoided confronting the issue for years, but it finally came to a head... to which they once again break up.
- In The Circumstances Leading to Waltraute's Marriage, the Valkyrie Waltraute marries the human Jack Elvan, but humans can't survive in Asgard due to the thin atmosphere and Waltraute has too many responsibilities to stay in Midgard for long. She visits Jack's house regularly for dates.
- This is how Annie Brighton and Archie Cornwall's relationship begins in Candy Candy, with them mostly communicating through letters and occasional reunions. Subverted later when they start attending the same Boarding School and begin officially dating.
- Kou and Tina from Tonari no Kashiwagi-san started off their romance this way when Kou moved back to Japan (they would visit each other during summer and winter break). Part of the reason that Tina became an exchange student was so they could be closer together (the other being that she's an Occidental Otaku).
- Kitty Pryde has Long-Distance Relationship with Star-Lord after The Trial of Jean Grey arc.
- Samantha Argus and Dave Hamper of the newspaper comic Safe Havens have a long distance marriage. This is a source of angst for Samantha, as she knows Dave wants to make Italy (where he plays professional basketball) his permanent home and she wants to stay in Havens. Eventually the situation resolves itself when Samantha reveals to Dave that they'll be going on a mission to Mars together. In preparation for that, he retires from basketball and moves back to Havens.
- The constantly-airborne Thomas and the mermaid Remora tried to have one of these. And then Thomas got pregnant with Marlon, making them needing to live together a necessity. Yes, you read that right.
- In Continuance, Souji Setanote and Yukiko Amagi have been in one since Souji went back home at the end of Persona 4, and continue doing so after they are accepted to separate schools. Souji discusses this trope and mentions some of the difficulties involved in a conversation with Katsuhiro and Ryoko, Yukiko's parents.
Ryoko: You will be living separately for several years soon. Can you keep her happy in such a situation? Perhaps someone going to the same university would be more appropriate. Someone reliable and with a vested interest in her happiness.Souji: So would an arranged marriage, if you're concerned about promises and commitment. Were you planning on arranging a marriage for her? If that's the case, you've waited a very long time to do so. And she hardly seems the sort to accept that at this point, if you take my meaning. As to the long-distance relationship, we've done it before, and I won't let things get between us.Katsuhiro: Those are easy words to say, Seta.Souji: No, Amagi-san, they're not. Because they mean that I won't be able to see her or be around her without a train ride to Kyoto, nor hear her in person except on holidays and after exams. There's nothing easy about what we're doing, nothing fun about it. And that's exactly why I will do everything I can to make sure that we don't grow apart just because we aren't living together.
- In One Year, much like Continuance, Yu and Yukiko are in a long-distance relationship for most of the fic, except for when Yu visits Inaba for Golden Week and summer vacation, while Yukiko, accompanied by Chie, visits Yu, his old friends and his parents in Minagi for Christmas and winter break. Yu and Yukiko's ultimate goal is to get into their first choice school together, and ultimately succeed in this endeavor.
- The film The Lake House has an interesting variant: the distance isn't in space so much as in time.
- The movie Going the Distance is set around a couple trying to have a long distance relationship.
- Jason and Kelly by the end of Mystery Team.
- The Space Between Us is a boy-meets-girl story where the boy in question was born in a colony on Mars; it doesn't get much more long-distance than that.
- In L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series, Anne and Gilbert carry on one for roughly three years, while he attends medical school and she teaches high school. Anne of Windy Poplars is composed entirely of Anne's letters to Gilbert while they are separated.
- In Rilla of Ingleside, many of Anne and Gilbert's children carry on long distance relationships during World War I. The one emphasized, obviously, is Rilla's sort-of, unofficial (she's confused) long distance relationship with her childhood friend/crush Ken Ford.
- In The 39 Clues, Amy Cahill and Evan Tolliver's long-distance relationship (carried on mostly via phone) starts after Amy takes off on a series of missions around the world.
- This is one of main plot points in The Ghost Writer. Gerard Freeman and Alice Jessell not only interacted with each other via letters, but they also never even meet each other until the story's climax.
- From the Honorverse, Eloise Pritchart and Javier Giscard, in the wake of the Theisman coup that restores the old Republic; she is stuck in Nouveau Paris being the President, while he's commanding naval forces to subdue rogue State Sec elements. It doesn't put much of a strain on their relationship, but the desperation with which they miss each other definitely takes a toll on them personally.
- The Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note series: For Aya and Sunahara, that's already an improvement, as the last time Sunahara appears in The Egg Hamburg Steak Knows the entire set up looks more like a case of Star-Crossed Lovers. The Valentine Knows ends with the relation between Aya and Sunahara improved to this. It is more than clear that Aya and Sunahara love each other, and they have mutually confessed in this arc. However, Sunahara's brush with the Japanese Delinquents seriously bruised his reputation in town, so he declared But Now I Must Go. Although he promised to meet each other. Sunahara pretty much Commutes On A Bus, but he does come back once every few novels.
Sunahara: Tachibaba... We can see each other, right?Aya: We can, right?Sunahara: (Looks at Aya's Chocolate of Romance) Yeah, I promise.
- Done to all the married couples on Defying Gravity, what with half of each pairing being in space for six years.
- Ziva had one of these on NCIS - cue "sympathy" from jealous Tony, as well as comments from an ex-hooker suggesting that Ziva look closer to home. Now, who could she mean?
- Kathleen and Jeff on the The Secret Life of the American Teenager whenever Jeff goes on one of his frequent and extended medical missions to Kenya.
- Friends: Chandler and Monica in Season 9, when Chandler is transferred to Tulsa. Being Happily Married and hating his job Chandler eventually quits so they can spend christmas together.
- The Middle: Axl Heck and Lexie Brooks have to at first do this when he goes to Europe and she goes to the Caribbean each for the summer and since each one’s hometown is miles away from each other, it’s sort of already one, especially when Axl is stuck in Orson while Lexie travels often. In the Grand Finale, it’s official as Axl moves to Colorado for a new job while Lexie stays in Indiana with one more year of college coming up, but plans to come see him that summer. It works out though as the Flash Forward reveals they’re Happily Married in the future with at least three kids.
- This trope is petty much the entire point of the show Ny-Lon, which is about a relationship between a girl in New York and a guy in London... which, naturally, leads to a break-up or major fight about how hard long distance relationships are just about every other episode so that one character can dramatically fly across the ocean to re-proclaim there love. Of course, in the end they break up anyway.
- Stargate Universe takes this to another level, with multiple characters having left significant others on the other side of the universe. The communication stones make things easier. Camille Wray looks likely to stick with her partner, Sharon. Colonel Young's marriage, on the other hand, is less solid.
- The X-Files: Mulder and Scully carry on a rather clumsily-written version of this trope in the show's final season.
- Zoey 101: Chase and Zoey attempt this via webcam after she overhears Chase tell his roommates he's in love with her and they switch places in an attempt to be together, but after their video date fails, the come to the conclusion that it wont' work and resolve to try it for real when they're together again.
- CSI, post season 9. Grissom and Sara are married, but Sara is working at the lab in Vegas, while Grissom travels and researches and lectures.
- Ted in How I Met Your Mother with Victoria, his first serious girlfriend in the series when she moves to Germany for a baking scholarship. Future!Ted tells us right from the start that long distance relationships never work. Including theirs.
- This comes up from time to time in the Star Trek multiverse. Lampshaded by Trip Tucker when he receives a "Dear John" Letter; 100 light years is as long-distance as it's ever been for humans of that era.
- On the Bruce Hornsby and the Range album The Way It Is, the narrator in "Every Little Kiss" is in one.
- Long-distance relationships are the subjects of two Franz Ferdinand songs ("Come on Home" and "Eleanor Put Your Boots On").
- The Belle and Sebastian song "Piazza, New York Catcher", chronicling a couple who meet in hotel rooms and at baseball matches.
- "So Far Away" by Dire Straits.
- Bob Dylan's "Boots of Spanish Leather."
- Mentioned in Deana Carter's "Strawberry Wine," when the boyfriend had to go back to college at the end of summer. It didn't work out, but she still remembers him fondly, going every year to the spot where she lost her virginity to him.
- The deadmau5 and Imogen Heap collab song "Telecommunications" is about a troubled long distance relationship.
- Memphis May Fire's song "Miles Away" is about a man missing his wife while away.
- The Tokimeki Memorial series has a couple of examples of this, most notably with Kaedeko Sakura in Tokimeki Memorial 2 and Chiharu Aoki in Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side 1. Due to the series' alignment to the far end of the idealism's side of the Sliding Scale and its extremely strong Power of Love theme, they always work out in the end.
- In some romantic endings from Fire Emblem, one half of a support-built couple goes back to his/her land of origin, but the other one visits them once in a while, and after some time they get officially together. Some of them are:
- In The King of Fighters, the few leads we have of Yuki and Kyo's relationship after the Orochi saga implies that they went from Highschool Sweethearts to this. In the Maximum Impact series Kyo is seen calling her from several phone stalls in South Town, and in XIII the pre-fight dialogue between NESTS!Kyo and Athena implies that Yuki asked Athena to tell Kyo that she and others support him no matter what.
- HK-47 in Knights Of The Old Republic II states: "Definition: 'Love' is making a shot to the knees of a target 120 kilometers away using an Aratech sniper rifle with a tri-light scope... Love is knowing your target, putting them in your targeting reticule, and together, achieving a singular purpose against statistically long odds."
- It's never explicitly stated, but it's implied that Walter and Lyn's relationship is this in Front Mission 5. Likewise for Darril and Elsa, the protagonists of FM4, who got married in between 4 and 5.
- In Persona 4 and Persona 5, any relationship your character has will become this after the events of the game, since your character ends up having to go home- it helps that in the latter case, Makoto and Haru are also graduating high school. That said, the characters' respective girlfriends aren't fazed by this, particularly because in the latter case, the character had been incarcerated in juvenile hall for almost two months, giving them some idea of what it's like to be apart.
- In Katawa Shoujo, this is averted in Lilly's route. When she reveals that her parents are ordering her to return home to Scotland, she suggests that she and Hisao could try a long-distance relationship, but Hisao knows that this would more or less be a death sentence for their relationship. In the good ending, Lilly changes her mind and stays in Japan with Hisao.
- In Bittersweet Candy Bowl, the main character Mike is dating a girl named Sandy, who moved away when they were younger.
- Late into Cross Heart Kotomi has to move away. Her girlfriend proposes to her and they pretend to get married. The next chapter takes place after a three year timeskip and the now 21-year old Haru is dealing pretty poorly with it. She's considerably more somber and depressed than before. On her birthday she is reunited with Kotomi and not too long later they achieve their high school dream of living together.
- One episode of American Dad!, "The Longest Distance Relationship" is entirely about this. Naturally, it's exaggerated to the most illogical extreme: Hayley finds Jeff Fisher after a whole year. The kicker? He's contacting her from space.
- Kim Possible:
- A nonromantic example occurred in Kim Possible A Sitch in Time when Ron's family moves to Norway (courtousy of Future Shego). Despite Kim saying they can still make Team Possible work, two times, Ron shows up late to the mission, and when they're finally together, they're out of sync, so they regrettably agree that Kim should go solo. Fortunately, Ron accidentally hits the Reset Button and causes everything to go back to normal.
- Ron was worried about a straighter version occurring after graduation, believing that the distance would ruin his relationship with Kim. Whatever happens, Word of God says they stay together forever.
- Gravity Falls; in the Season 2 episode "Soos and the Real Girl", Soos meets a woman named Melody who shares many of the same quirks he does, and the two hit it off. However, she's only visiting for a few days before going back to Portland, so they agree to continue the relationship via Skype. Soos is okay with this, saying he's better at talking to women through video screens anyway, and they're still together as of "Love God". In the final episode, she moves back to help him run the Mystery Shack, a tourist trap he now owns.
- Aja from Jem lives in California while her boyfriend is off working in Britain.
- The Loud House: This is what Lincoln Loud and his oldest sister, Lori, end up doing with Ronnie Anne and Bobby, respectively, after they and their mom end up moving in with their mom's extended family in "The Loudest Mission: Relative Chaos."
- Kaeloo: Stumpy and his girlfriend Ursula, who he met online on a dating site.