Long-Distance Relationships and Difficulties

Dear Jamie,

I completely understand where your anxiety is coming from. It must be very difficult to see someone virtually every day for a full year, and then not at all. This would put strain on even the strongest of relationships. There are definitely pros and cons to attempting to continue your relationship with your boyfriend, but overall the stressors are often too much for a couple to bear.

The distance between you two is a very hard hill to surmount. This can serve to do one of two things: either solidify your love for each other, or make one or the other realize they cannot deal with it. This is where face-to-face interactions are absolutely necessary in measuring whether a romantic relationship can continue (Long Distance Relationships, Chapter 15 Notes).

Social media, instant messages, and webcam-based platforms such as Skype have made universal connectivity more and more possible. It is now easy to stay in constant contact over multiple platforms at once like never before. In terms of long-term long-distance relationships this can be unhealthy. These online rendezvous’ can start to serve as replacements for real-life ones, stunting social development. If this is the case in your relationship, it may be time to reevaluate your relationship situation.

Plane tickets are extremely expensive as you mentioned in the letter. Is there any way the two of you can perhaps finding a halfway point to meet, perhaps near a family or friend, to help subsidize this cost? There are ways to make the relationship work, but it will in turn take a lot of work.

Even with social media and Internet connectivity, the difference in time zones can make virtual dates even more complicated, especially with both of you attending demanding educational programs. In fact, it is probably better for each of you to reevaluate your relationship. This will free up more brainpower so you both can fill your full potentials. I am not saying to leave the other totally, but remaining in an uncommitted, yet affectionate relationship can create a much more healthy situation for both, as well as a more conducive learning environment (Class Reader 20).

It is very possible that I am wrong, and your relationship will get stronger due to the adversity, and flourish like you never imagined it would. The last year has sincerely been a shock to your emotional psyche–you went from seeing him every day to very sparsely. However, there is the year before to consider, and it seems like it was a very happy time in your life. This may not be a relationship you should throw away after one year apart.

This is certainly a time to reflect upon the overall health of your relationship. What about him makes you happy? Why do you find yourself so lonely? That is truly a loaded question, and has many aspects to it. Is it the lack of face-to-face contact that bothers you, or is it the security you feel while being in a relationship? Consider the next two years of your life. Assuming the pressure will increase with both of your school responsibilities, and possibly future financial responsibilities, do you see him as a person that will be supportive to you, or likewise? At the end of the day, I suppose the question is really, at its heart, whether you believe this is a man you see yourself spending the rest of your life with.

Then, if that question is yes, you need to evaluate whether you believe he feels the same way. A healthy, but also very telling, way to approach this situation is to simply bring the situation up. This is not something that should ever be done in a virtual theatre; it should be planned, and reserved for a face-to-face meeting.

There is a component to your individual relationship that makes you different from many other long-distance relationships–you bring a foundation of a true personal relationship beforehand to the table. It is for this reason you should take careful consideration into whether you believe you can continue, and, subsequently, how to approach your significant other to either end things, or attempt to solve the problem.

I do, however, sense that there is already an interloper in the situation. Your last sentence, “…and that I should break up with my boyfriend, and date someone who’s available here…” This sentence seems to foreshadow the fact that you already have a “someone” in mind–perhaps a classmate or coworker? In any case, it certainly seems like you have your eyes on someone, or they you–and honestly much of your issue seems to stem from this alone, whether directly or indirectly (Reuniting With an Ex Lecture Notes).

In your initial letter, you cite loneliness, and implied lack of companionship as a major issue you were having. The end makes it sound like there is a specific person you have in mind, but understand your moral obligation to your relationship. Cheers, honestly. Statistics show 60% of rekindled, or “lost love” affair in an extra-marital setting, further adding temptation (2/15/13 Anthology Article).

If this is the case, the long-term relationship is probably hazardous and should be terminated. Again, remaining close friends if possible is very advisable, and even has the potential to flourish back into the love it once was.

Personally, I have had one long-distance relationship in my life. Although I am very happy with my current situation, I consider this relationship to be successful. Yes, it is true that we are no longer together–we do however maintain a healthy friendship, and speak on major occasions at the very least. I was around during the child’s (not my own) formidable years, and so I also keep tabs on how his development is coming along.

We maintained our relationship for two years after initially meeting online. After speaking for a few months over the phone on a more than daily basis, I jumped in a car and drove to meet. For the next two years we spent at least 2 weeks of every month together in one way or the other. Eventually, even this became too much for both of us to bear, and we ended things.

That being said, we were able to see each other much more frequently than you and your significant other. I know that it drove me crazy not being able to have constant access, constant comfort, as well as physical affection. Though our foundations were different, I was not having any misgivings after a year into my long-distance relationship.

I think you should take a long time to think and consider what is going to make you the happiest. If you see this man as the possible father of your children–give it a fighting chance. If you are already unhappy however, allow yourself and your significant other future heartache and have the hardest conversation you may ever have to have.

Keep in mind: it’s your happiness that matters.