15
Jun
10

long-distance relationships

Reader L. D. asks:

I just met someone who lives really far (like, Europe) and I think it could work between us. But I don’t think I’ll be moving to his country anytime soon. What is your advice for long-distance relationships?

Dear L.D.:

My advice for long-distance relationships is DON’T DO IT!!! Especially if this is some guy you “just met” and he lives in “like, Europe”, your chances of “it working out” are basically nil. Even long-distance relationships between places as close as, say, Albuquerque and Santa Fe are seriously hard. In spite of the fact that we have all this wonderful technology to help us “bridge the distance”, the fact is, relationships have a physical aspect, too. And distance does not necessarily make the heart grow fonder. Save yourself the heartache and the wasted romantic time and find someone closer to home.

Of course, young hearts always know better than we old folks do what’s right for them, so you’re probably going to try to have this long-distance debacle anyway. (I was young once, too, you know.) So here’s what the people who’ve made it work have done (from what I can tell):

Set the rules and be ready for them to change.

You and your partner (or whatever you want to call him) are going to have to figure out what your rules are. Are you allowed to sleep with other people? (Usually that’s a “no”, and usually, that’s what fails.)  Are you allowed to go out with other people? Are you allowed to flirt with other people? Are you going to have to stay indoors for the next ten years? Do you have to call each other every night? Be honest with yourself about your own needs and abilities and those of your partner. If you’re going to be thousands of miles (and several time zones) apart, you’re going to have to be flexible. Don’t be surprised if you find that you’ve lost the lust for him after a few weeks of not seeing his smiling face. And be prepared for the same reaction from him.

Repeat after me: I’M SORRY. Also: I FORGIVE YOU.

You’re going to have to use these a lot, I’m afraid. Just start practicing now.

Skype.

webcam

Meet your new boyfriend: the webcam! Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The people I know who have worked out long distance and still stayed in love have been people who were committed to communicating every day. IM him while you’re at work; call him after work; email whenever you can. Invest in stamps. If you don’t already have a Skype account (what is this, the middle ages?), get one now. Skype is a chat service that lets you call each other for free. Brilliant. A web cam is a good idea, too. Again, because you live in different time zones, you’re going to have to figure out when a convenient time for both of you will be to chat. Breakfast is, I think, a marvelous time… however, when it’s breakfast for one of you, it’s going to be lunch or dinner or bedtime for the other. I have enjoyed watching movies over Skype in the past, although it can get kinda’ tricky.

Have “accountability partners”.

It works for Baptists; it can work for you. Talk with your friends about your relationship. Let them know what the rules are. If you and your friend abroad have “unspoken rules” about it being okay to go home with strangers at the bar, tell your friends this before you decide to go home with the stranger from the bar.  Otherwise, your friends will be doing their very best to keep you from sabotaging your long-distance fairy tale. Unless they’re friends like me, in which case they will allow you screw up your own life however you please.

Have a plan.

Long-distance relationships either end because the relationship is over or the distance is over. If you are sure you’re never going to move to Europe, and he’s never going to move to your house, you can probably also be sure your relationship is going to fall victim to the former. If you want to keep things up, you’ve got to have plans, either to visit each other regularly or end up together eventually. Start looking for jobs in his neck of the woods, and look for jobs for him here. You will make yourself crazy if you leave things too open-ended, trust me.

In spite of my cynicism, I know people who have made long distance work (mostly because they ended up getting married to each other). But you are going to need a lot of gumption, communication, and luck. Go to it.

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2 Responses to “long-distance relationships”


  1. 1 Jessica
    June 15, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    You know that the physical aspect is something that means a lot to you. So saying that alone, I don’t think that it’s a great idea. But Kat, I do want to see you happy so follow your heart.

    • June 15, 2010 at 8:50 pm

      Haha well the advice isn’t for me… it’s for a friend. But I agree — the physical aspect is muy importante. Which is why I don’t believe in long-distance relationships so much. 😉


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