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Our long distance relationship just isn't working...

Tagged as: Dating, Long distance, Teenage<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (30 November 2009) 3 Answers - (Newest, 1 December 2009)
A female Ireland age 30-35, anonymous writes:

Me and my boo are in a LDR. I was prepared to split up as the distance is so big, he was really keen about keeping it going. My compromise was to talk every day, be it phone, skype, msn, letter you name it.

This didn't happen. He started making excuses, like after being on the phone for more than 15-20 mins he would be irritable and start snapping at me. I would rather talk to him for more than that, wouldn't you???? So i don't ring him, i email/msn him. He is unbelievably hard to talk to online, using 1-word answers and not keeping the convo going. I asked him to write letters, he said he would rather not. I am getting sick of this, I have studies to focus on and he is getting me down. Am I being unreasonable?

View related questions: long distance, msn, split up

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (1 December 2009):

I work in a defence force, and LDRs are common.

You've done it wrong. No one can talk every day on the phone for half an hour. It's just impractical, and the constant hassle just leads to resentment.

What you do is to have a "thing" that you do regularly (but not like clockwork, see hassle above) that reminds each other that although you are apart you are thinking of them. The "thing" varies by relationship. My wife writes me letters she pens during her lunch break, maybe one a week, maybe more, maybe less. These letters have nothing about her at all, they are observations she collects as she goes through her life. The point is that they're a love token, not a stream of consciousness, not "i miss you sooo much pookie" babble. I buy her books and hippie stuff from markets and write photo-stories on a Internet site known just to us. This is how we share our lives until we are together again.

LDRs are the opposite to the sort of "living in each others pocket" relationship that a lot of young people have these days, where they're texting trivia every few minutes, and so on. So tactics which work for those relationships can be actively destructive of a LDR. The feelings towards each other in a LDR are also very different --- this isn't flame-out passion, it's a slow burn.

This isn't to say that mobile phones aren't a huge improvement in the quality of LDRs. There's nothing like both finding a moment for a unexpected chat, maybe she's in bed reading before sleep and you're up early and in the gym. But if your partner can't take your call -- even because it's simply because she's in the last chapter of that book -- then that's that and there's no heartache. We might arrange to call each other three times a week, for ten minutes. We'll occasionally have a multi-hour marathon, this is usually a blow-by-blow description of some missed event that we both want to share, such as Christmas Day.

E-mail is good too. You can share news and bon mot without needing to sync times. IM strikes me as the worst of all worlds -- you need to sync, it's even less feedback than voice, and it's too tempting to be distracted by other IMers.

Now here's the thing. You can't solve relationship problems at a distance. It just doesn't work as there can be no subtlety, so you'll stuff things entirely.

A LDR needs the two people to be more direct: hidden hurts (exactly like you are showing) and the like are death. So ask him baldly about the cause of his wandering attention on the phone and IM and ask for a blunt and truthful answer. But, here's the trick, no feeling hurt by the answer (unless of course his attentions have been diverted by some slut). Take in the answer, and adapt accordingly. If you don't like the answer, then don't sort it out over the phone -- tell him we'll discuss it when you are face-to-face next. Usually LDR people have a laundry list they've been collecting, and talking through the list happens first thing after the sex (in my wife's case, she starts about five seconds after the sex, you might care to wait a minute).

So when you meet again, talk it through and either get things on a better footing so you can both live independently without the sort of insecurity that asks for extended every-single-day contact (you want him thinking of you often, this isn't the same as talking with you often), or decide he isn't into you anymore and dump his sorry arse.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (30 November 2009):

I'd let this one go if I were you. Concentrate on your studies.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (30 November 2009):

Well hun long distance normally does not work. Sometimes it does, but most of the time it does not.

No you are not being unreasonable and I think you should dump his ass. There are other people out there for you and he will not be the last so you might want to move on?

Sorry if I sound harsh(I really am not harsh.) Just think you can do better and you should not settle for someone who wont even barely talk to you.

Good luck!

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