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How can four hours be so great and yet so painful?
Published on May 29, 2006 By Sugar High Elf In Dating
I had planned to go to bed early tonight. I hadn't slept well last night and I was going to take a sleeping pill around 8:30, go to sleep and not wake up until I had to to go to work tomorrow.

Everything was going according to plan. I got off work at 7, made it home by 7:15. My roomies were home, so I started talking to them. As I rounded the corner to go to my bedroom to change clothes, I saw someone standing in the doorway to the bathroom.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 --

Oh my God, it's my boyfriend. Next thing I knew, I was wrapped in a bear hug and my roomies were laughing. I hadn't even seen his car because I was on the phone when I parked. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.

We went for food, came back to the apartment, and started watching West Wing on DVD with the couple I live with. Then, the censored part. (Sorry, but I don't kiss and tell)

Then, we started talking. We really needed to have this conversation, but I don't mind telling you that I would have prefered to have not needed it at all.

He told me he'd been having doubts. Not about the fact that he loves me -- he's sure of that. He's just not sure if he's strong enough to keep up a long distance relationship. He said for the last two weeks he's felt angry; not at me, just in general. (Boy, did this all sound familiar) He doesn't want to feel that way anymore, and for that matter, neither do I. He said he'd think about calling and just breaking it off, and then wonder how he would feel the next day, the week after that, a month after that... etc.

He really is my best friend. I told him that I was not ready to give up, and that I didn't want to lose him, but that it wasn't just up to me. He said he wasn't ready to give up yet either, but that things were only going to get harder, and he didn't know if he could handle that.

He left just a few minutes ago. He had to drive 2.5 hours home and go to work in the morning. Now, I don't know how to feel. I am thrilled that I got to see him. It really made my week. And I know that this was the best way to have that conversation with him. I actually feel less worried now that things are in the open. I haven't been this relieved / happy / positive in a while.

But damn, I miss him. I love him so much that the thought of losing him makes me tear up. I want to make this work, but I don't know how. I don't know if I'm strong enough to go so long without seeing him. I don't know if I'm strong enough to keep this going.

I need help, and the people at JU have always helped before, so I'm asking now: How can you help make a long-distance relationship work? Are there any tricks to make it easier? Any ways of coping that help? We have the love, but the distance may kill us (the relationship, that is).

I know we have to work this out ourselves, but others here have done the long-distance thing and I need your advice.

Thanks for lending a virtual ear.

Comments
on May 29, 2006
I'm glad you got to spend some quality time with your BF. Sounds like it was much needed.

As far as long distance relationships go, I am NOT the one to ask. My husband and I SUCK at that, and the best I could do is give tell you what you SHOULDN'T do. Hahaha.

People do make it work. I hope Adventure Dude will pop on here. If I'm not mistaken, he and his fiancée have been together for several years now and are VERY far apart geographically.

Best wishes!
on May 30, 2006
My only foyer into a long-distance relationship ended up blowing up in my face (some residual effects of that are still present in some of my blogs dating back to 2004 and early 2005), so I'm the last person who should be giving advice on this... I'll have to agree with TW though, avoid it at all costs. When my second relationship started heading towards long-distance, I packed my bags, and flew 16,000km back from Australia to Europe. Yes, we're still together In the end, I guess it all depends on the people, the time and the distance involved, managing 100 miles is easier than 10,000 from a logistics standpoint, though I've known couples who didn't make it despite living in neighbouring towns.

Good luck, I hope you'll make it. My only bit of advice is that if you feel this is "it", then screw the consequences, dive in and make it happen (even if it involves moving somewhere)

~Mack
on May 30, 2006
Awww hunny I so feel for you, I really do.

First of all, relationships take work, and they aren't always easy, as you well know. I sometimes think that you need to have these rough patches and hard times, to appreciate things when they are good, and that's the key. If you love this man, and he loves you, then that's forever, and this is only one small chapter in your life together. You need to use everything you can to stay in contact with each other, use the phone, use the internet, do whatever you can. See each other as much as possible, put as much effort in as you can, and though it may be difficult it will be worth it. However, if things continue like this, and you are both so unhappy, and the relationship is just getting worse, I would suggest a trial separation. I know that's easier said than done, and I do think that is a very, very last option. I just think that continually being in a situation that is making you unhappy isn't good for either of you, and will lead you to have negative thoughts about something that should be positive. Try life apart, see if that makes you any happier, and if it doesn't, then it will put things in perspective for you, and the distance won't seem like such a huge deal.

Just my thoughts. Do what feels right for you chick. Surround yourself with friends, eat chocolate, and watch chick flicks. Always works for me
on May 30, 2006
I needed people who are GOOD at long distance relationships!

The problem with moving to be together is that I am still in school and will go to grad school in a year and he has a job that he can't leave just yet.

We talked about, (actually, I suggested) taking a break and he refused. It may have been just a rough patch. We both missed each other a lot and we were having general feelings of anger at the world and situation. The fact that he drove down here just to spend a few hours with me shows me that he wants to work at this relationship and I know I do to. It's just the hating Sunday's part that's making it hard on us.

We love each other very much and we want to work at it. I'm just afraid of getting hurt and he isn't sure if he can keep going when it's so hard to say goodbye. Neither of us like to be sad and we're always that way when we have to part.

Lord I sound mushy!
on May 30, 2006
People do make it work. I hope Adventure Dude will pop on here. If I'm not mistaken, he and his fiancée have been together for several years now and are VERY far apart geographically.


Just for the record. My fiance and I only physically seen each other for 4months out of the 18 months. The majority of our distance apart is with her in her country Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (74.5 degrees E longitude) and I live in Durango, CO (107.8 degrees W longitude). That makes us 2.3 degrees off from being EXACTLY on opposite sides of the world. So hopefully that clarifies your thinking TW. Thanks by the way. It's always nice to know that your thoughts are appreciated.

I need help, and the people at JU have always helped before, so I'm asking now: How can you help make a long-distance relationship work? Are there any tricks to make it easier? Any ways of coping that help? We have the love, but the distance may kill us (the relationship, that is).


Sugar,

Gotta love those suprises. Such things warm the heart.

Anyone who is thinking of endeavering on a long distant relationship there are some things they should know before beginning.
Long distant relationships are hard physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Both must weigh the cost and benefit of a long distant relationship. The cost is being physically apart. The benefit is developing a true and strong line of communication. I don't think anyone here will argue against the importancy of communication. The better you communicate the better your relationship will be.

One of the greatest benefits to a long distance relationship is that emotions are reduced significantly within the relationship. The emotional side of the relationship of what is 'infatuation.' Let me give you this quick analogy.

"Infatuation is the lighter fluid to the fire and character is the wood/coal that keeps it burning."

Lighter fluid as you know will make it burn hot and furious but it is the wood/coal that keeps it burning for a long period of time.

Communication needs to be a large part of your character within a long distance relationship.

Another large piece of character is 'commitment.' Without it all of the above is useless.

By reducing the emotional side of things you can get to the heart of the relationship. You can greatly reduce that 'feeling in love' that I see is infatuation. With a long distance relationship you find out VERY quickly what it is made up of.

You referred to him as your best friend. This is great. As I stated before. A marriage is a glorified friendship with commitment.

He is angry at the fact you are far apart. You cannot be there on a whim. When he is feeling down you are not there to give him a hug and build him up. He's upset because he cannot run his fingers through your hair and to give you a kiss on the forehead (or whichever his preferences are). The advice I would give to you is to understand some of 'frustrations' or 'irritations' come from this. It isn't you. Let these things roll off your back. Let him vent and resist being defensive. In times like this I have found it to be beneficial to give reassuring statements like, 'you know I know this is hard but there isn't anyone else in this world I would rather go through such times with than you' or something along that line. I find it funny eventhough men are typically the 'fix all' but women do the samething. It is important to recognize the differences between venting and an actual problem. Each person communicate these differently. He may even do things to make you feel distant to you.

Okay so those are some of the 'tips' now for your current status.

There are 'healthy breaks and there are dangerous breaks.' BE SURE TO SET TIMELINE. I would suggest 3-7 days. This to me seems like the ideal window. Here is are my thoughts regarding this.
A set length of time allows both of you to seriously evaluate the relationship with out one or the other calling (reduces the 'naggin' side of things). During this time I suggest NO COMMUNICATION. This is a time to see what it is like without each other. Make it as real as possible. Also by having a timeline then when it is over the two of you are on the same page after discussing when time is up. Make a meeting time that you will discuss your feelings. No communication until then (unless it is like directions or something). This is a great time to do some self-reflecting to see if you are really happy with this person. Don't look at it as someone who you think you can live with. Look to marry someone who you can't live without.
If you don't put a timeline in place, the majority of the endings are painful because one moves on and the other doesn't. Be fair to each other. Also I think it is important to understand that there should be no dating or looking for anyone either. This is just a recipe for disaster for a long distance relationship. You enter elements that neither can compete against (physical touch being one).

I agree with Sally. There are many things you can do to maximize communication. If you both have a cell phone an idea is to use a carrier that has free in-network minutes. Internet is a huge piece to my fiance and I. Without internet it would be tremendously hard waiting a month for a letter at which point knowing that their feelings would/could have changed.

Hope this helps.

AD
on May 30, 2006
He still refuses to do a break. He's ready to talk and I don't think now is the time to put a "no communication" thing on us now. He sounds happy again and laughed for a solid five minutes while I described some of my coworkers.

I view that last two weeks as a "break" from what is normal. His inability to talk to me and vent, because he was afraid it would start a fight, made me miserable. Finally getting both of our doubts out honestly to each other was great.

Your right and wrong AD. I can't say that I can't live without him -- I've based too much of my life believing that I have to be a whole, complete person without a man. What I will say is I don't want to live without him. Is that good enough?

He is my best friend. Being apart for the last two years (did I mention that we've dated before?) was extremely hard for both of us. We had good reason to break up last time -- and all those reasons are gone. I love him. I want to be with him for the rest of my life. And I want to make this work but I see his point. Why should we be miserable all the time because we can't see each other? I try not to let myself be this way, but it's hard on both of us.

We talk every night on the phone. I just got a very sweet e-mail from him just a minute ago. It's being physically apart that hurts. I'm sure you understand. I'm planning on surprising him on Thursday and cook dinner for him. We can also talk a little more face to face which is always better than the phone. Then we can make our next move.
on May 30, 2006
Oh, and Kudos to you AD for making what I would assume to be a very difficult relationship, work.

And thanks to all the sympathetic ears out there!
on May 31, 2006
I've based too much of my life believing that I have to be a whole, complete person without a man.


Sugar,

Granted. Let me clarify a bit more on what I was trying to say. I am not saying that there should be a direct dependence or leaning on each other. This is not healthy. I am all for being a complete person (emotionally and mentally stable that is) by yourself. No one can bear that kind of burden. It's like you are walking hand in hand and that both are carrying their own weight but also right there to help when you stumble. Although my fiance and I are not married I cannot imagine life without her. Not sure if that clarifies.

I think most people will recognize that there is a component that we are to be complete (mentally and emotionally) and there is a component that we cannot be complete until marriage (companionship). Although I know that doesn't conform to the 'new age' ideology but the 'new age' hasn't proven itself to me. That of course is a whole different issue.

I apologize if I misunderstood you. I thought a break was the idea when he left you. Glad to hear that the relationship is refreshed.

AD
on May 31, 2006
Sorry if I came off rude in the line that you quoted. I didn't mean it that way. There was supposed to be a at the end of the paragraph to show that I was teasing. I had come to peace with the fact that God would have to be enough for me. His love would have to suffice where I could not depend on earthly love. Two months after I came to this "Peace" where I actually meant it, Grant and I got back together. Funny how life works, huh?

Also, you didn't misunderstand. A break would have been a good idea, but we've gone past that point. It's too late for a break now. I've actually enjoyed your advice -- I even quoted you in an e-mail to him. (Sorry, but I didn't give you credit).

It also helps that a girl I work with is going through something similar with her guy... except he's the one who's leaving and she is staying behind. I feel like I get to hear his point of view from a girl -- which means she actually talks about her emotions.

on Jun 01, 2006
You had mentioned something earlier about coping and dealing with a long distance relationship. I just wanted to give you are perspective I have that has really helped me in life in general.

You cannot control how others act only how you react.

Really focusing on how you act is all you can really do. Every morning you have a choice about your attitude for the day. And you have a choice whether you will allow what others do effect you negatively or positively. When I focus this way I am much more peaceful and much more positive. I believe in faith and strongly promote such things. Something to think about.
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