Let’s start the week off with a reader’s relationship question.
Question: My boyfriend and I were living in the same city for five months before he left….. 1200 miles away. I knew he would be leaving before we started dating, but we are pretty much perfect for each other. We decided to stay together while he was gone because we are very happy together. I figured I would get used to him being gone, and that it would get easier with time, especially since we already have a trip planned together coming up. But, I'm a worrier, a dweller, an all-around anxiety driven person. It has been almost two months, and I still cry quite frequently. I am miserable without being with him. We text every day, and talk on Skype sometimes. But Skyping and seeing him almost makes me sadder. I just want to be with him physically so badly. The only thing worse than us not being together right now would never being together again, the reason why I don't end things.
I'm just wondering if it ever gets any better? How can I figure out a way to stop being jealous of all the couples together around me? How can I find my happy place within this relationship so that I can stop crying to him? I'm not sure if I'll ever be happy doing the long distance thing. I'm scared of what it will do to our relationship! Thanks!
Answer: I’m sorry that the distance between you and your boyfriend has been so difficult for you to deal with. Long-distance relationships aren’t for everyone, but it sounds as though you and your boyfriend are doing your best to make things work.
A few questions or approaches that you might wish to consider are:
1. Face your fears. What are you scared of? The physical distance leading to emotional distance? The possibility that he might cheat on you? The chance that your emotions might scare him off?
Has he given you any indication that this arrangement isn’t working for him? Has someone cheated on you in a similar situation in the past? Have your emotions gotten the best of you (we’ve all been there in one form or another) in a past relationship with negative repercussions? Is this your first serious relationship? Or, is this all new for you and that’s what’s scary? It can be easier to deal with your anxieties when you can figure out what exactly they are.
2. Communicate. Talk openly with your boyfriend about your wants and needs and his wants and needs. How can both of your needs be met despite the distance? Are there small gestures or affirmations from him that would make a significant difference for you? If so, let him know!
3. Call for reinforcements. Distance is often tougher on the person who isn’t leaving. Make an effort to reach out to loved ones you have at home. Set up as many plans as you can so you're not just home alone.
If your anxiety is making it difficult to get through the day, I strongly urge you to talk to your doctor or therapist. Chronic anxiety affects approximately 20% of Americans and is nothing to be ashamed of.
4. Try something new. Take a class, volunteer, or join a yoga studio or sports team.
5. Wait and see. How soon is your trip with your boyfriend? If you can find a way to channel your emotions into the joy of seeing him, it might be worth reevaluating your relationship and the distance once you’re together. How frequently can you visit each other or travel together? Is his move permanent? Will you living in the same city in the future? If you get get to the point where you can focus on the big picture, it might make the day-to-day easier to deal with.
Please take care and let me know how it goes.
What advice would you give to this reader?