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Guest EC

Long Distance Relationships?

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Guest EC

First off, a big congratulations to everyone on here who know where they'll be in the fall!!

And now, the silly drama questions. What do you all think about long distance relationships? My boyfriend and I have been apart for about six months while I was in Germany, but now he says that he's unwilling to do long distance while I'm at school. He's also unwilling to move to where I'm going because it's kind of a small college city and he's afraid he'll have no work there (but he's a programmer! I think that's bogus) and feel awkward there. I'll be entering a 5-year Ph.D. program...so the chances of trying to return to our relationship when I'm done seem slim and unrealistic to hope for. I love him, and I suppose the sort of obvious here is that if we really wanted to make it work I'd either wait a year and try to go somewhere where he'd be comfortable moving or he bites the bullet and moves. I don't want to wait a year, though, and he's definitely not going to move.

He says the reason why he doesn't want to do a long distance relationship is because he had one coming out of high school and it made him miserable that he was stuck in the "pretense of a relationship" and having to maintain it. But he also says that he wants us to remain friends and talk often–this, I think, would be worse than a long distance relationship because it would be even more pretentious.

Perhaps his unwillingness is a sign that I should just give up and get ready to start a new life completely. But he seems genuinely upset about my leaving, and I wonder if maybe LDRs aren't so terrible and I could convince him of that. But should I have to convince someone to stay in a relationship with me? Ugh.

Anyways, this was mostly a post to ask what others think about long distance relationships, their successes or failures, etc.

Thanks!

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I think the fact that he's unwilling to be in a long distance relationship is enough. You can't make someone want to be in a long distance relationship. They either do or don't. Even people who are gung ho at the onset often realize a little while in that it's too hard. If he starts off being coerced or uncertain, it seems unlikely he will become more motivated (instead of less) to keep up the relationship. Also, I think that if he is unwilling to move for you when it seems it would be easier for him (do you see how many people didn't get in anywhere and or had only one or two choices) it seems unfair that you should throw away a good career move for yourself. Good luck... but, my advice would be to throw in the towel. If you're not both commited to the idea of a long distance relationship, you will probably just waste a lot of time trying to convince him, making both of you miserable.

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I don't want to sound pessimistic but I only know of one LDR that has worked for anyone that tried it among the people I know and in their case he was sent off to Iraq for a year and they got married before he left. I have tried it twice--the first one made me miserable because we kept talking, but it was like we were just friends. We broke up after 8 mo.

The second time it was for only 4 mo. but it almost broke up our relationship because we had almost no time to talk at all. I'm glad my boyfriend worked so hard at it (I had given up) so we're still together...

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you both have to want it very very much in order for it to work. It sounds like he doesn't want that because he's had bad experience. My advice is, though, either stay together and give LDR a try, or break up. If you keep talking like friends, it will just hold you back because you won't want to let go of the idea that maybe you'll get back togeher some day.

Best of luck, I really hope it works out for you!

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I am going to be pondering a long-distance relationship myself and think that one thing people often forget about is that you will, in fact, still be talking at least a little once you move. You do have the option of seeing how things go once you move, and one of you, like you said, may decide to bite the bullet.

From the sounds of it though, you sound a bit suspicious of what he is saying about your future.

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Guest MS

His unwillingness to go with you even though it is obvious to you his reasoning (not being able to do his job anywhere else) does not make sense should be a sign. You have to think about what is most important to you. Though you may love him being a boyfriend isn't necessarily a lifetime commitment. How would you feel if you missed the chance to get your PhD and then things didn't end up working with your boyfriend? My intent is not to say that your relationship isn't serious or worth saving, but maybe you need to be thinking about your expectations for your relationship. And if your relationship is to work, there needs be some kind of compromise. You would be giving up something big to be with him. You want to make sure it will be worth it.

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Guest Squirrelypox

I must be the board's optimist, because I think they are highly doable--so long as it is between the right people. I think that if the relationship is going to thrive, then it's going to thrive regardless if you live down the road or across the country. There are obviously special pitfalls that tag along with any LDR, but I believe that as long as the two individuals are on the same page going into it, they should be able to whether the storm.

That said, it doesn't sound as though the two of you are seeing eye to eye on this. It sounds like you have both determined your priorities, and unfortunately the relationship isn't the main one. There is nothing wrong with that--it just changes things. Regardless if you break up before your move, I am pretty sure that within 2 months of separation the "answer" will be apparent to you both. Maybe you can talk with him about giving the relationship some time to see how it adapts--and then reconvene on the issue in a month or two.

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Guest Frenchhopeful

I feel for you, as I once lived a long-distance relationship for a calendar year. At the time, my BF was living in Japan and I was living in Paris. He is now my husband, so obviously it "worked out" in the long-run, but there were fidelity issues on his end and it was very hard.

It is unfortunate that your BF is unwilling to move because I can understand being unwilling to do a LDR. Has he tried to find work in the area? If he has and he can't find work, it is tough to ask him to move for 5 years to a place where he cannot continue his career. If the work is there and he just "doesn't like" the place, I would say that there is not enough commitment on his part to make it work.

BUT, I don't know you or the situation so please don't take my words as gospel.

Overall, I would recommend you read Dr. Joy Browne's advice on LDRs, she basically says they are fantasy and I tend to agree.

I would also quote for you my favorite song of all time, Dave Matthews Band "The Best of What's Around"... "Turns out not where but who you're with that really matters"

Good luck

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Guest EC

I think his unwillingness is that he's looked at the job market and it appears that it would be extremely hard to find a worthwhile job where I'm going. But I suppose the growing consensus here is that it's not going to work out. I feel like we've been shoved in this corner, however. Unsure of his future plans, we decided that it would be ok if I applied to graduate school and see where that took us. He applied to a few of the same schools I did, but didn't get into any of them. I said yes to my school because a) I love my field and I want to keep working in it and B) I thought for some reason that our relationship might still be able to stay afloat, and my boyfriend gave me some indication that he would be re-applying in a year. Now he's unsure of graduate school as an option at all. It's not like we didn't try to coordinate; it just didn't work out each time. And I guess it's true; if I really wanted to be with him, I wouldn't go. But I don't consider that an option for a lot of reasons, but more practical ones include being nervous that if I reapply next year I won't have the same luck, I won't be able to get a reasonable job for just one year, and (I checked) deferral is not an option.

Enough of justifying and qualifying, though; it looks like there really is no hope for an immediate future.

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Guest Frenchhopeful

If you are serious about doing grad school, I agree that you shouldn't put it off. However, you should really talk it out with him and see what he really wants and thinks. Is he asking you to not go to grad school to continue the relationship? You haven't said that he is. You really just need to get an honest answer out of him as to what his deal is. If the relationship is meant to be, you'll find a compromise.

Good luck in love and in grad school!

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Guest L again

I had a long distance relationship while doing my MA. My BF at the time was also unsure about the LDR, but I think it was not so much LDR but that he just wasn't that into me at the time. He was focused on other things. We just played it by ear, and eventually we both found that our relationship became more important when we got older (I graduated early from college). Sounds like your BF may be having some career issues himself---if he applied and didn't get into grad school, maybe he feels a little lost about his future and so doesn't want to focus on the relationship til he sorts out where he needs to be. The best answer for you seems like looking at your relationship as a whole: how long you have been together, how things are going otherwise, is he as into you as you are into him, and do you want him to come because you see yourselves married eventually or because you want to take part of your current life with you so the change won't be so tough? Just stuff to think about. LDRs aren't for everyone.

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Guest rhiana

You don't necessarily have to decide this now. Your BF isn't in school, right? So if you did or didn't stay together initially, you could always change your mind later depending on how hard it is to not be together, or how the LDR is going (if it's going).

I was in a similar situation twice. Once I didn't do an LDR (great decision), and once my partner and I said we weren't going to... but being phone-friends was too hard and we ended up keeping the relationship going, visiting each other every 6 weeks or so. 9 months later, we're still together and now contemplating what to do in the fall. or in january. or whenever something's not working anymore.

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A poster above mentioned fidelity issues in her LDR, which brings up a whole set of problems my partner and I are thinking about as we get set to embark on a LDR for a year starting this fall. We've always been completely faithful in the five years we've been together (living together for four), but I'm almost wondering if we perhaps shouldn't try an "open relationship" for this year apart. Is that crazy? Or the norm for LDRs? I don't know anyone who has ever been in one, and in reading online it seems like a lot of folks have a subtext of having had open sexual arrangements while living apart. On the one hand it seems like it might be the worst time to try something like that, but on the other hand, it's going to be hard to be apart and, to be totally frank, having a bit of sexual freedom might help as long as we tell each other everything we do (or don't do). This might be a bit of a heavy question for this forum, but I'm really interested to hear if anyone has experience with this particular problem. Oh, and just for background, we're completely and utterly committed to staying together through this year and have definite plans to live together again after the year apart.

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I can't tell you what to do, but from my experience "open" relationships are much more difficult once you've had a "closed" relationship for a while. Much better to do it the other way around, I suppose.

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I am currently conducting research in the Gaza Strip while my girlfriend is languishing back in Denmark. So far (almost four months now) things have been going well - not great - but manageable with a lot of time video-chatting on Skype. I think it depends on the circumstances...

I recently applied to Ph.D. programs in the U.S. and we are having to think seriously about staying together... If worst comes to worst, I wouldn't be willing to remain in a LDR for longer than 6-8 months. It's unfair for both of the people involved... So I'm hoping we can work something out! :|

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It's interesting reading all of this, because my boyfriend and I came to the consensus quite a while ago that no matter how far away I go, we're both in it 100% for as long as it takes. I've been in long distance relationships before and I'm not particularly concerned. The ones I had ended for normal reasons, not just because one of us got too lonely.

Then again I get free airfare as family of an airline employee, and the prospect of being able to visit monthly and on all holidays makes it all seem a lot easier. We've also been together for several years, and I think both of us would see it as a wasted investment to after this long just throw up our hands and start over with someone else just because it got difficult for a while.

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My advice: LTRs either always last and never work, or they work but never last. Confused? You shouldn't be. Advice from a graduate admissions blog on your relationship, from people you never met, is bound to help you.

My girlfriend and I have been in a long term relationship for 10 years. We have never met. But via her fan club mail address, Britney and I stay in touch. I fear sometimes I am just dating a woman (or man?) paid to write back to adoring fans. But even that is ok. What is the matter with lip-synced emotion?

People stopped liking Milli Vanilli when they found out those two metrosexual 80s icons were faking. I still liked the music. An older, less lamo, black man was singing all their songs. But so what, it was the same stuff. This is how I feel about my correspondence with Britney.

Good luck in grad school. If s/he dumps you, well, don't despair. One things for sure, you live in a college town, or a town with a college. Or a city, a big city. And you can get over the despair these blog posts. I did (to hell with you Britney. I see that purple forwarded-text email. I can see I'm not the only one...)

Remember but Groucho Marx said -- he was an expert on grad school: "There are two secrets in this life -- hard work, and honesty. If you can fake both, you've pretty much got it made."

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