I always try to give different perspectives to questions here so I’m excited to add another view on the question from the other week from the student who is close to her family and in love with an Israeli solder she met while studying abroad. Several women commented that the woman posing the question did not ask whether she should move or marry her man…but rather how to keep the relationship, her studies and her family ties all in balance (as they won’t be able to be together until he is out of the military 6 years form now). Here is another insightful 40-something response from a woman who had a long-distance relationship that spanned many years:
What I did when in a very similar situation in my early twenties was to dive in and let life teach me how-to navigate it all as I went along. And in time I pulled it off really well. At first though…it was messy. As uncomfortable and tiring as that mess got to be at times, it’s what taught me how to do it right for me. In the end I did great academically and professionally. And here’s how my relationships played out…
My relationships with family and friends were the most challenged. Few were understanding when I wasn’t as available as I’d once been. Although I never did become as available as I’d once been, I was able to make our connections more meaningful by the quality of engagement I gave to them, and all these years later I still have healthy and strong relationships with them.
My relationship with my boyfriend was incredible. We made no demands on each other for attention. We gave what we could and we cherished what we got from one another. He lived in another state and had even less time than I did.
We also agreed early on to have an open relationship. Being so young and far away we wanted the freedom to date others too. We did and we were honest with each about it. About three years into our relationship he and I both met other people we wanted to be serious with, so we ended our romance and remained friends.
There are many ways to navigate this all. I’m confident your way will be revealed once you get started. It’s amazing and inspiring that you’re following your heart.
– 40-something, NYC