20-Something Question: The Low Down on the Long Distance Relationship

Dear 40-somethings,


It seems like long distance relationships are a common theme throughout this forum! So here’s my situation: I too am guilty of the “I traveled abroad, met a guy who lives in a different country, and I’m head over heels madly in love” syndrome. While at first I was hesitant to make any big life decisions, it’s now been 2 years and we’re still head over heels and talk nearly every day, but we’re also sick to death of being sad and missing each other. I’ve tried finding a job in the UK where he lives, but getting a visa without marriage to him just isn’t working out.


I suppose I should include that while home, I’ve rekindled a friendship with my ex-boyfriend (who I dated for 6 years). To me, Mr. Home represents the safe, settling, comfortable relationship that I ended to “find myself.” But I am now stuck between what waits for me at home and what I might/could have in this guy who’s abroad. I’m scared to move abroad and marry for a visa, but I’m also scared to stay home and always wonder “what if?” What do I do?


Dear 20-Something,


a) Do not marry Mr. Home.  You would not be madly in love with Mr. Abroad, if Mr. Home was right for you. That is not fair to Mr. Home, or to you frankly, and ultimately you will be frustrated with that relationship.

b) If Mr. Abroad cannot move here and you cannot move there then unfortunately you need to start your search again.  It is a case of “not meant to be.”

c) This is not meant to sound harsh merely pragmatic.  In this world there is not just one person for you and unfortunately sometimes it just doesn’t work. – 40-something, COO, consulting firm, NYC


Dear 20-Something,


Rekindling an old friendship is fine (as long as you know) it might mess with your head a bit.  However, it does not sound like you’re back in a full blown cheating affair with Mr. Home.  Rather, it sounds as if it’s a safe, comfortable relationship with someone you know well and knows you.  But where’s the passion?  If you are already wondering “what if?” now, it will only get worse as years pass and eventually become a source of resentment towards Mr. Home.  It sounds like you really need to put some effort into the long distance thing and figure it out.  Two years is a long time to be in a holding pattern and it’s commendable you didn’t run away with him when you first met. It is time to make some decisions.


Is it possible for you leave work, either on a sabbatical or permanently, to travel to the UK for an extended time to be with him (don’t get married yet) to see what this relationship is truly worth?  You don’t discuss how often you see each but assuming it’s occasional weekends and such, you probably need some serious time together to see if this is worth taking the next step.  Or, does he have more flexibility with his work so he can come here for the extended time?  However you do it, you need to see if Mr. Abroad is Mr. Right before more time passes and you begin to resent this relationship as a waste of time and energy (and youth!).


If you take the leap of faith and it doesn’t work out, at least you tried.  You will never have the “what ifs?” and can move forward (either with Mr. Home or someone else) without any regrets.  Good luck! —  40-something, fashion industry, married, mom, San Diego


Dear 20-Something,


I think you have to ask yourself how committed you are to either one of these relationships.  What fuels your desire to rekindle a relationship with your long time ex after having returned home and while in a relationship with someone with whom you feel head over heels in love?    With that said, a few things:


1.  Why are you having to make the move and not him?

2.  Don’t marry for a visa.  Marriage is hard enough and you don’t need a financial reason hanging over your head.

3.  How often do you see this guy and does he make the effort to see you in America as well?  I wouldn’t want you making rash decisions over a guy you have not physically seen in two years.

4.  Why don’t you try a compromise and both save up some major cash and one of you move as long as you can stay in the country without a job.  See how actually living in the same country/city/apartment on a daily basis works out before either one of you makes a major life change.  There is a glamorous aspect to being in a long distance relationship when you aren’t arguing over money and who left the lid off the toothpaste.

5.  As for “settling” guy, you already moved on for a reason, don’t move backwards.

6.  If he is worth the risk, take it!  You can always move back.









on Twitter

on Facebook

on Google+