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Parallax - Advice

November 17, 2003

It's okay—if he's away

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!I'm in a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend. He lives in Seattle and I live in D.C., where I am going to school. We have been doing this for about two years, and it has worked pretty well. We alternate flights and see each other every two months. The last time we saw each other he hinted he was planning to move here, as he's looking for a job. Naturally I was very excited, but now I'm having second thoughts because I'm afraid such a move will be difficult for me. My present life doesn't allow much time for a boyfriend, which is fine when he's in Seattle, but not if he's here. I'm also afraid his moving means he's getting serious and I don't know if I'm ready for that. I need help. How can I handle this without ruining our relationship? Email to a Friend


Her view:

Dear Distanced,

There are two issues here: One is relevant; one is not. The fact that you've built your life around no boyfriend is normal, as your boyfriend lives across the country. Naturally, you have set your time slots accordingly. If he moved to your city, you would adjust your lifestyle to make some time for him. He would also be busy; he is not contemplating moving to D.C. just to stare at you. So this point is not a concern—it will work itself out.

The fact that he is moving does, indeed, advance the relationship. And this is a substantial concern, if you are not interested in the same level of advancement. You should be honest with him before you have one very irate fellow who has moved across the country to be with you.

Have a little talk. Suggest he reconsider making such a big move before the two of you have decided whether or not you want to be together in the 'forever sense' or even the 'several year sense.' Just be open about it—an awkward conversation is better than the alternative.

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His view:

Dear Distanced,

Perhaps it's time for you to choose between having a real boyfriend or a long-distance boyfriend. The two are not the same. It sounds like you'd rather have a long-distance man. In fact, it sounds like a Continental Divide is just the right recipe for you, right now.

Sadly for you, I don't think your man feels the same way. He is tired of seeing you only every two months. He is tired of phone sex and having to rely on cute punctuation to express his emotions through e-mail.

Conclusion: You are going to have to choose between the man and the type of relationship. If being by yourself and having all that space is what suits you, then you should demonstrate you have a spine and admit it. And do it before he uproots himself; tell him he shouldn't move because of you.

You may not save the relationship, but you will save you both from a lot of needless pain.

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