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Help with long distance

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 4 weeks ago.

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  • #178407

    Sophia
    Participant

    I have an amazing, caring and supportive boyfriend with whom I have been in a long distance relationship for the past 8 months.

    We met whilst working together as colleagues at the same company, before I moved away to take up a new job in London. He was in a long-term relationship whilst we worked together, but this ended shortly after I moved and then a few months after that we began seeing each other.

    When we’re together, our relationship is fantastic – he is intelligent, engaged and incredibly loving. In spite of the distance (he lives 3 hours away), he constantly tells me that he loves me, reassures me that the distance isn’t an issue and we make an effort to be as available to each other as we can be – despite leading somewhat separate lives. At the moment, we see each other 3 out of every 4 weekends in a month.

    My problem is that, despite both our best efforts, I find the long distance aspect of our relationship incredibly difficult sometimes and, on two occasions, I have directly and unfairly taken these frustrations out on my partner (which I am not proud of at all).

    The first occasion this happened was a month ago, my grandmother had just died. My boyfriend did he best to support me from a distance, but I was angry and frustrated that, through no fault of his own, he wasn’t physically there for me. We had a phone conversation where I got quite upset talking about my grandmother and I ended up hurting his feelings by saying that this was an example of when long distance relationships don’t work because I felt that I needed him there with me and he wasn’t. He was really hurt by this and felt that it was unfair of me to make him feel guilty when he was trying his best to support me from afar – and he really was.

    The second time that this happened, he had been at a work leaving do for the evening and left his phone at home all day when he’d gone to work that morning. After he got home, he had a long phone conversation with his Mother before calling me. As I hadn’t been able to talk to him all day, I felt really frustrated at the lack of contact and, in my head (and unfairly), told myself that he was prioritising other people over me. I wrongly called him out on it we ended up having an argument where I really hurt his feelings because I told him I felt like he wasn’t there for me and that he couldn’t be bothered to make time for me. This was completely wrong and unfair of me to say – it’s fine that we can’t be available to eachother 24/7 (even if we lived in the same city, it’s still important to have a degree of independence) and I want him to be happy and feel able to see other people when he’s not with me.

    I am happy to admit that on both of these occasions, I was completely out of line to react in the way that I did. In the heat of the moment, my emotions got the better of me and I did not react rationally or fairly to the situations in front of me. I let my own insecurities twist my thoughts, rather than approaching the situation calmly and realising that there wasn’t an issue – I trust my partner completely, and he has never given me any reason to doubt that he loves or cares for me. I just let the distance and the feeling of being apart get the better of me, and I reacted emotionally in a way that I should have been mature enough not to allow to happen.

    I apologised, we spoke things through – I explained that it was me being insecure and reacting emotionally rather than him having done anything wrong – but I know that I hurt him and he still feels hurt by what I said to him and the fact that I questioned him. The woman he was with in his previously relationship was incredibly emotionally manipulative towards him and I worried that he sees parallels between the two of us.

    I think a lot of my insecurities stem from the fact that there wasn’t that much time between he and his ex-partner separating, and us starting to date. He was married previously, and they were together for 5 years in total – so somehow, I always feel that I’m moving in her shadows. They are still in contact at they own a house together and because they’re sorting out the logistical elements of their divorce so, to some degree, she’s still in the picture. But he tells me frequently that he’s never loved anyone like he loves me, and I feel exactly the same – I see us being together for a long time.

    But I know that all of this worry and frustration that I have in our relationship just comes down to me being insecure about myself – worried that I’m not good enough for him, that he’ll meet someone else, or that we’ll drift apart from one another over time.

    My question is, what are some tips for successfully managing long distance relationships? Specifically, how can I deal with my own insecurities and make sure that I don’t take my frustration on being apart out on my partner, when all he does is love and care for me even though we live far away from one another. Should I communicate this insecurities that I’m feeling, or is it unfair to talk to him about things that aren’t his fault?

    He doesn’t deserve to be treated that way that I treated him on those two occasions and I want to make sure that I make an effort to be a better person in our relationship going forward – I don’t know if I can ever properly make amends, or restore his faith in me.

    Even though being in a long distance relationship is agonisingly difficult sometimes, I don’t want to lose him. How can I be a better partner?
    Sophie

     

    • This topic was modified 4 weeks ago by  Sophia.
    #178487

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sophie:

    I think you handled those two occasions after the fact very well, apologizing appropriately. I don’t see these two occasions as being a deal breaker, acts of abuse. If repeated, again and again, over time, they will add up, sure. But twice and then corrected- these are imperfections on your part.

    To correct, to avoid more such incidents, notice your distress before you express it to him. Stay with the distress, enduring it without reacting to it. Take a time out. When you are ready, you can and should express your distress to him… responsibly. You can say something like: I miss you. I wish the weekend was already here.

    No blaming, no going on and on about your distress, just stating it. If he responds with resentment about being made to feel guilty (maybe because of the two incidents you detailed), you can share with him what it is that you learned from those: to share responsibly, not blaming, but communicating honestly. Without honest communication, there is no honest relationship, after all.

    anita

    #178495

    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Sophie,

    It’s not that long distance relationships never work (my sister has been in one for years and years), it’s more like most people can’t handle them well.

    You have a few choices here:

    1. Find a job within half an hour of him. Live simply. Or, he can move closer to you.

    2. Treat the relationship lightly.

    3. Don’t have all this pressure about seeing each other most weekends. I would almost rather have the pressure of seeing each other for an occasional long weekend, vacation or holiday than driving/flying out every. single. weekend. Maybe make it loose, like, “At least once a month. More? Great.”

    4. It’s OK not to talk on the phone. Let days parade by.

    5. Communicate through text, FB, Skype, etc.

    Enjoy the unique “rhythm” of you long distance relationship.

    Best,

    Inky

    #178511

    Sophia
    Participant

    Thank you for your responses.

    I agree that I need to invest the work to make sure that our relationship strikes a healthier balance, and so that I don’t place such an emphasis on this being my means of support and happiness.

    Taking some of the pressure off the way that we interact and spend time with each other might be a good answer – in the back of my mind, I just worry that this approach will cause us to drift apart but, again, this is just me being insecure about our relationship.

    I will make sure I take a step away, acknowledge and rationalise my feelings before reacting to them in future. That can be easier said that done in the heat of a moment, but it’s important I make an effort to communicate in a healthy way.

    Thanks for the advice – hopefully things become easier. We’re looking to move to the same place within the next year. 🙂

    #178513

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sophia:

    It is “easier said than done in the heat of the moment”- but it is possible and greatly beneficial. It is a skill, something you practice and get better at. With enough practice it gets easier.

    anita

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