unexpected long distance :(

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    My bf does humanitarian work abroad. He just got the job 2 months ago, and we’ve been dating for 9. I didn’t understand that the job would entail so much travel when he got it — he has been home only 3 weeks since the end of August. I’m not sure he understood that either. We share a calendar online, and yesterday I saw he updated it to include a whole lot of travel in November too.

    We’ve had some bumps and rockiness, and was looking forward to getting things back to a more stable place in Nov. He has done long distance relationships before and he said he didn’t want to sound fatalistic, but he hasn’t figured out how to make them work yet. I know we both have decided to give this a
    try, and we care about each other. I am also applying for similar jobs in the summer when I finish school, so it’s possible to work something out where we go to the same countries.

    I’ve never done something long distance before. I have friends, a life, activities, all the things you are supposed to do, but I feel so sad and upset everyday that he is not here. Is it possible to build a positive foundation over sk ype, or if he’s not even here? I’m having trouble being positive and hopeful. I have a lot of anxiety, which is sort of clouding my judgement and taking over.

    Any suggestions?



    It seems to me that you have two components of difficult circling around one another. There is the pain of missing him, and the anxiety the pain inspires. This is perhaps sending your mind into the future, projecting stories of how the relationship with end. Long distance relationships are difficult enough without being distracted by the what ifs, as instead of appreciating what is, we become distracted. A few things came to heart as I read your words.

    It is possible to build a foundation at a distance, it is just more difficult for many. Sometimes when we miss our partner, we could be sitting next to them and feel the missing rather than feeling them. Said differently, the burden of long distance can prevent good connection even when it is available. To overcome this, it helps to spend time finding acceptance of the current situation and make the best of it… such as spending time settling your emotions prior to the connection, rather than through it. Instead of “can we do this?” during the time you share, consider “what are you experiencing? What have you seen, smelled, heard, and felt since our last touch?”

    This helps the connection remain nourishing, building, instead of “self pitying”. All relationships have difficulties, and whether or not this intimacy will remain stable through time and distance is between you two and your hearts. Good luck!

    With warmth,


    Thanks, Matt!

    You have so much wisdom. I appreciate your thoughtful response.

    Acceptance of the situation is exactly what I need to do if I am to continue, and I will try everyday to build rather than focus on the distance.

    I really loved your comment about what have you seen, smelled, heard…really nice.

    Best wishes to you!

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