I Moved to Be With My Long Distance Boyfriend and Now He Ignores Me

I recently graduated from college and had been seeing someone long distance for a little over 8 months. He is the sweetest man I have ever come across, and the relationship was very casual. After graduation, I decided to move to the big city that he lived in. We talked about the decision for months and all the possible concerns that we had. In the end, we both agreed it seemed like a good decision.

He started to become distant over the summer but I wrote it off as a phase. Then I moved here three weeks ago and he is a completely different person. We are suddenly not having sex, and it is a chore for him to see me even once a week, if that. I almost feel resented. I’ve been worried that he is paranoid that I am going to compromise his independent life and so I’ve been giving him A LOT of space, even though it is very painful and lonely for me. For the most part I act like I have my own thing going on and everything is fine. But he’s still not really coming around.

I’ve addressed the issue once before and he listened, but had no idea anything was even wrong. He thinks I am overreacting or something. It kills me that he was more involved in my life when we lived 1500 miles apart. I specified that when I moved here I was NOT looking for a commitment, I am very independent, but I was looking forward to spending some time with him, and he felt the same way.

WTF is going on? Is he over it and just avoiding the uncomfortable confrontation? Is he threatened by my being here? OR is he just like every normal guy who starts neglecting their relationship after a while and doesn’t feel the need to put in any additional effort? I want to talk to him again and tell him how I really feel but I’m TORN because if I come off as the nagging girlfriend he will be even more turned off to me, but if I sit silently I will watch my relationship fade away in misery.

Cassie

Dear Cassie,

It’s over.

Pining away waiting for him to come around is just slowly peeling off the Band-Aid.

He liked you when you were far away, but now that you’re nearby, you’re a burden. In fact, if you didn’t move 1500 miles to be with him, he probably would have dumped you by now. The fact that he hasn’t yet actually makes him think he’s being nice. But make no mistake: his actions are saying loudly what his words cannot.

So now that you have your answer, what is there to learn from this situation? What piece of this can you take responsibility for? What should you let go? What do you do now?

Let’s work backwards.

What you do now is build up a life from scratch. It’s scary and daunting and lonely, and yet there is no better tonic for getting over an ex than to move on successfully. Pining away waiting for him to come around is just slowly peeling off the Band-Aid. You need to rip it off, starting now. Don’t call him again. Don’t email him again. Don’t text him again. If he contacts you, just let him know that while you had fun, it’s clear to you that he’s not the guy you thought he was, and move along. When he tells you that it’s a misunderstanding, that he’s been busy, that he really loves you, let him know that you understand, but this is your well-considered decision. It was good while it lasted, best of luck, goodbye. And then WALK.

No matter how lonely you are, no matter how much you miss him, keep walking. This creates a very clear choice: if he chases after you HARD (and that’s up for you to determine), you might end up with a devoted boyfriend. If not, you’ve been given your freedom to create the love life that you deserve, not this bullshit, game-playing, heart-wrenching drama he’s putting you through. The most likely scenario is that he’ll make an effort to keep you (because it’s better to have occasional sex than not), but then won’t change at all. Meaning: you still won’t have a boyfriend, and should probably dump his ass.

This may be hard to hear, as it forces you to go against all your feelings and emotions that brought you out to live near him. I’m positive a few readers can share stories about moving to be near a guy and the relationship dissolving. You’re not the first. But you’re young. You’ll bounce back. And you should know in your heart, that there’s no way you could have prepared for this outcome. If a guy says one thing and does another, you’re not at fault. Unless there were signs in advance, you’re off the hook. Sort of.

What you have to own is your internal contradictions. If the relationship was “very casual” as you said, you don’t have much of a right to complain that it remains “very casual”. I would suspect that you probably put a bit of pressure on him to act like a boyfriend, since you didn’t know anyone else in his city. And that’s not a responsibility he wanted to assume. In fact, I’d bet if you replayed your pre-move conversations, you’d remember him saying something to that effect: “Hey, you know nothing’s going to change when you move out here. We’ll still see each other and all, but I’m not ready for a girlfriend now”. And then you try to be all cool and understanding, although in the back of your mind, you’re thinking you’re going to move there and change him. Well, you moved there and the only thing that’s changed is that he has to deal with YOUR needs. When you were far away, he could give as much or as little as he wanted. You were the out-of-town girl – the perfect girlfriend, really. All the affection, none of the drama or maintenance. Now that you’re in front of him – and you have nobody else in your life – it’s glaring how important he has become to you. You have to lessen that importance immediately.

Lots of women like the IDEA of casual relationships; far fewer are able to pull it off with no emotional attachment.

As to what there is to learn from this sad story?

  • 1) Let your head rule a little more than your heart. This guy was never boyfriend material and you changed your life for him. If you didn’t change your life for him, but for a career opportunity, then there’s not that much to be upset about, right?
  • 2) Know thyself. Lots of women like the IDEA of casual relationships; far fewer are able to pull it off with no emotional attachment. Sounds to me like you WANTED to be able to do this, but, in practice, it hurts a lot more than you thought.
  • 3) Understand motives and behaviors other than your own. This guy’s reaction is quite predictable, yet it’s coming as a surprise to you. I know he said one thing and did another – but that, too, is predictable from a long-distance guy who carries on a low-intensity sexual relationship from long-distance. He got what he needed from you; now, you’re ruining it by showing up.

If that last paragraph sounds like I’m letting men off the hook, I’m not. I’m observing human behavior. Do so as well, and you’ll see the patterns. Men do what’s convenient and easy and selfish, until they have any responsibilities. You can’t be surprised by this behavior. It will continue through your life. It’s easy to see a woman who doesn’t require more than a text a week. Once you demand more and he balks, you already have your answer. The only question that remains is how long you drag it out.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Honey

    I must admit to being a little mystified about why someone would move 1500 miles for a casual relationship. I considered it a big deal to move 120 miles for someone I’d been with for two years. It succeeded in my case, but then we knew we were serious and I moved in with him. I think you had your answer as soon as you offered to move to his city and he said something along the lines of, “yeah, that’ll be great…but you know you have to get your own place, right?” The writing’s been on the wall since then, IMO.

    Honey’s last blog post..Morning Sex (And Other Sex)

  2. 2
    Li-Ann

    Evan’s response is perfect, I would read it twice.

    When a man is really “into you”, the last thing you are going to feel is “resented”. If a relationship has any future, it doesn’t start off within the first year with a feeling of resentment from the man you care about. This is not a good sign.

    You may think if you spend more time with him and be even more patient and understanding, then perhaps he’ll come around. Once someone is in love, usually they do everything to be with the person they love, and they do not pull away. You can try to make excuses for him, or figure perhaps there is some mysterious explanation, but you know yourself that if you love someone, you make time to see them because you enjoy it. People do what makes them happy, and if seeing you made him happy, he would try to do it more rather than less. It is as simple as that.

    Although you tell him you “have my own thing going on”, I don’t think he really buys this. When you were 1,500 miles apart there was no pressure for him to feel obligated to see you. Re-read Evan’s points on this. You required little effort from him before, but now he feels obligations. Back when you were far, he could email you when he felt like it – spend 10 minutes on you. Now he finds he has a weekly commitment that is expected of him.

    Even though you say you put no pressure on him, he may FEEL the pressure just the way people feel vaguely guilty about something. Deep down he senses you are unhappy and are awaiting his phone call. That is exactly why you get the feeling you are “resented”. He will see you because he feels guilty, but then in his mind he feels he’s been manipulated by his guilt.

    Now I know this isn’t your intention at all. You want him to want to see you and enjoy it. Unfortunately, the facts as you spelled them out suggest that it just isn’t working out for you.

    Even though you might tell him you are cool with it, and do not want a commitment, I think he looks at it from the following perspective. You are the one who moved 1,500 miles to be near him, and he didn’t move at all. He probably thinks that no one makes that kind of effort for someone else unless they have some expectations the relationship is going somewhere. You may say you are independent, but he’s aways going to look at all the work you put into moving to be near him, and figure you expect something. Before you came he could come and go as he pleased, now he knows you are waiting for his phone call.

    You might want someone to spend time with, but the reality is that he may be quite content the way things are now. You think that he has changed, but I think he’s still the same person. All that happened was that he had much less of a time commitment to you when you lived far away, so it was easy enough for him to email when he wanted. Now he realizes he has to put more time and effort into it, and that is something that he is not interested in doing.

    Action plan:- the only way to know one way or another is to just cut off communications with him. If he takes the initiative to try to see you and you really see that he’s changed in his attitude in a big way, than maybe there is hope. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time and ruining your self esteem.

    As Even pointed out, he will likely react to your breaking off with him by trying to keep you in his circle. Many guys don’t enjoy the break up talk, and if they could, some would just prefer to keep women on the back burner.

    If he tries to win you back at first, this DOES NOT necessarily mean he has seen the light and now realizes he loves you. Most of the time this just means he wants a girl friend he can call just in case he feels lonely, or he can’t find anyone else. You will be able to tell if this is the scenario if he initially tries to patch things up, and then gradually goes back to being distant. This is very very common, so don’t be fooled.

    You mentioned in your email that you might talk to him about this and ask him what is going on. Please save yourself and do not do this. The one thing I learned as an older women that I wish I had known when I was 20 is that I now truly regret every time I made that “where do I stand” speech.

    Years later I found that when things get to the point that you have to ask “where do I stand” then that itself is usually a good sign that it is in fact going nowhere. If I could relive my life, I wish I’d never made those speeches. So please take my advice if you can because you will probably regret it later and feel foolish.

    In his case, you don’t need to ask him where you stand, as his actions speak loudly and clearly. Just stop contacting him, and if he’s the one who asks for an explanation, tell him you don’t think things are working out, and you wish him the best. Then click, hang up.

  3. 3
    Steve

    People who want you will act like they want you.

  4. 4
    Angela Crisp

    Evan, you are right on target again. The man is playing games, as we all may do from time to time. But the shame of it is how far he put someone else out of their way. But women can be just as cruel, so it is not a gender observation. It is definitely time for this lady to move on, make the best of the situation, definitely start to see other people ASAP. Good luck Cassie, you aren’t out of the running for love, but he is.

  5. 5
    Kay

    What a lucky person you are. You are in a new city, you have your whole life ahead of you and hopefully thanks to Evan’s advice you’ll be able to let that loser go for good and find yourself someone deserving of what you have to offer… Ya know, if he really loved you, you never would have had to write to Evan in the first place, and you wouldn’t have felt like you were nagging him by expressing your feelings. When you find the right guy everything will feel right because you won’t feel doubt.

  6. 6
    starthrower68

    I’m sorry that you have to go through this, kid. Based on your e-mail, I would go so far as to say the guy was probably dating and/or sleeping around the entire time you were 1500 miles away. I think another thing we women sometimes do is convince ourselves by not having any expectations and telling a guy we aren’t expecting a commitment, that’s going to make him want to commit. I will try to put this as kindly as I can because I don’t want to add any salt to the wound, but uprooting 1500 miles to a new place to spend more time with a guy says a girl wants commitment. It’s much easier to have no expectations or wants if you stay 1500 miles away. Please don’t think I’m being critical because the heart wants what it wants, and wanting to love and be love is a legitimate desire. It’s just not going to happen with this guy. Evan is spot on. Be free for the right guy. Hang in there!

  7. 7
    BeenThruTheWars

    The single best piece of advice I could give any woman is, “Don’t EVER move to be closer to someone unless you have a ring on your finger and a wedding date set.” You’re just asking for bad treatment and a broken heart. Yes — I know whereof I speak. It’s one of the most stupid, painful things I ever did to myself. Evan is right, cut your losses. Finding a wonderful new guy who truly adores you and would follow YOU to the ends of the earth is the best revenge. (I know whereof I speak on that point, too!)

  8. 8
    Angela Crisp

    Honestly recriminations don’t matter here, this woman just needs to move on, everyone makes mistakes, no need to point fingers here. Just a mistake. At least she loved honestly, that she did not have a worthy man is ok. She just needs to move on.

    1. 8.1
      Steffie

      That’s a shrewd answer to a tricky quetoisn

  9. 9
    Lance

    Amen, peeps. Don’t go moving for someone unless it’s deadly serious, like marriage talks and whatnot. I’ve made this mistake at least one and it went down in flames.

    Hey, Cassie, at least you’re in a big city. Lots to do there. Have fun, date around, meet some cool people.

  10. 10
    -NN-

    Answer no 2#

    I am so called “older woman” if one thinks herself that way (I don’t).. meaning am 39 next week.
    I have never regreted asking what is going on.. How man reacts is easy to see (words are irrelevant).. if it feels bad, I get to go on.. I’m free bird afterwards.

    “Pride” is something that is valuable for those who have no selfesteem, and ego rules. I don’t his behaviour as “turn-down”.. I see it as freedom from uncertainty, and I can leave everything, all bad feelings behind, and I’m free to find someone who actually thinks I am a whole meal.

    But then again.. I have more fear of commitment than most men. And after being single for 7 years, I don’t want to lose this freedom for someone who really isn’t “the one” – I rather have freedom to look, than be tied to relationship where I feel I suffocate.
    I value my freedom, I only want to be with someone if we both feel like we lose something precious if the other is not around.

  11. 11
    lisaq

    I agree. I think the handwriting was on the wall long before the move though that doesn’t make it any easier. You have to move on though just as was suggested no matter what.

    The other thing I thought was where she said, every other normal guy starts neglecting the relationship after awhile. I disagree! I don’t think normal men who are really “in” the relationship neglect it. If the men you’ve been seeing are doing this, perhaps it’s time to look at why you choose the men you do.

  12. 12
    Jojo

    Evan- great response!
    I agree with everyone; you need to move on. I can imagine how disappointing it must be after moving so far to be closer to someone. You have to take responsibility for your choices. You did tell him that you didn’t want a commitment, but your actions spoke differently.
    Good luck to you! Find someone that is worthy of you; don’t settle for less!

  13. 13
    Steve


    Oct 9th 2008 at 09:09 pm 9 Lance wrote
    Hey, Cassie, at least you’re in a big city. Lots to do there. Have fun, date around, meet some cool people.

    Ditto.

    A big cit will give you plenty of opportunities to meet a variety of new people, get a variety of job opportunities and a variety of recreational opportunities. In short, you are in a good place to build a really cool life .

    Write us back and let us know how it is going.

  14. 14
    Lisa

    Cassie

    I feel for you. Being alone in a new city sucks. I moved 150 miles to move in with my long distance bf. I was positive that things would work, because we were so happy when we were together. But he loved me when I was the out-of-town gf, just like Evan said, and once I was here, he decided he was happy being alone. And this was the truth from him, he didn’t date anyone else and its been 2 yrs since we broke up and he’s still alone. I’ve learned alot from this, and I’ve made a new life in this city. I could’ve moved back home but this city has grown on me. You just need to decide whats best for you. And if staying in that city is whats best, then make some friends, find some things to do to get you out of your house and meeting new people.
    Best of luck to you!

  15. 15
    JuJu

    BeenThruTheWars and Lance,

    and what if marriage is not the goal, but seeing how the relationship develops is?

    Although, in my own case, contemplation of the move to the other coast is in big part due to the desire to start anew. And I think it would be an interesting experience for me to live somewhere else for a while.

  16. 16
    starthrower68

    JuJu, I think you raise a legitimate point. In one sense, you have to spend time with someone to get to know those things about them that you can only learn in person. That is probably why long distance relationships are difficult at best. I’m not sure I could make a move without more certainty but some people can and I say more power to them. I think it really just depends on the people involved and there’s really no right or wrong answer when the heart’s involved.

  17. 17
    Selena

    I think the ‘error’ was probably ignoring what his distancing symbolized over the summer. You chalked it up to being a phase because you wanted to believe that’s all it was. In actuality it was his way showing you the real depth of his feelings. And his being to chickenshit to discourage you from moving to his city. Sigh.

    The lesson if there is one would be not to move for a casual relationship I suppose, but I can see also the temptation to move to see if a relationship would potentially deepen. And why not, if you finish college and are not anchored to a particular city by career? Hey, you’d be doing the same thing somewhere even if you’d never met that guy right?

    Write him off. Go out and meet new people. This move doesn’t have to be a mistake, look at it as a grand opportunity you might never had explored had it not been for him.

  18. 18
    Kenley

    The real lesson to learn is not just don’t move for a casual relationship. The real lesson is don’t pretend that you want a casual relationship when you really want a serious one and to take responsibility for your actions.

    There was nothing in the letter to indicate that the guy’s words and actions were inconsistent. She never actually said that HE wanted her to move or that he loved her or that he even considered her to be his girlfriend. She herself defined the “relationship” as not just casual, but very casual and that’s how he treated her. She on the other hand was the one who said one thing but really wanted something else. Again, she acknowledged that relationship was casual and she said that she told him she was an independent woman who didn’t want a commitment, but then she complains that he’s not treating her like a girlfriend. Now, if I were that guy, I would actually would have been thinking WTF — you don’t want to be my girlfriend, but I have to treat you like a girlfriend? Wow, women are just plain crazy.

    Some have criticized this guy — calling him a jerk or a loser and I honestly don’t understand what exactly he did wrong — based on what was in her letter. Evan even said that he wasn’t letting the guy off the hook. Personally, I don’t think the guy should be put on the hook in the first place. It seems to me that she was the one who wanted the relationship to change because she moved. We have no indication that he felt the same way. Moreover, I don’t think it was his job to encourage or discourage her from moving — and I bet he didn’t.

    I really feel that women have to take responsibility for their own actions and I think blaming this guy for what she did to herself, will not help her in the future. She will continue to blame guys for her choices — there is no power in that. Say what you mean; mean what you say and let your actions match your words.

  19. 19
    JuJu

    Right on, Kenley, very perceptive.

  20. 20
    Selena

    Kenley #18

    Here’s what I think he did wrong:
    In her letter Cassie writes, “had been seeing someone long distance for a little over 8 months” and then, “After graduation, I decided to move to the big city that he lived in. We talked about the decision for months and all the possible concerns that we had. In the end, we both agreed it seemed like a good decision.”

    While Cassie might have expectations she wasn’t wholly acknowledging it certainly seems that this guy was indeed encouraging her in her move to his city. A long distance relationship of 8 months? Many months of talking about the decision and all possible concerns about it? And then when she is actually there he doesn’t spend much time with her and acts a little resentful when he actually does? I can’t say that this situation is all Cassie’s fault. How can you? His actions DO seem inconsistant with his words. WTF.

    Fact his he seemed to back off the closer it came time for her to actually move. And he didn’t say anything to indicate he wouldn’t be around much once she was there. Hell, even a casual friend of over 8 months would help you settle in your new city, show you around, introduce you to people if they had talked to you at length about moving there. Wouldn’t they?

    I don’t think your defense of this guy has much merit. His *actions* are consistent with those of a man who realized he preferred Cassie as an out-of-town girl to a local one. Too bad he didn’t deign to use his words to that effect before she moved.

  21. 21
    JuJu

    I reread this now, and I am thinking, could the writer have meant something else by “casual”? Because, look at the sentence – “He is the sweetest man I have ever come across, and the relationship was very casual.” – how do its part even relate to each other? (Unless this is the result of some unfortunate editing.)

    Anyway, just a thought.

  22. 22
    Selena

    Re:#21

    I think there is alot missing. First of all, define ‘very casual’. In the 8 + months they had a long distance r’ship going did they ever spend time together in person? Did they have sex? Was this a r’ship that existed solely electronically until she moved to his city?

    Cassie seems miffed that once she got there he didn’t have sex with her – as well as not seeing her very often and seeming a bit resentful when he did come by. Could it be that when meeting in person he wasn’t sexually attracted to her? That could explain the behavior above.

    Does she know for sure this guy is even single? We’ve all heard the stories of bored, dissatisfied, morally deficent married and otherwise committed people conducting internet relationships. Maybe he was “the sweetest guy” when the contact was just a game. When it got closer to her actually moving to be near him…uh oh!…distancing. Now that she’s really there it could be a case of, “Oh shit! I can’t let my wife/girlfriend find out about this.”

    That could also explain the change in behavior.

  23. 23
    Kenley

    Selena,

    I think we just have different “stories” for what happened. Neither of us knows just exactly how those “conversations” went on and how he actually treated her. I chose not to make him the bad guy because I just know too many women (and I am one myself) who ignore what men actually say and do and try to make a guy (or a relationship) into something he just isn’t and then we want to blame the guy when we finally realize he isn’t going to give us what we want.

    You and I just see things differently. But, hey, that’s what make this blog go round.

  24. 24
    Selena

    Kenerly,

    I can see it the way you do too. I just see other possible ways as well. Who knows? Too much information is missing and the whole “very casual” comment is perplexing anyway. What exactly does that mean in context to everything else she wrote?

    Oh well. Not our problem fortunately.

  25. 25
    Dating Headshots

    Ending relationships are always sad. But as others have said: you’re young, you’re in a big city and you’ve got a lot to look forward to. Making the break and moving on is difficult, but it’s time to do it, and the sooner the better.

  26. 26
    lin

    I am in that same situation now. And he has treated me like crap. basically ignoring me. But I guess success is the best revenge. Let yourself be the “what -if” that he will come to wonder about but shall never know. For me, i think that this guy and I had so much to give each other. he once felt that way too or so he said. However, I have now cut my losses. I dont email or call. I wanted to email and tell him exactly what I thought of him but it is still in my Draft folder and I have not bothered to send it. maybe I never will. It sucks . It hurts. But for me there have been others before him. They hurt too. And I got over them. In retrospect, I have been grateful for each guy that walked out on me. They gave me a chance to focus on me and my goals. Someday, who knows I may thank this one too for this favour.

  27. 27
    starthrower68

    lin, I might recommend the book, “What Smart Women Know” by Julia Sokol and Steven Carter. Very insightful, full of wisdom. I just recently picked it up again and I’m glad I did. Rejection never makes us feel good. It does hurt. But you’ll come out of it stronger and wiser.

  28. 28
    Rosanna

    Relax baby. People are so negativ….you are what you think that you
    are…really. And that goes for you relationship aswell.
    You need to for real get a hobby, and stop pretending that you have
    one..As he sees you gaining interest in your own life…as you have in his, his
    eyes will gays up and he will fall in love with you again.
    This is the way it works…you cannot keep old love alive…it dyes…
    But you can absolutely renew love over and over again.
    Any other thing is lazyness…….
    Take care of you looks, make new friends….cook beautyful meals and wine. Watch out for the wine or you might become all the opposite and
    sink deeper into the out of love thing thing……hehe……but thiS ARE just common sence really….
    Really……..
    So put your lipstick on, start focusing on MOI and go get your life and
    partnership of your dreams……
    Things come seldomly just for free. And you have a man there to practice
    being partner with…..pretend he is your husband….make the house look
    homylike…buy some red or violet chushions or something…..and start playing the role of his little wify……men love this, really.
    One of the most sedusable ways to get his heart forever.
    Maybe even bake something for him. You dont have to goo all the way for
    him. But just show him that you do fit the part.
    Stop demanding from him, start demanding from you!

  29. 29
    Karl R

    Rosanna said: (#28)
    “As he sees you gaining interest in your own life as you have in his, his eyes will gays up and he will fall in love with you again.”

    Have you ever lost interest in someone, then later, when they moved on with their life, suddenly fallen back in love with them?

    Because it’s never happened to me. If I lose interest in someone, the interest is gone. When they move on with their life, I’m happy that they’re moving on.

    This isn’t a romance novel. I see no reason to believe that Cassie’s boyfriend would behave any differently than other people.

  30. 30
    sayanta

    “this isn’t a romance novel….”

    LOL!

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