Why Long-Distance Relationships Are Usually Doomed

Why Long-Distance Relationships Are Usually Doomed

Dr. Ali Binazir is a long-time friend who has written an incredible book for smart, strong, successful women called “The Tao of Dating”. But more importantly, the thing I like best about Ali is that he’s a true intellect. He’s endlessly curious and a sponge for information, and while this doesn’t always make him the best businessman, it generally makes him one of the more interesting people in the room. Not only that, but Ali is also a helluva writer, with a prose style that is a little more funny and discursive than my own, which is why I appreciate it when he shares his material on Facebook.

I wish I’d written this one myself, but it feels good knowing that there are other people out there doing great work that I can share with you.

Sure enough, I got this little bit of gold in my newsfeed a few weeks ago. It’s a letter from a young woman who is involved in a two-year, tumultuous, long-distance relationship who is desperately trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Ali responds, at length, like a champ, and discusses all sorts of topics under the sun: young love, attachment styles, and long-distance non-relationships. I’d say that I’d wish I’d written this one myself, but it feels good knowing that there are other people out there doing great work that I can share with you.

Read the post in its entirety and come back to the comments section and let me know your biggest takeaways. Enjoy.

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  1. 1

    A little too blunt for my liking, but in general, great pieces of information. Thank you, Evan.

  2. 2

    I’ve been in a medium distance relationship for about 3 years (1.5 hour drive away) and a long (7 hour drive) distance relationship for 3 months.   The medium distance relationship worked well for the time- I was in my mid 20s, was starting my career and finishing grad school, had lots of friends and hobbies during the week to keep me occupied until I could see my boyfriend on the weekend.   

    The long distance relationship crashed and burned.    I’ll never do it again.  

    I’ve read Tao of Dating  and the most brilliantly simple thing Dr. Ali had to say about long distance relationships is  fulfillment is a feeling, not a person.   

  3. 3

    Oh god, that post was hilarious. I have to be really impressed in order to read a blog regularly, and I think I finally found another blog that I will be returning to.  

    I do remember reading that proximity/propinquity is one of the biggest predictors of attraction and relationships. LDRs can work but the couple have to have an extraordinary connection, and I’m not seeing it in the OP’s example. Hopefully he convinced her to let go finally.

      “Hell when I was 19 I thought I was gonna marry my first girlfriend. When we broke up…Clearly the world had come to an abrupt and tearful end, and everyone else was just too darn clueless to notice”. LOL this reminded me of my own first serious breakup at 20, reading that was a blast to the past! That said, as absolutely devastated as I was, I didn’t behave a tenth as, well, embarrassingly as the OP is behaving. I really really hope she changes her behavior because otherwise she’s gonna cringe when she looks back one day…She’s young and I hope she doesn’t waste a few more years on this dead-end relationship, losing her self-respect in the process.

    It’s so eye-opening to read the writer’s view that what makes us lovable is our vulnerability–“by expressing your love instead of measuring it out with a dropper”. Hmm 🙂

  4. 4

    “Real intimacy develops in proximity, so I see long-distance relationships as a hedge against real intimacy while still having a placeholder called “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” so the world sees you as socially competent or lovable or something. In other words, a LDR is usually for some purpose other than that of having a deep connection in which two people become catalysts for each other’s growth on a daily basis…”
    This. So much this. And it applies to a lot of local relationships too. I get frustrated with the perfunctory going-through-the-motions work of a relationship that isn’t miserably broken but doesn’t offer me anything in the way of personal growth, trust, intimacy, or accountability. What’s the point in having a boyfriend or husband just to put on the normative appearance of belonging? I’ve ended a few of these and have been made to feel guilty by a guy who says, “But I didn’t do anything wrong! I didn’t hit you or cheat on you or anything!” It’s good to hear from people who aspire to something higher than  not abusive in their relationships.
    I will say, though, that your writing style is warmer and more conversational. This is a smart guy, but he’s more condescending in the beginning than he needs to be.

    1. 4.1

      I’m surprised to see comments saying the writer was condescending or overly-blunt. This is just a matter of taste maybe, but I didn’t get that feeling at all. I think the writer sounds like a really nice, Hilarious guy. And yes, v smart.

      U have to admit the letter-writer needed a wake up call. Evan wasn’t exaggerating when he said she was ‘desperately trying to put Humpty Dumpty together again’. That relationship is over and the kindest thing to do is to force her to see that. I hope it worked.

    2. 4.2

      Oh, but I agree with the first part of your comment. Staying in a mediocre relationship to feel like one belongs is ridiculous. People should have more respect for time and how precious it is, and a bit less for trying to be like others.

  5. 5
    Peter 51

    Well, we’ve managed 1500 miles,about 36 hours and a language/cultural difference and let’s mention a 24 year age gap and an imbalance in attractiveness. I’m old, overweight (by Euro standards-BMI 26, not bad for over 60) and ugly but we knew each other for 5 years first. It probably helps that we both have some kind of a place on the Autistic Spectrum(Schizoid?) so we are both quite deliberate and cold blooded about our commitment to a relationship.

    I do however relate to Rachel’s point. As a young man, I never came across a girl without a boyfriend. I was too dumb to realise that this was just social display. Long distance boyfriends were really useful for such girls.

    1. 5.1

      I agree that girls often just want the social status of “having a boyfriend” and the feeling of security, without the physical relationship.   Girls often don’t want to have sex so they can handle a LDR without the physical intimacy.   I suppose it can be said some women prefer “having a fake LDR boyfriend” rather than people knowing she is single and lonely.   I knew this hot girl that rejected me in HS, but then changed her mind and started stalking me at my college frat parties, even though she went to college 5 hours away.   I was bitter that she started liking me only after I increased my social status in joining a frat, and incensed that she tried to pursue a LDR and prevent me from dating other girls at my own college.   Maybe she didn’t know many guys at her school, but I also couldn’t deal with the jealousy of her potentially cheating with guys at her college, since she already rejected me once in HS, she probably would reject/break up with me again.   Women just use LDR’s to fool themselves, while Men see it as an easy way to juggle multiple women.

  6. 6
    A Reader

    Agree with Rachel.   IMHO Dr. B. may be well educated, but a truly smart person would have more empathy for the writer, especially considering her youth and likely inexperience with relationships.   Your advice, on the other hand,  is both well written  AND empathetic, which is why I keep coming back to read and learn more.

  7. 7

    Wonderful! 🙂 I love it! I just got done with a fruitful therapy session and this post has pushed my self discovery even further.  

  8. 8

    This article confirmed 2 things, well maybe 3 for me: 1, not interested in an LDR. 2, I am an avoidant. 3, I was that 20-something when dating my ex-husband.   I believe I’ve come a long way, even if I don’t see myself with anyone in the future. But I will frequent his blog too.   I don’t know what’s wrong with me that I’d rather analyze dating than date. Oh yeah, I’m an avoidant. ðŸ˜

    1. 8.1

      I thought the writer was snarky and I prefer Evan’s method for sure but  I also learned I am an avoidant 🙁   I don’t believe I was in my younger days but now at 50 having been through an 18 year marriage with a bipolar man and 2 years with a narcissist I find myself not attracted to the nice men that  are interested in pursuing a relationship with  me…. for various reasons….perhaps I don’t want to make the same mistake, so I analyze everything about  them.. and push them away.   I was treated nicely in the beginning of both of those relationships too so while I am a warm, loving person who can attract men, I keep my guard up and don’t let many new men (I meet on dating sites) into my  life.   Sigh…….

  9. 9

    I refuse to date or email any woman over 40 miles away because I know what a pain  in the ass it is especially in the winter months. I’ve learned from experience what works for me and I stick to it.
    By the way Evan that video you did was amazing! That’s the way you should go in the future. Of course you should be the headliner as well. 🙂    

  10. 10

    Oh, I just found this depressing, having recently gotten into a relationship with a really great man who lives three hours away.   I don’t think I have much in common with the author of the letter Dr. Binazir was answering, but I read his other post about long distance relationships in general being doomed and it bums me out.   It’s true that the distance kills all spontaneity and allows us to be on our best behavior all the time that we’re together.   For the first time in my life I am bitter about how much time passes between weekends.   I can’t move without selling an underwater house and giving up my dream job, but he can’t move without giving up custody of his kids (and frankly we both prefer the city where he lives), so it’s clear which way that’s gonna play out.   Why can’t I just have a transporter or something?   Sigh.

    1. 10.1

      Three hours?   Try a different continent literally halfway around the world.   We just met and had a wonderful time together.   No it wasn’t perfect, we had our disagreements which sort of proved in my mind our compatibility.  
      I’m not 20 something, I wish I was.   He can’t give up his high paying job and I can’t leave my family so the only option would be for him to come here.   The odds are stacked much against us.   While I’d like to say I’d like to date him for a period of time, I don’t know if he’s realizing the odds against us and he’s trying to let me go gently.

    2. 10.2

      Don’t let it bum you out! It’s actually nice that there might be a light at the end of the tunnel for both of you. If you know you eventually want to be in the same place, make small steps towards that. I was in a long distance relationship for two years, and just recently moved to his city (I’ve been here about 6 months). The distance was hard but we were committed and enjoyed traveling between two places, we even spent some weekends in new cities together. Having a timeframe of when the distance would end helped us feel like hopeless. If you are going to be apart forever, that is less realistic and you may want to examine what you want from the relationship more closely.  

      1. 10.2.1

        Did you always know you’d want to move to his city?   In order for us to work he would have to come here with me and I don’t know if I’d want him to do that because if it didn’t work out it would be all on me.
        What do i want from this?   I want him as a boyfriend.   It’s too hard to look into the future to consider our goals. But maybe he is, that’s why I feel like he is pulling back now.   I don’t know.

        1. Carina

          I didn’t know I would end up in his city until my career led me there. I was applying for grad schools and there happened to be a few programs near him. We dated two years long distance and for a while just wanted to see how things would develop. There was always the possibility of me moving but I made it clear I didn’t want any pressure. By the end of two years I was sick of the distance and felt the need to be closer. I was fully prepared to make the best decision for myself in regards to graduate school, but knew if I didn’t end up in his city we would probably break up. The time came to make a decision and the program I liked the most was in his city.  

          Looking back I think a large part of my choice had to do with him, but I don’t resent him for that because he let me make the choice myself. My advice would be: If you’re happy with the relationship the way it is now, I wouldn’t put too much pressure on the future. Your relationship may develop to a point where one of you is ready to make the big move. If you are unhappy and wish to be closer, that’s another conversation worth having sooner rather than later.  

  11. 11
    Other Rachel

    This is going to sound bad but sometimes I feel like I have the opposite desire as most people. I need to really miss someone a lot in order to appreciate them fully. I’m a very independent person, I spend most of my time alone and like it that way, but don’t get me wrong I DO crave love and a romantic partner to spend my life with. I’ve been in both types of relationships- long distance and not. I’m in a great relationship now with someone who lives close to me and I see him every weekend and he’s an amazing boyfriend to me and I love him. But I find myself missing the military relationship I used to have where the missing and wanting and love was so very intense. The lows were low but the highs were so incredibly high. Sometimes I fantasize about marrying a man in the military because I miss that life so much. My boyfriend in no way deserves me even thinking that. I don’t know how to shake the feeling though. It’s like a past life that lingers in the back of my mind and I can’t let go of it.  

    1. 11.1

      It sounds like you are addicted to the feeling.  

    2. 11.2
      Karmic Equation

      I agree with Starthrower, Other Rachel. You’re addicted to the *feeling* of missing someone and the associated “highs” that go along with seeing that someone again after missing them. You’re NOT actually missing the PERSON, but the FEELING. That “missing someone feeling” actually is a chemical reaction (I think I read this in the Attachment Styles book) — so you’re in fact addicted to the chemical high of those feelings. It’s why girls “love” bad boys. They create intense feelings in us, e.g., uncertainty, and the FEELINGS cause (or are caused by) the chemical reactions that we become physically or psychologically addicted to.
      Acknowledge the feelings, but don’t dwell on them or assign them any value. It’s just a chemical high. Probably followed by chemical withdrawal symptoms. You can chemical addiction them by simply not giving your feelings of “missing someone” any importance.

      1. 11.2.1
        Other Rachel

        You’re right, I am definitely addicted to the feeling. I’ve never found standard safe relationships as exciting and passion provoking as more risky  or emotional ones. I’m still in my mid 20s so I have time to change and learn but I’m just afraid I’ll never feel fulfilled in a normal healthy relationship. I want to be married someday to someone great but I often worry about screwing that up for myself just by always wanting what I don’t have. I’m not a cheater and never will be but I do often end things out of desire to move on to the next best thing and wish I could stop.   I also think the jealousy (of others I know in military relationships) and desire to get it back come from my past experience and being too young to fully handle it. I get extremely jealous of people who went through what I did but then got their happy ending after it all when I didn’t get mine.  

    3. 11.3

      You are an avoidant as well. Idealizing exes is something avoidants commonly do to create emotional distance in current relationships.

      Appreciate the boyfriend you have now or get used to being alone because you won’t be content with any partner. Guarantee if you broke up with this boyfriend a few months from now you’d be idealizing and longing for him instead.

  12. 12

    I have recently found myself in what is sort of a LDR but not quite.
    We met overseas at a halfway point and had two and a half weeks together.   We’d been single for a few years…Been talking for about six months before we met.   He was originally supposed to come and meet me but it didn’t pan out.   I didn’t want to wait around for him to I booked a trip and he came and met me.
    I know people are going to say I’m out of my mind when I say this but I knew I loved him in some capacity before we met.   We share this special connection to the point where we used to be able to predict what the other would say before they’d say it.   I know, been there, done that and every couple has felt that at some point you will say.
    Being with him I felt so comfortable, like we’d known each other alot longer.   We talked about meeting at the airport and even though it was three weeks ago (at the time it was one week) it seemed long ago.   I thought for sure if he loved me, he’d have told me at some point.   I kept waiting and waiting.   Then I thought his insistence to take me to the airport (we flew out of different airports) he would tell me he loved me.   But no, he said we’d skype when we got home and we’d see each other soon.   We cried alot when talking about our future.  
    Basically we live in different continents, 20 hour flight away.   He’d have to give up his job to come live with me and his job pays really well.   I wrote him a letter before we left telling him I had a wonderful time, thanked him for his kindness and that it was fun being his pretend gf.   He texted me to say he was at a loss of words but that I wasn’t a pretend gf.   I had hoped we’d discuss it again but a week now he hadn’t mentioned it.  
    I took the plunge and asked for clarification.   This is what he has told me.   He cares about me but he doesn’t know and it isn’t his decision alone to make.   He has no interest in pursuing anyone but me (when pressed about status, he said he’d be happy to call me his gf) but for us to be happy one of us has to make a big sacrifice.   His guaranteed income before and after retirement is too lucrative to give up like that and he can’t make a decision like that.   Yet he thinks something with me could be rewarding.
    All I wanted was to know if he considered me his gf, though I’m not sure if I am or am not.   I was going to tell him I loved him but now I’m not so sure.   I have a feeling he may be trying to let me down easy so as not to break me (I’ve told him that I would be ok whatever his decision was, I had already told him how I felt)…
    Being with him made me remember how nice it was to be with someone, to share things…But I don’t want to think about dating anyone else even though everyone says I should move on.   I am one of those people that is fine being single.   Trusting a person takes alot of work and there is little return.   I know it’s been said that we have to take risks but it’s too hard for someone like me.  
    It’s kind of sad that we found each other like this because we care about one another alot but the gulf between us sort of says it’s not in the cards….I keep talking about our trip, going down memory lane…And he sort of goes along with it.   He says he misses me.   He isn’t a big communicator when it comes to these things, though he did say that he felt lucky to have me in his life on the night we met in person.
    I am needy, I need assurances.   The fact that he has said he’ll come visit me but there is no approximate date (I’m talking within a few months or to say he’d try to come a certain month) sort of makes me feel like we are doomed and he knows it.   I just won’t admit it yet.

  13. 13
    Karmic Equation

    I think a 30-minute drive is too far for a relationship nowadays simply because I have so many other scheduled activities that are local (e.g., pool leagues) — and dogs to care for.
    Once in a relationship, I like to see my guy every day, even if it’s for a short duration (hour or less)…since “Quality Time” is my love language. So even traveling an hour to visit him on weekdays would be too time prohibitive after the long day at work. So for me, while I can (and have) made dates with men who live an hour away (and we met 1/2 way between on our dates) — the man and our chemistry would have to have a very strong wow factor to overcome that distance=time prohibition for me. — Sure he could come visit me, but that takes too much coordination. lol
    So I have NO idea how women can handle an LDR that involves multiple hours of distance. I would assume for those women “quality time” is NOT their love language, but rather communication (e.g., talk a lot on the phone — I don’t like doing this).
    However, as Dr. Binazir says, real intimacy requires physical proximity. Relying on talking on the phone to maintain a relationship creates a FALSE intimacy, particularly in new relationships. If you’ve been friends for years, it may work. But definitely distance/limited time together would doom any NEW men/relationships, imo.

    1. 13.1

      I’ve thought about what you say about some quality tie everyday even or an hour or less.   But don’t men want space sometimes?   That goes for women as well.   I like to talk, so I want to spend at least an hour talking everyday on the phone.   Not every guy out there wants to do that.   They want their own down time, etc.   If you can find someone that close that you’d be able to see them for an hour or less a day then good for you.
      I know it’s not realistic but I’ve read stories about other people in LDR’s that were new relationships.   That is the exception, but still…makes you wonder imo.

      1. 13.1.1
        Karmic Equation

        Well, let’s be frank here.
        In new relationships, for me anyway, sex is a must. Men don’t often turn down daily sex. And they have to eat food daily, like dinner. Dinner, sex, cuddles, go home (or not) is usually how the majority of my relationships start. The cuddles usually go away at month 3. hahaha But then we spend more time together doing other non-sex stuff. Like food shopping or even clothes shopping, and since I’m such a tomboy, we can go watch pro-sports at a sportsbar or go shoot pool, go to movies, etc.
        Which brings me to a point that you may be subconsciously avoiding. While women often stay faithful in LDRs (whether new or not), men most likely won’t especially if you’re not an official gf of a good length of time. If you’re looking for the “label” gf, sounds like this guy seems willing to give it to you. But if you’re looking for monogamy, I wouldn’t be as confident as you that he’s giving you that. No red-blooded man would, particularly if he’s attractive enough to have options. And if he’s rich, then odds are, he has options.
        I think you’ve posted before, flonie, about another LDR. I think you’re in love with the idea of love and romance and not the reality of it. The “idea” of love, romance, and intimacy can be nurtured through distance. But the “reality” of love, romance, and intimacy needs proximity to blossom.
        What you have with this guy isn’t real no matter how much talking you do. Real relationships and true intimacy cannot be built on or sustained by talk alone.
        Maybe you’re a commitment phobe and avoidant at heart. Which is why you choose men continents away to fall in love with. There’s no real investment of yourself in these imagined relationships. But you get to feel all the intensity and drama that such a contrived LDR creates in your life.
        Find someone local and have a real relationship, flonie.

        1. flonie

          You are right, I did post about a LDR before. Its the same guy, its just that we finally met. You bring valid points to the discussion. I’ve also thought about them at great length. I too worry about monogamy. Is he rich? No but he is generous. Is he attractive? Well, in his own way.   

          I didn’t seek him out intentionally knowing full well he was far away. I don’t post very often on forums and that’s how we met. We spoke at great length initially and we exchanged a lot of emails. Maybe the fact we were so far away was appealing on some level, I don’t think so myself. It just happened that way.

          I’m having a hard time letting him go because we just spent more than two weeks together getting to know one another and it felt very real. In describing it as real, I mean that he accepted me and my flaws and I him. It wasn’t perfect, we had our disagreements.

          I’m not in love with the idea of being in love. If I was, I would have met some of the guys that contacted me when I had a dating profile. None of them were remotely interesting. To be honest I don’t think I could stand the thought of talking to a guy knowing that he was in contact with five other women. That’s how online dating is but that’s not for me.  

            I know I should find someone local in hopes of sustaining a meaningful relationship which I don’t have. Its kind of hard to accept that after years of putting up these walls, when I do let my guard down it is for someone that is so
          Far away and our future is bleak.

        2. Hildegerd

          Deployed guys are usually not faithful to their wives/girlfriends.

    2. 13.2

      Hmmm, yeah, my two primary love languages are quality time and physical touch, so the distance is a real challenge for me, even if “only” three hours.   We have been friends for several decades, but I have no interest in being friends with benefits and I haven’t figured out what he wants yet.   I want Dr. Binazir to be wrong, but I don’t always get what I want.

    3. 13.3

      If you live in a rural area where the men in your age group are undateable, you’ll do everything you can to make an LDR work. In today’s economy/housing market, especially for us older folk, being able to find a new job in your field, being able to get enough for ones home so you can immediately up and relocate may not happen at all or for a long time. Yep, money surely isnt everything yet no one is going to date an older chick who deliberately went into poverty either. An LDR with the right person is a whole lot more palatable than being with someone local yet incompatible or staying alone 24/7.   I fully agree with previous posters that the driving, particularly in winter, truly bites but one may not have a whole lot of choice.

      1. 13.3.1

        Completely agree Noquay! I live in a town of 173 people (and I believe they included the stray dogs and cats in that number), so there might be one single guy that’s above the age of 17! We don’t have a grocery store or gas station. The nearest “city” is twenty minutes away and only has a population of 1,000 people so my options are incredibly limited. I’m unable to move because of my proximity to my children’s father, so I drive an hour to work each day. LDRs are my only option right now.

    4. 13.4

      Binazir wrote a good article except for the LDR part. That was idiotic because of course they could work. Many of them do in fact! And doom any new relationship? That’s also idiotic to ignore the tens of thousands of people maybe even more that met online and are still together after meeting up. By the way it being in person doesn’t put it in some elitist group of people. A relationship is a relationship regardless where it takes place.

  14. 14

    I love a bit of distance because ideally, I do not want to see my boyfriend every single day. I work 8 hours and have other committments with my kids being the primary…so, you wanting to see me everyday is a no no (although I certainly prefer to at least talk to you everyday).   I can totally do a long distance relationship – as long as the communication is prevalent. But, it certainly can’t be for terribly long (won’t do more than a year although I know people in the military who’ve done it).  

    In any event, I won’t say they are usually doomed. I would say that  it depends  on the people involved and what their love language is. Also, there should be a definitive time period when it will be acceptable.    

  15. 15

    Long distance relationships are No relationship at all??? Pleeeease!!! They involve more work, trust, confidence and determination than any other relationship out there. And it does bother me when people underestimate them and the people involved in them, like we are stupid children who don’t really know what their doing. No, they are relationships. And unlike others that come easy and handy, it requires extra effort, that people not really invested in are not willing to make. If that relationship or any other relationship for that matter didn’t work, it’s not because of the distance, it’s because of other factors and problems. Long distance is not for the weak, needy type. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, you will feel lonely and jealous of your friend’s short distance relationships. But, personally, I find that the days spend with him are worth the days apart.
    Cheating? People cheat on their spouses with whom they sleep in the same bed and eat at the same table. If there is no confidence and trust, all relationships are doomed to fail, long or short distance alike.
    Hard times? Well, personally, I was never the type to be involved with someone because she had to be with someone. I managed on my own when I was single, I don’t see why I can’t manage when I’m in a relationship. Personally, I miss him more in happy times. I am aware that both of us experience things the other does not witness, things that change and shape us, but thankfully we talk as much as we can and we share as much as possible.
    Sex? Because this is something a lot of people ask me. No, I do not miss the touch and kisses of a man. I miss his touch, his kisses, his smile. And he is not every man.
    And think about all the soldiers, the marines and any other job that requires one to be apart from his loved ones. They get married and they manage to have happy supporting families.
    The point is: relationships don’t fail because of the distance. They fail because one or both partners weren’t willing to make it work. A long distance relationship is not an convenience thing, it’s not a sex thing, it’s not a mind games/hard to get thing. It requires work, dedication, love, trust, confidence, loyalty, optimism, equality (aka reciprocation) and communication – just like any other relationship for that matter. So, Evan, please stop saying they usually don’t last. Those that don’t last are because people aren’t willing to make the effort and would have probably ended if they had been geographically close too. Those that do last, are meant for success because people don’t work hard for things that aren’t worth it.

    1. 15.1

      Hey I agree with you on several points you make about why LDR don’t work for everyone.   It’s good that you have the confidence to be in a ldr because they aren’t for the weak.   Someone like me I’m not so sure it was such a good idea, because I do have insecurities.   Like when he goes out and has a few drinks, I know he will drink to the point where he gets a bit drunk or alot drunk.   Id on’t know, I can’t tell I’m not there.
      Marie brought up something that is pretty critical to maintaining a ldr.   Goals and end goals.   How can one tell a bf
      Listen, I like you and all but I want to get married within 3 years and have kids
      All when you are just starting to date and get to know someone.
      In my heart I don’t think things will pan out for my ldr for many reasons. He doesn’t want kids, and neither of us wants to relocate to the other.   So in this instance, yeah the distance does play a role in a way.   He has a good job he doesn’t want to leave, and I am in school and have no desire to start new somewhere else without my family.   I’d like to see where the ‘dating’ leads us but even then, do you call what we have dating?   I’m not so sure sometimes.   No, we haven’t exchanged ILU yet.

      1. 15.1.1

        Oh and for what it is worth we live in different countries and met only brieflly (I’m talking about a handful of hours) twice in the course of 5 years before we slowly embarked on our LDR just over 2 years ago.  
        Actually in some ways it has been good not to have known each other first, each time we have met we have gotten to know each other better. So all steps have been steps forward.  
        Obviously I can’t be considered a success story yet and maybe we are just odd (and old!) but it feels as solid as any relationship I have been in to date. I read these pages because I want to learn how to be a better person not because I am worried about an LDR!

    2. 15.2

      As a veteran of a 2 year LDR, and a 12 marriage, I largely agree. Hardly *any* romantic relationship lasts in the long run, LDRs included. However, I doubt LDRs solely break up because of the distance but more because the distance highlights deep incompatibilities that time would highlight anyway.  
      I was also married for several years so I know how lonely one can feel when you share a postcode with someone. In those days the outside world saw me in a meaningful relationship when I knew I wasn’t, now the outside world thinks I am not in one when I know I am.   (It is just different and hopefully temporary).
      For decades I was comfortably within the Anxious end of the attachment style spectrum. Ironically I trust my LDR partner (and myself!)   so much more and now I find myself pretty centre field.
      I guess a healthy LDR does have a few requirements: there is no place for excessive drama, you need a cool head, patience and at times blind faith, it won’t work if you want to have kids in the near future (I’m done with that), or if you absolutely need very regular sex (we have great sex but it comes in clusters!). It definitely won’t work with someone you can’t communicate with.

      So although it is not my first choice, if you meet the right person an LDR for objective reasons (no one to blame) can be an immensely rich and rewarding experience and totally worth doing. Certainly my LDR feels pretty straightforward. That said we are REALLY looking forward to our life together in a few years time.

      1. 15.2.1

        It’s nice that you have been able to sustain a ldr for two years.   I think I need to step away from mine because it simply isn’t sustainable for the following reasons.   Compounded by the fact that we live in different ends of the world, different time zones.
        It could be argued that the distance is much of the reason why it’s not working, at least it isn’t working for me.
        Now that he is back home after our trip together, he’s fallen back into his routine. I’ve told him countless times that I really miss how he’d send me a text in the night (morning) when I wake up. I’ve asked him a few times and the response I get is “I don’t know”…I’ve read that all men seem to lose interest in texting after that initial excitement at the beginning.   But the difference is that with us, we don’t get to see each other on a daily basis.   Texting and skype are our only means of communication.
        I wrote him a very telling card that he acknowledged he received but hadn’t “read all of it” at the time when he told me he got it.   I pretty much told him those three words… I like to think I trust him and that he isn’t bidding his time on a dating site talking to other women but I honestly don’t know.   Christmas came and went and I hoped if my letter had moved him, he would have said something at least to acknowledge the feelings I put out there for him.   The only thing I’ve gotten in the last two days is he said he missed me.
        He comes from a divorced household, so he’s a bit cynical when it comes to love and forever.   His ex dumped him pretty badly and I don’t think he’s ever fully healed from the hurt of rejection.   So here I am, getting the short end of the stick.   I want to walk away as it’s been advocated on here, but it’s hard.   What’s more, I wonder if we lived in the same area if it would just be as painful.
        LDRs really suck when you don’t know the intentions of the other person.   I have a hard time coming to grips with the person he was vs the one he is now.   The one before couldn’t get enough of me, would text me throughout the night and morning and we’d talk before he went to bed.  

  16. 16

    I don’t necessarily think long distance relationships are doomed, just harder and requires a high level of commitment at the outset and a significant degree of organization and goal setting on the part of both parties.   If you are not that kind of person but the loosey goosey let’s see how it goes sort then LDRs may end up a frustrating mess.   My example is my own life where I met my now-husband.   4 months into dating he had to move across the country to change jobs.   This was after we were bf-gf and said I love you’s.   In the beginning, I  was uncertain whether this would work but he was absolutely committed to me and making this work.   He flew 6 hours each way every weekend to every other weekend to see me, skyped 2 hours a day on weekdays, more on weekends.  We agreed prior to entering the LDR part that the end-goal was marriage and that I wanted to be married within 2 years.   In month 10 of our relationship I concluded that he was the one and worth moving for. A week after I made that decision he surprise proposed to me and now we have been happily married for over a year.   But this required a tremendous amount of work and planning and sacrifice by both parties.   It also required establishing clear-cut goals and boundaries, plus the relationship bonding part had already been mostly completed prior to the move.   I think it would be very difficult to start out long distance especially in trying to get to know the other person.   Plus the stories in the letter and on the blog some sound rather vague in terms of end goal and boundaries.   Not having a clear cut path is one of the main reasons LDRs are high risk.

    1. 16.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You established the relationship BEFORE the long distance. That’s a big difference between two people who meet on vacation in Cabo and try to make a go of it from opposite ends of the country.

      1. 16.1.1

        That’s what I said Evan but thanks for highlighting it more succinctly  – “… plus the relationship bonding part had already been mostly completed prior to the move.   I think it would be very difficult to start out long distance especially in trying to get to know the other person.”
        Thanks as always for supporting me through that.

  17. 17

    Well. We met in high school but ran in different circles, and he is two years (two grades) older than I. We ‘friended’ in 2009 on facebook and, honestly, I never paid much attention to his posts (they mostly about coffee) but we had a growing number of mutual friends, and once in a while he’d ‘like’ something on my page and vice versa. Until two February’s ago. I posted something about being mildly frustrated at my wasband (was-my-husband of eight years), and he posted a comment and also sent a private note saying he was sorry I was having a bad morning, that he was a single parent, too, and that not all single father’s were bad. He offered friendship and an ear “even though I’m about 400 miles away,” and we messaged back and forth, then texted, then after about a week he asked for my number, and would it be OK for him to call me? We spoke often for several weeks and by March, he had come to my home to visit, though honestly, I thought he was visiting to just come see an old familiar face. He stayed in the guestroom. The second night, after we drove around the old neighborhood and past our childhood homes, we sat on the sofa talking and drinking coffee and he asked, “You do know why I am here, right?” And I really had no idea. “I am falling in love with you and the only way I knew to be sure was to come see you in person.” I was totally floored. Later, in July, he returned (I’d visited him for Memorial Day, met his son (then 10), and some of his important friends, we went to Maine to meet his family. It was a nice week of being “normal”, something we both miss in this relationship — the spontaneous dates, the ease and convenience and sweetness of dating someone local – but we decided to give it a try. “Eyes wide open,” we say. Since then, there have been many visits here and there, to my home and his, and our circle of mutual friends now includes friends of his from where he lives, and many of the people I hold dear here. Our plan is that I will move there (into my own place for a while, just because I am old-fashioned and moving directly in to his home might risk something but I’m not exactly sure what) in late 2016, when my child leaves for college. We have shared Thanksgivings together (we invite our newly mutual friends to his home), and last week, he and my daughter plotted a complete and total surprise visit — he walked into my kitchen door and I was absolutely shocked to see him! We’d visited for Thanksgiving and I never, ever expected him to just show up! He accompanied me to a party, and to a life celebration of a childhood friend of mine. It was so good to have his support and company. We talk about life, our children, our future. Yes, there are days it totally stinks that we cannot eat supper together or take a walk or share many in-person things like touch or hearing that voice in your ear – but we have a ballpark end date, and we have a bucket list for “our” house, the home we will eventually share, and we look forward and communicate several times throughout the day, Perhaps it is different at this age — I am 51, he is 53 – and we have both made inappropriate partner choices in the past. We have both been ‘around the block’ enough to know what works and what does not. Yes, I have days I wonder what the heck I am thinking, loving a man a seven-hour-drive away, but I think this is good for me (and for him, too): when we were younger we both dissolved into our partners and lost our Self; we also both picked partners who were incredibly critical and controlling. Each of us, before we met, joked about our single’ness — he was going to be the confirmed bachelor, and I was going to be the ‘favorite aunt’ and we planned to just be single and old (and probably crabby)… but it is not going that way right now, and I am happy to have his friendship and his love; he lets me be myself and he encourages the things that make me me (and what makes me happy is knowing he is happy when I am in a good place — but we do this for each other; it is not one-sided). Anyway, that’s my story. Wish us luck — we plan to continue enjoying now, and look forward with plans and enthusiasm for the future. 🙂

  18. 18

    I had bad long distance relations experience… I met a guy while my vacation in LA. It was all nice and we were on our way to fall in love. But I am from NY and couldn’t leave my work that time. So we continue to ‘relate’ using Skype, FB, etc. But this is not the same to be near each other. There are no emotions in this online conversations. I never want to repeat it.

  19. 19

    Well, I had an experience of long-distance relationships. And I’m strongly convinced that while chatting online you may reveal more about your partner than chatting in real life. I’m rather shy person, so I prefer online talks. I met my boyfriend 2 years ago on dating site. First I didn’t consider it seriously, but then I understood that I like this guy a lot. He came to me, we had a date. When he went back to his city we both realised that can’t live without each other. Now I’m engaged 🙂 So it’s completely possible to have a romantic online-love-story.  

  20. 20

    I’m in a long-distance relationship. It’s hard but it’s possible. You only have to want to go through this. I met my Polish girlfriend on a website e-polishwife.com and we just started to talk… Then I realized I fell in love! She is amazing 😀 We are together since 8 months and it’s the best time in my life. We are trying to see each other as often as it’s possible, we talk to each other everyday… You can do it if you only want 🙂 🙂

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