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Ask Lynn-Can Long-Distance Love Work?


She’s dating a great guy—but living so far apart is getting to her…

By Lynn Harris

ear Lynn,
I've been dating a guy for a few months now. When we first got together, we lived a three-hour drive away and were able to see each other almost every weekend. But because of work, I had to move even farther away. So far we
Long-distance relationships are indeed terribly trying.
are making the distance work. We visit each other as much as we can, talk on the phone, and use cards, letters, emails, and text messages to keep us feeling close and connected. He’s wonderful and I’m happy with the relationship, but the distance still gets to me. Work will prevent us from living in the same city (even state!) anytime in the next couple of years, so there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. How can I cope?
-Far and Away

Dear Far and Away,
Long-distance relationships are indeed terribly trying. At least, in a sense, they’ve gotten slightly easier. Waiting for a letter to arrive is romantic and all — and I’m pleased to see you two still write them — but it’s great to have email, IM and text messages for constant blips and bleeps of connection.

But still, it’s hard. Sometimes it must feel like having an imaginary boyfriend. You think about him, you talk to him, but when your friends all go out with their boyfriends, you’re the one who’s alone, saying, “No, really, I think he’s coming next weekend.”

So how do you cope? First, I must say, you already are. You’re basically saying, “We have a great relationship, but the distance is a bummer.” Or, depending on your mood, “The distance is a bummer, but we have a great relationship.” So give yourself some credit. Not everyone can make it work this long (or far); not everyone has the fortitude in the first place to enter into a relationship with someone geographically incorrect.

The trick, I think, is to accept — for now — the distance as a bummer, and then figure out how to keep your relationship close and exciting. (This is something, you’ll note, that people in short-distance relationships need to do, too.) For
True love can be harder to find than a job.
example, can you make plans to meet in different places, halfway? On the flipside, it’s important when you do meet not to pressure yourselves, not to say, “OK, now that we’re together, this has to be the best. Weekend. Ever.” Avoid letdown by reminding yourselves that if you’re in the mood, lounging around drinking chocolate milk and watching five seasons in a row of The X-Files is just as “special” as a choreographed romantic outing. (Especially Season Three.)

All of that said, at some point it may become clear to you that actually, this relationship — and shortening the distance between you — is more important than work. I realize it sounds impossible now, but the reality is this: One of you could move. You really could. True love can be harder to find than a job. So keep the possibility of moving to live closer to each other as an option to consider within the next two years—and let your hearts lead you to the right location at the right time.


Lynn Harris (www.lynnharris.net) is co-creator, with Chris Kalb (www.chriskalb.com), of the award-winning website BreakupGirl.net — you can visit BG's blog to discuss this letter! A longtime journalist, Lynn has written about dating, gender, and culture high and low for Glamour, Marie Claire, The New York Times, Salon.com, Nerve.com, and many others. She is currently the communications strategist for Breakthrough, a transnational organization that creates pop culture to promote human rights. Submit your own dating questions for Ask Lynn via bg@breakupgirl.net. Your question may be answered in a future column.
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