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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5109
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
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Hello, So I have recently gone into a semi long distance

Resolved Question:

Hello,

So I have recently gone into a semi long distance relationship. We have been dating for about a year now. And things were great when we lived near each other. We hung out all the time and I even had to ask to do my own thing some nights, but she would eventually want me to stay with her or come over later. Most of our good friends had moved away so it was mainly me and her. We had both said we loved each other and i truely felt it. I am in my mid-twenties and had some relationships and this one felt different. She has even mentioned she wants to be with me forever and couldnt see herself dating anyone else. Now, since she is in a new town with a new job. I seem to be just part of the past, she admits that is not the case. She says she is busy and i understand that, and she is trying to network as much as possible with her new job. I want her to do well in her job too, but it seems like she is almost too cool to talk to me as much, and when she says i love you it seems different. Am i just stuck in a rut because I don't have many friends here and I have the same old work routine? Is she changing her mind on us? I guess I would just like a little help on how to approach it. I had one night where I said some things that she was like i dunno how to help, im sorry. She said that the distance was temporary and that was getting her through it. But it seems like it isnt affecting her. I know I need to do things on my own, but I dont know how to balance both now i think. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I think I am probably just obsessing which isnt making things better. It feels better already just typing these things out.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

I can imagine how frustrating this situation must be for you. You two were heading toward perhaps even marriage and a family. And now it's in question whether there is even really a relationship. It's not just a disappointment, it's a shock as well.

Your questions really boil down to: XXXXX XXXXX drifting away or are you overblowing this?

And the answer is: a little bit of both.

You have to understand that long distance relationships (LDR) are inherently unstable. By definition they are relationships that are in suspended animation to some extent. Each person is living their lives and growing and changing. But the growth and changes are happening independently of the other person. So the relationship is still what it was before you two left each other's constant presence but you two are no longer quite the same people you were then. See the problem?

This makes LDRs very unstable. So, you have to do two things to keep the flame growing. First you have to find positive ways to share your lives together. And second, you have to have a plan for when the LDR will end and who's going to move to whose city, etc. Let's discuss each one of these points.

Positive steps to share your lives: For most couples this means flying for weekends to the be with each other at least once a month if possible. Longer than this can lead to the kind of uncertainty and doubt that you are experiencing. It needs to be both people who take turns flying. If this is economically not feasible, then you two need to save enough to jointly finance one of you flying to the other as often as you can.

Then in between these weekends or vacations, there have to be the Skype visits. Skype is a great resource. You two need to share each other's lives. Talk about what's new in your jobs, what the people in your lives are up to, what you've been feeling about things, successes, failures, etc. The friendship has to be maintained and this is how it's done.

Finally, you might consider getting a book with exercises for couples to do. You'll get 2 copies, one for each of you. Each night you're both going to read a few pages or a chapter and do the exercise there if there is one in those pages. Every few nights, you will get together on the phone or Skype and talk about what you read. What you think of it, what it inspired in you. Make notes in the margins. And each one talk about the subject of the pages and what you think. That's your assignment and dates.

The book: It's by the foremost researcher into relationships in our day, John Gottman. He's famous for being interviewed on TV and being able to tell when a couple will get divorced within 5 minutes and having 90% accuracy. The book is the Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Yes, I know you're not married, but for our purposes here, it will do the job. These are exercises to get you two talking intimately, emotionally intimate. You can get it cheaply online or see if you can get it locally to save time.

The other part is having a strategy for when the LDR no longer is an LDR. Remember, it is inherently an unstable relationship. So you two need to discuss what your plans are for the next step in the relationship. This can be part of the discussions above as well.

And so if she is drifting away, you will know by her reactions to these steps to maintain the relationship. Because if she does want the relationship still, then these will be steps she will also want to take.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hey Dr. Mark,


 


So i do appreciate your answer. And really we both have been trying to move to the same area together. But she got the job there first. So she says she knows that this is temporary and that I will be moving there. And she keeps saying she will work through anything. But it feels like im stuck in mud and she is enjoying her new fast paced life. Doing a bunch of things. And its so new that currently it seems like she has no time for me. So, if i ask her to do something, I dont want to annoy her. Would it make sense to ride this out for the first few weeks and then ask her to do stuff with me to keep the relationship alive?


 


Thanks.

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.
I think what makes sense is for you two to start planning the first trip to see each other. Probably, as you are planning to move to her town, you would go to see her first so you can get an idea of the new place.


I think the planning of the trip will itself bring you two closer and it will reassure you through this period.


I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

We just had the first visit. And we both enjoyed it. It just felt somewhat different. Like she was being business like with me and not her usual caring self.

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.
Okay, that was important information.


So, at this point, you are very insecure and she's been reassuring. That's how you've described the situation. You need to take some deep breaths as you have said. Set up the Skype sessions so you get some reassurance.

HOWEVER, make sure to NOT be insecure when you talk with her. That's a sure way to turn her off. You need to be upbeat, find positives in your daily life you want to share with her. You have to have something you want to share with her when you talk with her, not just be seeking reassurance. In other words, you have to give some positive energy into this relationship too instead of just asking for some from her.


So, she's been acting in good faith so far. You, then, start finding some positive things in your life, no matter how small, that you can talk about so you're adding some enthusiasm into the relationship and making it more positive. That's your job now.


I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.

Hi. I see you've viewed but haven't responded yet to my answer. I would be very interested in hearing back from you on whether you thought my response was on target or if we need to continue with further clarification. My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons.

Let me know,

Dr. Mark

Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5109
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
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