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Cher, Relationship Enthusiast
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Extensive experience as Educator/Teacher, M.A., Counselor, Spouse, Parent, Psychic Advisor
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I am currently in a LDR living in DC and my boyfriend in Florida.

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I am currently in a LDR living in DC and my boyfriend in Florida. I was a virgin when we first met in October at the age of 38 and he was 33. We consummated our relationship 1 1/2 months later. When we first met he was a grad student, took his boards and signed on for his first career move to Florida in February 2009 in which he knew of 2 people that lived there but not the bestest of friends. Since he has moved, I have flown twice for very long weekends to Florida and we've met on vacation together in which we spent 4 nights together. We're planning on him coming up my way in June. I am pretty sure that I Love him and have not told him but he is very aware of my deep feelings for him. Basically he's scared and told me he feels the pressure of me knowing"he's the one". His argument is how do I know if he's the one if I don't have anything to compare with. Oh, he also happens to be my first long term relationship. Let me just say, that yes, I may not have the actual experience of having fallen in and out of love with multiple partners but I think I'm old enough and just living around other friends and family in relationships to be aware of how relationships work. I have to say that I am pretty, well liked and respected among my family, friends and coworkers. I am gregarious and funny, intelligent around the people I know but in social situations I get very quiet and shy. I've had many a comment of "you're so pretty, successful and smart, there must be a lot of dumb men out there not to notice you" Which is why when my boyfriend first noticed me, I didn't even know he was checking me out. I thought he was joking when he said, "let's go out". I was in total work mode at the time (we are both in the healthcare field and he was a grad student at the place of my work). We went out and between the time that we met and the time that he moved, I had to have emergency surgery and he traveled to 3 states and out of the country. When he decided to take the job in Fl he asked me if I wanted to continue the relationship and I said "H... yeah" I said that I would rather IT die of a natural death instead of us just quitting right then. And then I proceeded to clarify if this was going to be monogamous and he readily agreed saying that would be the only reason of asking me this.

Sooo, right now he is saying that he feels the pressure of being the one, that he wants to get better established financially but because he cares deeply for me would like for us to continue seeing each other. And for me to find myself, live a little and to help me confirm my true feelings, by dating other people with the agreement that we would be truthful and honest. And that if the other person wants to have a sexual relationship with someone else, then we need to speak up (for me, that would be devastating thinking of him with another woman) And that maybe, after a trial run of this dating, we can come back to each other and say, "everyone else are a bunch of jerks and the only one I want to see is you" I honestly think it's not because he is looking or interested in someone else. He's just not sure of me and the distance is not helping us get to know each other. I'm not ready to lose him yet. There are times that he irritates the crap out of me and me for him. We are very open about our feelings. He feels that I'm trying too hard to make this work. I feel we need more time to get to know each other so that's why I'm not cutting him out completely. Let me just say the sex is awesome and not an issue (he actually said that himself) but I obviously have an issue of him planning on having sex with someone else. He also knows that I wouldn't move unless I had a ring. I have a career, house and lots of friends and family where I live. Here are the options that I see.

1. See each other (sexually and dating) on a monthly basis and continue phone calls to further get to know each other (may I remind you we have only know each other 7 months and most of the time separated because of travelling and surgeries and school) but allow each other to date other people to see if someone else may cause a spark and then we'll know for sure we're not meant to be.

2. Same as above but reverting back to just dating each other without the sex because I fear it may cloud the issues basically of us just getting to know each other. (this would suck because we truly enjoy having sex together)

3. Separation time in which we date other people but then this defeats the purpose of getting to know each other.

4. Make a complete break and knowing that there has to be someone else out there that knows what I have to offer and would have no doubts about me.

Throughout all of this, I have tried to be patient because I know my boyfriend has been stressed with school, passing the boards, finding a job, moving his things and his dog, expenses from moving that are not reimbursed, the added cost of our travelling to see each other and pressure in maintaining our relationship and recently being forced to purchase a vehicle. I know I am not his top priority right now and that is what sparked this discussion. He's called me 90% of the time everyday and me the other 9% since he moved. I asked him why he calls me everyday and he stated, "because I care for you". He really wants kids. If I was 2 years younger, I would definitely say yes, but at 39, there are so many potential complications. I am a very health conscious person and a nurse so am very aware of the risks involved for a person my age. But also the potential of having a beautiful baby at the age of 45 (famous people do it all the time).

Basically, I want time with him. I am not interested in dating other men but he feels that I should. He actully said that if I lived and experienced more men that he would trust my judgement in regards XXXXX XXXXX feelings for him. He doesn't believe I should be a whore about it but that I should just go out and meet other men, basically, comparison shop. I actually can understand his reasoning but it feels sooo wrong to me. And I already told him that if he cheated or planned to have sex with someone else (sounds the same to me) then that would be a definite dealbreaker and the end to our relationship obviously. I believe in monogamy and I actually asked him to do an STD panel before we had sex which he readily agreed and showed me the results.

My friend said it's not a complete loss but I feel devastated. I haven't talked with him about options 2 or 3 and am not sure how he'll take it but for some reason I added those 2 in there to cover my bases. And I have to question myself am I degrading myself to agree to #1 or is it a valid opton. Is abstaining from sex reasonable even though I would be frustrating us both? Is there a benefit to having or not having sex in this type of "relationship". There's no denying the enjoyment factor and the feeling of intimacy and shouldn't it bring us closer and maybe reinforce any positive feelings he may have for me? I guess the sex part could be an addendum question #5.


I truly love this man. Friends have said that it's because he's my first. I've dated other men and everytime someone made the moves on me, my first intinct and action was to get away or push the offending appendage away. With this man, I didn't have any hesitancy except to say right be before we did it for the first time I said to him, "Are you sure about this?" What can I say except I have high standards and for some reason, this man, despite all his faults and insecurities, my heart, mind and body responded to him and only him after 39 years.

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Cher replied 8 years ago.
Hi luv 101, and thanks for your question.

I can understand your ambivalence about the situation and there's no denying you do have a lot of tough decisions to make. I can help you see both sides of this dilemma and give you advice, but I'm sure you realize the ultimate decision must be yours.

You sound like a very intelligent, warm, caring woman who thinks logically, and you are to be commended for those attributes! : )

I definitely agree that due to past circumstances in your relationship, which you've outlined, you do need to spend more time together, in person, and get to know each other better. However, I also find that in long distance relationships, many times, communicating by phone, email, etc., it's often easy to get to know the other person without the 'distraction' of being face to face. Even though you've already been together, physically, and have spent 'face time' together, continuing to speak and write often, can only enhance your relationship. Don't question why he calls you every day, just let him continue to do it! : )

I think he's proposing this plan to you, re: go out, experience other men, and allow 'me' (him) to do the same, so that if we do decide we want a permanent relationship, i.e. marriage, we've had enough experience to know 'we' are 'right'. I understand why you don't feel the need to do this and also why you wouldn't want to do this, but I don't think it's a bad idea. However, knowing he would be dating other women and at your ages, it's sort of a 'given' that sex would most likely be included with some of his dates, I also understand you not wanting him to be with anyone else but you, in that way. So, there we have an impasse. You agree to tell each other if you're considering having sex with other people, within the realm of your 'dating' experience; he wants you to 'know' other men, to have a basis for comparison, but the thought of him being with another woman in an intimate way, upsets you, and I think that's well within your rights; there's nothing odd about that feeling, regarding him.

While it's very possible that your friends are right, and you say you love this man because he was your first, there's nothing wrong with that, if you're sure. With the information you related re: your feelings about other dates, other men, and becoming intimate, totally not interesting you and relying on your primary instinct of knowing you didn't want that, I think you've proven to yourself what you want, what you like/love, and it's him. But (and I'll be going around this from all sides, to try to present as comprehensive a picture as possible, for you), it might not be a bad idea to try to date some other men (sex is optional, according to how you feel, of course) to get a better perspective before sticking with your decision that 'he's the one'.

I think the fact that he made this suggestion, shows that he's not ready to make a commitment to you, yet, and this could be due to one or all of the reasons you've mentioned. You HAVEN'T known each other for that long, and due to all the obstacles placed in your path with school, travel, his move, the surgery, etc. even though it's been 7 months 'technically', it's not the same as 7 months of dating on a steady basis and seeing each other every day or even every week.

Regarding your options 1-4, I'd only consider #1, and with trepidation. If you say, him dating other women and being intimate with them is a deal breaker, then, you can't agree to him dating other women; you understand how this makes sense. Not having sex with him, but continuing to communicate/see each other, is not a good idea, because you both enjoy it, as you said, so why deprive yourselves of this enjoyment? You certainly do not have 'only' a sexual relationship, right? You love him for many of his qualities.

He may just be getting cold feet; he has a lot on his mind, as you mentioned, so I propose this: continue to communicate with him by phone and email, on a steady basis; tell him of your daily activities, as if you were seeing him at the end of the day, in person; ask him about his day, etc. Be a little flirtatious, when appropriate, but just be yourself, and continue to get to know more about him and what makes him tick; be supportive of his decisions. I don't see how you can 'give him permission' to date other women, but if he brings it up again, just tell him truthfully, something along the lines of: 'you do what you feel is right, or what you feel you need to do; you already know how I feel about you, and I do care about your happiness'. See what he has to say. If he continues to ask you if you've gone out on any dates, tell him the truth if you choose to, that you're really not interested in doing that at this time, or yes, you've gone out a few times, but no sparks, nothing to really 'talk' about.

It's important that you're both sure, before you make a further commitment, because 'dating' and being with each other in person, so few times, and actually living together as an engaged couple or even as husband and wife are very different situations. I speak from experience. It always takes time to 'adjust' to living with another person, but if you feel you're compatible on so many levels, although you mentioned you each irritate the crap out of each other sometimes, which is very common (I suspect something is wrong with people who are in love and *don't* irritate each other sometimes!), because you're very open with your feelings, and can talk so freely with each other about this whole situation, you've got half the battle won. You mentioned "he feels that I'm trying too hard to make this work. I feel we need more time to get to know each other..." and I agree with both of you. Remember that a good relationship is typically composed of successful communication and compromise, and that's basically what you're asking each other to do: compromise.

Re: having children--this might be a problem if you already know he wants kids and you are reluctant, due to your age. However, if you were to be married within, let's say, 2 years or earlier, I think nowadays, with women concentrating on their careers first, and then having children later, 40 is the new 30, as the thinking went, about 20 years ago. It used to be that a woman over 30 was thought to have an increased chance of pregnancy problems, etc., but more and more women were starting to have babies after age 30. Now, many women are starting their families at or near, age 40. If you're healthy and would entertain the thought of having children or one child, after the age of 40 (I wouldn't think as far as age 45), it's a possibility, if you're healthy and decide that's what you want.

It's curious that you never mentioned your age gap as mattering to either of you. Re: children, it may make a difference, due to your biological clock, but otherwise, it doesn't seem to come up as a problem between you, and that's a good thing. Do you think it bothers him that you are older than him and he feels he might want to be with a woman who's around his age, or younger (late 20's)? Maybe the having children thing IS in the back of his mind....Please be assured I'm not saying this to upset you, I'm just trying to cover all bases and help you see things from all sides, as I mentioned.

So, to summarize: I'd keep in touch with him and continue to show him that you care, but don't go overboard with any gushing re: your feelings--he already knows them. See how things progress with him and try to see him again, soon--you mentioned he might come to see you in June? When he visits, just enjoy all your time with him, and live 'in the moment'. If he brings up the future, reiterate your views/feelings, and ask what HIS feelings are. All you can do, is see how it goes and then proceed from there.

I do wish you much good luck, and hope things work out for the best, XXXXX XXXXX of you.

Please let me know your thoughts and if you have any further questions. You can keep me updated on how things are going, if you like.

Cher and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Dear Cher,


Thank you soo very much for your much needed objective advice. I cried and thought about those options all day today that I presented to you. I truly wanted option #1 but I had to play the devil's advocate with myself and threw in 2-4. I know it's going to be tough knowing he's out there trying to charm some other woman (God, I'm crying right now seeing me write this) but I'm going to have to remind myself that if it's meant to be, it's meant to be. I asked him if he could picture me in his future, he said yes (think that was the only thing that gave me hope), but the pressure of "being the one" and forced to make me happy is more than a negative that he could handle. He definitely has issues: his mother died when he was 8 y/o, his father soo devastated by the loss of his wife, my boyfriend's mother, practically gave up his son for the grandmother to raise who was a mean person from what I hear. That's when I finally figured out he doesn't really know how to have a relationship with a woman. Supposedly, he had 2 long term relationships. The first one was when he was in his teens and an emancipated adult (again, lack of family support/love) and he was in that relationship for 6 years but that he said he wanted to end it in the 2nd year but was too scared to hurt the girl. I think that's where some of his fear stems from and actually stated, "I'd would rather end it when the relationship is new instead of 1 year from now to bring up any doubts". The last relationship lasted 7 years and just ended last summer before I met him. It was during the last year that he found out that the gf didn't want any children which amazed me. Basically, I think that wasn't really a relationship but convenience and he agreed with me. He said if they fought, they let the problems go and didn't really discuss them. Which I am so glad that you agreed with me on the "irritating" with each other. Friends have told me that we should be in the honeymoon phase. Basically, watch/censor how we talk/act in front of each other. I figured, we didn't have the time or luxury to do this. I adress each issue as they came and left the ones not worth the time or conflict aside which he interprets as nagging and overanalyzing every situation. My issue, I know is insecurity. We argued about Valentiines day in the fact that he didn't get me anything and didn't feel the need to "acknowledge" it. He said I had too many expectations of what a man should act like (cards, saying I miss you, scheduling or agreeing to be with each other) of which he did none or rarely of these. Which I interpreted as he didn't really care for me. I finallly figured out that he "cared" for me when he said, "I bought you that King size bed in MY house so that you could sleep better because you always had problems sleeping with me, I fixed MY other car so that you could have a car to drive while you're visiting, I bought those pots & pans for MY kitchen so that you would feel comfortable in the kitchen instead of microwaving all the time, do you really thiink I bought them so I could cook?" He didn't hesitate when he answered this after I asked him what did he do to show how he cared. Oh, and the daily callls. Go figure but it took me a second to see that he really did think that he did those things for me instead of me thinking he did that for himself but of course that was after the damage was done when I accused him of not caring or being inconsiderate. I think that if he had given me overt signs and statements, I wouldn't have had the insecurity that I had and in turn the desperate effort in making it work which he interpreted as, rightly so, irritating the crap out of him.


If anything, our relationship can be painfully honest and then appropriate times of silence or just acknowledgement at times. You pointed out that we don't seem to have an issue with age. I think it's because I'm asian and 4' 10.5" and look like I'm 25 instead of 39. He also happens to be caucasion. We talked about wanting and having kids and he said he wants them and I said I would have wanted them at a much earlier age and I put it out there that if he wanted a baby making machine, someone much younger than me, then he needed to stop our relationship now and look elsewhere (gee, aren't I so generous giving him an out) and he came back with, "there's always adoption but the fact that having a baby doesn't freak you out, I think we have time" (All this serious talk and no mention of the "L" word) And also despite my 18 years as critical care nurse working in high crime areas and indigent people and working in a very challenging and stressful field, I'm still very innocent and naive in social situations. I've spent many years reading romance books but at the same time, know the true reality human nature, it's cruelty and joy and also of the human body and it's capabilities (and listening to night shift nurses talk about uncensored sex & body parts). Ironically, I think that's why the sex is soo good between us. He taught me the reality of it all and he answered all my frank and unhesitating questions and was so considerate in his actions and my reactions (so glad you didn't suggest we give that up).

I apologize for giving you a book to read but felt I should expand more on my relationship in hopes of giving YOU closure on the advice of my relationship and the background of the people you advised. I'm not sure when I'll tell him my decision (he just told me last night) but he told me to think it over the next couple of days. I hate to say it, but I think I'll let him squirm a little. My friends think I'm too accessible to him and that I should still play the game of "hard to get". That, I'm still learning.


Thanks again Cher and I'll keep you updated. Hopefully you can add us as a success story.

Expert:  Cher replied 8 years ago.
Hi again, and you're most welcome! It was my pleasure to help you.

Thanks so much for your accept, very generous bonus, and your reply with additional information, that does make it easier for me to now picture you as a couple! : )

I do think that the sad circumstance of him losing his mother at such an early age, and being raised by his grandmother, DIDN'T give him the opportunity to see his parents in a loving, married relationship, and this left him 'unprepared', if you will, to enter the dating world. OK, boys will be boys, and he soon learned what to do, but also, having these 2 longterm relationships before meeting you, is also 'telling'. He held on in a relationship he wanted to get out of, 4 years earlier, to not hurt the girl. He's obviously very aware of, and attuned to, women's feelings and doesn't want to purposely hurt them; but then this would contradict his behavior on Valentine's Day! Maybe he didn't want you to think he 'felt' more than he seemed to show, and that's why he didn't give you anything. Under the circumstances, a card would have been nice...

If he told you to think over what he said, for a few days, do just that. I agree with your friends, that you need to hang back just a little, so that you do leave him 'wondering' a little, but don't hang back too much, so it seems that you're disinterested, which you're not. It's HARD to play hard to get, when you ARE an emotional person and want to share your feelings with him. You do learn from all your experiences, though, and become better at it, as time goes on.

I'm glad he mentioned adoption, when you vacillated about having kids due to the age factor; that was a very thoughtful thing.

Yes, please do keep me updated, and I wish only the best for you. I hope this works out the way you want it to! Just click 'reply' to let me know what's happening, or if you have to start a new question, just type: 'FOR CHER' to start your question, and I'll answer as soon as I see it.

Cher (do NOT click 'accept' again, as the system will prompt)
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

For Cher:


Hi Cher, thank you again for your insight. I was wondering if you could tell me if it's a good idea or not to put a time limit on this exercise of dating other people and what the end result should be (just putting that in writing seems a contradiction). I've read in places that we should put a time limit for LDRs. For example, that if after two years of travelling and neither is willing to move or the relationship hasn't progressed to something more permanent/committed then we should end it. I think that by then we should know where we are with each other. I was almost going to bring that up (prior to this recent conflict of dating other people) and I did mention it in our discussion the other night but he felt that was too much pressure . Maybe he didn't give me a chance to explain the merits, that it would give both of us an out. My belief is that I don't want to get to the two year mark and then he still doesn't know if I'm the one and just hang around for him to find himself? I don't want to be one of those women pining for something that may never be and at the same time I can say I gave my best for 2 years but that wasn't good enough therefore, so long. See, I may love this guy but I'm still practical.


So, going back to the time limit in regards XXXXX XXXXX dating other people. Good or bad? Or is this when you say, " you agreed to it so stick it out til you get to the point you can't take it anymore" In other words, wait it out and hope for the best. Is there a point that he could be taking advantage of me and my feelings, say, 1 year or let fate be the deciding factor. I guess what I mean by that is if he should decide to have sex with someone else after 4 months of this and that's when I call it quits.


My second questions are should I be doing anything different in this dating "relationship" compared to the monogamous. One thing that I will be asking him to do is use protection all the time now. Right now I'm on birth control for medical reasons first and the obvious reason second. But I do insist on using additional protection during the cycle I'm most fertile. Call me paranoid but I don't want to find out that I'm the 1% that gets pregnant on BC pills. By asking him to use it all the time, it takes the question & anxiety of wondering "Is he using protection this time because he's been with someone else?" Now that I think about it, I definitely would insist that he has to use protection with others. Maybe that's a moot point because I'm supposed to break up with him anyways if he did have sex but using protection should be justifiable and safe for everyone involved. Actually, using additional protection should be unsaid but I don't want him to take any chances with my health. Oh, and I'm going to ask him that he not tell me if he's planning on sleeping with another woman but to insist that he give me all the gory details after the fact. Is there any benefit for him telling me beforehand aside from me enjoying masochistic tendencies? Or should I expect to be told beforehand and be couseling him on the merits of why he shouldn't and the possible consequences, like me breaking up with him and or at least make a conscientious effort in dissuading him? I also figure, if he waits to tell me afterwards, I might be rational and ask him if he enjoyed it and how did it change his feelings if any or maybe he'll tell me it was horrible and I jump up in glee and be happy that he dodged that bullet. What's your take on this? Before or after or before & after?


Othe changes I thought of is leaving out the terms of endearment & PDA. I call him Baby as a greeting and in conversations. There's a certain amount of intimacy & ownership in PDA and using endearments because I don't do it/use it for anyone else. I feel that he doesn't deserve that familiarity from me and maybe I want him to notice that things aren't the same. Or in this aspect am I being too petty and I should do what I naturally would do and leave those parts of a relationship unchanged? Are there any other rules or limits or changes that I should be doing and that we should be aware of that you can think of?


Again, your input will be most appreciative.

Expert:  Cher replied 8 years ago.
Hi again, and thanks for your additional questions.

I understand why you're asking about a time limit, if you should have this period of time when he will date others and you will date others, but truthfully, I don't think putting a time limit on it,(well talking about it with him) is such a good idea. However, if you do both agree to do that, I wouldn't make it two years; that's much too long. You don't want to find out at the end of two years, that your relationship is not what you thought it would be, and feel that you've wasted two years of your life, as you mentioned. YOU can decide on a time limit for yourself, but I wouldn't discuss it with him or bring it up again, especially if it upset him.

You talk like you already agreed to him dating other women and having sex with them, if the opportunity presents itself, but I thought you didn't want that. Have you already agreed to it, or do you feel you really have no choice, because he's already made the decision?

If you agree to be 'practical', which I think might be necessary here, will you continue in your relationship with him, long distance, still see each other when you can, talk on the phone/email frequently, continue to have feelings for him, but if/when he or you meet another person, you'll go your separate ways? I think he brought this up to you, because he feels he's living far away (well, not THAT far; could be worse than D.C. and Florida! : ) I know someone who once had an LDR from across the country!) he might meet someone local who he wants to hook up with (regardless of his feelings for you), and doesn't want to feel guilty about it. It's the way men think; they can't help it.

Oh, yes, I would definitely insist that if it ever came to that, and he does sleep with someone else, he MUST use protection. As you said, you can't endanger you health, if you are still going to be seeing him and having relations with him. Because you were both so intelligent to have blood tests before getting physical with each other, I'm sure he won't take any chances, and neither will you.

I wouldn't bring up too much about this, with him, because it's something HE wants to do and you really don't; answer his questions if he asks, but don't have long discussions about it. Personally, I wouldn't want to know before, during or after, if he's with someone else. I think you should only agree to speak of other people if either or both of you get 'serious' about someone else, and that will put an end to the relationship. And, as you keep reminding yourself, you actually said if he has sex with another woman, it's a 'dealbreaker'.

I think, for the time being, it would be best for you to continue to speak to him in the same way as usual, like nothing has changed, and just let him know through your actions (not out loud) that you're there for him, you care for him, nothing's changed on that front, and you're the same person (people) who met 7 months ago. Don't make it 'easy' for him to go out and find someone new; just see how things go. If he wants to discuss a woman he met/slept with, just tell him you're not really interested in hearing about it, and change the subject. Don't say it nastily, just in a 'matter of fact' way.

I think you'll know, within a reasonable amount of time, whether this is going to work or not, and you'll proceed from there.

Let me know what you think.

Cher and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you