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AskJason, Relationship Answers
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 39
Experience:  B.A. Psychology
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I am in a long-distance relationship with a lovely man at the

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I am in a long-distance relationship with a lovely man at the moment. We have met a few months ago and I as I am relocating for work the situation is not changing in the foreseeable future. We have both decided to continue to build out relationship but I know that forward planning is not my boyfriend's strong suit. He prefers to take one day at a time so I am concerned that if we don't have the opportunity to see each other at regular intervals, we will struggle. Is there a way I can address this concern without being a nag or mothering/organising him?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  AskJason replied 5 years ago.

AskJason : Hi, I'm Jason. I'm glad to answer your question. (My answers are intended as information and my opinion only and this is not therapy or counseling.
AskJason : First let me say that it does sound encouraging that your boyfriend responded positively to your conversation regarding seeing each other more frequently.
AskJason : Do I understand correctly that you have moved (or will soon be moving) out of state? How far away will you be?

I haven't moved yet, but will be gone from July. I will be in Germany and he will be in the UK. I should also mention that we are both in our 40s and have families (he has a disabled son), so there are demands on us already together with work commitments. I don't want to add to the drama but may need to make it clear that I have some requirements for a healthy relationship.

AskJason : How long do you anticipate being out of the UK?

It is a permanent arrangement but I have made it clear that I am willing to review and make adjustments or even bigger changes if needed. Neither of us is from the UK and both families are in Europe, he is just based in the UK as he feels it's the best society for him to live in (he is Black, I am White)

AskJason : I am sorry you are being faced with this emotional struggle and I definitely understand how hard this must be for you. With you living so far away it becomes all the more important that your boyfriend will need to agree to some long term planning. Plane tickets are much cheaper in advance, and of course your work will likely require advance notice as well. Perhaps more importantly, you will not feel any peace of mind unless you know in your heart that your boyfriend is fighting to find ways for your relationship to last. Certainly that includes advanced planning at minimum. I think you have every right to approach him and converse about this, without worry that you will come off as a nag or as mothering. This is a MAJOR life change for both of you, but especially for you. You deserve to have an open and honest dialogue with your boyfriend so you can give your relationship every possible chance to succeed.

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX glad to say that we have good communication. We do connect several times a day via various means and he is emotionally expressive. I think he is a little afraid of whether things will work out or if it is too much as the relationship is quite young. My problem is more what approach/language to employ with him when trying to discuss this. I am happy to talk about my feelings (I have done that already) but that hasn't yielded any actions from him yet.

AskJason : Ok I have some ideas regarding the appropriate phrasing. Regretfully I have an appointment at 2PM my time which is in 3 minutes. Would you be ok with me switching this chat to the Q&A format? This will allow me to send you another answer a bit later today and you will receive notice of my post via email. Our entire chat history will also be available above that. Would that be acceptable?

That would be great, thank you.

AskJason : Ok talk with you shortly!
Expert:  AskJason replied 5 years ago.
Ok sorry for the delay. I would suggest you sit down with your boyfriend and explain that although it's only been a short time you've been together, you have definite feelings for him. Explain that just because you are moving for your job it doesn't mean you want to abandon your relationship with him. However, maintaining the relationship is going to take conscious and mutual effort so he needs to be aware of that. It's ok for you to ask him what his intent is. You can explain that although the timing is bad as far as you having to leave only a few months into your relationship, it doesn't mean you guys aren't meant to be. Who knows what may happen down the line? Perhaps you will find that you don't care for life in Germany and you will come back to where you are now. Perhaps your boyfriend will take a trip to Germany and find he likes it so much and likes being with you so much that he considers moving there. Only time will tell, but for now, it sounds like you're just yearning for an open and honest conversation regarding intent. Tell your boyfriend how you truly feel. Tell him you want to maintain daily contact via text and phone. Tell him you want to set up video chat on a regular basis. Tell him him you want to plan trips to and from in regular intervals. Tell him all you want to tell him. If he is into it, you will know. If he is not, you will also know. Knowing will give you the peace of mind you are seeking. Long distance relationships are hard. I'd think you'll agree that eventually one of you will have to decide to move to where the other one is living. I personally can't see the benefit of having a long distance relationship in perpetuity for years and years. This doesn't mean, however, that you can't try to progress your relationship from where it is today, in the hopes that it will blossom. For now, it sounds like you just need to know if your boyfriend is ready to commit to that process, and you have every right to ask him in any way that feels good to you. I hope this helps and best of luck to you!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX agree with you that this cannot be a indefinite set up. I have had some long-distance, long-term relationships in the past and so have some friends but only those realtionships that actually moved on from this set up survived.
Maybe I haven't been clear enough. We did talk about the aspects you mentioned and I have always had a statement of intent from him, in the beginning about us in general even before asking any questions, and then about this topic when it came up. He was the first to move into an exclusive state, the first to talk about long-term committment (including marriage & children which for me was a little early in the day to be discussing it), the first to talk committment at all. He also said he was intending to come out and see me, he would enjoy coming to see me, to have me come and stay and he also acknowledged that he is slow to turn some of his statements into actions (such as making time for me in his life now.)
I guess that that is my problem. As long as I see no action from him, I somehow feel I cannot trust the statements, that they may be born out of fear or to 'keep me sweet' so there's no drama. He still tries to connect all the time, but I feel he's wary of what complexity this could add to his life and if he can cope. I would like to assure him that I am serious about trying our best, XXXXX XXXXX that just saying the words is not going to be very useful.
I am willing to hang back a little but I fell that any relationship requires some physical intimacy and face to face time to take off and at the moment it's hard to get that.
Expert:  AskJason replied 5 years ago.
I definitely agree that actions speak louder than words. It sounds like you have a very clear handle on where you are in this relationship. I think from here, only time will tell if your boyfriend's intent will be matched by his actions. Please let me know if I may be of further assistance, and I really hope things work out for you!
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Expert:  AskJason replied 5 years ago.
Hi Helene,

Just wanted to check in and see if you've made any positive progress with the situation we last discussed. Hope things are going well and feel free to post a new question with "AskJason" at the beginning and it will be automatically assigned to me. Thanks again!

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi Jason,

that's very kind of you. We have made some progress although I guess in a different mannes. My boyfriend has a son from his first marriage aged 5 who has been left severely disabled after an accident as a baby. About 5 weeks ago my boyfriend has been called over to Holland as the child went into hospital where he still remains. Obviously, it's an excruciating experience for any parent to endure and I think that the fact that he had turned a page by starting out in a new relationship with me is also adding pressure.

Initially we had quite a lot of contact during the day but as time progressed this got a little tenous, however, I did manage to tell him that as I cannot be with him I need some sort of communication. He is trying but the focus is obviously on the child.

I'll relocate in 3 weeks time and he seems still willing to come out and see me. However, I am wondering how his employer sees all this as it cannot be easy to accept an employees continual absence at full pay. I guess he worries as well. So the next step would be to see how we could possibly simplify the set up. 3 locations is definetely challenging.

So I guess for me the question now is how to manage my own anxiety, needs and expectations. I set out looking for a new, committed relationship, and I guess that in theory I have this but in practise I am still on my own and not able to share anything. I still rely on friends and family to help out and I'm not a person that would force the issue of 'where is this all going'. I need to find a good way of making sure he understand my needs without ultimatum. Any suggestions?

Expert:  AskJason replied 5 years ago.
Definitely a tough situation, since your mind can easily assess all the roadblocks but of course your heart wants to ignore them and maintain hope that they can be hurdled. Here is what I suggest. Give yourself peace of mind and reduce your anxiety by picking a date three months from now to reassess the situation. In other words, during the next three months, give yourself permission to "have no idea at all" how all this is going to work out. It's ok that you don't have any answers. Don't stress yourself over the "not knowing" and don't try too hard to figure it out. Instead, let yourself put the reigns down for three months and just trust that things are going to evolve as they may and there really is nothing you can do or have to do to change that. Complete your move overseas. Get settled in at your new job. Let your boyfriend take the time he needs to tend to his son, etc. I'm not saying that you shouldn't try to keep the relationship alive for the next three months. Definitely do what you can to keep in daily contact, message each other and look forward to a brighter future together. All I'm saying is that to get through this immediate transition regarding moving and all the pressures that can result from it, you have to give yourself permission to not know how it will all work out. I believe that taking this responsibility off your shoulders will allow you peace of mind for the time being, knowing that in three months you are going to grab those reigns again. When that time comes, take a hard look at where things stand and what you think the true likelihood of having this relationship work is going to be. Three months from now you will physically and mentally be in a different place, and I suspect you will have a much clearer picture of the situation and be much better able to make informed choices. Until then, just "sit back and enjoy the ride". You're healthy, life is good and just try to enjoy the moment since the moment is really all we have. Good luck and I'll be here to chat if you need me!
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