Dear Miss U,
I feel a little old seeing most of your questions seem to be from college students. But here goes.
We met at 18 at university and became great friends. We were always in study groups together and both played rugby, so we had a lot in common. However, we were both always in other relationships and were always very respectful of that. As we grew up we stayed in touch and even went to each other’s weddings. My husband left me 2 years ago and his wife left him 1 year ago. I was the first person he called to tell. We met up and rekindled our friendship and more – he lives 6 hours away! We are trying to see each other once a month but both have pre-school children and both work Saturdays. So weekend visits are out of the question.
How can we make this work? Neither of us can move due to the children and I feel under pressure to set a date to close the gap.
Don’t feel old, I get people of all ages writing to me, a surprising number of whom are in their 50’s. I’m expecting big things to happen in my love life when I get to 50 because of this! Love knows no age, just like it cares nothing for distance.
You can’t close the gap if neither of you can move, so my advice would be to find a plan that works for everyone involved before worrying over the when; and when I say “everyone involved” I mean each of you are going to have to face your other co-parent and hopefully have civil conversations. And that is how I encourage you to look at them: not as exes, as co-parents. Your children are going to tie you together for the rest of forever, and it is in their best interest for you to work with their other parent. I know that’s easier said than done, especially when the hurt is still fresh, but I’m hopeful that as each of you were the leavees not the leavers your co-parents are holding a little less angst toward you.
As for visits, sometimes you just have to take what you can get, even if that means one of you still has to do their day job while the other amuses themselves around town. Time in the evening together (and maybe a lunch date too) is better than nothing if it’s the best you can manage some months.
This might seem insurmountable but I promise you it isn’t. Keeping yourself open and flexible to plans that might sound crazy at first can bring unexpected opportunities.
Dear Miss U,
I am with the love of my life. We have been dating for a little over a year and we have only seen each other once. We talk on the phone every day but can’t Skype due to internet troubles. I love her so much and we have talked about our future a lot and every time I bring it up she makes me feel better but I am just so scared that one day she will get tired of me and not want me anymore. I have been in plenty of terrible relationships before where the other person just broke my heart and left me for no good reason and one time I even found out that the girl I was dating at the time was engaged so I have felt abandoned and abused before and so I can’t help but be scared that will happen with her. I was just wondering if you could give me some advice on how to not worry so much because I try not to and she always makes my fears go away when we talk but it is the downtime in between phone calls that I worry. Please help.
This is where I think self-love comes into relationships because obviously, she’s not doing anything to make you insecure (quite the opposite) it is the tricks your own mind plays on you and I believe that comes down to self-worth.
Basically, you need to work on getting to the point in your life where you see how freaking amazing you actually are. We spend all this time thinking about how hard we are to live with, how many flaws we have, how we are too needy or whatever when in fact we should be thinking about what makes us great partners.
Here’s a little exercise for everyone reading along: I want you to list five negative things about yourself. Here’s mine: I’m lazy, arrogant, I rarely put-out, I’m a crappy housewife, and I have anger issues.
I don’t know about you, but that took me a minute and twenty seconds, and I checked on my toddler while I compiled the list.
Ok now, what about five things you like about yourself? I’ll go first.
I’m flexible/willing to embrace change, I’m generous, I’m not a nag, I try to see every argument from both sides, and sometimes I write stuff that people enjoy.
Seven minutes and I didn’t leave my desk once – from someone fairly well self-obsessed. I think I’m awesome generally and I don’t make a secret of it but for some reason it’s always easier to be self-critical than self-loving.
Now think of five reasons you would date you. Write them down, and pull out the list every time you start to worry. Try to add things to it regularly and find other ways to work on your relationship with yourself too.
My theory is that relationships are like jobs, if we make ourselves indispensable, keep improving our skills and are team players then we aren’t likely to find ourselves being replaced.
Talk about yourself the way you would about a friend.