Dear Miss U,
I have been in a long distance relationship for a little over a year now and most of the time it’s good. We were really close friends for over 10 years prior and we’re thousands of miles apart but I hardly feel the distance when things are good. The problem is in the way he communicates. He never picks up a FaceTime video call, and when I give him a regular call, it’s lucky when he picks up. He’s not in formal employment but he does get busy sometimes. However, it doesn’t make sense to me that he’s hardly ever available for a call. Sometimes he just drops off the radar completely and doesn’t respond to texts sometimes for over a day.
My other concern is his excessive paranoia. I’m not a very outgoing person and don’t have that many friends and he knows this but he constantly suggests or implies that I have been (or will be) doing something suspicious with other men while I’m away. I love him, and he loves me but I feel under-valued too often. I feel like I’m overthinking things and have resorted to not calling him at all but sometimes I just need to talk to him and he’s never there. Am I wrong to feel this way?
Personally, this would be a deal breaker for me. He doesn’t communicate with you, he neglects to tell you important things about his life that directly affect you (like when he won’t be contactable), he doesn’t trust you and he shows you disrespect. You feel under-valued and he’s not there for you when you need him. That’s a whole lot of nope right there. I don’t think you’re over thinking this and I don’t think you’re wrong to feel that way. I think you need to cut loose the dead wood so that you can flourish and grow. Love is great, but it isn’t all you need. Find someone who ticks all the boxes.
Dear Miss U,
My SO and I met in college and have been able to see each other almost every day for 3 and a half years. Now, suddenly, he is in Minnesota and I am in a small town in South Dakota. We’re both back to living with our parents so we could build up an income. We are planning on living together in April, and I can’t wait.
I have anxiety and depression, and I take medication for it. It helps a little bit, but the cold weather and gray skies take a toll on me. I find myself texting my boyfriend a lot, asking if he’s as excited as I am to move in together and asking if he misses me and aches as much as I do. I feel awful asking him these questions, and I feel like every time I ask them he gets annoyed, though he reassures me he isn’t. I hate how irrational anxiety is.
On another note, I’ve been craving physical intimacy. I have a lot of guy friends who I work with and sometimes I catch myself thinking of cuddling with them (It sounds stupid, I know) just because I want a man to just hold me, and I know those thoughts are wrong but I can’t stop thinking them. I have physical arm and chest pains sometimes because I get so lonely and I have such a need for physical attention. I just want to cry all the time.
How do I cope with these feelings of physical loneliness when I am unable to visit my boyfriend?
I too ask for reassurance from my partner and I’m pretty sure he gets more annoyed with me thinking he’s annoyed with me than he does by my need for comfort. Over time he’s also made me see that I’m not mentioning it half as much as I think I am. I spend a great deal of time thinking about talking to him or texting him and I either resist the urge or I’m busy or he hasn’t responded to my last message so I wait a while and in the end it turns out that I hardly mentioned it at all even though I could think of nothing else. This might be true for your situation too. Maybe you’re annoying yourself a lot more than anyone else!
Beyond this, you need to make your health a priority. Your body and mind are not separate entities, care for one and you care for the other. Dig into food that will reward you: chickpea curry (Turmeric is amazing!) leafy greens, hot porridge with fresh fruit… Minimally processed nourishment with no oil, salt or processed white sugar. Then get some exercise. Thirty minutes a day if you can’t face an hour. Dance around like a loon to your favorite tunes. Jump on your bed (because you’re an adult and your mom can’t stop you now.) Take a boxing class. Do yoga or Zumba – you can get videos on Youtube. There are plenty of options and not only will you start feeling better, you won’t have your phone in your hand. You won’t be passing your worries onto him, instead, you will channel them into the happier you that you wish to be. And get some sleep. No screen time at least an hour before bed. No caffeine after dinner. All those things you know you should do, but most of us don’t bother with. This is your life! Take charge of it so that it no longer has the power to make you miserable.
I recognize that with mental health problems there is only so much you can do and you will still have bad days. There isn’t a cure that I know of. But don’t give up! Don’t write the day off as awful at the first mishap, turn it around. Think to yourself: “If my car gets a flat, do I get out and slash the other three tires?” No. So don’t do that with your health either.
I would highly recommend that you make him something. Choose a big project, like a quilt, a crocheted blanket, a board game, a piece of art, or a scrapbook. Something that you can pour your heart and your time into; something that you will enjoy. You don’t have to be good at it, just try. I find when I’m planning something nice or making a gift for someone I feel almost like I’m with them. It takes the edge off the loneliness. Writing letters also give me this effect.
As to thinking about cuddling other guys, it’s ok to daydream. It’s wrong to DO IT if it breaks the rules of your relationship but there are no thought police. Think whatever you like and don’t berate yourself for it! Could he send you his big fuzzy hoodie or something so that you could snuggle down within softness that smells like him? It’s not the same, but you’ll be surprised how wonderful this can feel.
You can do this. The end is in sight now! Don’t give up when you’re so near to victory.