Dear Miss U,
Today is the day that my SO left me for the next 5 months. I live in Serbia, but we met in Berlin and had the best time of our lives together, doing things that are definitely movie-worthy. We are both at head over heels in love, but I am still insecure.
To clarify the situation, we are both planning on going to university in Berlin, as I have a flat there and she lives there, but she is going to Australia to do some work and travel. So far our relationship has been great, we love each other and managed to keep it going through 5 months and a trip she took to Ireland that lasted 2 months.
My problem is: She likes to party and is way too good of a person to people, which results in her not telling guys to f*** off when they start flirting with her. On top of that, we won’t be able to have our daily conversations. Everything seems a bit chaotic. I don’t know if we will manage to stay close to each other due to the limited time we can spend talking or skyping, and if she goes out we won’t be able to talk to one another.
She left me in tears and I believe her when she tells me that she loves me, but I am still scared. What if I or our conversations get boring, or she meets someone else while she is over there? This is probably a generic question, sorry for that, but I am unable to think because I am so worried. I love her and I will invest 100% of my time just to make this relationship work!
You need to trust her Luca, relationships don’t work without trust.
The time difference you will face will be extreme, but that doesn’t mean you can’t talk most days, it means you both have to make talking a priority. Can she not go out after talking? Or get up early to Skype? Can you find privacy while one of you is on a lunch break and talk then? What about during your commute? Look for windows of opportunity and shift some parts of your day around if you need to. Work together to find what your minimum standard of contact should be and stick to it. Also remember that not all your communication needs to be in real time. Email. Snail mail. Text messages. Snapchat. Find other platforms and use them to connect with each other. Keep each other involved in your lives.
Secondly, some people are too nice to tell flirters to bugger off, but sometimes it’s more an issue of safety than anything else. Women want to go out and have a good time and party and not be accosted – and it’s our human right to do so – but there’s a huge culturally ingrained perception that public space is male space and we are objects intruding into it. Often for our own safety, we let the flirtations go without response in the hope that if we ignore these guys they will take the hint and look elsewhere without potentially making them angry and aggressive. When bad things happen to women, more often than not we have to prove our innocence when those who hurt us should, in fact, be forced to prove their innocence instead. “What were you wearing? Why didn’t you have a chaperone?”
I mention this to help you have a better understanding of the issues surrounding day to day life for women and the issues your girlfriend faces that you’re probably unaware of and maybe even perpetuating yourself.
Don’t concern yourself with how others act towards her because she can not control other people, concern yourself with how she interacts with others. If she’s not flirting back, you’re golden. I’m sure she tells suitors that she has a boyfriend and that she’s too nice to lead people on. Additionally, there’s always the risk in all relationships, not just distance ones, that our partners will meet and be attracted to other people and when that happens we have to trust them to choose us. It always comes back to that. Trust. There can be no relationship without it.
Lastly, don’t borrow trouble from tomorrow. Don’t “what if” your relationship to death. Just do your best to keep it fun and fulfilling, and take each day as it comes.
Dear Miss U,
I’ve recently started seeing my high school friend. He’s always had feelings for me, even then, but I have to admit, we were so young I didn’t know what to do with those feelings.
Fast forward 20 years, we both have been through the ringer of life relationships good bad and ugly, myself divorced. Both single for many years, he has been hurt a lot, his last relationship was 4 years ago, no children, never been married, god-fearing; I mean he’s perfect.
We are really worthy of one another but the problem is I live 3 hours away and he is an extremely busy man with his career and still trying to maintain his own business. I go to visit him 2 sometimes 3x’s a month for the past 6 months. He wants to take things slow. I’m for this but we’ve made the mistake of having intercourse so now I’m at the point where I’m ready to move forward and he still feels like we need more time.
I know he’s not seeing anyone else; neither am I. He says he wants to marry me so what’s the hold-up I ask or am I holding on to a dream that may never come true? Is 6 months enough time or should I give me more? How long is too long?
Personally, I think six months is just the beginning. You’re still getting to know each other on a relationship level. Still getting to know each other’s bodies and needs and sexual desires.
Having sex isn’t a promise any more than it is a mistake. It’s a natural progression in and of itself. More importantly, it’s a celebration of love and a new way to communicate and bond.
You ask “what’s the holdup?” on getting married, I ask “What’s the rush?” You’ve been married before, you know what it does and does not change. You know it isn’t a guarantee of forever. You know marriage doesn’t fix relationship problems, doesn’t inspire people to try harder, and doesn’t stop unfaithful partners from straying… doesn’t make a heck of a lot of difference day to day at all in fact.
Yes, it’s important. It’s special, sacred even. I believe marriage is a human right. I also believe if you’re going to be together forever anyway you have plenty of time to tie the knot. I’m also against putting pressure on because when he (or she!) does get down on one knee with that little box in hand I want to be one hundred percent sure they are doing it because they want to, because they want me – want us- forever, not because I harped about it. Not to shut me up, but because it’s time.
Generally, I expect adults who are dating to know whether or not this relationship ticks all the boxes by the one year mark. If someone specifically told me they wanted to take it slow I would give them between 18 months to two years instead. That is when I’d expect talk of moving in together or the lodging of visa paperwork (for those of us who need to worry about that). I personally would not marry someone I hadn’t lived with for a year and a day.
How long is too long is very relative. It’s all relative! What one of us thinks is too slow another sees as too fast. Mr. E and I had been dating (non-exclusively) several years before he was “ready” to commit (keeping in mind we were kids.) Then we dated “officially” for another eight odd months before moving in together. We lived together almost two years before engagement. He was honest about not being ready, and I swallowed my impatience as best I could and showed him why I was worth the risk. That the fear he felt paled in comparison to the support and love and fun a lifetime of commitment with me would entail. If I had to pick a number I’d say four. Four years of exclusively dating. If there’d been no progress (engagement, children, buying property, SOMETHING!) by the four-year mark I’d have walked away. I told him that too. Luckily, he didn’t make me wait that long!
The best things take time. Let this be the best relationship you’ve ever had!