Dear Miss U,
I’ve been dating my boyfriend for just over a year now and things have been going great. What’s hard about the relationship is that I only get to see him once a month (I live in SoCal, he lives in NoCal) and each time he comes out or I go up, it’s like hitting a reset button on our love life. I miss him and crave him but the time apart in between visits kills me. I feel like he’s an amazing friend versus a super close boyfriend. So, I’m torn. Do I continue the back and forth or do I consider finding someone closer?
Do you invest in your intimate relationship while you’re apart or do you just “pause” it? Because if you’re not masturbating together that would be my first point of call. Be sexual in the same mental space as your partner, even if you’re not in the same physical space. Cam sex, phone sex, old-fashioned text-based role play, even saucy Snapchats! Just start somewhere, and keep that fire burning.
If you’re already doing all these things but when you’re reunited he feels like a stranger or your mind can’t connect the guy on the screen to the real deal that’s harder to overcome and only you could decide if that’s a deal breaker.
To me, there’s nothing more important than friendship with a life partner so I’d hang on to the relationship and deal with the reset, but your needs may vary. Perhaps there’s a way you can turn this resetting to your advantage? Does it keep things new and exciting for longer? I find putting a positive spin on things helps me cope with them.
Dear Miss U,
Three years ago I met my girlfriend online and we had so many things in common and we’ve been inseparable from the beginning. We were and still are extremely young and stupid. We’ve made it work for two years, working summers to pay for plane tickets and spending holidays with each other. It’s only an hour flight to get to her and I make it whenever I can afford it, but with school it is extremely hard. We devote most of our time and money to each other. We’re starting to burn out. The week-long visits every couple months aren’t enough for her anymore and recently there’s been some cheating but I don’t blame her. We are both young and we need to be going out and getting into trouble, not stuck on our phones waiting. This has led to some drama and I thought it was all better when I spent a week with her family in November. The whole week was pure magic. The point of the trip was to talk and spend time together to figure out if we should end it or not. But all our problems disappeared when we were together. And before I knew it I was on a plane back home. And since then it’s only gotten worse. I have a deep caring for his girl and it’s hard to decide whether to let her go or not. What she needs is a normal relationship. My family is moving soon I have a chance to live in the same city as her and she’s begging me to convince my parents to go through with it. We just want to be close to each other. Is leaving my home worth this “puppy love” and how do I get my parents on board?
Wait… You’re only 16? I’ve got to say: You’re my hero. Seriously. The dedication you two have shown at such a tender age is amazing. I don’t think I’d be calling that puppy love, not at all.
I think the first point of call here would be to talk to each other and figure out what the root of this cheating is. What does she feel she is missing exactly? What do you feel you are missing? (If anything.) What can be done to address it, short of breaking up?
I usually reserve this kind of talk for older couples but I think you can hack it so here goes: Do you think it might be best to talk about opening the relationship up for a little while? When people think about open relationships I think they visualize condoms strewn like confetti and underwear hanging from the ceiling lights but this is far from the reality. You don’t have to blow the door to your relationship off its hinges, you can just open it a tiny crack to let a breeze come in. The great part about this is you can decide together what that means for your relationship. Maybe it means you can go on dates with other people (who know you are committed to each other and aren’t interested in a long term relationship with them) or maybe it means playing spin-the-bottle at a party and knowing your significant other isn’t going to be crushed. Opening the relationship might mean the freedom to cuddle up with someone else while watching a movie or it might mean stopping at second base.
Rules you might consider would be things like whether or not full disclosure is necessary. Some couples need to know every little detail of what their partner does with others and they get their own sexual enjoyment from that while other couples don’t get jealous so long as they don’t know the details. Some couples are fine with having on-going “friendships” outside the relationship while others have a one-night-stand-only rule. Talk about what you would both need to make it work and whether this is a viable option to help you limp your way through to the end of your long-distance relationship. I know some people worry about missing out on experiences if they are in long-term relationships as youth as well, and this solution addresses that.
I think if you have something amazing and you are both growing up together in the same direction then it’s worth fighting for. Worth moving for too. It’s not like you’re stuck there forever if the move/the relationship doesn’t work out either. You’re not a tree, you can always move again in a few years.
If your parents are keen to move but haven’t yet decided where it is the perfect time to ask them what kind of things they are looking to gain from the move and seeing if her location or somewhere a little closer to her might fit the bill. A mention of attractive colleges you might attend or workforce opportunities in the area could also add weight to your argument. Generally, people want low crime rates, affordable housing, good quality of life, access to community resources, jobs and whatever their idea of “good weather” is. I’m sure with your natural maturity and level head you can put forth a convincing argument that has not only your happiness but their best interests at heart as well.