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Author Topic: Relationship Concerns! Help!
pocket_mouse_531
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Hey guys!

Sorry to always have so many questions, but I'm kinda new to this "just dating" thing, so I have no clue what I'm doing.

I have a couple of questions I want to bring up. I first want to ask, is it normal after a couple of months to feel slightly awkward in a relationship? In the very beginning, when we first started dating, we were very much in the honeymoon phase. I feel like that phase is kind of over now that we've both gone home for the summer (I just finished my first year in college, he just finished his second year). We live far away from each other, so our only options of communication are texts, phone calls, and Skype calls. He texted me first about three days after we left to go home, but we didn't have much of a conversation because he was tired from driving home. While we were talking, though, it felt more like we were just two friends talking, rather than prospective partners talking. In addition to this, I don't really feel like I missed him all that much in those three days that we didn't talk. That makes me worry that I began dating him not because I like him, but because I like the attention he gave me. Is this true? How can I tell?

Also, my parents and I were talking to me about relationships, and they were saying that they envisioned me ending up married to someone with a lot of ambition and drive in terms of a career and life in general. They don't expect my future husband to be a doctor or a lawyer necessarily; they just expect him to have a vision for himself and a plan for how to make that vision a reality. Although my parents like my new boyfriend, they don't really see him as having this kind of clear ambition for himself. I am 19 and he is 20. Is it reasonable for me to expect him to have a vision for his future at this age?

Thank you so much for all your help!

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Robin Lee
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Hi Pocket Mouse,

In terms of whether it's reasonable to expect him to have a vision or sense of drive for his future, is this something *you* have for yourself? Is this also something that is important to you, or more something that is important to your parents? I ask because while parents can and will have feelings and opinions about who we choose to partner with, ultimately we're the ones in the relationship so our thoughts, interests, and desires are what are important.

I'm unclear: How long have you been home from college? That is, how long has it been since you've seen your boyfriend? Is this feeling of disconnection something you've talked with him about?

--------------------
Robin

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pocket_mouse_531
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Hi Robin!

I don't really know if I have a sense of my own future. I know that I want to major primarily in literature, but I am not 100% set on any one career that surrounds literature. I've considered writing, teaching, editing, publishing, the whole lot, but I do not know exactly which career path I want to take. I only know that I love literature and books and writing and that I want those things to be a major part of my career in the future. I've additionally been considering whether or not I want to minor/double major in theatre, but I have no clear decision on that as of yet.
I mean, it definitely is important to me that at some point, my partner has a sense of his future. Even if he doesn't know exactly what career he wants, I would hope that, at a somewhat appropriate age (I would guess around 25?), he would at least know what path he wanted his life to go down in terms of a future career, and he would have a solid, plausible plan for making that dream a reality. Until this discussion with my parents, I was not concerned about whether or not my partner had a lot of drive or ambition at this stage of his life. Now since they've mentioned it to me, it weighs on my mind. During this conversation, my parents pointed out to me other guys in my life (guy friends) who do seem to have more ambition/drive/vision (I have a guy friend who knows for sure that he wants to work in the film industry and he's working really hard on taking as many film classes as he can, doing film projects, etc; and he also does all his homework in a timely manner and isn't a crazy last-minute night-owl like my boyfriend is). The fact that these guys seem to have more drive and focus than my boyfriend now worries me when I feel like it shouldn't, especially since we're taking things slow and we've only dated for three months.

I've been home from college for a little under a week, so it's been about that much time since I've seen my boyfriend. I haven't discussed the disconnect with him because I thought perhaps that this awkwardness is normal once the honeymoon phase ends. But then, is it normal for the honeymoon phase to end this early?

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Karybu
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The length of the honeymoon phase varies quite a lot, so there isn't really any "normal" in terms of when it ends. The thing to keep in mind is that the first several months of a relationship are about getting to know each other much better and figuring out what you want.

Bottom line? You've only been dating this guy for three months, so worrying about his ambition and future plans (or lack thereof) seems a bit premature, and I'd say it's not at all unusual to still be figuring out at this point whether a relationship with him is even a good fit for you. Talk to your boyfriend about how you're feeling, see what he thinks, and go from there.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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pocket_mouse_531
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Hi Karybu! Thanks for your input!

How exactly does one go about figuring out whether a relationship with someone is a good fit? Part of the problem is that because we live so far apart (he lives in northern California and I live in southern California), it's difficult to communicate on a regular and more intriguing, intimate basis. In the beginning of our relationship back in March, we would go for long walks at nighttime and talk about anything and everything, and I loved communicating with him that way because he was right there in front of me and I felt that I had so much more to say. Now we mainly communicate by text message and it all feels so impersonal because we literally just talk about how each other's day went. I want us to at least phone call or Skype each other, but I want him to want it as well, you know?

Also, how can I tell if he actually wants to actively pursue this relationship? I do get texts from him asking about how I am/how my day went, but they aren't an everyday thing. They come every other day, every three days, etc. I never get phone called or Skyped (or asked to do so). And before we left for college, we talked about visiting each other over the summer, but so far, the only one who's made mention of the visitation is me. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who's making an effort to give this a shot, which is frustrating to me, especially since I have so many anxieties and uncertainties surrounding this new relationship (and my dating ability in general). But then he's told me that he genuinely cares about me and likes me and whatnot, so that adds another layer of confusion. What gives? Am I trying too hard at something that just isn't really meant to be tried out? I am concerned that I am attempting to nurture an already doomed relationship.

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Heather
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You can certainly ask him for more in-depth communication and find out if that's something he wants. Waiting for someone to bring something to the table themselves certainly isn't the only way to find out what they want, after all. [Smile]

And with your second paragraph, I'd say the same thing: you ask him what he wants, so that you can find out. You say the things you're saying here to him and get his feedback.

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Molias
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Last year I was in a long-distance relationship for a while, and I did find that it took some trial and error to find the best ways for us to interact so we were both happy.

One thing I was glad I did was to ask him specifically to send me sweet chatty messages more often; we tended to mostly write longer, more serious emails but in-between I found I really liked sending and receiving little "thinking of you" notes by text. He did it sometimes, and when I asked if he'd try to do it more often he was really happy to; it just hadn't occurred to him to keep up that habit as much.

It certainly can't hurt to ask for specific things you want, you know? Maybe just say "hey, I miss those long conversations we used to have when we walked around. We can't walk together, I know, but how about we set up a Skype date once a week to talk about those Big Things together?"

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pocket_mouse_531
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Hi Molias! Thanks for your input!

I also want to ask if this sort of trial and error is normal in a new relationship. I have very limited experience (I've only ever seriously dated one boy before my current relationship) so I don't know what's normal and what's not.

I was talking about my concerns to a friend of mine and he said it sounded like I wasn't really into my boyfriend. I don't necessarily agree with him, but I do sometimes feel like because I don't really feel super head over heels in love with him that maybe I'm not really into him. But by the same token, I don't really feel like I want to break up with him because I still want us to have the chance to get to know each other, you know? I want us to visit each other during the summer to spend time together so that I can at least see if maybe the reason things feel so dull right now is because of the distance.

Am I just getting this all wrong here? Help!!

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Molias
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I think any time people start a new relationship, it's not uncommon for them to spend some time sorting out exactly what that relationship's going to look like. Because really, there's no "normal" relationship model, and different people like and want different things out of relationships. So absolutely, I think it's normal to have a "trial and error" period, if you want to call it that, while folks are figuring those things out. The important thing here is to be communicating with your partner about these issues, so you know that behaviors and habits are hopefully happening because you both want them to, not because one or both of you have just assumed that that's the way things should be.

Have you seen this article on our site? Supermodel: Creating & Nurturing Your Own Best Relationship Models
It might be a useful thing to read and think about as you're trying to structure this relationship.

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pocket_mouse_531
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Hi Molias! Thanks so much for that article! It was super helpful and a great read. [Smile]

After reading the article I've already noticed a couple of things: 1) my partner and I tend to communicate differently and with different frequencies; 2) our interests aren't all necessarily the same in terms of what we'd like to do together; 3) some of our personal values are different; 4) our expression of affection for one another is different.

How do I bring up each of these points with my partner? Or is it too soon to do so?

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Molias
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Hi pocket mouse,

Sorry it took a few days to get back to you - I've been out of town.

These are the sorts of conversations that I think go more smoothly if you establish a pattern of having general "let's check in with each other" conversations from time to time so that you're bringing up these issues in small chunks a little at a time vs. waiting until so much builds up that you feel like you have to have a Relationship Summit just to sort it all out. I don't know that there's a "too early" for any of these specifically; but if they haven't come up or been a source of stress yet, you don't necessarily need to address them right now (especially if other things feel more pressing).

So, for example, if your values mismatch is something that doesn't impact your relationship right now but might be an issue if you were living together or raising children together, then if you started to talk about cohabitation it would be good to address that issue before that happened. But right now, maybe you don't need to, depending on what the issue is.

Do you have a sense of what feels like the most pressing issue right now? From what you've said here, it sounds to me like figuring out how to make your communication styles mesh more smoothly might be a good place to start. Do you have an idea of what you'd like to ask him for here? Maybe a phone call once a week, or Skype, or something else? And certainly, asking what sounds good to him in terms of how y'all handle that would be appropriate here.

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