T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 95068
posted 10-08-2012 08:02 PM
I've mentioned before that I've been with my bf for a while and we've done some long distance (spent up to three months apart). I have a job offer for after college that I'm probably going to take because it's more or less exactly what I want to be doing, great company, great pay, etc. My bf doesn't have a job yet, but he's been recruited by companies all over the US, so he could end up literally thousands of miles away.
We both need to make money and we also believe in gut feelings, so we're not going to follow each other. I also don't feel right asking him to make a decision based on me. Even though he doesn't have offers, I'm starting to worry about what his situation could mean for the future of our relationship. I'm reluctant to talk about this with him until he actually has offers, but can you offer any advice?
Member # 90293
posted 10-09-2012 07:21 AM
First, congratulations on the job offer! Can you say mnore about what mmakes you reluctant to discuss these concerns about the future with your boyfriend?
Member # 95068
posted 10-09-2012 08:36 AM
I want to talk to him about my concerns once he has some offers in hand, but I don't feel like I should say anything now. He's trying to figure out what he wants and prepare for interviews. I think he should do the best he can on interviews instead of worrying about how we'll feel IF he gets this job. I think the other thing is that so many of my friends are making post-grad plans around their SOs (applying only in the same cities, etc.). It's really hard to get a job in my field right out of undergrad, so planning around my bf has never been an option. I would never ask someone to make a decision around me at age 21, either. But I still feel stressed out about it.
Member # 49582
posted 10-10-2012 09:45 AM
I don't personally think it would be out of line to share your feelings with him around this. I mean, there's a pretty big difference between asking a partner to make a career decision based on our feelings than simply sharing the feelings we have.
I also don't think it's sound to worry about sharing your feelings around this as being something that could change his feelings or put him at a disadvantage in his interviews. After all, nobody can know how he feels unless he tells someone. It could be that this is concern for him, too. Also, we aren't responsible for anyone else's feelings, even if we feel the need to share our own. Everyone has needs in relationships, and the need to commuincate our fears about a relationship with our partners is usually a pretty huge one. Open, honest communication is a pretty huge key element in all relationships, after all. What do you think?
Member # 95068
posted 10-10-2012 03:04 PM
That's a good point, Ray. I'll tell him that I'm worried.
Does anyone have experience with something like this? I'd love to hear a perspective other than "My SO and I are looking only at the same places."
Member # 79774
posted 10-12-2012 09:29 AM
Hi, fiveanddime. As you're asking, I can talk a bit about my experience with this - though of course, every person and situation is different.
I've done long-distance a couple of times. The first time, I was with someone when we both went to uni, and we chose to go to the unis that were best for each of us, even though they were quite far apart. We figured the relationship would last anyway, and that things wouldn't go well if one of us gave up too much of what we wanted. In hindsight, I'm immensely glad I didn't give up a lot or really important things to me or my future, because the guy turned out to be a jerk (an abusive jerk, so I'm fine with speaking about an ex-partner that way). I'm also immensely glad that he didn't give up things for me, because there is no way I would've wanted the resulting guilt-trip and how-much-he-did-for-me stuff. I didn't want to do long-distance again, but I met someone where that completely changed. We met a few weeks before my partner was leaving for another country, and when it happened, we both felt very comfortable that we didn't want to give each other up and that we could both be healthy long-distance - that is, neither of us would be living half a life because we were pining after the other. There was no way we could realistically be together without one of us hugely giving up things we'd spent a lot of time and money working for, and that just wasn't an option - neither of us wanted that or wanted to ask the other for that. At the time, we had no idea how, if and when we might ever be in the same country in the future, let alone the same town, but we agreed that beyond 12-24 months everything was going to change for both of us anyway and we'd just figure it out, no point planning for the complete unknown. We talked on Skype nearly every day, and the relationship was well-suited to distance because we'd met online and had already established a way of being close by writing. My partner was in the kind of job where distance-working every so often was fine, so we saw each other maybe one week in every five, or two in eight. We were also fortunate enough to have cheap flights near-ish, although the journey was still quite long, and that my partner earned enough to pay for those flights. We wanted to see each other more, but it was ok - as a relationship, it felt close and was still developing, rather than just marking time. If we'd not been able to see each other for several months at a time, I think that would've been a very different experience, and I really don't know if that would've been ok or possible for me or the relationship. My partner was then looking for a permanent job, and I'd decided what country I was planning to be in for the next few years. My partner's field is the kind where jobs are very specialised and only a few suitable ones come up anywhere every year. We talked about it, and planning to be together would've meant either my partner abandoning their entire chosen career, or me following my partner and missing out on the future I wanted. That didn't feel like an option for either of us. I think that without the other big things we want in life, we'd each be only half the person we really are, and we want better for both of us, plus I don't see how the relationship would work if one of us was very unfulfilled and not ourself. We figured that we could be happy in the relationship if we could see each other every few weeks, so we agreed that my partner would look for jobs only in the same continent as me so that travel would be possible both time- and finance-wise... and hopefully an entire continent would produce Something! My partner got desperate after a while and did apply for the "perfect job" on another continent, but it was only a year's contract. I think we were both happy they didn't get it, as neither of us knew what decision we wanted to make about that. We talked about it at some length, but didn't find any conclusion. My partner later chose not to apply for two other permanent good jobs on a different continent, telling me that in a straight choice between career and me, they picked me. I worried and did the "are you sure?" thing, and we talked about what if the relationship didn't work out, and my partner said that no matter what the future might bring, that was the choice that was right for them at the time and what they wanted most, and I would never owe them anything or be the slightest bit responsible. Basically, I said "I can't give up what I want" and my partner said "I know, and I know it doesn't mean you love me less. You shouldn't give it up." Just to round off, I think the luck god/dess sprinkled lucky dust on us, because my partner landed an awesome job in the same country I'm going to. I'll likely be moving to a different town for study in the future, but a few hours' train ride is so much better than train/bus And flight! I think practicalities are probably quite individual, but I'd suggest that a journey over 5 hours begins to make weekend visits too hard - I was doing 8 hours occasionally for a while, and it didn't really work. Too exhausting and not enough time together. A past housemate of mine was in a LTR with someone who was based about 4-5 hours' journey away; they were also lucky enough to have some flexibility. They spent nearly every weekend together, alternating. One would leave at Friday lunchtime and get back Monday lunchtime, so they were basically spending 2 1/2 days a week together, for about 3 years. That seemed to work very well for them. They both seemed happy enough with how integrated they both were into both places, though that wouldn't feel ok for everyone.
Member # 95068
posted 11-11-2012 12:14 AM
Hi again, and thanks for your responses!
So bf has some offers now, and he's still waiting to hear back/decide whether to apply other places. I'm pretty much settled in what I'm doing, though I'm open to moving in a year or two because I'd like to explore the country more. Basically, it comes down to the fact that we're going to be several thousand miles apart and facing jobs that (at least in his case) are not going to give us much time for ourselves, let alone to maintain an LDR. We're both excited about the opportunities, but I'm not very hopeful about things lasting after college. I feel like I'm distancing myself from him because I'm scared to let go. I told him this and he agreed that it is scary but it's too soon to talk about these things because we don't know what's going to happen. I'm trying to enjoy things in the moment, but it's hard to get past the fact that he may well be out of my life in a couple of months. I know there are other people out there, other great people, but I really like this guy, and I'd be sad to lose him to distance.
Member # 90293
posted 11-11-2012 09:09 AM
Change is tough, particularly if it's not something we've experienced before.
It sounds as if you're trying to protect yourself from it hurting so bad, by starting to distance yourself now. It also sounds like you don't feel as if you have a lot of control over this situation. While long distance relationships are challenging, there's no way to predict how it's going to go until you're actually in it. Put another way, it's at least attempting a healthy, successful LDR is something people have to decide to do, just as they decide to do so with an in-person relationship. No relationship happens or succeeds without active work from the partners involved. Is an LDR something you want to try with this guy?
Member # 95068
posted 11-11-2012 11:28 AM
I'd consider it, but only if the circumstances seem like it will work. In the field that we're going into, 12-hour workdays aren't uncommon, sometimes on weekends, too. If we're on opposite sides of the country, that's just going to make it worse.
I would be willing to give it a shot, but only if it's possible to make time for each other. We did an LDR over the summer, and it was fine, but there was also a clear end date. This is more nebulous.
Member # 90293
posted 11-11-2012 11:35 AM
So perhaps the big question you and your boyfriend will want to start discussing is what strategies you'll both use to make time for each other. This might include each of you sharing how much time you feel as if you need from the other, and negotiating if those time needs are different.
Do you feel as if this is something you can talk with him about, perhaps explaining that it's helpful to you to start planning?
Member # 95068
posted 11-11-2012 11:56 AM
Yes, that's what I need, I think.
The problem is that he doesn't know what he's doing yet. He's got a few offers, but he's still applying to and waiting to hear back from other places, and they're all different environments in different places. So he could be a few hour's drive away or he could be a long plane ride. I don't think we can plan yet because we don't know what the situation is going to be. I'm just trying to figure out how I can cope until we know what he's doing. I don't want to think about this as much as I have been. I also can't get the idea of "starting over" (with a new relationship) into my head even though I've done it before.