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Long distance stuff

Posted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 2:24 pm
by Hel
I’ve been dating my boyfriend for over a month now. This is the longest romantic relationship I’ve ever had. Everything has been going well, especially when we were seeing each other in person. But now we’re in different countries and long-distance.

We try to video call on regular basis, but it’s not the same. I feel uncomfortable and awkward bringing up our relationship over a screen. Like, I want to ask him to tell me if he really loves me, (I’m sure the answer is yes, but I keep worrying and having trust issues that I think stem from my bad experience with having a boyfriend in the past. I also want to tell him about these issues, but it feels wrong to do so over a screen.) and stuff like that.

Also, I want to ask him about being more physical in person when we see each other next. I want him to give me a hickey, and maybe touch my breasts, but damn it would be so weird to ask about that when I know my parents and my sibling are at home and might hear the entire conversation. Talk about awkward.

In short, I really just want to ask my boyfriend if he sees me as a serious girlfriend, but I keep chickening. Like, I’m 90% sure he’s in love with me and wouldn’t dream of breaking up, but sometimes it feels like I’m not a priority to him. How do I say all this over video with my family lurking around? How do I ask for a more serious, steady relationship? I don’t want to intimidate him with all this - I come off as pretty strong.

Please advise me on all this, and thank you so much.

Re: Long distance stuff

Posted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 4:27 pm
by Mo
It can be tough to figure out how to best communicate in long-distance relationships, and I think a key thing to remember is that there isn't one "right" way to do it that will work best for everyone. There's definitely nothing wrong with having a conversation over a screen if you want to--keep in mind that even if you'd rather talk in person, that's not something you can do right now, and I think it's always going to be better to have an important conversation over a second-best medium than to not have it at all.

It sounds, though, like video chat doesn't feel like the ideal way to have some of the serious conversations you're interested in, whether that's related to sexual things you might want to explore or how he feels about the relationship itself. Do you ever chat over text? Do you think you could talk about some of these things that way, or even by sending an email where it can be easier to write out a bunch of stuff you're thinking about at once?

I know that sometimes people feel like a phone/video call is the next best thing to seeing someone face to face, but there are times when it can be easier to start a difficult or emotional conversation over text, because you're able to take your time to craft the exact message you want to send and the recipient is able to think about it and about their response without the pressure of replying immediately.

In terms of what to ask, could you say you want to talk about how you both feel about the relationship just now? That's a really normal thing for anyone who's in a relationship to ask, and I would hope that wouldn't feel intimidating to him.

Re: Long distance stuff

Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 12:26 am
by Hel
I really want to have these conversations soon, because I feel like they’re important to me. He’s told me he loves me and is serious about me, and constantly talks about spending time with me in person - whenever that is. I just keep overthinking and worrying that he’ll break my heart like my last boyfriend did, even though all the signs say that my current boyfriend really, really likes me. How do I stop the paranoia that comes from my previous relationship?

I’d prefer to video call because I think that’s the most privacy I’ll get while talking to him. I also think sending an email or text feels too formal, and I want to be able to see his face. I just don’t know how to initiate that conversation.

Like, yesterday we were talking and he was telling me about this video game he really likes. He was so excited and I was not interested in the game... I felt like he picked up on that. Then he texted in a group chat thing so the two of us could video call our other friends. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to have spent time with them as well, but I told my boyfriend before we hung up to join the new video call that I was a bit upset because I just wanted to call him. It’s these kinds of things that I want to address - does he really see me as something serious? I might be reading too much into things. I tend to do that. Should I ask him if he really wants to spend time with me? I also asked him how we can improve the relationship (as a long-distance one) and he wasn’t sure.

Re: Long distance stuff

Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 8:23 am
by Sam W
Hi Hel,

Given what you're describing, I think Mo's suggestion to frame this as checking in about how you both feel about the relationship is the way to go. Those kind of conversations are a pretty standard part of navigating a relationship. And, it will help you each develop an understanding of how the other person feels and sees the relationship, while also giving you a chance to express some of those questions you have.

As far as how to manage those fears that come from a previous relationship, it can help to try and take your boyfriend at his word in terms of how he feels about you, rather than listening to the parts of your brain insisting he doesn't feel that way (the one caveat there is if his actions don't align with those words; for example, he says he cares about you but spends a lot of time belittling or insulting you). It can also help to focus in what's going on in your relationship and what it needs to grow and thrive in the here and now, rather than borrowing trouble from your future self by focusing on all the ways it could go wrong. Does that make sense?

Re: Long distance stuff

Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 9:03 am
by Heather
Hey there, Hel. I want to add something else in here for you.

Protecting our hearts is something that is as much a thing we need to do as other people do. In other words, at least half the job of protecting our hearts in an interaction or relationship is on us, not the other person. It sounds to me like you may not be doing much of that.

It's most typical for relationships in your age group to only last a few weeks or months. I know that can really suck (I remember), but it's also just a reality. It's also not usually because people are being jerks so much as because at this stage of development, people are in a state of pretty constant change, so who they feel like and what they want can change, which tends to have an impact on dating, friendships and other relationships. Often even when they do last longer then, it's about things like trauma bonding (that was the case with my most mutually emotionally intense relationships in my teens, for sure) or people feeling like it's not okay for them to move on, even when they want to, because so often teens are or feel held to standards about relationships that are for much older people in a different time of life.

So, knowing something like that, just as an example, some things that yo can do to protect your heart are things like making sure your expectations are realistic: for instance, it's wholly likely this one may not last for years, if that, too, even if this guy is great, you're great, and everyone cares about each other. Knowing that, you can also know not to go 300% in emotionally, but instead, move more slowly and gradually. Does that make sense?

I think something else to keep in mind when it comes to expectations is to understand and accept where you're all at developmentally, The behaviour you described in that last paragraph about the video game then the group chat all sounds really normative for me for a lot of people your age. You say you want to know he's serious, but not only are you guys young, you've also only been dating for a month. We can just only truly feel so much for someone we are just getting to know, and in a new dating relationship. Love isn't something we can usually develop that fast at any age -- extreme like, sure. Infatuation? Oh boy, yes. Sexual and romantic desires? Yep.

My point in saying all that is that we're bound to be disappointed or gets our hearts busted if our expectations of people, and what we want from them, isn't realistic or sound.

I wouldn't ask someone I had been dating for a month if they see our relationship as serious, because a relationship that's only a month old really can't -- and IMHO, for healthy boundaries, shouldn't -- be that serious. We need time to figure out how we feel about people, time to grow and nurture a relationship to sort out what we want from it and what it is for us, and time and space to feel and learn to understand our own feelings.

Instead, I'd suggest you sit with yourself and your fears and feelings, and see if you can't sort out what you would want from a statement like that: what are you looking for? What do you need from that, and is it -- as it may well be -- something you can actually give to yourself, like not getting too invested in new relationships right at the gate? Like not doing things, like kinds of physical intimacy, or commitments, before trust is built with someone for you to have the kind of safety you want? Get what I mean?

Re: Long distance stuff

Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 3:21 pm
by Hel
Thank you all for the advice. I certainly hope our relationship lasts as long as possible. I have checked in with him and he was really quite eager to talk about the relationship, and he definitely seemed to want to continue with it. :) I know I tend to over-analyze things, so I’ve decided to take a step back and trust my boyfriend. I plan on taking things at the current pace, and checking in with him about the relationship repeatedly. Thanks again for the different things to think about!

Re: Long distance stuff

Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 5:45 pm
by Mo
I'm glad you were able to check in and that he was happy to discuss the relationship. :)