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Long distance etiquette

Read more Relationship Advice and Dating Advice on Long Distance Relationships

Hey Guys,

My boyfriend and I have been together a little over two years and recently I moved across the world for a six month contract, so we decided to do an LDR. He was very supportive of me moving and wanted the LDR just as much as I did. Throughout the LDR there have been ups and downs and my general overarching problem is that things keep happening that I can’t seem to discern if they are deal breakers or not, likely because I don’t want to end it and am (duh) afraid of how bad it will feel if I do.

In general, about once every month or so we have to have some discussion about how he needs space or feels irritated about having to contact me every day, or else I’ll ‘get upset’. I’m on the other side of the world, so I wonder how much more space he could have? All I’m asking for at minimum is a text or two a day to say hello, goodnight, how was your day etc —not much to ask when I’m gone and we don’t plan to see each other for my entire stay abroad.

Right now, two things are really perplexing me that I’d love your advice on. First, he has recently said that he even likes not talking for a few days at a time because it makes him ‘yearn’ (??) for me in a different way than when we talk or text every day. I’m not sure what to make of this. I feel like I would have to fake being busy just to achieve the infrequent nature of communication he says makes him excited to speak to me. I have a rich life here, I work hard at my job and play hard with my friends, and still find it convenient to text or call. He, on the other hand, finds this difficult; it takes a lot of effort on his part I guess, and he doesn’t want to feel ‘required’ or ‘obligated’ to respond to me within 24 hours.

The second bit is that he said he would like to download this app which helps you find people in your area that like smoking weed to hang out with. I feel like this is really different from a lot of posts I see where women find their partners lying about being on dating websites—he’s at least asking me about it before doing it, and quite adamant that he will only be looking for platonic friends. I looked up this app though, and it is more like a Tinder for pot smokers. I explained that I’m not comfortable being half way across the world, and him browsing for local women based on their preference for smoking spot. It just seems like he would be placing himself in a pointlessly awkward position especially if these ladies are looking to hook-up. He said he understands where I’m coming from, but is going to do it anyway, platonically, and that if I have a problem with it it’s because I don’t trust him. So what is your take on this? My sense is that this kind of behavior is juvenile, that this isn’t a mature way for a monogamous man in an LDR to meet new friends, and that him saying he’s going to do it anyway flies in the face of any rhetoric around being open and honest by telling me about it first.

I think he is of the mind that if he is open and honest and upfront he should be able to do what he wants. However, to me,  being honest about needs and wants in a relationship means sometimes you have to compromise and not do everything that you want, or agree to not indulge because of divergent needs.

Thoughts?

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

We love it when people use honesty as an excuse to misbehave. As in, “Honey, I’m just letting you know that I’m going to meet some new women, smoke some pot, hang out, have a little fun. But don’t worry. It’s no big deal. Trust me.” You do realize we’re being sarcastic. The fact that he’s trying to pin this on you is laughable, and actually insulting to your intelligence. Even if he is telling the truth and he just wants to meet new friends, he’s mistaken if he thinks that being in an honest relationship gives him carte blanche to behave however he chooses. The sort of honest relationship he’s describing is an “open” relationship, where both partners agree to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, or in some cases an, “ask, tell, but don’t judge” policy.

Being in a honest and committed relationship means you have the other person’s back when you’re out in the world. It means when you make choices you think about the other person, not just yourself.

That means he should be asking himself questions like:

How would she feel about what I’m about to do?

Would I feel okay if she was behaving in this way?

Am I respecting our relationship by behaving the way I’m behaving?

Am I truly being honest about what my intentions are? To her? To myself?

From what you say about your relationship, it almost seems as if he was excited for the break, almost as if he was getting a six month reprieve from your relationship. What do you think? Certainly, we could be off-base here—you know him better than we do—but when you tell us he resists daily communication and is about to hook up with fellow potheads, we gotta wonder if he’s ready to be in the kind of relationship you believe you’re in. It just seems that the two of you are not on the same page. (How old are you? How old is he? Maybe his age is factoring in since he does seem immature.)

Either way, it’s okay to be honest with him about your feelings. (We don’t think you’re being unreasonable.) It seems a little odd that he all of a sudden needs to make more pot smoking friends.  Doesn’t he already have friends?

This is a no-brainer to us. It’s not about the pot, or the hookup app, or his lack of communication. No. The biggest issue you have is his unwillingness to listen to your concerns, consider your concerns, and change his behavior accordingly. He’s at that place where he’s not willing to compromise. Maybe he’s been hurt in the past and he’s all about, “accept me for who I am” but that’s a very young and narcissistic way of viewing the world and relationships. Experts often say, “You shouldn’t have to change for someone else” but it’s way more complicated than that. It’s true, your partner should accept you for who you are, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t want to become a more evolved person yourself. (If there is such a thing.) And honestly, if he doesn’t want to change for you, he might want to consider making some changes for himself. If not, he should be honest with you about what he really wants, or doesn’t want.

What do you think? Leave your comments/thoughts/questions in the comments’ section below. You must be Logged In to do so, but it’s easy.

All the best,

THE GUYS

ps. We hope you’ll let your friends know about us. Thanks!

 

 

 

 

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