LDR Advice from Michelle and Frank




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Long Distance Relationship Boredom

July 18, 2008

I'm feeling tired but i dunno how to tell him... i feel like our conversation is dry and everyday I'll be asking him the same question... how did he sleep...how was his day...how was his work... anything new... sigh. We're in a long distant r/s and we just got together 3 months ago. We met online beginning this yr and met up face to face in May. Since then we haven't seen each other. It's just been a lot of msn and phone conversation... I feel like we have nothing to talk...even when we go out in May... and sometimes when I'm telling him something, he doesn't seem interested or paying attention??...And from what I hear thru the phone, he seems bored. And he said I am not interested in his conversation. I felt that I really did listen but from what he saw in the web cam...he says I didn't. I feel terrible. It's like I'm being watched and I don't wanna put up an act and be all attentive. I just wanna relax, surf the net and listen to him as we Skype at the same time. Is that not ok?

I know he loves me very much, I do, but the thing that bothers me is that our conversation just some to a standstill and it is torturing to me. I don't wanna pretend like that is not a problem or it doesn't bothers me... it does... Is there any way for us to improve this? Is us being away from each other a big factor to the dry conversation?

This whole silent in conversation really makes me contemplate to whether or not I should fly and go visit and stay with him for 3 months... it scares me... I just don't want to have that awkwardness... we probably would be so into each other physically for the first month (sigh - I actually find that deceiving emotionally) and then when we come back down to earth... will the conversation be the same?

What should I do... any hope?


Drowning



I feel that Frank and I will suggest similar things, so to avoid redundancy, I'll answer the question, and Frank will supplement it.

In long distance relationships, conversation can tend to get a bit dry. In long distance relationships the main way to interact is to communicate over the phone or online. Unlike "short" distance relationship couples, we're lacking physical closeness, which makes silence more comfortable when you're together. If you think about it, is it more comfortable to be quiet while cuddling on the couch and watching TV with your partner, or watching each other silently on webcams? It's a no-brainer that second scenario is bit more awkward.

Also in long distance relationships, since talking (whether over the phone or instant messaging) is the main way to interact with one another, you may actually feel you've run out of things to say to one another, except for conversation about day to day life. There's the feeling you may have exhausted every conversation topic.

Frank and I have been in this similar situation before, so we can relate to what you're feeling.

Here are some things you may wish to try before you decide to give up.

Instead of solely talking, try to find something you can do together. Watch a TV show or movie simultaneously or play an online game. It allows you to not stress so much over trying to make conversation. It may also create new topics of conversation.

There are also books and websites out there with questions for couples to ask each other. Here is an example: 100 Questions.

You've only been together for three months so don't think that there's nothing left to talk about. You just haven't asked the right questions yet. Have fun with a list of questions and take turns asking each other the questions.

To answer your question about whether or not it's okay to do things on the side online while you're on Skype... I think it's okay, but only to a point. Frank and I both surf the net while we're talking to one another online. We often share things we find when we surf the net too. Obviously you don't want to be ignoring your boyfriend while you're doing things online, so if you catch yourself missing things he has said, you have to stop what you're doing and pay more attention. It sounds as though he may be doing other things when you're talking as well since you don't feel that he is always paying attention to what you're saying. This is probably due to the lack of interesting conversation, but he should pay more attention as well.

There has to be time where you totally focus on one another and nothing else. Frank and I surf the net while we're on the webcam and instant messaging, but when we talk on the phone we avoid distraction and stay off the computer and focus on each other.

Obviously long distance relationships take quite a bit of effort... so if you want this to work out, you're going to have to actually put effort into making good conversation but also figuring out ways to do things together so you don't stress about conversation.

Also, don't be afraid to confront your boyfriend with these problems. Openly talk about it. Figure out what he's doing that makes him look like he's not paying attention. Confess that you do surf the net while you talk. Before you can work on your communication problem you both have to recognize there is one and admit it to each other.

If you really love each other, then there is hope.

Michelle



If you feel that your conversation is dry, swim toward controversial topics. Maybe see his point of view on the current political elections in the US. See if he is for gun control or against, and how he would feel if they banned semi-automatic weapons. You could even find out his view on Roe vs Wade (scary topic i know). My point is, there are infinite things out there to discuss.

Now, I will tell you that being apart is mostly the reason for this dry conversation. I mean, you only have talk. And when you spend time with someone every day, you will get bored. Even if you hung out with your friends every day in person, you would run out of things to say. But since you are doing activities, it is fine with your friends. This you probably already realize. Now I will hit some points.

  • I feel it is a little weird to be watched on the webcam. I agree, sometimes I just want to be on my own, and when I have a face looking at me on the computer, i get weirded out and don't like it. What you might want to consider is not using Skype all the time, maybe every other day, so that doesn't lose its magic.
  • It drives me crazy when Michelle is doing things on her computer when i am trying to talk to her. I could be talking about special screws used to hold down decks, and she could (and does) care less. However, I am interested, so she needs to just sit there and listen until i have told her about them. It is important to respect the other persons ideas of how they want to do things. When someone comes in to talk to you while you are at the computer, do you keep surfing the Internet, or do you stop and talk to them? I think you know that you should give them your attention. Perhaps you should find someone to communicate that one of you has an important topic that you should focus on. Saying "hey, listen" or "this is very important" and then you should focus on only him.
  • Now, for your boyfriend, he needs to do the same. When on the phone, stay with the phone call, don't be reading a magazine. Girls are very intuitive on voice tones, and even if you think you are trying to be clever and giving her "ok, uh huh, that's cool" to fool her into thinking you are paying attention, she can see right through that. Give her your attention. Also, respect that she is slightly uncomfortable with the webcam (even though it is like "being with each other"). Give her a break sometimes and let her just hang out with you on it.
  • One final suggestion is, if you talk every day, consider having a day off, or a short day. This is a day when you both do your own thing separately, and then call each other to say goodnight, and that is pretty much it. It takes the every day monotony out of the phone calls and talking, and then the next day, you might have more to talk about.
Please don't think that this is easy, like Michelle said, we had/have similar problems.

And finally, you said you've been together for only 3 months and that you plan on going to visit him and stay with him for 3 months.... why would you stay with him for that long? Why not just a week, or a month, and maybe take the physical stuff slow. That is just a thought.

Good luck.

Frank


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