LDR Advice from Michelle and Frank




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Long distance boyfriend less attentive than he used to be

July 22, 2008

Hi Michelle & Frank. I've been in a LDR for a couple of months. We knew each other since high school but kinda never really spoke. He liked me since then. And then after few years we met through the internet. He is in the US, and I am in a different country. A few months back I realized he was a great guy and I started liking him back. He proposed and I agreed, but not too soon. Now we are in a relationship if you look at our messages and talks. But are physically apart so I don't know if that's good enough.

My problem is, initially when this started he was all over me. Calls, hours of chats, everything was great. He told me his work pressures were not too much then. Recently though, he is looking for a new job, getting a visa upgrade, and traveling in intervals for work. So, all the long hrs have gone, which I can understand. But it so happens that we do not talk AT ALL for 2 days in a row sometimes. Calling is expensive for him, but he ain't available for chats too because supposedly he has gotten too busy and sleeps when its our usual chat time (his nights, my day). I am kinda scared due to all this. He will be traveling more now so I don't know how to take it because it gets difficult especially in an LDR :(

Please let me know how can I assure the freshness of my relationship with him and make him become more responsive. When he does get to talk with me, he is super sweet as ever. I did tell him it bothers me, but he said he is helpless due to work. I really need to figure out how to make him come around without complaining or nagging. I don't know if he has relaxed too much into the relationship and doesn't feel the need to put in the effort like he used to. I don't want to play games but I would like your advice. Thanks! :)


P



I think your particular situation is difficult since he isn't not calling you because he doesn't want to, it's because it's become quite expensive for him to call you. However there are ways to talk online for free. Skype is program where you can talk online for free. Expensive phone calls, SOLVED.

Interacting with webcams is also a good idea and can liven up a relationship. In the beginning, Frank and I did not have webcams. And when we got them we didn't know why we didn't get them sooner. I remember when I first got my webcam. Mine arrived before Frank's did (we ordered them online) and we had intended on not using them until we both got them in the mail. But we were too excited and I got on my webcam so he could see me, and he freaked out (in a good way) and it was like he had fallen in love with me all over again. It was a wonderful moment. I have to see if he has that convo logged. :)

Being able to actually see you versus solely chatting online, may give him more motivation to get on and talk to you more. You can buy him a webcam as a gift and surprise him with it. This way you don't have to nag at him to get one. I realize his time is limited, but it would not be unacceptable for you to ask for him to set aside a small amount of time per day to spend with you. He can't be constantly working from the moment he wakes up to the time he goes to sleep. He has to have a break in there somewhere. And I realize that the different time zones are inconvenient and maybe the time he can talk is when you're sleeping. If talking to him is important, maybe you could wake up early to talk to him when he's not busy. Someone here has to make a little sacrifice if you want to have time together. If it means waking up in the middle of your sleep, maybe only limit it on nights where you don't have to work the next day, so you're not losing too much sleep.

To freshen up a relationship I would normally suggest finding new things you can do together (this list is mostly things online you can do), but since your time together is limited already, why not try things you can do on your own time? For example, a lot of long distance couples write letters to one another. Sharing your feelings in a letter can reaffirm your feelings for your boyfriend, and if he feels loved he may feel motivated to share his feelings for you too. Other things you can try: write a poem for him, make a drawing, write a story about how you met and send it to him (it will be very meaningful to him and remind him of why you're together and the love you have), make a cute/funny comic strip, make a card, make a list of 100 reasons why you love him, take pictures of yourself and email them to him... there are so many thing you can do. I recently read where someone wrote about the top 5 moments he had with his girlfriend and mailed them to her. Such a nice idea!

Showing effort in your relationship will hopefully have a reciprocal effect, and he will put in more effort as well.

Michelle



Well "P," what you described with the attention (calls, chatting, everything being great) is called the romance phase of a relationship. This happens to every relationship. It is a natural stage. What happens next is what I like to call the "casual" stage. Now the relationship has lost its new-ness. Things are just normal, and usually a guy feels he no longer has to do the old things to keep your heart. Think of it as a new toy/car/videogame. When you get that videogame, you play it for hours upon end, you can't get enough of it. Then after a week or month, you do not play with it almost at all. This is not because you hate it, or because you got another new videogame. It is just a natural progress. The videogame has become slightly less exciting because you played with it too much. This is almost how a relationship works. The guy has been in the relationship and it lost its exciting and newness. He no longer feels that he needs to donate all his free time to the relationship to keep it working. (Yes, I do realize that you know that he feels he needs to put in less effort) That is why he is using his job as an excuse. He is focusing on his job. Perhaps, in his personal life, the life before you, his work was number one in his life. He might think that he has to work hard and nonstop with total dedication to the job to get ahead. He works himself hard and is tired. He believes that he already has you as a girlfriend, so being tired is a valid excuse. (Some of the time it is).

What you need to do is catch him on a day that he is stress free. One where he hasn't worked too long. Tell him that you understand the importance of a job. Tell him that you would not make him choose between his job and his girlfriend. All you are asking for is a little more attention and affection. In addition, please do NOT use the term "if you love me, you will change"; that is the worst thing you could say in this situation. The fact that he is super sweet like ever when you do talk is a great sign. It shows he still does love you. What you could do after that is arrange for a "date night." Pick one day a week and make it the night that you will spend a couple hours together. Watch something online together. Play a game, do something as similar to normal dates that non-LDR couples would do. This will help bridge that distance. The key thing to remember is that he likes you; otherwise, he would be out of the relationship. Take it cautiously, but make sure you clearly state what has been bothering him, while reassuring him that you understand his priorities in life. It is tough, but it will be worth it.

Frank


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