Realistic Expectations

Dear Miss U,

Hi, I’ve been in an LDR for 3 months. We have an age difference, but we get along so well. We haven’t met in person yet, but hopefully we will this month. The thing is when we met online he was all over me (Facebook, messenger, and text… always read my Facebook posts) and was the most sweet and romantic guy in this world. I didn’t plan to fall for him, and at the beginning I also told him every time he said he loved me I told him I was not real. But we fell in love and we were so happy, until he broke his phone. He sent me a message on Facebook anytime he could, because he does not have a computer.

A month went by, and he got his phone back. He is still the sweetest guy ever, but he is suddenly too busy. When he hangs out he does not text and sometimes 2 to 3 days go by without me knowing about him. I told him about it, and that if something is wrong I need to know. But he said it’s work, that everything is great, and that he loves me. But still something is different. We set a date night, but he was too busy, and apologized for it but still we don’t get time to spend together, and he says he doesn’t like to video chat. But when I asked him if he feels different about us he says no, that he loves me so much, but then it’s back to the same.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t need him on the phone all day like in the beginning but at least once a day a text, and to never miss a date night and I’ll be good with that. I’m supposed to go to his home town in a month but I don’t know if I should because I feel disappointed. I would love his attention back, his sweet love text messages, and our time. I send him letters once a week, he says he can’t send me letters because he doesn’t have time to send them. But he will try. He is in the army, so I understand he really is busy but he is not making an effort either. What should I do? I want the guy I fell in love with back 🙁

– Ivette

The thing is, Ivette, this is the guy you fell in love with. It’s only been three months – I doubt he’s actually changed; rather he’s stopped making time for you and started making excuses. This is who and what he is, so you need to be able to handle that, or cut your losses.

I want to know what you get out of this relationship. You have hardly any contact with him. He won’t video chat, he doesn’t call you, he doesn’t write back to your letters. There are a lot of red flags here for me.

You are doing all the right things by opening up lines of communication and giving him the chance to discuss issues if he has them, which is great. You’re also willing to travel to him for the first meet, which is progressive and responsible – good on you! – but something inside me is also screaming “This is not safe!”

He is an established adult. Realistically, he should be coming to you – especially as it might help put your friends and family at ease about your age difference. But if that is not possible, please follow these three simple safety steps for meeting in person:

Video chat with him at least once before you meet. Having spoken to a friend or family member of his also doesn’t hurt.
Take someone with you. Failing that (or even in addition to that) have someone who knows where you are and what you’re doing call to check in with you frequently for the first couple of days. It’s not about not trusting him, it’s about being smart and safe.
Meet in a public place and don’t go home/to a place where you’ll be alone until you’re feeling 100% confident that he is who he has said he was online.

You have known each other only a very short amount of time, and I do fear for you. There are a lot of great loving caring men in the world, but there are predators too, and with little contact and having known each other a very limited time, it’s unlikely you can be totally sure of your safety.

I’m not saying he’s not busy or that he’s lying, but generally when it comes to love, people have to make time. I know this is likely not the answer you were looking for, and I do apologize, but I hope you’ll take everything I’ve said into consideration.

Dear Miss U,

My girlfriend and I have lived apart since we met a year ago. I’m currently in Florida with 3 months till graduation and then moving to Austin, TX to be with her. It’s a hard transition for me because I’m very close with my family and I’m leaving everyone behind to pursue a life with her. I’m excited, yet sad because I’m leaving everyone I know. I’ve visited almost every 2/3 weeks for weekends at a time, or anytime I had a break in class to spend all my time with her. Well it’s going to be 6 weeks till I visit again and she flipped out on me 6 days ago because she wanted me to come next week to help her cope with her mother moving to another country (she said mom’s move was destroying) I was very adamant about not going because I’m honestly just tired of flying and always being the one to leave my home, I too want to spend time with my family. But she made me out to be a horrible girlfriend for not being there for her and how she’s showing weakness for the first time to someone and I’m rejecting her. I feel miserable and she’s made my life hell for the past week so I brought a ticket and now she doesn’t want me to go because I only brought it to shut her up, not because I really want to go. That’s partially correct, I do want to go but I know that it would look bad with my family seeing as how she has yet to visit. It’s more expensive for her to come here than I there, is her excuse, but I feel like where there’s a will there’s a way and I’m tired of being the one to always leave. Please tell me if I’m wrong.

– Veronica

Dear Veronica,

You’re neither wrong, nor a bad girlfriend. She needs to step up to the plate a little bit. I can fully understand how her mother’s move must be upsetting, but she’s old enough to cut the cord already! You’re not rejecting her. You’re rejecting the constant strain of carrying this relationship on your shoulders, and that’s perfectly fine. In addition to that, she needs to get on a damn plane and meet your people, it’s well past time.

I’m assuming you go 50/50 for the price of visits/flights, but if you’re not it’s about time to be doing so as well. Instead of visiting every two/three weeks, you could easily wait a month or five weeks to have the bit extra money for her to make the flight instead. You’re not saying she should fly every time, but every second or third time at least would be perfectly reasonable.

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