Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: I have been in a long-distance relationship for nearly a year. About six months in, we both agreed that it was going to the marriage place (especially her). But after a series of arguments, I am having doubts. In previous relationships, I felt like the significant other was my best friend, but here, I am realizing I don’t know the other person as well as I thought, and I am really missing the pure physicality of being near the other person that nurtures a relationship (particularly after a fight). I am torn about whether to share these feelings with the other person (that I want to put off the marriage timetable till we know each other better) or just end it after our next disagreement. Any thoughts?
Distance and Distancing
What are the chances of your living in the same area, but not together, in the near future?
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Carolyn: Unfortunately, quite small. For professional reasons, I cannot move for a year, but I feel icky about asking her to move without knowing that I will one day almost certainly marry her.
Would you move sans promises for her if you weren’t stuck?: “I’m not comfortable making decisions about our future without seeing how we do in everyday life. Our recent arguments have brought that home for me. Since I can’t move for a year, you’d be the one who’d have to move, and I feel icky asking you to move with no guarantees. What do you think?”
That’s how I suggest doing it, if you think that makes sense.
However — if these arguments have you rethinking the whole idea of her, then it makes more sense to break up. I see relocating for someone as having the same sanity bar as moving in with someone: Do it only when you have a lot of information about someone and all of it says “yes.” When all the information says, “Maybe, but I’d like to get a closer look,” then it’s not a good idea.
Dear Carolyn: My boyfriend has had a small beard and mustache the whole time we’ve been dating. A few months ago, he started growing it out longer. He clearly loves the way it looks, but I don’t. He’s asked me a couple times if I “love” his beard and I’ve avoided a direct answer by saying I’m adjusting to it.
I don’t want to tell him what I really think, because he’ll be hurt (which I do understand). But at the same time, I just can’t bring myself to lie and gush over something I dislike so much. I keep hoping he’ll get tired of it and go back to the old look. He values honesty, but I’m guessing you are going to recommend a white lie.
Nope. I recommend saying that it’s not growing on you quite as effectively as it is on him. Heh-heh. Say you wish you loved it as much as he does, because it obviously makes him happy. Say you can be patient (assuming you can be) and let him figure things out. People tend to feel much better about making small accommodations for others when those others make small accommodations for them.
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