Wasting Time in a Long-Distance Relationship?
It all depends on what you wanted out of the relationship in the first place.
Posted October 21, 2011
A natural and expected result of Internet dating is the creation of long-distance relationships. The good news: Two people with similar interests have connected, assuming they are who they say they are. The bad news: They may live so far away it is difficult to spend time together and get to truly know each other.
Take Sue’s situation, for example. Sue wrote, “I met up with a friend from 40 years ago. I found out after six months that he is married. He says he has been separated for seven years, but can’t divorce for financial reasons. We have been communicating for a year and met once. I believe he will never divorce so I stopped writing. Did I just waste a year?”
How can one simple paragraph have so many different aspects?
Sue and the guy have only been together once in a year. That’s hardly enough time to steal a kiss.
In a long-distance relationship, it is important for both people to get their expectations on the table soon by asking two questions: “If we hit it off, and we want to be together on a daily basis as a couple, who will be willing to move?”
And, “How will we be able to spend enough time together to get to know each other well enough to chance such a dramatic action as one person uprooting his or her life to move?”
Another issue that makes Sue’s situation complex is the guy’s marital status. More and more men and women are separating and pursuing different lives, but remaining married out of financial necessity. One woman I know lives in California and her husband lives in New Jersey. They have been separated for 13 years. He lives with his girlfriend. They have stayed married out of the goodness of his heart because his medical insurance pays for her debilitating medical condition, without which, she might die.
I know of another couple who have been estranged for seven years or so. She has a boyfriend; he freely dates. But they are still married and live under the same roof. They haven’t divorced because it’s a bad time to sell the home and break up the estate. My guess is the chance of them ever reuniting as a married couple is zilch.
However, he loses out on some women because when women hear he’s married they head for the hills, regardless of his circumstances.
Did Sue waste a year? It sounds like it to me, depending on what she initially wanted from the relationship. If she wanted to marry him, she wasted a year. If she wanted to live with him, she wasted a year. If she wanted a lover, she wasted a year. If she wanted a pen pal, then she didn’t waste a year.
After Sue found out he was married, she continued the relationship for another six months before the light bulb went on.
For a long-distance relationship to culminate in success, both parties need to be highly motivated and willing to make lots of sacrifices.
Tom Blake is a columnist in Southern California. He has written about finding love after 50 for 17 years. His books, Middle Aged and Dating Again, Finding Love After 50. How to Begin. Where to Go. What to Do, and How 50 Couples Found Love After 50 are available on Amazon.com as printed books and ebooks. His website is FindingLoveAfter50.com.