First time long distance and Insecurities

Hello! This is my first time on here. Nice to meet you all.
Ahh.. I don’t really know who to turn to on this. I need an objective standpoint, because my personal friends don’t have much advice besides “Get over it, and talk more.” (Also, I’m sorry this is so long, please bear with me!)

A little back story. I’m 20, and in university, currently. My boyfriend is 22 and off at grad school, which he just started about a month ago. I’m so very proud of him! We’re 2 1/2 hours apart, which is not truly “long” by others standards, I’m sure, but it’s long enough for gas money/time/etc.

(We just celebrated our one year anniversary this past weekend, which was wonderful. ^_^) I met him here at college at a concert two years ago, and it’s been great. He’s my first “serious” boyfriend, and first a lot of things, and I’m grateful I’ve had such a respectful guy to be my first.

See, towards the end of summer, we decided to try long distance. I knew he was going to grad school, and although I was so very, very nervous, I decided “Hey, I’d rather see him once a month than never” and we agreed to brave the distance. It’s been about a month an a half.

A flurry of terrible thoughts continue to depress me in this first long distance experience. 1) My insecurities get the best of me. His grad department is 90% girls. Intelligent, all about his studies, girls. And I trust my boyfriend, I do, but no one can control or stop attraction. A girl friend of mine in a LDR told me that it’s easy for people to develop crushes on others while far away. I don’t really know what she wanted me to do with that info. It just made me feel even more nervous. I had a dream last night that my boyfriend told me that he liked another girl in his department. And I know dreams don’t predict the future, but this is obviously becoming something that’s bothering me. I DON’T want to be the girl who is jealous, possessive, and constantly relays my fears to him. I can’t and won’t control him, but I can control my actions. But what can I do for myself?

2) I feel, sometimes, especially the times like this, that I’m not cut out for long distance. Being in the same city, literally a 2 minute drive away, for 2 years was wonderful, but this abrupt change is really…hard. I feel like a TERRIBLE person saying that. I think “All these other internet/IRL people have had or are in successful LDRs! Why is it so hard for me?” Am I being a bad girlfriend, perhaps? Is terrible that I thought of taking a break because I can’t deal with the distance? Everything is so fine, but this distance is taking a toll on me.

3)Communication is not my forte. I can feel myself becoming resentful at myself (for not communicating that I want more talking time right now, but don’t want to ask because he’s busy being a grad student) and resentful at him, because I start making a laundry list of “I said I missed him more, I called him more often, etc.” and this is not healthy. I just don’t know what to do!

We both have similar communication styles, which is really quite avoidant. Perhaps I should have a talk about my needs, but ultimately, I feel that’s selfish.

4) Lastly, we have no clear end date. He’ll be in grad school for 2 years. I’ll be graduating in 2 years. And if that was the end of that, I’d be happy to be with him in 2 years. But he wants to pursue an MD/PhD somewhere, and I have to get an internship and Masters. I don’t know where either, but I’ll go where I can get money! So, really, we both might be in very different areas later to pursue our careers. At this moment in time, we both want to pursue careers first and foremost, and hopefully our relationship will follow! But it makes it hard to not have a real end date, which makes it feel like I’m in LD limbo.

I’d love to have more visits too! I feel that would half way solve my problem of insecurities and feelings of distance. But he’s busy with school, I’m busy with school, and we both have separate lives we want to build with friends and hobbies, and I feel like if we visited more than 2 weekends a month, our time would be consumed by each other. (Wait…is that a bad thing? I don’t know. AGH.)

I don’t know what kind of advice I’m asking for here. I’d like someone to tell me that I’m not crazy. Please. Because I feel like I am when I get trapped in my own thoughts. Thank you.

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6 thoughts on “First time long distance and Insecurities

  1. Shelly says:

    [You’re not crazy. 🙂

    I’ve been in your shoes, although quite a number of years ago. My now husband and I had been exclusive for almost a year and were going to be physically separated due to college. We opted to no longer be exclusive. However, this was prior to social media, videochatting, texting, etc., so we had almost no contact during that time except when we visited one another. That actually made it easier because I had absolutely no idea what he was doing (and vice-versa). When we were together, we didn’t share anything about what either of us was doing during our time apart. Instead, we just enjoyed the time, including being physically intimate. 

    We resumed our exclusive relationship once we were attending the same college, and that continued when we were again separated for one year after he graduated. The difference this time (which is why we remained exclusive) was the length of time we’d been together, the commitment we both knew we had, our ages, and the fact that we knew this time that it would only be one year, not an indefinite period of time like the first separation. 

    My advice is to not be exclusive. You can still see him when you’re together, but date others. Have fun meeting new people without worrying about what he is doing or being long-distance. To effectively do this, you will need to put some distance between you. If you can’t, it’ll cause you more anxiety than your current situation. In that case, I’d take a break until you both are able to give the relationship a fair shot by not having so much uncertainty with future plans, which might not bring the two of you to the same city for many years. 

    Good luck!

  2. resullins says:

    [First, welcome. We love new blood! 😉

    Second, you’re going to get all kinds of advice on here. Some of us are coddlers, some are snarky, and some are downright mean. What you’re going to have to do is NOT just pick and choose the advice you want to hear, and take a little bit from everyone. Even the people that aren’t exactly holding your hand.

    Now, that being said, here’s your first piece of advice. Forgive me.

    You need to give this up. I’ve been in a long distance relationship. Multiple, in fact. And the only thing that makes it work is WANTING and WORKING for it, and frankly, it sounds like you’re only doing half of that. You have to put your head down, you have to communicate, you have to make sacrifices, and you HAVE to have an end date. You’re not doing and you don’t have any of these things.

    I feel like you’re holding on because you said he was your first. I’m going to assume you’re talking sexually, here. That kind of intimacy is going to create a bond that exceptionally hard to break, especially when A.) you’re a woman and B.) you really seem to like this guy. But it’s something you’re going to have to look at objectively and not inject extra sentiment into this decision.

    I also have to bring up that your career / education paths are some that are NOT conducive to a healthy relationship in the first place, so the chances of you surviving a doctorate, and another grad program, and long distance is seriously slim to none. Especially when you, yourself, used the word RESENT when describing this relationship.

    I am sure that this was probably not the first thing you wanted to hear, but there it is. You need to take time for yourself. Concentrate on your college, on your grad school, on learning who YOU are as an adult. Take your time. Deal with you, then worry about finding someone else.

  3. Solstice says:

    [I mainly agree with Res – it seems like it’s more trouble than it’s worth, and it’s obviously something that’s weighing on your mind, and not in a good way. Once you have this idea of him talking to other girls, even if it’s not true, that’s going to be hard to get out of your head. Also, you’re only 20, which in my opinion is too young to go through the trouble of long distance. You’re in college, there are plenty of guys all around you that you can get to know!

  4. Jasmine says:

    [Welcome!

    As I see it, you do have a few options- problem is, you don’t seem to know what you want. At 20, I was in a long distance relationship- I lived in New York City, he in Washington D.C. We would take turns every two-3 weeks visiting each other over the weekend (I had very little money, so I would Greyhound it.) In the interim, we would visit on chat rooms (also before cell phones, texting, etc.) and for me, it worked. But I wanted it to. And for whatever reason, I wasn’t jealous.

    Actually, I know why I wasn’t jealous. Because he wanted to be with me. He adored me. And I knew that, and felt secure in it.

    If you don’t feel secure in this relationship, and you don’t see anything long term, then there really is not reason for you to be going through this.

    If you read that last sentence and your heart screamed “No! No! No!” then you can ignore the “end it” advice. However, that means you have to TALK to him. Set some ground rules, and then let go and trust him (and yourself)

    I feel your pain, girl! Hope being on this site helps!

  5. Matt Sanchelli says:

    [Hey rice_croquette, welcome to LemonVibe.

    This definitely does seem like a bit of a pickle, but there is definitely a LOT of great advice above already.

    One definite flag you wrote, that jumped out to me, was #3; communication. If you are going to be in an LDR you definitely need to move communication up to one of your top priorities. If both of you have the communication pattern of avoidance then this LDR is going to fail. A couple of years ago I was in an LDR of sorts (we were only a couple of hours apart too) and the one thing that kept our relationship “fresh” was our communication. We would frequently text, e-mail, snail mail, video chat and obviously have 3-4 evening conversations.

    As a side note on this topic, never (never) think you are being selfish by wanting to talk about your needs. Whether you are 20, 30, 50, 70 years old; your needs are important and if someone is going to be a part of your life then they need (and deserve) to know what you want/need/desire.

    Now, I will almost always sit on the cheering section for successful love and romance but there is a part of me that agrees with what Res, Solstice, and Shelly said about maybe taking time off from each other for a while.

    I won’t comment much on your youth, as I understand how annoying that can get. But it definitely sounds like the two of you are on different paths when it comes to your futures…and there is still a LOT of time for that course to change. It sounds like he’s going to be in school for a long time and therefore he may be required to go to certain locations to continue on this path. You obviously have your own goals and dreams too when it comes to education and work. If yours isn’t as ‘location specific’, would you be able to sacrifice those goals to support him and his dreams/educational endeavors?

    Based on the information you’ve given us, my recommendation would be to have a long talk with him. By long I mean no less than a couple of hours. The two of you need to seriously talk about your futures. Based on the conversation decide on whether or not it is worthwhile to continue the LDR.

    And here’s the good thing, even if you end the LDR it doesn’t mean you have to cut all communication. You can remain friends. You can remain involved in the other persons life; just pull back a bit (as others have said before me). Perhaps when the timing is better the two of you can try a relationship again. I have had many friends who have had to do the same thing. Some of them eventually ended up marrying that person. Others did not. But none of them have any regrets on how they handled it.

    Good luck in whatever you choose to do and please (if you feel comfortable with it) keep us updated on how things go.

  6. rice_croquette says:

    [Hello! Thank you guys for all the advice. Really. I’m still open for more!

    On one note, I don’t want to end the relationship. (I’m sorry!) I really want to communicate it out and try my best to make it work. I mean, it’s already working, but I really think I just have to work on myself.

    To be honest, I wrote this blurb after a day of no contact with my boyfriend, and my mind went all sorts of places and I started to freak myself out with my thoughts. I wrote this. About two hours later, I get a phone call from my boyfriend, who I was expecting to be like “I didn’t call because something’s going on” but really, he was just busy.

    I actually talked to him a little about how I was feeling insecure, and I feel much, much better after saying it out loud to him.

    Now, I still have yet to ask him if we can talk more than once a day, and text more, because I feel that is one of my needs. I feel that’s needy, but I’m not going to ask for hour long conversations. Just more talking time to make me feel more connected. (Does that sound alright?)

    You don’t know how much the ending it comment freaked me out, but I know it’s a comment that is bound to come up! I appreciate your opinions! I think I’m going to talk to him about having a “Let’s assess where we’re going with this” talk at the end of the year. And if we still don’t know, and if we don’t really have an end date by then, heck, I think we unfortunately may have to venture down that path. I don’t need a “We’re going to move in together by this time” or whatever. I’m 20, and right now, I enjoy my relationship with my boyfriend. He’s a great, funny, and smart guy, and I like having him in my life! I don’t want to give that up.

    Oh, and for comments about dating others, I’m not interested right now.. (But my sister does mention how I should be sowing wild oats now, but in my very southern college town, I’m not too excited about that. I think there’s still a whole world of dating after college, and right now I truly enjoy my boyfriend. I do have guy friends and girl friends, and I find that satisfying!) Sorry..

    Also, someone said they didn’t feel insecure because their boyfriend made them feel adored. That’s great! For my boyfriend, he’s pretty shy with his emotions, out loud. In person, it’s fine. When we’re together, it’s fine. But on the phone? A little weird for the both of us. It’s taking some adjustment. In writing though, I received a mushy poem (so not expected!) from him, which was lovely. We’re not used to this phone thing. I”M not used to it. I hate talking on the phone. I’m adjusting to having arguments on the phone and not being able to hug it out after.

    I’m going to try my best to communicate my needs (!) and am actually seeing a counselor about working on my communication skills, as it something that I need to work with. I have trouble communicating my “needs” to friends, family, my job.. sigh.

    The insecurity is something I need to work on, but I think voicing some of it to my boyfriend and letting him know I need more conversations to be reassured will help too.

    Thank you guys! If by some terrible luck, this doesn’t work out, but I hope it does, I’ll probably be back here in a fit of sadness. Hopefully not, but you guys have been helpful!!

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