Dear Stavroula, on the Long Distance Relationship

Dear Stavroula,

I am 30 and a newlywed. My husband and I have been together from high school and we are very much in love. I had no complaints about him until now. He is a very sweet man who shows me his love in every way. But now, I’m faced with a problem that I don’t know how to manage. My husband got a promotion and his company is sending him to Japan for two years at least. We had never discussed it, nor did he expect it. The truth is that the money is great and his career will benefit a lot. However, I did not expect he would want to go. When he told me, I felt like the rug was pulled out from under me. It bothered me a lot. It does not seem to bother him that we will only see each other every six months for two or three weeks at a time or that he may need to extend his stay there. I cannot go with him, I do not want to leave my job and our home. I’m really desperate. I do not believe long-distance relationship can last and I do not know what to do to persuade him to stay.

Lina

Dear Lina,

I understand very well how you feel; it will not be easy to be away from your husband, deprived of him in everyday life, especially since you are very much in love, as you say. On the other hand, this is exactly your strength, which can help you overcome any obstacle, even that long distance. Besides, with the technological means that exist today, this distance no longer exists. Think about how difficult it was in the past for women whose men were seafarers or immigrants to distant continents, and they were left behind to raise their children without internet, without emails, and without video calls.

I would suggest that you let him decide what he wants to do without pushing him to stay, but by creating a secure framework that will support his choice, no matter what. Is that not the partner’s role? Love is an everyday act that is proven through the little and big things in life. If it is best for your man to chase his professional dream, why not help him achieve it?

Besides, if he refuses to go, influenced by your own reactions and his fear of losing you, how will you feel if he is not given such a good opportunity to develop professionally again? How will he feel if he knows he has rejected the opportunity of a lifetime not to displease you?

You write to me that he is a man who has shown you for years that he loves you, so why are you afraid that distance can be an obstacle to your relationship that has already stood the test of time? You are not a new couple just starting out in life, or just moving in together.

It is certainly not easy to maintain a long-distance relationship, but nothing is impossible if there is love and understanding. You have been together for years and are in love, so why not see this as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship even more?

If he chooses to leave, try to see it as a period of time that will end. See it as an opportunity to do things you like but maybe have not had time for until now. Fill your days with creative pursuits so you do not fall into a melancholy mood or negative thinking. Both of you will have more time for yourself and this is usually beneficial to the relationship between two people.

Cultivate a common routine from a distance. Find some time when you can both be on the internet, seeing one another onscreen, and set out some things you’ll do together, like watch a movie or read the same book that you will then discuss. It is important that you continue to share experiences.

Distance can help renew your relationship, as the need to express emotion is increased and conflicts are limited. It is easier to keep priorities straight, and the couples do not waste time squabbling over trivial things. Quite often, they really appreciate the time they do spend together.

What is really needed in order for the time to pass easily, is trust and understanding on both sides. Think about how he is not pushing you to follow him, and is not asking you to leave your job or your dreams. Why would you ask that of him?

2 Comments

  1. Dear Stavroula,

    I strongly disagree with your above opinion. Careers need to have limits and so does the greed for money. Marriage and family are more important. If Lina and her husband both wanted to go to Japan then fine – otherwise the husband has a duty to put his marriage first and to forget Japan.

    1. How is it “greed” to simply want to provide for your family and advance your career? It’s not, that’s how, stupid. You just get triggered by the mention of having a job and money, and so you repeat some cliches that you memorized. I might agree with the conclusion, but not if you get there with stupid statements putting a person down for wanting to be happy and provide for his family. By the way, if money is so inherently bad, why don’t you simply send all yours (if you have any) to this couple and help out? In my experience, people who say things like “greed for money” are the cheapest, laziest people who sponge off others.

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