April 27, 2006


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Pinings: The challenges of distance
by Sherry Hughes sah103@hotmail.com

Hi Sherry,
How can long-distance relationships work? I find it hard to pick up where we left off. Iím not very good at chatting for ages over the phone and he does chat a lot to his other friends who happen to be female and I find it difficult to compete there. Not that I should Ö ícause I know he cares for me very much. He has been unfaithful in the past and maybe even now. How can I ever have any effect on someone who lives so far away from me? We have been together for almost three years now and he only started this job away from me for the past five months or so. We are gradually making a social life in the town where he lives but I find my jealousy always interferes with what could otherwise be a good time. Wherever we go we are always welcomed and people comment on how attractive we are. Guys speak to me regardless of him being there and he is so cool about it. But when a girl comes up to him and she is attractive (he likes big bums) I get all possessive and upset.

I know I am better than this. I know that if only I can get over my fears maybe I can really get to know him better for the lovely person he is. I donít really have any close girlfriends. The ones who do keep in touch always have extreme problems (a boyfriend beating them, no home to live in etc.) My family gives me the basic home comforts but emotionally they†donít know what I am going through (my father is the first guy my mum slept with and has been with since she was 16). She is very jealous of him even now ó they are in their 50s óbut they are in love and go away for romantic weekends together often.

I have always been in long-term relationships although I have had more one-night stands during the 6 months when we had broken up than I have ever had. And the thing is I had a lot of fun. I donít know if this is because maybe I donít want to admit that I actually want to play a bit more. But I have such a lovely guy here who is beautiful in every way.

I am killing him and myself at the same time. Does any of this make sense to you? Please help me if you can. Ultimately I want to be with him and I picture us growing old together. I love him very much but I will turn him against me if I carry on the way I have been.

I am such a waste of space when I let myself down like this. I wish had a friend close enough here to talk to†but my friends practice escapism rather than speaking about something and getting to the root of the problem.

To me, it looks like you need to make some changes in your life. Long-distance relationships are really challenging Öand the key thing you need is the one thing you donít have: trust. If you are going to continue to have a relationship with your beau, you are going to need to trust that he isnít messing around behind your back. If the two of you have an agreement to be monogamous, and you are committed to enjoying the time you have to spend together, it can work. But there are things you really need to discuss: when you will see each other, how you will stay in touch, the importance of phone calls and letters and how long you will live apart. Is he planning on moving closer soon? Are you planning to move where he is? If this is a serious love relationship, you both get to ask those questions. If you canít come up with any answers, then you need to discuss that.

You might want to talk to a professional (therapist, counselor, clergy member) about the root of your jealousy and what you might do about it. Your mother is a jealous person and you tell me that your boyfriend cheated on you before Öso those are two things that might contribute to the insecurity that you feel. How you deal with those feelings is key.

The other thing I want to address is that itís time to make new friends and figure out what makes you happy outside of this relationship. You will be much more attractive to your man if you arenít always waiting for him to call, waiting to see him. Make a life for yourself and find some healthy, fun people to hang around with. Get a new hobby, learn a new language, take a class. Dependent, jealous women are a turn-off. Prove to yourself that you are more than that.

Oh, and you arenít a waste of space because you struggle with this stuff. You are just a normal person with normal challenges.

Sherry Hughes welcomes letters from readers at sah103@hotmail.com

Comments?†Thoughts? Discuss this article and more at hippoflea.com

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