Long Distance Worry

Submit your questions for Dear Hoopers here 

Dear Hoopers,
I’m really worried about my relationship. It’s going really well and I love him to pieces. He has recently gotten a job as cabin crew and will soon be flying all around the world. I’m genuinely super happy and proud of him but I worry he will want to split. We had a rocky start when he often felt we should split because he couldn’t spend loads of time with me, despite me knowing he tried his hardest and trying to tell him it is okay. I am also a little worried about other women. Am I right to have this anxiety? I am just very scared of what this means for us and how to go about bringing it up to him and making us stronger.
-Long Distance Worry

Dear Long Distance Worry,
Distance can make the heart grow fonder, bolder, and for some estranged. No situation is the same. Your concern is legitimate and one that is relatable by many.  It is how you perceive the distance and treat your partner that will determine the outcome.

As a newlywed I was traveling a lot for work, sometimes weeks at a time, while Ryan was in Seattle for his Postdoc. After returning from a trip I recall him telling me that he was never worried about what I was up to, he just wished that he was experiencing it with me. While we function independently, we are also co-dependent on a lot of daily activities. During the absence from one another it made us realize that we value a lot of the simple pleasure in what you may call day to day monotony; like waking up and starting the day together.


If this is going to work you need to allow yourself to trust your partner and the cards that have been dealt.

-Kate

If you thrive on space apart to focus on your own life then this may be a great set up. But one thing is for sure, worrying will not help the situation. If this is going to work you need to allow yourself to trust your partner and the cards that have been dealt. When the sad days begin to outnumber the happy days is when you should reevaluate. Until then, It doesn’t hurt to give it a try!
-Kate

Dear Long Distance Worry,
Congrats to him! I’m sure he is excited to have received this promotion in his career and you are too. However, reality is setting in that this will take him away from you for long periods of time. This isn’t a new challenge in modern romance, but one that has myriad challenges that come with it including the possibility of new flirtations. It will be vital for you both to acknowledge the possible difficulties that may come with his promotion, while also remaining hopeful about the future of your relationship. On the plus side, this is a unique challenge that can help you and he discover if this is the right relationship.

If you are able to sustain and grow your relationship throughout the challenges of this time, it could help you feel confident that you are right for each other. If he is flying international, he will likely be gone for days at a time and then home for days at a time. It will be important that you two take advantage of this pattern. That may mean that you schedule time to focus on yourself (job, friends, health, etc.) when he is away and then scheduling time to focus on the relationship when he is home. Of course this isn’t always realistic but the efforts that you make towards his schedule will be critical to maintaining your connection.

The efforts that you make towards his schedule will be critical to maintaining your connection.
-Dr. Ryan

Since you mentioned that you struggled with the dynamic of time together in the past, it will be important for you to talk through clear expectations. This may mean that you set aside time to video chat each night when he is away or that you agree to focus on texting when he is away because of his inconsistent schedule. Regardless of the agreement it should be something that you talk through together and make a commitment to keeping along the way.

I would encourage you and he to talk about the importance of honesty. Talk openly about how wonderful/difficult/challenging this is for you on a day to day basis. Talk about your fear/insecurity/jealousy as it comes so that these feelings don’t pile up for you. Talking may not make these feelings go away but can serve to help you grow together.
-Dr. Ryan