July 3, 2012 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
Hi Dr. love.This is my first time am using this website and i hope it works.Am in a long distance relationship with i guy that i love so much for like 5 months now.However there has been some emotional distance of late.This is after we became close with a friend whom I had a crush on but we never used to talk untill recently..we text each other almost all day unlike with my guy..Somehow i feel like am loosing my guy to this other friend who also happens to be having a crush on me.Just the other day i told my guy that i wanted some time to think things over and now we are not even talking.I honestly don't know how to handle it becuse we had a conflict.I really do love him and i cant afford loosing him.The other guy is my best friend and i don't want to lose him either.Am not sure if am cheating on him emotionally...HELP ME KNOW HOW DO I MAKE THIS BOUNDARY AND WHOM DO I CHOOSE AS WELL AS HOW DO I BRIDGE THAT EMOTIONAL GAP since we cant be together and it can only work as a long distance relationship....I really need this..please help me.THANK YOU.
How to Bridge the Emotional Gap
I hear that you are very conflicted. You said that you don’t want to lose your boyfriend of five months, and you also said that you both are destined to only have a long distance relationship.
Then there’s the guy you have a crush on, who is your best friend.
I hear that you want both guys in your life.
The first thing we need to do is raise your own Relationship IQ. The first aspect of your RIQ is self-awareness. To become more self-aware, begin practicing the discipline of looking into your heart and finding out what you’re truly feeling.
As you look inward, you will discover that your feelings are not neat and clean. We humans are often conflicted.
You will also see that this other guy isn’t just a best friend to you. You said yourself that you both have crushes on each other.
I think you are feeling guilty that you are emotionally cheatingSee Infidelity. on your boyfriend because you know that you like this other guy more than as a friend.
You also need to realize that you acted on your feelings of conflict and guilt by telling your boyfriend that you needed time to think things over.
As you now see, acting on feelings (rather than talking them out) is destructive of our relationships. Action begets a counter-reaction, and now your boyfriend has pulled back and you aren’t speaking.
As you continue reflecting, you need to look into why you want to invest yourself in a dead-end relationship. You said yourself that your relationship with your boyfriend will always be long-distance. I encourage you to inquire as to why you would want to emotionally invest in someone that you can’t ever fully have. Then you want to look at why you are willing to take crumbs? How does this connect to your childhood? Are you used to not having much? And, for this reason, are you destining yourself to accept that you must always be long distance lovers. The fact is the highest obstacles to climb are the ones that our own minds build. The point is, I don’t agree that it is a given that you must always be long-distance lovers. When there is love, one or both partners can move.
Then you need to look at how it serves you emotionally to attach to a partner who is not fully available to you. Are you afraid of full on intimacyAn intimate relationship is a particularly close interpersonal relationship. It can be defined by these characteristics: enduring behavioral interdependence, repeated interactions, emotional...(Click for full definition.) and commitmentFear of commitment is a common source of conflict for couples. Commitmentphobia is often most strongly apparent in romantic life. Generally, commitmentphobic people claim that they are eager to find...(Click for full definition.)? Were you neglected, rejected or abandoned in childhood, and are you recreating what is familiar? And are you keeping this boyfriend because he will always be at a safe distance? Meaning is a large part of your attachment due to the fact that he lives far away? Many people actually find themselves drawn to the forbidden fruit, meaning someone they can’t have (because the other person is married or lives far away). The attachment and yearning for a partner who isn’t available always recreates a childhood relationship in which we yearned for a parent who was distant or absent.
Now let’s talk more about your “best friend.” Since you didn’t say that he’s long distance too, I have to assume that he lives close to you. The first thing you want ask yourself is why you want to convince yourself that he’s only your friend? You also want to look at whether you’re afraid to form a relationship with someone who you can have? And are you afraid that if you allow yourself to become involved with your best friend/crush that you will lose your boyfriend who lives faraway?
You also want to consider why you can’t be friends with your long distance boyfriend--so you both don’t need to give up your connection--and date the local “best friend” that you have a crush on?
Finally, I want you to look into your heart and listen to your feelings regarding what you truly want in terms of your relationship future. Would you rather have a solid, day-in day-out relationship that is not long distance, even if the bond isn’t as strong as what you have with your long distance guy? And are you truly willing to live your life with a long distance relationship?
As you can see, there is much that you need to understand about yourself.
One thing I do know is that you need to consider your boyfriend’s feelings in this equation. Telling him you need time to think isn’t a relational move. You always want to include the other person in your reflections, especially since he’s the other half of the relationship! He needs to hear how conflicted you are; that you felt an emotional disconnect occurring; that you want to revisit the question of the long-distance relationship and see if he is adamant about never moving, and so on.
After you see clearer into your own heart, and after you talk to your long-distance boyfriend, you will be much more certain on how you want to proceed.
Let me know how you do!
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