- Dr. Love's Appearances
- Love Library
Stay or Away?
June 3, 2011 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
I met a guy 4 years ago on web and we've been chatting with each other. He lives in aus and I live in hong kong. We just finally met in person in this january as he came to visit hk. we spent 4 days together and it was like heaven. we did have a lot of fun. he plans to visit me in hk soon,also i will go to visit him in aus in oct.
but recently he told me that we cant be boyfriend and girlfriend now as we are in different places plus he has 2 more years until he finishes in aus (btw, hes 28 and im 23),also he did have long distance relationship before and he thinks that sucks. he told me it could be a few years in the future before we can be really a couple just not at this moment,says he doesnt want to mess me around as he does like me alot,too much respect for me,and doesn't want me to wait for
him...but he will still come to see me in hk and he would love me to come to aus to see him in oct...he said he didnt expect that we could be so wonderful togther and didnt expect that we like each other that much...plus he said seeing each other a week every 3-6 months is not a relationship.
im so annoyed.i dont rly know what should i do..should i just keep going on like this or just move on? like let us prepare well and when the situation able to make us be a couple (when he graduate, he could move here etc,besides he did
think abt moving here),do u hv any suggestions for me? thanks a lot
Signed: should i give up or stay
Should I Just Move On?
I sense that beneath your feeling of annoyance is hurt that he isn't willing to pursue your relationship long distance until he graduates.
If we step away from the specific details of your conflict, I observe that your impasse reflects a common dynamic that most male/female couples experience. I'm referring to the pattern in which a man comes in close and then retreats. Men naturally resist being "caught" and they will cite various reasons for why they need space. Your guy is using the long distance as his excuse for pulling back. The specific reason isn't as important as the true underlying dynamic--the fear of being caught or trapped.
Here's where the rubber meets the road for most couples. If a woman handles the man's need for space correctly, he will come back to her feeling more connected than ever (presuming he isn't emotionally damaged and incapable of commitment).
Unfortunately, most women don't properly handle a guy's need for space. Usually a woman panics, fearing that the guy is leaving her. In response to her panic, she gets clingy and demanding, which only drives him farther away.
The only way to avoid this deadly downward spiral is for the woman to be cool and give her man his space, without freaking out or retaliating against him. But, here's the key. She can't pretend to be cool. She has to be cool. She has to know that if her worst fear comes true and he leaves, she'll be fine. She has herself, she's desirable, she can and will love again. Paradoxically feeling this confidence and conveying that she's cool with his taking space is magnetizing for a man.
In addition to conveying that she's cool with his need for space, she also needs to let the guy know that she'll be there for him when he comes back, ready to receive him with open and loving arms. When a woman does this, a man falls hard and all the pieces of the relationship fall into place. A man will soon move to commit to her because he sees her as someone who won't smother him to death. In other words, he can commit to her and still have his freedom.
So, if you want this man, then your approach needs to be to join his need for space and freedom.
It's clear that this guy cares a great deal about you. He can see the possibility of a relationship in the future, after he graduates, and he's even talking about moving.
I also sense that he doesn't want to disrespect you by sleeping with other women so long as you're a couple. Given the distance, sexual monogamy with you would be too frustrating; so, I think, this is why he doesn't want to be exclusive with you now.
If you really like this man and feel that you have a potential future, then there's no need to kill him in your heart. Rather, live your life, date other men and allow destiny to unfold. I mean live your life. Don't you pine away waiting for him. Live fully, see him from time to time as friends who share a great deal of fun, and all the while hold on the back burner of your heart the potential of a relationship down the road.
By all means don't try to twist his arm or change his mind regarding the merits of dating long distance. That will only drive him away for good. If you don't pressure him, and are fun loving when you do meet, I bet you that he's going to find it hard to keep his resolve to not resume a long distance relationship. With each subsequent visit, he'll miss you more and more and he'll want more time with you. Let him then beg you for the long distance relationship!
If you are comfortable with my plan, then "join" his idea to take a break. Agree with him that long distance relationships are hard. Agree that it makes sense to wait to see what the future holds. Tell him that you appreciate his respect for you and his not wanting to mess you around by tying you to him when he can't be with you.
Your living your life, including dating other men (you won't even need to tell him that you're doing so, he'll just sense it), will make you very appealing to him. Men are drawn to independent women. He will just sense that other men want you, which will eat at him and make him want you more. I bet he'll have trouble waiting the two years.
But let's just say that he can't take the frustration of the distance and he sticks to his resolve. The two years will pass quickly and you will see soon enough what's in store for you and him. If you live fully during this time, you will keep your options with him open and you will have lost nothing.
"If anger and fighting are ruining your dream of a happy marriage, Dr. Turndorf’s conflict resolution program is for you."
-- John Gray,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
"This well-researched book offers a thorough, step-by-step program that provides tools for couples to heal even the most troubled relationships."
-- Dr. John Mack
Pulitzer Prize winning author and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
“This book provides a down-to-earth, easy to apply, proven method for creating relationship harmony. This book should be mandatory reading for every couple that wants to head-off or resolve the inevitable relationship conflicts and build lasting love. Buy this book and put it to use!”
-- John Bradshaw,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Homecoming
"Dr. Turndorf is an amazing individual who has wonderful advice to offer men and women of all ages and in all types of relationships. Ignore her counsel at your peril!"
-- Bill Hammond III,
Winner of the Best Historical Fiction Award, 2012
"You are awesome Dr. Jamie. You really are. The best part about you is the way you translate complex psychological stuff into easy to understand and actionable insights."
-- Kajay Williams,
Producer Relationship Advice Cafe
"Let me tell you why you're extremely important now. I really believe your message is there. You're spot on. More and more people should be taking advantage of what you're offering."
-- Michael Dresser,
Syndicated Radio Host
"Good stuff. Great insight. I love your approach. Who doesn't need more healing. I love your idea of using your partner as a healing agent. That's such a great way to see your partner. You give great labels and patterns to look for. I love your method. You make it sound so easy. You have a great website with lots of great information and resources. These are the tools we all need."
-- Dr. Matt Townsend,
Host, The Matt Townsend Show