Recently, he’s expressed that if his company can’t find him a position in the U.S., he’d rather stay in Europe where he’d be assured a job. I’ve expressed that it’s almost impossible for me to live/work in his country due to language skills, work visas, government collateral money, etc. We were lovey-dovey in the beginning and now all we do is fight. We Skype all the time and try to communicate but always end the conversation upset. In addition, I crave a sex life (ours is fantastic, but we’re hardly together) and fell back into old habits by being unfaithful a number of times. He says he’s forgiven me — God knows I don’t deserve it — but I know I’ve hurt him badly.
With all our LDR problems, I keep thinking he deserves someone better and I miss a relationship that doesn’t carry all this baggage! That being said, he’s by all definitions perfect. We both are deeply in love, are best friends, and both still say we’re happier together than we ever were apart (although lately we’ve been feeling separated from all the fighting).
I was so happy with him and so glad I found this wonderful man to settle down with, but it seems like, the more we plan and discuss, the further we are from ever being together. I have all these doubts and obstacles in my head, but I can’t deny how in love I am and that I still see a future with him regardless of all our problems.
What do you suggest that I do?? I feel so lost. — Overwhelmed in a LDR
It sounds like the beginning of your relationship was very much a fairy-tale. You met this European man and immediately fell head-over-heels, flying across the ocean to visit each other as often as you could, and spending hours and hours on Skype (well, OK, that part isn’t so fairy-tale-ish, but you get my point). But you know why we never heard what happened with Cinderella and Prince Charming after he fit the glass slipper onto her foot? Because everything after that is pretty mundane. I mean, hopefully, not EVERYTHING was pretty mundane, but most of it probably was.
Like you and your boyfriend, they probably had a few months of “lovey-dovey” bliss, but then real life caught up with them. They had bills and period cramps and the flu. They probably fought over the temperature in their bedroom and what to watch on TV and where they should spend the holidays. Mundane.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re with the absolute love of your life/ “soul-mate” or not, life isn’t going to stay as exciting as it is in the first few months of a new relationship. It’s just not. That doesn’t mean that a deeper love doesn’t grow, because it does. In fact, it’s actually in those mundane, often difficult moments of a relationship when your bond is truly strengthened. You wanna know why? Because those are the moments when you’re being tested. Those are the moments you get to prove to your significant other that you’re in this — you’re really in this — and that what you share is more than fairy-tale, puppy dog lust, but the real fuckin’ deal. The “stick-to-your-side-no-matter-what” kinda love. The “I’ll-do-anything-to-be-with-you” kind of love, like figure out how to get a work visa in another country, and take language lessons, and something about “government collateral money,” cause that’s how much love there is.
And that’s not what it sounds like you have with your fiancé. Not only does it sound like you haven’t really discussed the important things a couple needs to discuss before tying the knot, it sounds like you lack the commitment needed to not only survive a LDR, but, more importantly, survive a marriage. And trust me, I have experienced a long distance relationship and I have experienced marriage, and marriage, at least one that involves children, is harder. It takes more commitment. You can’t just cheat when you aren’t getting enough attention and then expect things to be smooth after that.
What troubles me the most about your letter is how you say in one breath that you and your fiancé do nothing but fight constantly and how every single conversation you have ends in anger, and then in the next breath you say you’re happier together than you ever were on your own. It doesn’t sound like you’re happy now, so I can only imagine how you must have felt before. It’s always a red flag when someone thinks the best or only way to happiness is through being in a relationship, even if the relationship is as lonely as yours sounds.
You’re young; you had a fun, whirlwind romance with a man from a different country. Why not leave it at that and go your separate ways before you start resenting one another for creating more challenges than you’re prepared or ready to deal with? Why not end things while you still have love for each other and keep the memory of your time together happy before it’s tarnished by endless fights and disagreements over where to live and all the sacrifices you’ll eventually have to make for each other? That’s my advice for you: just MOA now while you still have positive feelings for each other.
But if you can’t bear the thought of saying good-bye just yet and you’re serious about trying to make this thing work, you need to have some serious discussions with each other about your expectations, your needs, and what you’re willing to sacrifice to make a marriage work. It’s not all fun and games. And that love-dovey feeling you had in the beginning? It’s not going to be there every moment. But it’s in the moments when it’s not there that you find what your relationship is really made of.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.