Morning Quickies: “Will My Bad Relationship Improve Once It’s No Longer Long Distance?”

I’ve been dating my long-distance boyfriend for almost two years. I live four hours away but see him every weekend. I have a fellowship position that is coming to an end this month. My boyfriend has been expecting me to move in with him once the fellowship is complete. I love him so so much and don’t want to lose him, but I am terrified of moving and losing everything I’ve worked so hard for. Our relationship has been pretty bad at points in the last year, including emotional and physical abuse on multiple occasions. He says that will all stop and that the long distance is the problem. I’m worried that moving won’t make things better and I’ll end up living a life filled with this abuse.

To complicate things more, I was just offered a job where I have the fellowship. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’ve told my boyfriend I can’t move where he lives because I’m afraid things won’t change and I’ll be stuck there working a job I don’t like and without my friends and family. I’m not ready to call it quits though. I want to take the new job and give the relationship time to see if he really does the things he says he’s going to do in order to change. I don’t want to move there till I feel safe. He isn’t having it and says if I take the job and stay where I am, he’s done.

I don’t know what to do. Can he change? Is the long distance the reason for his anger issues? Is this relationship worth losing a great career opportunity? — Is it the Long Distance?

Hard no to all your questions. Please, please, PLEASE break up with this manipulative, controlling abuser immediately. He is not going to change, your relationship is not going to get better, he doesn’t care about you or your best interests, this isn’t about the long distance; this is about his being a bad person. Let me guess: When things are good, they’re really, really good, right? And they’re usually really good soon after he says and/or does something really terrible to you? He can make you feel like you’re the most important person in the world, like he loves you more than anyone does or will, and that what you have together is super special? I know this because guys like him are a dime a dozen and I hear about them all the time, often from women who have married them and had children with them and have a much harder time disentangling their lives from them. You are lucky in that you can pretty seamlessly disentangle your life from his and move on, which is what I implore you to do. You have so much going for you! Don’t let this creep derail you from your goals and lock you into what will surely be a continued abusive, unhappy, really awful relationship.

I love a man, but he has let me down before. He never wanted to really commit to a relationship, always saying he wasn’t ready for one. Though we were exclusive and acted like a couple, during any arguments he made sure to say we were not a couple. So I eventually decided to end whatever the situation was, and that’s when he decided he was ready and wanted a chance. But by then I had met someone else, someone who gave me security and care without my asking. The catch is I don’t love this guy and I don’t know what I should do. Do I stay with him, where it’s safe and I have the kind of care I want in a relationship? Or do I go back to the first guy, whom I love, hoping that he really does want to take it seriously? How do I know what to do, pick love or security? — Love or Security?

Stop relying on men to give you the security and care you crave, and give it to yourself. The men are just a distraction. The fact that you’re even dating one man when you aren’t over another one — that you already had him lined up by the time you ended “whatever the situation was” with the other guy – suggests that you don’t know how to be alone, comfortable and secure on your own, and that you are looking for a man to fill whatever voids you feel internally. Until you get comfortable being on your own, relying on your own self for security and care and love, no relationship with another person is going to be sustainable or happy in the long run. And not for nothing, but if a guy says he wants to commit to you only when you dump him for someone else, he probably doesn’t really want to commit to you – he just likes the challenge and is probably a manipulative creep like the guy in today’s first letter.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)


  1. LW1: I love these words from Dr. Maya Angelou: When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. And these: Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option. Your boyfriend will not change. The only thing moving in with him will do is make it easier for him to abuse you. Don’t give him that. MOA.

  2. “Our relationship has been pretty bad at points in the last year, including emotional and physical abuse on multiple occasions”

    Full stop, break up with him.

  3. “Our relationship has been pretty bad at points in the last year, including emotional and physical abuse on multiple occasions”

    Full stop, break up with him.

  4. “I’m not ready to call it quits though.”

    Pardon my French, but WHY THE FUCK NOT? He’s an abuser and your dream job just landed in your lap! Moving there will just give him a chance to make you miserable in person daily, instead of on the weekends. And I’m sorry, but someone who lives 4 hours away who you see every weekend is not truly long distance. Lots of people only see their SO on the weekends even if they live in the same metro area. When my husband and I were dating we often weren’t able to get together during the week, and guess what, he never once used that as an excuse to treat me like garbage. Aim higher, you don’t deserve to be treated that way!

  5. Avatar photo MaterialsGirl says:

    As someone who married that guy (and divorced him): PLEASE DO NOT MOVE FOR HIM! You need to make a clean break. Stay where you are, block his number, enlist some friends to keep you from going back to him. Someone who loves you and cares about you would show patience and kindness throughout all stages of life.

  6. Another Jen says:

    LW1– If this man cared for you, he’s want you to take this opportunity of a lifetime job. That’s what love is about: wanting good things for the one you love.

    This man is an abuser. The very fact that he blames the distance shows he feels no obligation to treat you better.

    Dump this loser. Love yourself. It’s all right in front of you. Grab it! You can’t even imagine how much happiness is waiting.

    1. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

      If this man cared for you, he’s want you to take this opportunity of a lifetime job. That’s what love is about: wanting good things for the one you love.

      EXACTLY. I could give the guy a pass if the only negative thing in the letter was that he said if she took the job and there was still that long distance he’d end the relationship, because I could accept that it might be a deal-breaker and nobody’s fault that circumstances arose, you know? But this isn’t that. You’re saying you’re open to seeing if the relationship is salvageable with this new twist, and he’s saying he isn’t. So, ok then; there’s your answer.

  7. ‘Our relationship has been pretty bad at points in the last year, including emotional and physical abuse on multiple occasions.’ — I think, if you guys can’t keep your hands off each other ‘in that way’ when you’re only seeing each other on the weekends, that isn’t going to get better when you’re together every day. This sounds like a horrible situation. You should bail before you’re put in that position.

  8. It’s mind-blowing to me that you are even asking this question. With all the information out there about abuse and domestic violence, you are still not calling this what it is: ABUSE. I understand that emotions and manipulation are at play here, but you’re not asking for strength to get away from an abuser. You’re asking about long distance!
    Seriously, for the love of all that’s holy, get some counseling ASAP.

  9. I just can’t … there is physical abuse – that doesn’t get better. Nearness won’t make that better – hell it will probably make it worse because now you’ll always have to manage his emotions, his feelings and you’ll have to put all of your needs second.

    People do not hit the people they love. They do not purposely cause physical pain or harm to the people they love.

  10. Bittergaymark says:

    Two more letter for my book — WOMEN: The Desperate Sex.

    1. Mark, how come no comment from you about the man stalking his ex-wife and pumping his 14-year-old for info about her sex life???

      1. Bittergaymark says:

        What letter was that? Oh, is that the saga / update one? I will read and comment later today.

  11. dinoceros says:

    LW1: You have an opportunity here to affect the next several years (or potentially your entire life) with this decision. Don’t move in with an abuser. It’ll only get worse and it’ll only get harder to get out.

  12. Anonymous says:

    You don’t deserve a great job if it’s waiting for you and you choose to move closer to your abuser.

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