After he finished school, he started looking for a job in his career field. It took a little while, but I supported him all the way and it finally happened. He got the career of his dreams. I started going back to school myself, and he has told me he has been so proud of me. The issue is he has a demanding job and it’s reached a point where I only talk to him once a week maybe and only for a few minutes. He has talked briefly of coming to visit me in Florida, but I just don’t know if that will ever happen as his career is more important than anything else. I support him on what he does and I know he likes that I support him, but his job is stressful and he has told me that he gets distracted very easily although he said he always keeps me in the back of his mind.
I’m just not sure what to do because I don’t want to punish him for doing something great with his life, but at the same time I want more attention from him. I know timing is everything, but how long is too long to wait for something to happen? The hard part is I can’t really tell him how I feel because I barely have time to talk to him about it and I don’t want to send it in an email. What should I do? I know he has told me that his past relationships didn’t work out for this reason, but he has also told me that he has never felt about anyone as he does for me. Please help. — Desperate in Florida
I get letters like this one all the time, but it’s been a while since I published one so maybe it’s time to address this topic again for new readers or anyone who needs a refresher. (Also, to be honest, my in-box is feeling a little uninspired lately. Do you have a juicy, interesting personal dilemma you’d like to share with the general public and receive some guidance on? Email me!).
So, here we go: if you haven’t actually met in person, you aren’t in a relationship. Call it a long-distance flirtation or a friendship or being pen pals, but you aren’t “in love.” You don’t even really know each other. You know a filtered version of one another. And the version you know of this guy is very filtered if you only talk to him for a few minutes maybe once a week. That’s not a relationship. And it most certainly isn’t love (unconditional or otherwise). At the most, it’s a distraction. A distraction from reality.
What is the reality you need a distraction from? Is it loneliness? Is it fear of being single forever? Is it boredom? Whatever hole exists in your life that you’ve been trying to fill with this online distraction, I promise there are better ways to fill it. You can meet someone in the real world, for one thing. You can go on real dates with real people. You can foster relationships with people who actually want to spend face-to-face time with you and get to know you and maybe even build a future with you.
You want to know how long is too long to wait for something to happen? Three months is too long. If you invested three months in someone, either online or in real life, and have made it clear you want to move forward but you still don’t have any idea where you stand with that person, whether you’re on the same page, or, good God, whether you’ll actually meet, you have waited too long and it’s time to move on. And you’ve been waiting almost a year? Sister, this ship is long, long, long gone. I don’t care how many promises he’s declared on how many damn rings, if he hasn’t gotten his ass on a plane or a train or a damn Greyhound bus to come meet you and look you in the eyes and be in your presence, let alone found more than a few damn minutes in a damn week to talk to you, he is lying when he says he loves you. And you are lying to yourself if you believe his empty words. You are lying to yourself. And I can only assume you’re doing so because the lies are more comforting than your reality. But they don’t have to be. You have power to change your reality if your reality isn’t fulfilling your needs.
This guy? He’s not the answer. I don’t know exactly what or who is the answer, but I know it’s not him. Maybe it’s career change or some new friends or a new hobby or a new direction. Maybe you need to step out of your comfort zone and do some things that scare you because being scared makes you feel alive. And being alive? It’s better than being distracted.
You’re tired of waiting for something to happen and I appreciate that. Life can get stagnant when all we do is wait for something to happen. So stop waiting and do something. Take a risk. Do something that gives you chills. Make a decision you’ve been putting off. Move on and move forward. If promises mean so much to you, make a promise to yourself that you won’t waste another year of your life on someone who doesn’t make YOU a priority — at least enough of a priority to meet you in person.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.