It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.
It’s not too soon if you: a) can comfortably afford a plane ticket; b) have reasonable expectations (i.e. understand that the chemistry might not be there in person and it’s probably for the best to figure that out sooner rather than after weeks or months of long-distance communicating); c) have at least one mutual contact who can vouch for him as a trustworthy person OR have a hotel where you can stay at least until you feel comfortable in his presence; d) let a few people close to you know where and when you’re going so they can make sure you get home safely.
Well, what are you doing with yourself if you aren’t in school? If you’re sleeping all day, I gather you don’t have a job? Get a job! Go to school! Stop pinning your whole life on this dude. You don’t know where he’s going to end up or whether it’s a place you’ll even want to live. The life of a military spouse is hard enough without having any education or college degree or job skills (or job experience) to fall back on or to even just supplement your days of waiting for your man to come back from training or deployment or whatever else the military has in store for him. Make yourself a priority and you won’t be so depressed.
You know, some people just have a really hard time saying the words, because they’re awkward or they’ve been burned or because they grew up without saying or hearing “I love you.” If your girlfriend is showing you she loves you and is using different words to express her feelings, but you still need to hear the L-word, why don’t you flat-out ask her? Say, “Hey, I need to know. Do you love me? And if not now, do you feel like you’re headed in that direction?” Maybe at 53, living six hours away from you, she just needs a little more time than someone whose heart is younger and less bruised and sees you every day.
PS Here’s a forum thread all about when couples say “I love you.”
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anna February 13, 2015, 9:10 am
I wouldn’t spend money on a plane ticket to meet someone I have only been talking to for a couple weeks because of the cost but that might just be me. I would need more time to see if he’s worth the investment.
LW2, please don’t let this guy monopolize your future at much a young age. Go to school, be single, and keep in touch with him as you both start your lives. You will have plenty of time to be together in the future if you both still want that in another year or two. If you give up your own dreams of school and career for him and the relationship doesn’t work out, you’ll end up regretting it and you might not be able to get this opportunity back if you and him get serious, have kids, etc.
MissDre February 13, 2015, 10:10 am
Except if you give it more time, then you’ve invested yourself emotionally for months only to get dumped the same day he arrives after he flies 1,000 km to see you :-/ and that really hurts!
ktfran February 13, 2015, 10:28 am
That’s what I was thinking…
Yeah the cost of a plane ticket might suck, but so does investing a lot of time in someone only to meet in person and their being no chemistry. It’s a cost benefit ratio of an emotional investment vs. financial investment. In the end, you’ll eventually have to meet. Why not figure it out sooner rather than later?
I do wholeheartedly agree with Wendy and others that she should check this guy out via mutual FB friends, or whatever.
Addie Pray February 13, 2015, 10:29 am
Agreed. Instead, fly out, see if you have romance. You may just hit it off and have a magical weekend! Followed by more magical weekends! But just when the reality of moving for you hits home, he may change his mind, hahaha.
MissDre February 13, 2015, 10:34 am
I’m just really fucking glad The Doctor flew to see me and not vice versa. I was already planning to use all my air miles to go visit him next so thankfully I didn’t waste any money on the situation on top of getting hurt. Hey AP — I think I might use my air miles to fly to Chicago. I’ve never been!
ktfran February 13, 2015, 10:53 am
Addie Pray February 13, 2015, 10:54 am
COME but wait til late spring / summer.
MissDre February 13, 2015, 11:01 am
Yes, I plan to wait until the weather is nice 🙂 Extreme cold warnings here in Ottawa today…. It’s -30 out (celcius)
Addie Pray February 13, 2015, 11:26 am
It was a balmy 14 fahrenheit (<– very hard word to spell) on my 1 mile walk to work today. I arrived a little frozen and a little sweaty, which is a weird feeling.
ktfran February 13, 2015, 10:54 am
Wait. What? I totally missed something?!?
We need to get together soon. But it will have to be March.
Kate B. February 13, 2015, 10:35 am
I am actually refreshed by this LW. At least she’s not calling him her boyfriend. I would do it. If I didn’t like him, at least I’d get a nice vacation. I’d stay in a hotel, though. That’s a good point.
Laura Hope February 13, 2015, 9:35 am
LW1–Do you know anyone who actually knows this guy? I’d be careful. Anyone can pretend to be anyone on line.
Lianne February 13, 2015, 9:51 am
LW 2 has been with her boyfriend since she was 10 years old. TEN years old. For some reason, that is insane to me.
Portia February 13, 2015, 10:20 am
How even do 10-year-olds date?
On a related note, my parents met when they were 10, but they started dating at like 17/18.
Addie Pray February 13, 2015, 10:27 am
I really hope she meant they’ve KNOWN each other since they were ten.
MissDre February 13, 2015, 10:53 am
I had a boyfriend when I was 10. Basically all it meant was that we held hands at recess.
Addie Pray February 13, 2015, 10:55 am
You slut ball!!!!!
Kate B. February 13, 2015, 11:04 am
I got engaged when I was 6. Didn’t last, though. We were too young.
K February 13, 2015, 12:14 pm
No, she said they’ve been together for 8 years!! I agree, insane. I’m surprised Wendy didn’t touch on that part of it.
Dear Wendy February 13, 2015, 12:30 pm
Because in shortcuts you have to quickly get to the heart of the matter, which in this case is the LW needs to go to school and make a life and quit waiting around for the boyfriend before she starts living. But, yeah, definitely weird to consider your relationship starting when you’re ten.
K February 13, 2015, 2:01 pm
Oops, forgot it was a shortcut! I guess I was too shocked by the “we’ve been dating for 8 years and I’m 18” thing, haha. Agreed, maybe she shouldn’t plan her life around a guy she started dating when she (likely) barely knew what attraction and sexual feelings were.
K February 13, 2015, 2:02 pm
Oops, didn’t see it was a shortcut! Agreed, she shouldn’t be waiting for a guy who she started “dating” before she (likely) knew what sexual feelings and real relationships were like.
JudgeSheryl February 13, 2015, 9:53 am
LW2 – People transfer all the time, so I don’t know why you couldn’t start classes where you are now, and move once he comes back from deployment. Also, deployments are not always exactly how long they say they are going to be so you can’t be expected to keep your life on hold indefintely. You might find somewhere that has a late starting spring semester, but if not, get a job, go volunteer, maybe you can take an adult night class for something fun that isn’t really ‘college credit’ — and also, register for summer and fall semesters at a local community college, if you don’t want to make the committement of a huge university. Even if your bf comes back mid-semester, it will take at least a few months to figure out a job and living space once he does come back.
This is a big yellow flag (I’m assuming he is also pretty young, so I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt he is just young and naive), so proceed with caution for this relationship and start living your own life. If you do, and he doesn’t support that after realizing you can’t just sit around pining for him, then, huge red flag, and run for the hills.
Raccoon eyes February 13, 2015, 9:54 am
LW1: Be safe. If you know other ppl in CA, make it a visit to see a few people and a day or something to meet up with your paramour. See if the chemistry is there in real life.
LW3: Buddy, use your words. You arent 16 and slipping her a note in class with a check “Yes” or “No” to the question “Do you like me?”
LW2: …..ummm….you have been dating this guy since you were 10? Duh, huh? I know it seems like this must be fate, and you are going to be THAT couple who has been their first everythings and oooooh isnt love grand? But seriously, you both need some time to mature, separately. His request to you, quite honestly, smacks of controlling behavior. That is not good. You are writing in, because you KNOW in your gut that you needt o make some space here. Do it. Wendy is right.
othy February 13, 2015, 9:57 am
LW2 – Don’t wait for him to get settled to start school. I know it can be tough at that age. I was in LDR with my high school sweetheart/now spouse during my college years. But I realized that if I wanted to be a happy adult, I had to do what was best for my future (read: schooling for a good career). And I couldn’t stay in my home town/the same city as my now-husband if I wanted to get the best education I could. So we decided to have a LDR while we were both in different schools. While those years were hard, I think I made the right choice. I would have resented him if he’d made me stay near him for school, and I would have always wondered what I had missed out on. And now I have a great career and I’m able to support him while he finishes his school (he dropped out because of economic reasons when he was younger).
He’s going into the military and even after training, there really is no guarantee that he’ll stay in one place long enough for you to finish school. So don’t wait for him to start. Go to school while he’s in training, and you’ll have a lot more options down the line.
Also, as a side note, you say you’re having trouble sleeping and you’re losing weight. While he’s gone, take care of yourself! I know it’s hard, but you need to make a life without him – go out with friends, find enriching hobbies, go to school or get a job. Live your life, don’t just wait. Life got much better for me once I realized it was okay to be happy without him near my side, and I had a lot more to talk about with him when we were able to talk.
Lyra February 13, 2015, 10:17 am
LW1, use EXTREME CAUTION. As much as you think you know this man and you think you have a lot in common, you DON’T know him. It’s one thing to meet someone online locally and meet up at a coffee shop, but you are talking about FLYING out to meet someone who you don’t know!!! It would be one thing if you knew each other prior to this and are reconnecting, but you only met this guy on Facebook — I’m still at a loss for how that happens, I only friend people who I know in real life (or DW friends ha). IF you choose to do this, exercise more caution than you think you need to. Heck I would suggest having a friend come with you and stay with you at your hotel with you to make sure you’re safe. People are crazy, and as much as I want to give everyone my utmost trust, that isn’t possible because of the world we live in.
LW2, don’t put your life on hold for this guy. You are 18 YEARS OLD. Please please please don’t decide to not go to school just because he asked you to. And honestly, you can’t say you’ve been dating since you were 9 or 10…you may have KNOWN him, but come on! Dating doesn’t count until you’re in high school at least. I know you’ll say “oh I love him and we have a history!” but honey, that’s a moot point. I would encourage you to exercise caution because he is already trying to CONTROL you by telling you not to go to school until you can go to school by him. That’s not what love looks like. You may see it as him trying to be considerate so you can spend your lives together BUT it’s control. Frankly, the odds are not in your favor that this would work out. Yes some high school relationships do work out, but the majority don’t. You are still VERY young to be making decisions based on someone else’s life. It’s time to start living your own life. If you work out great, but you need your OWN independence regardless. Now is the time to make decisions for YOU.
Also I’m engaged to a guy in the military. First, being a military wife is TOUGH. My guy is only in the Reserves, but he was active for 6 years. His dad was also active military for 20 years. My future mother-in-law had to maintain the household with 3 boys by herself for 6-8 months at a time due to deployments, plus my future father-in-law missed two of his three son’s births due to deployments. Second, let’s just say there is usually a reason why many military marriages don’t work out when the couple got married at 18-20.
Addie Pray February 13, 2015, 10:31 am
LW1 – Go for it, you never know. But be safe.
LW2 – Go to school, meet knew people, keep an open mind.
LW3 – Ask her!
jlyfsh February 13, 2015, 10:44 am
Sunshine Brite February 13, 2015, 10:37 am
LW1, Go if you can afford it! What the heck, ya know? Especially if he lives in a cool area and visit some of the sites. It’s super soon, but by the time you get a trip together it might be a month or two in unless you’re also one to up and travel too. Could be fun/creepy/ridic/great experience/horrible. Just be sure to book a hotel or inn or something and tell some friends what you’re up to.
LW2, you say very little about what you want. How do you view yourself outside of this relationship? I’m sure you’re more in life than a girlfriend. What do you want to do/learn/try? Now’s a good time to really explore and do something, anything. Don’t just waste away waiting for him, that doesn’t set a good precedence as a military girlfriend and puts an unhealthy dynamic into your relationship.
LW3, ask her.
Skyblossom February 13, 2015, 10:58 am
LW2 If you intend to be a military spouse you have to function through deployments. Consider this the first of many times your boyfriend will be gone. Right now you are proving that you can’t function through his deployment so can’t handle being a military spouse. You need to quit sleeping through the day. You need to find a job and start working and in your spare time figure out which universities have programs that you would like and start filling out applications. Figure out the deadlines and the requirements and make sure you meet them. If you are accepted to some programs, you choose one and accept the space and you go to university. That will prove that you are capable of being a military spouse. What you are doing right now proves you aren’t cut out for the life your boyfriend is choosing and should break up and find somebody who won’t be gone for a year at a time.
The other thing to consider is that your boyfriend has asked you to put your life on hold for him but the flip side of that would be if you had asked him to not go so that the two of you could be together. Can you see that it is wrong of him to live his life as he wishes, doing what he wants while wanting to hold you back. If you love someone you want what is best for them, including a good education. The odds are very high that wherever he is deployed he won’t stay there long enough for you to finish a degree and so the two of you will be separated anyway. You need to start your degree as soon as possible without worrying about where he will be deployed. He wasn’t so worried about separation that he chose a different career than the military. Don’t let him keep you from doing what you need to do for yourself. He is doing what he needs to do for himself. You need to do the same.
Wendys Dad February 13, 2015, 11:06 am
LW2: Something struck me in your letter. First, just from your terminology, I’m assuming that you are from an English-speaking country other than the USA (“he asked me not to go to university yet”). Apparently he is 18 years old, and “he found a job as a military OFFICER”? Is there a country where officers are selected at that young age and without a university degree? And people are right. You need to take care of your own needs first. I spent 40 years working around military people. It is not a easy life. You need to really prepare yourself before jumping into anything.
Skyblossom February 13, 2015, 11:42 am
I thought the same thing, English speaking but not American because she says university instead of college or school.
I also noticed that he seemed to be going from high school to being an officer and it seemed odd to me but I don’t know what other countries do. It is interesting that you aren’t aware of that in other countries. Now I wonder if the letter is fake.
Skyblossom February 13, 2015, 12:02 pm
Maybe she means noncommissioned officer but that wouldn’t be called officer school and he wouldn’t start at that rank.
She also finished her schooling, not graduated high school, so I find it interesting and wonder where she lives. My husband is English and finished school and attended university. As an American I graduated from high school and went on to college.
Dear Wendy February 13, 2015, 12:35 pm
I noticed that too and figured she was naive/ inexperienced enough not to know the difference between “officer” and “soldier.”
Dear Wendy February 13, 2015, 12:35 pm
Just another reason she needs to go to school…
Skyblossom February 13, 2015, 12:39 pm
I assumed at first that it was just the result of her living in a different country and so they did things a different way and it still might be that. Or like you said, she doesn’t know the difference between an officer and a soldier.
MsMisery February 13, 2015, 12:59 pm
LW2, the military has more sexually repressed people than college. If you and your bf have been with each other HALF YOUR LIVES I don’t think you’re even going to survive the temporary time apart, let alone what being a military couple entails. You will be apart A LOT. You will both be moving A LOT and meeting A LOT of new people. Don’t even bother. Live your OWN life instead of waiting to be a part of his.
bittergaymark February 13, 2015, 1:13 pm
LW1) Go! The sooner the better. Too many people waste months and months on the phone and or skype only to realize that there is NO spark in person. Find out now! SF is also only the GREATEST city in all of the US, too…
LW2) Um. Start your life now. Being together since you were ten in more than a tad icky by the way.
LW3) Ask her how she feels.
Moneypenny February 13, 2015, 1:34 pm
Wait, where does it say SF??
LW- tell me all about him and I will go stalk him for you!!
bittergaymark February 13, 2015, 1:54 pm
Whoops. I don’t know where THAT got into my brain… I must have SF on the mind.
Kate B. February 13, 2015, 5:31 pm
I agree with your opinion of SF, though. Wouldn’t be anywhere else.
va-in-ny February 13, 2015, 3:07 pm
Hey, LW1 – go for the visit! Just make sure he knows that you’re coming. Surprise visits don’t usually end well with budding relationships.