Updates: “Overwhelmed in a LDR” Responds

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Overwhelmed in a LDR” who quickly began a LDR with a European man she met while he was visiting the states on vacation. After getting engaged, things went south when the distance began to feel insurmountable, they couldn’t agree on where to live, and the LW began cheating on her fiancé. “I have all these doubts in my head,” she wrote, “but I can’t deny how in love I am and that I still see a future with him regardless of all our problems.” Keep reading to see whether they overcame their obstacles and are still together.

I suppose the first update would be to clarify my question! I was asking for help with LDR techniques or communication tips that would help us overcome this barrier we faced; neither of us had any desire to end our relationship! We were committed to work on it, no matter what obstacles came our way. I thought I was clear that we were committed to our love, but it seems I had worded something wrong and I apologize for that.

We were facing a very unique situation. International LDR couples contemplate which continent will become home, what language and citizenship their children will adopt, and how much those overseas family plane tickets will cost. In addition to everything normal couples face, they face this extra burden. This is what we needed help with. We were afraid of the unknown and experienced a common human response: defensiveness. Consequently, we wanted to try every helpful thing we could to nurture our relationship instead and help it grow, like enlisting the help of experienced parties (all of you!).

This problem did prove to be difficult, and I will be the first to admit that LDR couples are forced to work harder on communication than most! While asking for guidance provided more emotional opinions than helpful ideas to improve our relationship, my attempts were not fruitless! I began thinking of what we would lose, should we not be able to overcome this hurdle. That is quite a force.

I’m so proud to announce that not only did we keep our lovey-dovey feeling, but each discussion and each disagreement has given us an opportunity to prove our strength together and our committment in the face of trial and tribulation with mature and gentle conversations. We’ve found a country that is easier for me to immigrate to and provides career opportunities for both of us (yes, we’re BOTH learning a different language!). We are planning on making the move early next year and are thrilled to finally be making this exciting transition!

I hope this provides encouragement and optimism to international LDR couples. Will you need more than the love you feel? Yes and no. Yes, in that love is work, and sometimes that work is unpleasant. It’s dangerous to believe that once you fall in love, that and that alone will carry you through. Love is every day, and it must be nurtured or it will fade. But, every single thing you do in your relationship will revolve around love. Love is taking time off work, communicating with patience, and visiting in-laws. You try because you love, and that should always be the focus, no matter what comes your way or who disagrees. This is our focus, and it has given us everything we need!

Thank you for your update and congratulations on working through some of your initial obstacles. Best of luck to you as you begin a new chapter in your life and your relationship!


If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    Oh gawd. Not to the LW, but to AP circa Nov. 2012. Reading these old letters and our comments is like flipping through a journal. That everyone gets to read. I was so optimistic (slash, delusioned) in Nov. 2012. I want to be optimistic/delusioned again, it’s so much more fun.

  2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    But back to you, LW. Can you come back and tell us what country he’s from, what country you’re from, and where you’re going? For no other reason than I’m nosy. And come on it won’t give you away, I promise!

    1. Avatar photo beelzebarb says:

      One of her comments on the original letter said something about large groups of US natives in the UK so I’m assuming she’s from the US. That leaves open the question about where she’s going because obviously she wouldn’t need to learn a new language. Dammit, now I really wanna know too!

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        LW, now you’ve upset beelzebarb! I think the only solution is for you to come back and spill it. I also want to know how they can both just up and move to a new country in which they have zero ties, you know?

      2. Avatar photo beelzebarb says:

        So true. It seems like a disaster in the making. I mean, moving is stressful enough. Moving to a new country that involves learning a new language is even more so. Pile on the fact that they will be dealing with each other on a day-to-day basis for the first time, and it just sounds like a bigtime reality check is on its way, especially because it seems like she still has him on a “he’s so perfect” pedestal. He’s not perfect. I promise. If you’re still in the phase where you love everything about a person, you don’t know them well enough to make such a huge commitment. To me, love is about realizing that there are some things about a person that make you insane, but you still want to be with them in spite of it.

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        You know what, this “we are moving to a third country [not necessary third third country but just a country that is not is neither his nor hers]” story line is so fishy that I call BULLSHIT. Things aren’t adding up. Now, I will take all of this back if she provides clarity.

        Beelze, we should be detectives.

      4. Avatar photo beelzebarb says:

        Yes! I can dust off all the skills I had that made me a MASTER at Carmen Sandiego when I was a kid. I’m still sad that I never got to be a contestant on the show. I can finally realize my dream!

      5. Avatar photo beelzebarb says:

        And I agree that the story doesn’t quite add up. C’mon LW, CLARIFY!

    2. It’s possible that while a US citizen, she has family that was raised in another country that allows her to apply for some kind of ancestry visa or citizenship.

  3. I hate when I don’t comment on the original letters! 🙁

    That said, I’m glad things seem to be working out, but I’m still a bit skeptical of how this is going to pan out in the long run.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      UNLESS one’s from France, the other from Germany, and they’re 2 feel across the boarder into Switzerland – hey it’s possible! I am DYING to know where they’re from and where they’re moving to. Anyone else dying to know? When I get my mind set on NEEDING to know something, it drives me bonkers to not know, you know? NEED TO KNOW, NEED TO KNOW. SOMEONE JUST TELL ME!

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        In other news I just ate my weight in cheese ravioli. Guess my diet will have to wait until next Monday. (‘Cause you can’t start a diet mid-week, that’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.)

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I think the LW wrote Denmark is where he is from on the other letter.

      3. They’re moving to the UK, I think. The LW commented on the original letter back in April, and that’s what she said then. Maybe they picked somewhere else though, because she mentioned having to learn a new language?

      4. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        This is torture. (“Torture” used loosely.)

      5. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        It’s so weird but I am not dying to know at all. Today’s weird.

      6. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        It’s like I don’t even know who you are anymore.

      7. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        so, i could say “oh hey i broke my ‘no sex’ streak” but nothing more and you’d be “oh hey that’s cool, bye”?? *gasp*

      8. DID YOU??

      9. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        whoops, no. just hypothetically speaking, if i had, wouldn’t iwanna, miss “I am not dying to know” want to know?! i’d want to know. well with that example hopefully i would know.

      10. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I make an exception to hear about your sex life Ms. Pray. But yeah it’s weird – where this LW lives or is going to live or wishes she lived? Don’t care.

      11. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        ok just checking; that’s acceptable.

      12. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I miss you. And your sexy voice.

      13. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        whose sexy voice, mine? moi? go on.

      14. TELL US

      15. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        sowwy for the false alarm. no sexy sex to report. i did have a lot of one-on-one time with 3 different guys though. a lot of non-sex one-on-one time. i’m like a prudish slut if that’s possible.


      17. Avatar photo theattack says:

        haha, this is why no other stores will associate with DW!

        Speaking of which, Wendy, what about Zappos? Is that a reputable store?

      18. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Zappos is awesome! My cousin works there and I bought my wedding earrings there.

      19. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Awesome! Thanks.

      20. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        zappos is the best. somehow i got on their VIP list. (or maybe everyone is?) and free delivery is gauranteed the next day.

      21. Avatar photo theattack says:

        haha, I like how THAT of all things is what you responded to. Glad to know though. I want to try some Clarks because I’m basically 85, but I refuse to pay that ugly retail price.

      22. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        IF I HAD HAD SEX this weekend i’d describe in super duper sexy detail! except i’m not very good at sexy details. and plus i’m convinced i’m never going to have sexy sex again.

      23. Avatar photo kmentothat says:

        You are gorgeous, and if you aren’t having it ever again, there is no hope for any of us haha

      24. applescruffs says:

        I’m threadjacking to respond to last week’s thread. Official departure date is FRIDAY! Visiting a friend for the weekend, then on to Europe Sunday night.

        And karaoke meetup?? Amazing! Where and when?

      25. Jealous. Take me with you?

      26. applescruffs says:

        Ok. 🙂

      27. Woot!

  4. kerrycontrary says:

    I’m skeptical as well. But maybe I’m just feeling cynical today. I feel like the LW is trying to convince us (and herself) that they are the most committed in love couple to walk the face of this earth, EVER. And because they are still together in an international LDR then they are better at loving than everyone else.

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      yeah…I got that vibe too. “I’m so proud to announce…” huh?

      1. lets_be_honest says:


    2. Yes. That’s exactly how I felt.

    3. lets_be_honest says:

      Go back to the original letter, read her updates on that and you will be entirely convinced of this.

    4. Agreed. It was super weird. Sounds like me when I was trying to rationalize things when I was still with my ex: “but our love is different! We’re so perfect together!!” Psh. Yeah right.

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        What is that saying? Every happy family is happy the same way, but each unhappy family is unhappy in a different way? Something like that…
        Point is, happy people never try to convince themselves of their special snowflake love.

      2. kerrycontrary says:

        TRUTH. and that goes for most things. Truly wealthy people don’t need to prove how much money they have. Famous people don’t need to prove how famous they are (whereas reality stars do). etc…

  5. Oh wow, I didn’t realize this LW had responded (on the original letter) individually to some of us; missed that, I guess. But, uhh, good luck— I’m glad you have worked towards a solution, in a way that seems compromise-y. From your tone (in this update, as well as in the comments of the other letter), you still are placing heavy emphasis on love, like, as the ultimate tie? BUT I actually do like your sentiment here (“It’s dangerous to believe that once you fall in love, that and that alone will carry you through. Love is every day, and it must be nurtured or it will fade. But, every single thing you do in your relationship will revolve around love. Love is taking time off work, communicating with patience, and visiting in-laws. You try because you love, and that should always be the focus, no matter what comes your way or who disagrees”)

    Sometimes we (as in, us commenters) do get a bit “love is not enough” around here (& that’s certainly true) but, LW, you’re right that ~love~ really is the basis for staying together through tough times, or else nobody would stay together. And if that love is backed by action—workable action, like two people working together to improve the relationship & logistical circumstances getting in the way of happiness—like in this case—then, yeah, love is enough, by that definition.

    Anyway, I’m rambling— but I wish happiness to you, basically!

  6. Sophronisba says:

    My technique for making LDRs work is for neither party to cheat – one wonders if this was part of the extended discussions…

    1. That was my plan for making my LDR work. Then we moved to the same state, and are happily married years later. But, a big part of the plan was not cheating…

  7. im glad im not the only one who doesnt believe this LW about her special love that is able to surmount every odd. i mean, good luck, LW, for sure- i hope it works out, for sure. but… i just dont believe it. i dont believe when people talk about how amazing their love is and bla bla bla its a choice everyday bla bla bla… i think that, somehow, is like a person talking themselves into thinking that a bad relationship is ok because its “work”. i dunno. good luck, LW, i guess.

    1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      Guys, no joke, I have a special love. Colin is helping me train for a marathon in March and we went on our first long run together this weekend (don’t do it – don’t you ever work out together if you care about your relationship) and I had a full blown hissy fit about all the really hott girls with fake boobies running on the same path as me on purpose just to make me feel like shit and how pandora was fucking up and the only thing less motivating than silence is the sound of a crying baby (who was also in a running stroller on the path) and OHMYGOD I went on for like 1/4 of a mile. He didn’t break up with me right then. It was really special. Also we’ve decided we’re not running together again, which was a productive step in our relationship.

      1. How’s the training going (aside from this weekend, obviously)? How long are your long runs at this point?

      2. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        See this is the embarrassing part – right now I’m in the “pre-training” training. If I give myself 5 months to train I don’t have to start until October 1. So in the meantime I’ve been trying to get myself to the point where 10 miles ain’t no big thang, which is where I was all summer up until July when I decided love and beer (and my love of beer) was more important. So this weekend was only 8 miles, and I swear if it weren’t for pandora fucking up, it being hot as balls out, and being hungover, I would have done just fine.

      3. That’s a good way to go about your training. You don’t’ want to be like me and take a solid 4 months off, and then struggle to run a mile 🙂

      4. I did ‘pre-training’ training for a good long while before I started ‘training’ for my last half (maybe 3 months or so?). Because I couldn’t run a quarter of a mile without stopping. So, no embarrassment there 😉

      5. Megustalaplaya says:

        I’m doing a 5K training program (again-the last 2-3 times I tried I was sidelined by illness), and this weekend ran for 20 minutes! Ok, ran might be an exaggeration. It was more like heroic jogging. But still! (As a side note, I want to go back in time and ask my 17-year-old self why on EARTH she quit running). Never too late to be healthy, I suppose 🙂

      6. Mr. Othy and I decided long ago that not canoeing together was an important part of our relationship. We could both go in our own kayaks, but we couldn’t be a canoe at the same time. It’s for the best, really.

      7. AliceInDairyland says:

        For us, we can no longer go cross country skiing together. And we don’t really talk about cross country skiing either. Like you said, it’s for the best.

      8. I’m loving all these “these are the things we can’t do together” confessions.

        We had some serious trouble the first time we tried to do a puzzle together. That was an acquired skill. And we almost killed each other over some window blinds earlier this year.

      9. Oh, there was the summer in college that we worked together. It was just an easy summer job, but we realized we should never work in the same office (or at the very least, in the same office on the same projects?)

    2. Yeah, I took the optimistic/benefit of the doubt route this time, but I tooootally understand all of the, mmm, cynical reactions to this? haha

    3. Yeah, relationships are work, but they shouldn’t be this much work.

    4. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      Yeah…I’m totally with you. This update and the comments on the other letter are soooooo exagerrrrrrrated, and like gloating.

      1. Avatar photo beelzebarb says:

        I totally agree. “Gloating” is the perfect word for it. Her tone is really grating. So is the excessive use of exclamation marks. Does anyone else have that pet peeve? It makes me mentally start reading in the voice of Brittany from Daria. That’s the name of the blond cheerleader, right? I’m not sure exactly what the “exclamation points to all other punctuation” ratio has to be to trigger that response, but I’d have to put waaaaay too much thought into my punctuation rage in order to figure it out.

      2. kerrycontrary says:

        It’s like the people who have 2000 pics of themselves and their SO on FB. That’s the equivalent in my mind.

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I totally had to go check and see how many photo’s GGuy and I are in together. Only 165 tagged one’s so I’m guessing we’re below the “special love” threshold. whew.

      4. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:


      5. I’m at 150, & a lot of them (maybe even more than half?) are from before we even were dating. I’m kind of surprised actually, because I have a shit ton of pictures up in general so you’d think there’d be more of my & my boyfriend!

      6. My & my boyfriend. MY & MY BOYFRIEND

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m at 1. Are we even in love?!

      8. You’re in love, but it’s not special love.

      9. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Which is pretty similar to hating each other so… good luck.

      10. lets_be_honest says:


      11. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Also hey guys – apparently my divorce was finalized last Thursday and dickbag attorney just didn’t feel the need to tell me until today. I could have been gettin’ wild all weekend and didn’t even know it. I guess it’s time to finally move on and start dating again…..

      12. Congrats!!

      13. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Thanks! It’s a weird thing to hear congratulations for but it’s kind of the way I feel soooo. Yay for getting out with only a few bruises, the whole divorce only took 5 months from move out date to completion, and no more shitty MIL.

      14. Congratulations, Iwanna!

      15. Avatar photo theattack says:

        We’re at 80 spread out since before long before facebook existed, so our love must have very low levels of “special.”

      16. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m not gonna SAY you’re practically single, but…

      17. How do you even find this number? I’m looking but can’t see it.

      18. Ok, I found it. We’re only tagged in 42 pictures together. We’re doomed!

      19. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Go to your friendship page. When you go to the person’s page, click on the little gear shape toward the right and a link to your friendship page should be there.

      20. kerrycontrary says:

        My fb makes me look like a loser because within the past 4 years 90 percent of my photos are with my boyfriend. But we post photos a couple times of year, and when we’re actually doing stuff. Not when when we’re sitting in the living room together. Or on the computer. Or in front of our front door. You get the point.

      21. Avatar photo beelzebarb says:

        Yes! They’re also the people who constantly declare their love on each other’s Facebook walls. I was out with a group recently, and in the group was this couple, both of whom I’m Facebook friends with. The next day I noticed that they had both written shmoopie posts to each other WHILE WE WERE OUT. Dude, you guys are RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER! What the hell are you trying to prove?? Smh

    5. Yeah, I hate the “relationships are work” talk from people who are so early in their relationship that the relationship ought to be as easy as eating chocolate cheesecake.

  8. sarolabelle says:


    Love is NOT fighting every day.
    Love is NOT sleeping with other people.
    LOVE is NOT working hard to communicate.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I totally missed the cheating part!

      1. sarolabelle says:

        It just bugged me that she started giving us advice as to what love is when she herself is not loving that well.

  9. To be clear, just because people wrote about whether you should break up or not doesn’t mean that they didn’t understand the question. It just means that when you asked “what should I do,” that’s what they thought. If they had thought that you just needed LDR advice, then they would have given it. I don’t think your clarification would change any answers…

    I agree that international couples have issues that are specific to their relationship, but a lot of other couples have issues that are specific to them as well, so I think it’s all a wash in terms of who has more complications to deal with.

    1. I said this last part because I was getting a little “special love” vibe there.

      1. The pushback from DW readers will obviously only represent one more hurdle for the best couple in the world to jump over. One more opportunity to show the world how invincible they are, and how jealous everyone is of their special love.

    2. Indeed! We can understand the subtext of a letter….
      I sometimes get the impression that some people are just so bored with their life that they need this perfect love thing in order to feel like they accomplished something.

      1. Avatar photo beelzebarb says:

        Exactly. Sometimes the question an LW asks is not the one that’s going to lead to the advice they really need to hear. That happens a lot, actually. In this case, however, she asked what she should do, and that’s exactly what got answered.

    3. I was part of an international couple (we don’t qualify anymore since I moved to the US, his country. We’re still one time zone away though), and I still couldn’t read her paragraph about it. I don’t believe international couples have different issues. Yes, sometimes the distance is hard, and visa can be complicated, but those are not challenge to the relationship, they are just life-challenge. It’s the same kind of things that happen if your non-long distance partner lose its job, or develop cancer. Those are things that a couple can go through together, or that they can fight over until they break up. Long distance doesn’t make love “special”, no more than any other difficulties that you may encounter in life.

  10. TheOtherOtherMe says:

    After going back and reading the LW’s replies to the comments on the original letter (replies that she added MONTHS after the fact), it seems that her relationship with her b.f. may well have turned a corner. Yes, it does sound a little “thou doth protest too much,” but despite all the problems they were having, they both seem to have grown up, faced the music and decided to make a huge effort to make it work.

    I don’t fault her for this, even though it sounded like she was better off walking away. It seems like they decided to fight to save it, so more power to them. However that’s no guarantee it’s going to work in the long run, because international relationships have so many added stressors that many of us can’t even fathom. Cultural barriers, distance from nuclear family, language issues, work visa problems, and on and on (been there, done that, it didn’t work out).

  11. When the LW says:
    “…each discussion and each disagreement has given us an opportunity to prove our strength together and our committment in the face of trial and tribulation…”

    Then this is what I hear echo in my head (hello, 1994!):
    When she’s saying
    Oh, that she wants only me
    Then I wonder why she sleeps with my friends…
    The more you suffer, the more it shows you really care

    1. Avatar photo Astronomer says:

      You gotta keep ’em separated!

  12. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    Hmmmm. With her original letter, the LW (wisely and smartly) liked my name only to then blatantly disregard my advice — which, I must say, she was apparently right to do. Who knew?

    1. Avatar photo beelzebarb says:

      I noticed that and was really curious as to whether (well, when) you’d weigh in. That was in a lot of the comments. “Compliment! Expression of appreciation for the comment! Description of why you completely misunderstand how special our love is and why I’ll kindly forgive your errant advice because clearly you are misguided. Thanks for trying though!” Wow, I’m awfully punchy lately. Oh well.

      1. Bittergaymark says:

        Well, maybe she really did pen a shitty letter a year ago that mislead us all. Being dead serious here — no snark. At any rate she sounds happy. Plus maybe all the drama simply faded away now that they have agreed to live somewhere together at long last. Personally, I do think LDRs are often overloaded with way too much drama to begin with… So maybe that really was causing all their problems…

  13. You make your love sound like a fairy tale – and that’s not really a good thing.Your love isn’t special. The love I had with my ex isn’t special. The love my parents have had for 35 years isn’t special. Love doesn’t keep a relationship together. Love isn’t enough. Sure you hear “I love you, but I’m not IN love with you” , but most of the time relationships end for other reasons. It’s not like your love amount drops and it’s like “oh fuck, we’re below quote, time to bail!”.

    So yeah – keep in mind that you are going to have your work cut out for you and it will take more than love to get you through. Honestly, you’re essentially starting from square one or somewhere early since you’ve never lived near each other. I’d suggest living in separate places for the first 6 months at least and focus on building your own life.

    Sorry if I sound Team Anti-Love – but LW please don’t go in to this thinking it’s all sunshine and roses because you will be disappointed. It CAN work, but it will take work. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *