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Relationship Advice

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Relationship Advice
Dear Jamie
Thank you for writing me with regard to the issue of whether to stick with a long-distance relationship. According to your letter, you have been with your boyfriend for two years and the last year you were in a long-distance relationship. Due to your graduation program, you might have to be in a long-distance relationship for two more years. Thus, you are struggling with the idea that whether to stick with the relationship or not. From my point of view, I suggest you keep your relationship and make more effort to maintain it. To support this idea, I will explain the reason for the maintenance and include some advice for you.
The reason why I suggest you keep the relation bases on the lecture note of the sexualities and relationships course. According to the note, whether a long-distance relationship will work depends on: how long the separation is; how established the relationship already is; how serious the relationship is; expectations of each other; strengths/ weaknesses of each other; past experiences with long-distance (Long-Distance Relationship Lecture Notes, 03/20/2013). What I am going to talk about are the time of separation, the previous establishment of the relationship, how serious the relationship is and your expectations, which are relevant to your letter.
Firstly, in your letter, you told me that you would have a two-year graduation program but you haven’t told me what your boyfriend’s future plan is. As the note showed, the long-distance relationship needs an end in sight. Therefore, you should have a discussion with your boyfriend about the time apart. If you can make sure that your boyfriend and you could be together after the two-year separation, I would suggest you keep the relationship. If you have a clear perspective for the future relationship, you will feel more bearable to keep it because you know when the separation ends. Secondly, you mentioned that you have been in the relationship for two years, which showed that your boyfriend and you had a deep establishment and emotional foundation for the relationship. Moreover, you thought you would have a future together and you loved him so much, which showed that you were serious about the relationship and had an expectation for the future. These two factors are significant in the maintenance of a long-distance relationship. Nevertheless, you had better make sure that your boyfriend has the same expectation and serious attitude with you. If he does, I would suggest you keep the relationship and work for the future with your boyfriend. In addition, you said that although you loved your boyfriend and had expectation for your relationship, you still felt lonely because you could not have a “real person” to accompany you. If you want to keep this relationship but do not want to be overwhelmed by the feeling of loneliness, I think you should find a way to get a company without hurting your boyfriend. At first, you should share your feelings with your boyfriend. Then you could ask him whether he is willing to have an open relationship. An open relationship, which Tamar Caspi Shnall would call it “poly-dating”, means keeping your potions open and dating more than one person at a time(Course Reader, pp363). In the open relationship, you can keep the relationship with your boyfriend and at the same time, both of you can have romantic relationship with other people. You can have someone accompanying you when you have long-distance relationship with your boyfriend, as long as everyone in the relationships knows their status. If your boyfriend agrees to do so, you will not be lonely, and you can have a reunion with your boyfriend when you finish your graduation. Beside the problem of loneliness, you also mention that the plane ticket are expensive. I admit that it is a sacrifice to spend a mass of money and time to fly to see your boyfriend. However, as Guldner, an experience of long-distance relationship said: “as long as the long-distance relationship keeps meeting the needs of the people involved as you increase the so-called costs of the relationship—the stress that’s involved—then people will be okay with it”(Elia/Chen, p. 148). To make the significance of the short “reunion” overweight the financial burden, you should do something that can promote the intimacy of the relationship. For instance, you could have deep and meaningful conversation, trying to find more in common and talking about the future. Moreover, you could do activities with common interest with your boyfriend, such as playing sports, and share your feeling after these activities. Compared to just having sex or hugging, these activities and conversation can enhance the mutual understanding between your boyfriend and you.
Last but not the least, to maintain a long-distance relationship, there are some necessary elements: honesty, communication, a voice on the phone, picture of you and flight (Course Reader, p266~267). In agree to these elements, my friend, who had managed to work out a long-distance relationship, shared her advice of how to do well in these elements. First of all, try to share as much as daily incidents and encourage your boyfriend to do so. My friend said that the more details she knew, the more she would feel safe and trust her boyfriend. Moreover, try to communicate and express your feelings as well as need as much as possible. Whenever my friend felt neglected or unsafe, she directly told her boyfriend, instead of being angry and hoping her boyfriend to realize it by himself. In addition, try to make a phone call when you first wake up and prepare to sleep, instead of just texting. My friend said that hearing her boyfriend’s voice made her feel strong connected to her boyfriend and felt like living with him. What’s more, my friend would send her boyfriend a picture of herself whenever she went to a new place or bought new clothes. These pictures could bring them the feeling of freshness and refresh their relationship. Since my friend has managed to maintain her four-year long-distance relationship, I think her advice will be helpful to you. I hope that you can cope with the difficulties and maintain your relationship.
Sincerely, Dr. Roof…...

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