Long distance relationships

by singlemomseeking on May 28, 2008

This probably won’t come as any surprise to you, considering, um, the trials (I just wrote “trails,” but yes, those, too) we’ve been through up until this point.

But the Biologist and I are taking a break. I need to be careful about what I say here. Not only do I fear hurting his feelings — but his friends and house mate read this blog, too.

He has asked me not to write about some of the deep, emotional conflicts. So, I won’t. Or, I’ll try not to anyway.

The biggest reason we’re not working (for me) is: the distance.

I’ve always known that I’m not very good at long distance relationships. In fact, I’m horrible at them. He’s lives an hour and a half away. No biggie, if I were single. But you add the “mom” part, and you get the picture. I’ve never been to his home, I’ve never met his friends. I’ve never seen where he sleeps.

As I lay there last week, feeling the depths of the UTI — followed by the kidney infection — it only proved how far away he lives. I was quite vulnerable — okay, I was downright distressed — and he wasn’t here. He was working, he was busy. My life stared me straight in the face again: you can put this whole thing behind you and get on with your life, your little girl needs you, YOU need you. May this be a lesson in taking care of yourself when the storm hits and takes down all the trees.

I got attached. The deal about attachment is that when you detach, you need to deal with the sadness and disappointment that comes along with it. Know what I mean?

I told one of my girlfriends I’m afraid to try again with the Biologist. I’m not blaming him, but wouldn’t you feel a little scared to go back?

“He already led you into poison oak,” my girlfriend joked. “And now your urinary tract, followed by your kidneys. What’s next? Gangrene in your legs?”

Photo courtesy of Costi

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy Nathan May 29, 2008 at 4:01 am

When it’s right, Rachel, distance isn’t an issue. (or so I have come to hope)

You need what you need, which is someone nearby. Listen to your head and your heart on that one. Not that the Biologist isn’t a great guy, but factor in the distance, and a daughter and he’s not great for you. Especially since you got attached and *seem* to have the propensity to do that! ;)

This is why I don’t introduce dates to my kids – I don’t think it’s necessary to bring people in and out of their lives. Even though you might have thought he was *the one* for a while. Now M has to figure out what “too far away” means. Make sure she knows that she could never live “too far away” from you! I’m not trying to be silly – she’s 8 right?

If you and the Biologist are meant to be (which I’m doubting) then you’ll tackle the distance and it will all fall back into place.

Anyway, my friend, I don’t like that comment he made. You can do better!!

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Amy Nathan May 29, 2008 at 4:02 am

OK, I thought HE made the comment about your illnesses — a friend making them is a different story! But still — you can do better!!

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Jorge Fitz-Gibbon May 29, 2008 at 6:11 am

I’m sorry to hear you’re at this point with the Biologist, Rachel. I’ve had long-distance relationships, and they ultimately reach a turning point: Move closer, move in together, or part ways. My three long-distance relationships fizzled after several months. My current girlfriend lived an hour away, and we managed it for over a year. Then we moved in together. Honestly, I don’t know if we could’ve sustained things had we not ultimately made that move.
So, I understand, and I hope somehow you reach a compromise with him. If not, I hope you find love closer to home! Good luck.

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singlemomseeking May 29, 2008 at 6:32 am

Amy, ah, yes, attachment. I do seem to have an issue with that. I’m working on it. Really.

As for M (and I hope I don’t come across as defensive), she met the Biologist a total of three times in four months, all casually. Probably once would have been enough. Maybe not at all would have been ideal.

When we did hang out, it was usually with my friends there (a dinner party, a book event). M saw no intimacy, no touching.

In short, he was never “in” her life.

Jorge: thanks for getting the long-distance part!

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The Exception May 29, 2008 at 7:02 am

I actually don’t mind the long distance, but I can totally relate to being in a situation and needing that person to be there/ needing that help. While you are suffering through whatever, he is… working and unable to help. That is something to which I can totally relate!

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T May 29, 2008 at 7:31 am

I’m sorry to hear that Rachel. Your friend’s comment was pretty funny though!

Ugh… detaching is hard. But then again, if you feel strongly enough about something, then you are following your intuition. Intuition always guides us where we’re supposed to be. Have faith, my friend.

And hang in there. Hugs!

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Cathouse Teri May 29, 2008 at 7:37 am

I think you may be allergic to the biologist. :)

Nothing wrong with taking breaks. I’m sure he’s a fantastic guy. I’ve only read a few of your entries about him, but it does seem like he’s nice.

You are a single mom, though. If he’s tuned in to what that means, he should have no trouble getting what’s going on here.

You do what you need to for you and your baby doll. The other stuff will fall into place.

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Dana May 29, 2008 at 8:05 am

I am in a long distance relationship myself which at times can be very hard. The attachment is sometimes hard to bear, when I feel like I really need him he’s not as accessible as I would like. I have to agree with Amy though when it’s right the distance just doesn’t seem so bad. In no way would I discredit your feelings because YOU need what YOU need and it’s inspiring to hear a woman do whats right for her and her family.

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littlemansmom May 29, 2008 at 8:08 am

I understand about the long distance thing….they just don’t work for me. Local is better (that whole ‘mom’ thing)

Sounds to me like you may need someone more local, someone you can see more often, someone who will/can be there if you need/want them and vice versa.

Also sounds like you need a friendly hug so I’ll extend a *virtual* one your way….

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dadshouse May 29, 2008 at 8:15 am

Long distance relationships are hard. A 30 minute drive is my limit. This is why I won’t date women who live in San Francisco (40 or more minutes away, depending on traffic). Plus, a lot of City women don’t drive, so won’t visit me. No way I’m schlepping up to the city all the time for a date. There has to be equal footing – time spent in both homes. You didn’t have that, and that’s not right.

As for kids meeting dates – in 8 years I’ve only let my kids meet 2 of my girlfriends, and those only when we’d dated for months and it was serious (i.e. there was marriage potential felt by both of us.) Otherwise, forget it – I don’t want my kids on a roller coaster, making attachments, having those taken away, etc. If they can’t count on adults sticking around they might become distrustful of relationships. Hard to say what was right in your case – 4 months is a good amount of time, but with the distance an lack of time in the Biologist’s home, you have to go with your gut.

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singlemomseeking May 29, 2008 at 8:24 am

Dad’s House, there’s a bit of a disclaimer re: spending time in his home. He had invited me numerous times.

I just didn’t manage to find the time to split town for 24+ hours. Maybe that’s partly an excuse. But I could have set up childcare for a weekend to visit him, and it just didn’t happen.

I did think there was a lot of potential, we were serious.

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Shannon May 29, 2008 at 8:25 am

I have to say that in Rachel’s defense (and I’m just transferring here, since my daughter is the same age), our 8 year olds aren’t the same as “typical” eight year olds. My daughter would be pretty insulted if I was going on a date with someone more than a few times and she didn’t meet them. We have an incredibly close, remarkably connected relationship and within reason, she’s a part of all that I do. As a matter of fact, I made the huge mistake in my first relationship with my now husband, to severely limiting his interactions with my daughter. Hence, back then I didn’t see what I see now-how very good he is with her and what a fabulous role model he is.
Bottom line, it’s all how you handle it. I think Rachel has excellent judgment and M’s best interests at heart, so for her, meeting the Biologist was fine.

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Monique May 29, 2008 at 9:48 am

Taking a break may not be so bad. Maybe it will make guys want to find out away to work things out. On the other hand, it may just mean its time to move on. I try not to blog about my guy and I but sometimes you can’t help but vent a little. Give him a little space and see if the flame still flickers in a few weeks.

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mc May 29, 2008 at 11:58 am

Yeah, I get you totally. Distance sucks, especially when you need his help and he’s too far away to give it (although I’m somewhat baffled why he couldn’t spend 3 hrs of his life traveling to see you when you really need him.)

I’ve been there myself–I’ve had two similarly-long distance relationships (I live in a smallish town and dateable guys inevitably live in the large metro area that’s 1.5 hrs away from my home).

Dating is just *not* convenient. (Unless you want to limit your dates to guys who live down the hall from you…!) Even if you live in the same city you might have to spend 20 min commuting to see each other, which is also a drag. But you can’t very well move in together (which is sooo convenient) without first dating the guy. So the way I figure it, it’s going to take a year of dating (at least), to figure out if you are really good together. So I figure I need to just accept that there’s going to be a lot of inconvenience if I’m going to date anyone.

I do feel that dealing with the inconvenience has to be mutual. Sorry to dump on you when you’ve been sick and all, but I can’t believe that in 4 months of dating a guy (and one that you say you really think you have potential with), you’ve never even been to his home once?!? Why are you making him do all of the commuting?

I know you have a child, but I still don’t get it. I have 2 small children myself but I can still get a babysitter early on a Saturday evening, spend 1.5 hr driving to see my BF, join him for dinner and a movie and etc back at his place, and I can still get home by 1:30 am before the babysitter falls asleep. Before I had kids, staying out til 1:30 am was an early night. Yeah, I’m sleepy the next day, but my BF appreciates my occasional effort to share in the commute inconvenience since he usually comes to see me.

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singlemomseeking May 29, 2008 at 12:07 pm

MC, you’re right: I should have driven to his place to see him. He kept saying over and over that he didn’t mind driving. He was unbelievably generous to get behind the wheel every week to spend time with me. I told him over and over how much I appreciated this. It shows how sweet and giving he is.

When I first told him that I had a UTI, he kind of went missing in action for 48 hours. Since then, he has explained what was going on in his life. At the time, it didn’t sit well with me.

When the kidney infection hit, he did offer to drive over — at that point, I was kind of shut down (read = disappointed). I’d lined up a team of friends over here to take care of M, etc. I just wanted to get better.

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Dr. Leah May 29, 2008 at 12:40 pm

A guy who is always willing to drive to your place, but you’ve never seen his . . .a red flag. He may be kind, giving, and generous, but, more likely, he’s got something to hide. Typically, of course, nothing so dramatic as another relationship, but, definitely, something.

A very wise man once told me that you can tell everything about a potential BF by his bed. Is he still sleeping on a futon, despite the fact that he makes six figures and is 38 years old? Hmmmm. Does he sleep in a twin bed? Hmmmm Are his sheets not so April fresh? Hmmmm Are the sheets lavished with pink roses leftover from his last GF or, worse, does his mother do the decorating? Hmmmmm.

I have saved myself a lot of heart ache and disappointment by checking out the bed before I actually . . .
You get my point.

I am so happy Rachel is feeling better.

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mc May 29, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Well I can relate to your “shut down” too–especially with his 48 hr MIA (no matter what his excuse!). I’d definately do the same thing. It’s also possible that you’ve picked up on some real ambivalence about your relationship that he has, in which case, you’re better off with a break.

On the other hand, “sweet and giving” BFs are kind of rare, and I do know that many otherwise sensible men can act clueless at times. Especially when encountering illness and what they think of as “female problems”. Men mostly like to be able to “fix” things. So unless they’re an MD they often have no idea what’s appropriate to do when someone gets sick, and they give in to their default–fleeing.

You might try telling him exactly what he should have done and why, and see if he “gets it” and comes through for you next time you need him…?

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Bee May 29, 2008 at 1:05 pm

I’m not a long distance person either. :(

But… people come in and out of your life for reasons, and it’s up to us to let them go and just figure out on our own what we learned or confirmed about ourselves.

You are old enough to know what you need in a relationship (someone there, for example). Also, and more importantly, you are wise enough to know when to stop trying to make a relationship fit that doesn’t.

You have not mentioned the other aspects to your going separate ways, but hopefully you can apply the same logic. You cannot change another person any more than they can change you.

Sorry. My heart hurts when stuff like this happens to good people.

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Kat Wilder May 29, 2008 at 2:09 pm

Distance is OK if you are already committed; then it’s just another “thing” to work out. And sometimes, it actually can be pretty darn exciting.

I’ve met couples who live in different cities a few hours apart, even countries (!). They find a way. But it’s hard to start off a relationship that way.

And, it may be just me but I think we often expect too much from our partners as far as time. I don’t want to see my lover every night, or even five nights a week. Is that selfish? (of course, he doesn’t want to see me either! Hmmm ….)

I hope you’re feeling better. Sometimes it’s good to have all your crises hit at one time. Then, it can only get better.

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Susan May 29, 2008 at 3:55 pm

“I got attached. The deal about attachment is that when you detach, you need to deal with the sadness and disappointment that comes along with it. Know what I mean?”

Yeah, sweetie. As you know, I know what you mean. Hugs to you (and even the Biologist, too).

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Shannon May 30, 2008 at 5:43 am

I had a similar experience with a fabulous guy who lived in the town where I work (an hour from where I live). When I had my hysterectomy (for medical reasons), he was there for the surgery and then I was alone for days because he was so busy. Not good. that was the defining factor for me ending our relationship. There were other elements, but that one was huge. I don’t need to be babied much, but there are times that a man in my life needs to do just that. And I think that’s what you needed. And I totally hear you about not going to his place. It’s a hectic life between work and the mommy aspect. There’s a ton of unlisted work that goes along with it all and when you do get a Saturday night, sometimes you are just way too exhausted to make that extra effort.
Don’t fault yourself and if it’s meant to be, it will all work out for both of you. Most importantly, it’s not for any of us to decide. ;)

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Ms. Single Mama May 30, 2008 at 6:11 am

That’s why it didn’t work out with Kris – when I really needed him, he just didn’t step up to the plate. You know? It’s SO hard trying to be in a relationship with a man who isn’t 100% able to give, give and give more.

I know that limits the dating pool for us, but in my eyes – it means we just end up with the best of the best. And for many of us – that means being alone.

I feel for you – and don’t worry about him meeting M – he’s a smart girl with an amazing mom … she knows what’s going on.

Hiding it can often do more damage than not.

Thanks for sharing!

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GLSD May 30, 2008 at 5:49 pm

Rachel,

Sounds like you know what you want and need in a relationship…your time will come, when you meet “the one” but for now… don’t settle! Just enjoy every minute of every day with M. Have a great wkend!

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BlueBella June 3, 2008 at 9:38 am

Oh sweets. I’m sorry you’re going through this right now. Yuck.
My belief is every situation we encounter – every relationship, every person we meet is a ‘practice session’ to prepare us for “The One”. We get to learn and grow with people & take those lessons along with us so we are prepared when Mr or Ms Right finally comes our way.
Now that doesn’t mean this separation doesn’t suck big time. And for that – Huge Hugs from me.
Take care of yourself, doll. I’m thinking bout you:)

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alicia June 7, 2008 at 9:15 pm

Rachel,so sorry. Every time I hear another story about a potential BF going bust,my heart breaks for that person & for myself! But you know in your heart of hearts when a relationship is good & on the right track. The distance was difficult,but going MIA while you were sick-not cool.

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T time September 1, 2010 at 8:45 pm

I have just met a guy online who lives 3 hours away and I have never done “long distance” before. I am nervous to say the least…

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