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Long-Distance Relationship Issues

"I Feel Like I'm Between a Rock and a Hard Place"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

I have been dating a great guy for five years. We love each other, but now that I am living in another state until June he has decided he needs "space." He seems to think that it is totally normal for couples to break up and get back together. He said, "Well, in June we will get back together and be just as awesome as we ever were." He "needs time to make sure this is right." I get it, actually. Relationship-wise I've had a lot more experience, and he's the best friend I ever had.

I proposed an open relationship, but I think my self-esteem has gotten the better of me, and I want to renegotiate on said agreement. He is a wonderful person, and I really don't think sparks fly like this very often. Even on Skype we have an amazing time. He says he wants to have a few one-night stands or something. I half believe him, but the other part of me thinks this is a quarter-life crisis and he is just confused. It took him a long time to get used to being with another person.


Anyway, I am way too into him to really put my foot down, and quite honestly the thought of not talking to him is not even imaginable. He is truly the most fun and caring person I know. Anyway, he still wants to talk all the time and come visit and all that, which I really want to, to be honest. I just feel like blurring the lines on a strong and committed relationship at this point in the game is setting myself up for failure. I had the "sleeping with lots of people" phase a long time ago, and I never want to do that again. I am a relationship girl, and I chose him. But I do sort of feel like maybe him seeing other people would make us stronger and certainly improve our sex life, which is always a good thing (not that it's bad, spicing things up never hurt though).

So my dilemma is twofold: one, I am not sure he understands what he is saying (maybe the idea is more appealing than the actual act); and two, I can't really pull myself away from someone who is such a big part of my life. I do not want our Skype sessions to stop, and I don't want to date other people. Could I really be a bohemian and let him find himself, and trust that when he figures it out he'll choose me and will be able to be committed to only me?

Have a dilemma of your own? Post it anonymously in Group Therapy for advice, and check out what else is happening in the TrèsSugar Community.

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henna-red henna-red 5 years
It's an interesting suggestion, this go and sow your oats, and then we'll see if we're still on the same page. I've not always been monogamous in my life, (and would not turn up my nose at participating in a poly arrangement if the right person/people were involved,) and I have friends and acquaintances who choose poly amorous and polygymous lifestyles, very happily and successfully. It does seem, from the tone of your post, OP, that you are hooked up with someone you deem less emotionaly mature than yourself....not just inexperienced, but less self aware..."I'm not sure he understands what he is saying.." so I can see that there is perhaps some balance missing in the relationship. However, every successful non traditional relationship I know is based on the same things as every traditional, honesty, commitment, and the defining of these boundaries by both/all partners/participants. Everyone involved must understand what's up. You have suggested the option of his exploring, and now regret it. So your honest assessment of your own desire is for a continued, monogamous relationship, and your suggestion that he play is coming from your fear of losing him....again, I've seen couples who explore non traditional, poly relationships because their relationship is having some kind of difficulty, and it never resolves the original relationship, at least not in my experience. If you were both interested in exploring alternative styles of relationship, then I'd agree with matoad, but since you're not really proposing this out of a desire for something shared or an expanded partnering/play unit, but out of your fear of losing him, I have my doubts, as you yourself have expressed, about this being workable in your situation. I fear that it will lead to resentment and a breaking of trust. If you do choose to continue with this option, you really, really need to talk about boundaries, about being safe, about defining what you all are doing and why. No matter which direction you choose, I wish you well. good luck
matoad matoad 5 years
 @steph1234  This is exactly the reason for my post - I assumed there would be a choir of 'Not 100% monogamous? Punch him and then dump him!' replies. Which may be totally accurate if he happens to be a huge douchebag who just wants to sleep around.  It may be however that he is actually, as the post describes, a really cool guy who sadly didn't get around to his wild phase before the relationship, and now has a few hangups to work through. In that case, if the writer feels that her guy is worth the effort (and if they both commit to using this to make the relationship better in the long run), there may be a workable solution for this relationship. And that's worth mentioning.  Also, defining 'normal' is such a tedious activity - for example, does 'normal' include the huge percentage of monogamous relationships in which people cheat secretly? I'd rather stick with 'workable for everyone involved'.
steph1234 steph1234 5 years
OMG....this amazes me that this kind of CRAP happens....I mean...there are red flags all over your post and to you and matoad this is normal? There is nothing healthy about this relationship AT ALL! You've suggested an open relationship and he has suggested he needs his space....There is no commitment there. You said your self-esteem is waining, but you're way too in to him to put your foot down....Of course you're self-esteem is taking a beating...because you are not valuing yourself and neither is he....he is with other women, asking you for a 'break'....Does this really add up to you or seem healthy? You can find other fun and caring guys that value you and want to be with ONLY you! Even if you 'place good boundaries', who's to stay he will be honest..who's to say he will live up to his end of the bargain....Why not try a....dare I say it?....monogamous relationship! Then you wouldn't have to bother with getting advice from this site or the people that read it...Not sure if you came up with the title, but in my opinion you are the one that put yourself in between the rock and the hard place. Good luck getting out of it. Go see a counselor.
matoad matoad 5 years
I've been in a similarish situation and I do think it can work. And since it sounds like you'd really like this relationship to go the distance,  it may be easier to have him have a few experiences and get it out of his system, than to convince him for years that he's not been missing out on anything (which he hasn't but he can't know that :) ). I'd say give it some good boundaries though (whether or not he should tell you, if it's just one night stands or also affairs... that kind of thing) and keep a really close eye on a) how you're feeling and b) if the relationship is still the main thing i.e. if he's doing this 'to become a better partner in future (with fewer unrealistic fantasies in his head)' or if seeing you is just a pleasant bonus (in which case: Talk, then Run!). Good luck!!
Bubbles12 Bubbles12 5 years
I've told this story before on this site so I'll hold back but the "bohemian" thing is only going to put a major block between you. Don't do it. Don't let someone talk you into it. The intentions are all good but no one likes to compete. If that turns you on, then role play. That's for the future relationships you have. The reality is you need to have a coming to Bejebus meeting and tell him you what you want so he can have the chance to tell you he's not going to give it to you. You need to do whatever it takes to face reality. I'm so sorry but he's backing out. You need to go into protection mode. And tell us why you think the Bohemian thing is good. I'm very curious....
henna-red henna-red 5 years
It won't make you stronger as a couple. I'm wondering why you have relocated. Why are you away until June? If you don't want to date other guys, and you're not into this whole break apart, come together with him having his fun in between, If you've been in this relationship for 5 years, what has taken you away? I think Bluejay has put it completely and succinctly. You know what's up, you said it yourself....blurring the lines on a strong and commited relationship at this point...... I have to agree with bluejay.....this is all over as a partnership, and now it's about you protecting yourself. This isn't about what you want anymore, but about what actually is, and how you deal with it to get through this in the best possible way, so that you come out the other end with the least amount of damage. Time to focus on the exit strategy, and admit that this guy, painful as it is, has jettisoned the relationship. Now it's all about acceptance, and protecting yourself. You can't protect yourself by focusing on him. Focusing on him is not appropriate, not after his attitude and his seemingly casual disappearance from commitment. I'm just wondering if you are also not quite so prepared for ever after, because of this distance. Something to think about.
bluejay17 bluejay17 5 years
So he told you he wants to have one night stands and you're sticking to him? Well, he still wants to talk all the time, and that's good right? No! Hell no! Trust me when I say this... I've been through the same situation for almost a year and a half. "I need space and time". Classic. It doesn't matter if he's going through a crisis or not, that's not your problem. He isn't willing to be 100% with you. If he was, he wouldn't even be thinking about the possibility of hooking up with other ladies. He can fool himself, but you, darling, don't fool yourself. You are the most important person in your life, and you should be taking care of yourself. You should be the first in any guy's list. Not second, or third... What's going to happen when he starts hooking up with other women? Is he going to be telling you? What would you feel? You are not there to solve his problems. His issues are his and only his, it doesn't matter if he doesn't know what he's talking about, you are not the one that has to decide that, he is. The damage is already done here. Do you really think this is the guy for you? A guy who's not willing to commit after 5 years together and wants to be with other women? He wants out of the relationship, he's just not willing to say this honestly, he wants to keep you in a safe place for whenever he needs. And that is not what you deserve... Please end this. You should learn to respect yourself for you to be respected. He doesn't respect you. I don't think that is even love, He's not the only guy in the world, don't be afraid to be alone, be afraid to stay with someone who doesn't deserve you. You are willing to wait for him and stick with him , yet he isn't willing to do the same for you. I'm sorry if a come out a little harsh, it's just that I was in this situation for a really long time, and I wouldn't like another person to go through something like this. Man often say things like that because they can't be completely honest with us or even with themselves. I waited for a guy to "come to his senses" only to find out that was never going to happen. And I lost valuable time on that, precious time during which I could have been loving myself more, and making myself the top priority, as should you right now. Good luck on all of this. Remember to love yourself, refuse to be anybody's plan B.
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