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He lives on the west coast. I live on the east coast. Do I try or do I move on?
May 27, 2010 9:10 AM   Subscribe

He lives on the west coast. I live on the east coast. Its the most passionate relationship I have ever been in, except we never talk when we're apart. Do I try or do I move on?

He was a speaker at a conference I produced a few years back. Ever since, whenever we are in the same city (approx 3 times a year), we go out, have a great time, have great sex, and then have to say goodbye. The thing is, we hardly talk when we are apart. An email or call every few months, but that's it. He is busy. I am busy. I was fine with it being casual until recently.

Despite dating other men in the mean time, I am always thinking about him. I miss him. And the more we are apart, the more I feel myself growing attached. He is extremely successful in the field of which we both work. Its a turn on, but work has become a constant reminder of him and what we have. No one I meet lives up to the standard he has set. And each time we see each other, I feel our connection getting stronger. I think he has felt it too.

My feelings for him are exhausting- especially when I don't know what he is thinking. I want to approach him about a long distance relationship, but I have no idea how. And I'm scared he will say no. There is a good chance I will be moving to the west coast in a year for my career. Should I wait to try it out for real? The last thing I want to do is scare him away. My usual rational and practicality is really being pushed to the wayside in this situation.

Please advise.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Tell him everything you've told us here. Take a swing or take a seat.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:15 AM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


You're overthinking. Maybe he has the same feelings as you. You need to ask him/tell him. If he says no, at least you have an answer and can move forward in life. If he says yes, well, then, there ya go.
posted by December at 9:28 AM on May 27, 2010


Yep. How about calling him up and saying "Despite dating other men in the mean time, I am always thinking about you. I miss you. And the more we are apart, the more I feel myself growing attached. No one I meet lives up to the standard you And each time we see each other, I feel our connection getting stronger. Have you felt that too?"

And I'm scared he will say no.

What do you have to lose? You don't have much of a deep relationship right now; it's a situational fling. You have to ask yourself: if nothing changed, and if this relationship continued exactly as it is for years ahead of you, would you remain satisfied? Would that be okay with you? Or would you finally feel like you needed to move on to someone who can offer you a future? If so, then you lose nothing by going for it right now - in fact, you would gain back some potentially wasted time hanging out with someone who has no intention of getting serious about you.

If, on the other hand, you would be fine with things continuing as they are, then let them continue as they are. But I don't think you would post here if you were fine with that.

I hate to raise the question, but are you sure he's single?

Just ask - either at your next meeting, or call him up and ask now. It could lead to something wonderful. Or it could lead to greater clarity about what you want in a relationship. But whatever happens, it will get you out of what sounds like a frustrating limbo.
posted by Miko at 9:28 AM on May 27, 2010 [11 favorites]


Ask. Not only is it the only way to get what you want, but it's also the only thing that's fair to you both.

Casual things are great - but if one person starts feeling otherwise, both people deserve to know. A guy worth having would want to start behaving accordingly once he knew his partner felt that way, and a guy who doesn't is somebody who you can start getting over.

(Also, the greatness of casual things can be totally ruined by miscommunication, especially non-communication Take it from somebody who was in love with his best friend/fuckbuddy who was in love with me but thought when I said I'd never be in a relationship again when we met that I actually would always mean it; our bad timing and worse communication ruined the friendship, the sex, and any relationship potential.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:01 AM on May 27, 2010


I would say tell him but watch "Up in the Air" first. Don't show up at his apartment or whatever unannounced. Good luck!
posted by ShadePlant at 10:48 AM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm with ShadePlant, when I read your question I thought, "Oh, I've seen that movie!"

Sorry to be blunt, but my guess is there's a really good reason why he seems to forget about you when you're not around.
posted by ErikaB at 11:28 AM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would say something like:

Look, up until now this has been a great casual thing, but being casual isn't working for me anymore. So either we need to be more boyfriend/girlfriend/serious/whatever*, or I'm not going to be able to see you anymore.

Be clear, confident, and approach it as a decision you're making together--because it is! You're communicating what you want clearly, and that is mature, thoughtful, and all-around great. He should respect that (and you) even if you want different things.


*have specific examples in mind of exactly what you mean/want, example, monogamy, for him to call you/email you, whatever. Make sure you are both talking about the same thing, very important!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:39 PM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm guessing he's very charismatic seeing as he's a successful public speaker. I wouldn't be surprised if he intuitively senses what you need and gives that to you. I've seen this type of behavior with other people. They can make others feel like they are at the center of an exciting world and act in a manner that makes people believe they have a deep connection. However, this type of person acts in this way to everyone, almost indiscriminately. They draw people in. I'm not saying this man is a terrible person, but it doesn't sound like he's really interested in a serious relationship with you.

I would say to go ahead and ask, but not to expect much to come of it. If he was interested, he would be contacting you more often. On the other hand, maybe he craves the excitement of being with you a few times a year. I imagine it's also exciting for you to have wonderful, intense time with him. With so little time together, every moment is dramatic and emotional. Other men you have dated probably don't have the intensity as the relationship with the guy you so infrequently since you can basically see them anytime you want and you can slowly get to know each other.

I'm not trying to be ultra-critical, but I wanted to offer a slightly different point of view.
posted by parakeetdog at 12:43 PM on May 27, 2010


I wouldn't be surprised if he intuitively senses what you need and gives that to you. I've seen this type of behavior with other people. They can make others feel like they are at the center of an exciting world and act in a manner that makes people believe they have a deep connection. However, this type of person acts in this way to everyone, almost indiscriminately.

Yes. This is definitely true. It doesn't make him a bad person, but be careful about investing too much in the idea that a) he is THE ONE or b) that you have a mutual special connection with him. You might. But you might not.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:53 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


These two things in your question are red flags to me:

I was fine with it being casual until recently.

No one I meet lives up to the standard he has set.


Try to ask yourself if there's any chance you've been using this relationship as a mental haven from the messiness of actually meeting people and being disappointed by them close up. Did something happen in your life recently where it felt good to turn this into a crush? I wonder if you're trying to distract yourself by focusing your mental energy on an unlikely or at least distant prospect.

What made you change your mind about this fling?

All of that aside, I think you should tell your fling how you're feeling, but before you do, try to figure out if a relationship with him is something you want, or something you're diverting yourself with.
posted by gladly at 1:42 PM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I doubt the relationship is going to get all that serious as long as you live on the opposite coast from him, to be honest. I'm inclined towards waiting. Also, um, yeah on the "is he single."

I suspect he's not as attached as you are, since you are comparing all the locals to him and daydreaming and fueling the fires about a guy that you've never been able to get to know very well beyond 3 times a year of nookie. He may not have that much interest in you beyond the occasional quickie if he's not into talking to you the rest of the year.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:44 PM on May 27, 2010


Just remember: keeping things passionate and interesting is a lot easier to do when you only see each other a few times a year. Comparing your current relationship to other relationships you're having (closer to home) is comparing apples to oranges.

Why don't you start off by reaching out for more contact, more often? By that I mean phone calls and emails and such. Perhaps even seeing him more often. Perhaps he'll be game, the relationship will get better, and things will move along. Or perhaps he'll only respond to your initiations rather than reaching out, or he'll say "er, that's not really my thing."

Take a step. It doesn't have to be the step. See what happens.
posted by davejay at 2:03 PM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


You don't know what he's feeling until you ask. You seem to be doing a lot of guessing about his feelings, which seems odd since you've gotten together several times a year. There's a chance he'll say that it's just a fling, but at least then you know.
posted by Wuggie Norple at 4:14 PM on May 27, 2010


Would you be okay with it if it turned out that he had similar relationships (online, long-distance, passionate) going on with other women, too? Or if he had someone else he was seeing in his home state?

Please think about that carefully before moving ahead and asking him for more. And then, go ahead and ask for exactly what you want, because communication is the key to making this happen if it ever will.

And I think you should sound this out before you consider moving to the West Coast next year, especially if your relationship with him is one of your prime motivations for moving in addition to your career aspirations. Because I sense your heart would be broken if you moved out there and only then determined he was married/involved with other people too.

Just be prepared to lose what you have now if you ask for more, because given your relationship status now, this is a huge gamble. Only you can decide if you want to roll the dice.
posted by misha at 5:35 PM on May 27, 2010


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