boyfriend is leaving for two months... are we doomed?
November 13, 2013 1:43 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend of 1.5 years is leaving to go back to his country (wasn't granted a visa) and he will be gone for at least 2 months.. maybe more if he doesn't get another one he's applying for. I feel like that's a long time and we are both bad at communicating on the phone/skype/etc. We work best when we can see each other and value doing a lot of things together (our love language is touch and quality time). He hasn't mentioned coming to visit, although I would. I'd even love for us to both go to another country and explore while he's in this transition period but I don't think his financial situation would allow for it and would feel like Im trying to save the relationship more than he is. I feel like we're doomed since long distance relationships rarely work out. What should or can I do?
posted by soooo to Human Relations (14 answers total)
Say these things to him.
posted by downing street memo at 1:49 PM on November 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Long distance relationships rarely work out but two months apart is not the same thing. Especially after 18 months together.
posted by destructive cactus at 1:50 PM on November 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

When I first met my wife I inexplicably decided to leave Japan (I had a crappy job), and this was pre-Internet and a long time before cheap long distance. So we communicated by mail and the occasional phone call.

After about six months I had had enough of my home country and I scraped together the money to get back.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:50 PM on November 13, 2013

What should or can I do?

Enjoy absolutely every moment you have together. 2 months is nothing, don't borrow trouble.
posted by headnsouth at 1:50 PM on November 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

I feel like we're doomed...

Plenty of people have made long distance relationships work for limited timeframes. See: every married soldier ever deployed.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 1:56 PM on November 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

It is my experience that the strongest and most valuable relationships are those that serve the participants, and not vice-versa.

As others have noted, 2 months isn't that long. But perhaps even more to the point, 2 months is enough time for you to figure out if this relationship serves both of you, provides enough value to both of you, that you're willing to figure out what you need to do to make it work. Maybe that's country-hopping for a bit while you figure out how to settle the visa issues. Maybe that's Skype-ing more. Or maybe both of you decide that that's more work than the relationship is worth and you move on.

Got an in-law nephew who, after high school, told his parents that he was going to bum around Europe for a summer, so he did, and it turns out that the real reason he headed over there wasn't busking in Bielefeld, it was to visit the cute exchange student who had gone home. A few years of back and forth and they're married with a kid and I have to ask which country they're currently in.

A few years ago, Mrs. Straw spent about two months volunteering at an organization on the other side of the U.S. from me. We talked on the phone a bunch, and that time gave us distance and perspective in a way that has made our relationship much stronger and deeper.

This is an incident in the ongoing process that is your life, and either you'll find a way to make it work, or you won't. If you do find a way to make it work, then you can be more sure that this really is a relationship worth putting that much more energy into. If you don't, then you were probably better off pursuing other relationships anyway.
posted by straw at 2:03 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

I say this as gently as possible: if you think two months is a long time, you may well not be cut out for a LDR. That isn't a failing; it's a good piece of self-knowledge. It is critical to know your own boundaries and limitations. It's also part of growing up to really understand that love is not all it takes and love is not enough. If "I really love you and I treasure the time we've had together but I know I don't have what it takes to maintain this connection long distance" is where you are, it's a kindness to the pair of you to just say so.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:04 PM on November 13, 2013 [5 favorites]

My boyfriend of 1.5 years moved away permanently, and I was stuck at college. We saw each other on average once every two months, and we considered this pretty frequent considering the circumstances. Otherwise we Skyped and texted daily. We lasted over a year this way and broke up for unrelated reasons.

Honestly, two months is nothing. It's a blip on the radar. I'm kind of surprised you're at all worried about this.

While he's gone, maybe consider enrolling in some kind of fun class, which will both keep you busy and social and also give you something to talk about when he gets back.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:17 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Agree with above that 2 months is nothing in the scheme of a long-term relationship, and if it does turn out to be the case that this seperation is what causes your relationship's undoing, it's probably for the best anyway, because if you'd break up over this, you'd end up breaking up over something else later on.
posted by Asparagus at 2:19 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Have you and your boyfriend talked about your plans during this 2 month period, and afterwards? You absolutely need to be able to talk about it. What you decide might not be how it works out in the end (you might decide not to continue the relationship, but find once you're apart that you do want to continue, after all; or you might decide to continue, but find once you're apart that it won't work out, after all)... but either way, you've gotta be able to discuss this before, during, and after those two months.

And if you're planning to continue the relationship, you need to be able to talk about the details, too--things like whether or not you'll be visiting, for example. Long distance relationships require really good communication, particularly communication about the future of the relationship. Otherwise one or the other of you could be left hanging, with expectations the other one never knew about, and that would lead to hurt all around.

(I've been in both an unsuccessful and a successful LDR. There were a lot of other differences between the two as well, but better communication is definitely a big factor.)
posted by snorkmaiden at 4:36 PM on November 13, 2013

You might be doomed if you consider quality time to only be time spent physically in one another's presence.

I'm concerned that you think that the relationship needs saving, at this point. Nothing bad has happened yet. I get your concern, but is it really based on something concrete and specific to your current relationship?
posted by sm1tten at 6:53 PM on November 13, 2013

Two months is nothing, in the face of this chronic LDR-haver. (Relationships have always ended when we got back together and I realized I didn't like them as much once I knew what it was like to be without them.) My boyfriend and I were recently apart for about ten months, with visits every 2 months or so. Not saying we didn't fight or miss each other, but now we live together and we're more in love than ever.

One of my coworkers had to leave the US because she had no visa and was away from her boyfriend for about a year and a half. Eventually they said "fuck it" and got married so she could stay here permanently. It doesn't always spell doom.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:18 PM on November 13, 2013

Well....LDR's can work out, but (a) both of you have to want it, (b) both of you have to work at it, and (c) there needs to be an end date.

The #1 thing that I'm noticing here is that you said he's from another country, " (wasn't granted a visa) and he will be gone for at least 2 months.. maybe more if he doesn't get another one he's applying for." That to me does not say "we'll be apart for two months and that's it." Visa problems mean that he may be highly likely to be gone longer than that. And the government doesn't like it when you keep popping in and out of the country--read Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert for how much they don't like that. It sounds like at this point time that he may not be able to come back, or stay with you without marriage.

If you both don't like to Skype or use the phone or communicate in the usual long-distance ways AND he hasn't said a damn word about having you visit AND there's no end date AND you aren't looking to get married.... I think you're right: you might as well break up when he leaves. He doesn't sound so motivated to keep it going from what you've said, visa problems are serious, and even you think it's doomed.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:46 PM on November 13, 2013

My marriage started as a LDR. You either make it work, or you don't.

Two months is nothing in the grand scheme of things.

But, really use this time to determine if this is the relationship that you each want. He may not, and you may have to accept it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:02 AM on November 14, 2013

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