Do you miss me yet?
July 10, 2007 3:44 PM   Subscribe

I recently moved about 6 hours away from my boyfriend of 11 years and I don't miss him yet...

I recently moved about 6 hours away from my boyfriend of 11 years. See my previous posts if you need some back story (but it isn’t necessary).

I don’t miss him yet. I actually feel liberated! No extra meals, no extra laundry, no not being able to rearrange the apartment because he doesn’t like it…. All that stuff.

This has to end right? I must start missing him soon right?

I love doing what I want when I want! So be honest with me… when does this honeymoon with myself end (if it’s going to)?

We speak about 3 times per day. It’s full of normal daily routine stuff. Yet when I don’t talk to him all I think about is meeting new guys and having emotional affairs (I have no desire to sleep with anyone, just get some emotional affection from new guys). Is this normal? Please tell me stories about moving away from long term relationships….
posted by MayNicholas to Human Relations (28 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
In your previous post when you discussed the move you talked about 'starting over'. It sounds to me as if you'd already made the emotional break with him back then.

That you are thinking about meeting new men strongly suggests to me that your old relationship is probably dead in the water.

I was with someone for 8 years (between the ages of 17 to 25) because everyone (but me) thought he was a great guy. He bored me to tears, but I thought there was something wrong with me because I didn't think he was Mr Wonderful. I wasted a lot of years 'settling for' him, and had a few wild ones to make up for lost time after we eventually split.
posted by essexjan at 3:54 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

I know this is a completely different situation, but my husband is in the military and is often away on deployments. When he leaves, I am very upset, but those feelings are accompanied by feelings of "liberation" (ie. I don't have to cook dinner if I don't feel like it, there is 1/2 the laundry, 1/2 the mess...) I just think it's my nature to try to focus on the positive side of things. I think you feel liberated because it is new. Someday (I don't know how long, though) your thoughts could change to longing for companionship, someone to cook dinner with/for (maybe?). I don't know. Every person and every relationship are different (and I didn't read the back story), so it's really hard to say, but those are my 2 cents.
posted by creedling at 3:57 PM on July 10, 2007

Sure, it's possible you'll start to miss him. It's also just as possible that you won't. It sounds like your relationship -- pleasant as it may be to talk on the phone -- might simply have run its course. (After all, not all breakups are precipitated by knock-down, drag-out, I HATE YOU I HATE YOU DIE DIE DIE fights. Sometimes they just sort of... coast to a halt.)

The fact that you talk about basically feeling relieved and wanting to meet new guys (even if you don't want to sleep with them) are both strong indicators of that to me.
posted by scody at 3:58 PM on July 10, 2007

when I don’t talk to him all I think about is meeting new guys and having emotional affairs (I have no desire to sleep with anyone, just get some emotional affection from new guys).

Have you mentioned this to him, and is he ok with it? Do these other guys you can't stop thinking about know about him? If you both agree that it's not cheating as long as you don't actually fuck the other people, that's one thing, but are you just setting your own limits and assuming he shares them? I know I'd be pretty heartbroken to hear my partner talking that way.

Just be honest with him about how you're feeling, and let the rest work itself out. It sounds like the best thing for both of you might be to make a clean break. Please don't lead him on and pretend to miss him if you don't.

(You don't mention how long you've been apart, and maybe you are just feeling the normal exhiliration of moving to a new place, but as others have said, your focus on sexual/romantic pursuits seems to suggest otherwise.)
posted by contraption at 4:06 PM on July 10, 2007

Oh, wow. I just went back and read your previous posts about this relationship. Honestly, MayNichols, in your own words it appears you've been moving towards breaking up for years. I'm not being snarky when I say this, I'm saying this with all the compassion I've got: you're not going to die if you just break up already, and neither will he. The only thing that appears to be holding you together as a unit is fear of being apart. Trust me: not a recipe for long-term happiness.

Look, you're in your early 30s. Ask yourself: do you want to be in your early 40s one day, asking yet another variation-on-the-same-theme question about this same guy? Honestly, it's up to you.

Life's too short. It sounds to me like your gut is telling you to live it.
posted by scody at 4:07 PM on July 10, 2007 [3 favorites]

This has to end right? I must start missing him soon right?

Wait until you need someone to kill an icky spider for you. Then you'll miss him.

OK, kidding. Seriously now, you feel liberated. Roll with it. It's normal. It's good.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:12 PM on July 10, 2007

Wait, so did you break up with him, or not? Because you were talking a couple of months ago like you were definitely breaking up, and now you're making it sound like you're still together. From your history, I think you should not be with this guy. And that means that you should not be talking to him three times a day. The only way you will get over this relationship is to give yourself the time and space to mourn it, and you won't get that if you're clinging to him.

If you are still in a relationship with him, I don't at all understand why. In your past posts, you talked about the fact that he doesn't support any of your personal or career goals, the fact that you're emotionally and sexually incompatible, and the fact that you've basically felt for a long time like you're just treading water with him. Break up already. Don't stay together out of inertia or fear.

You need to decide where you stand with him. If you are going to be together, I think you need to tell him that he needs to make a commitment to you and move to be with you. Otherwise, you should break up with him and get on with your life. It's been 11 years. Don't waste any more time letting his indecision rule your life.
posted by decathecting at 4:14 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yes, it has been a weird ride as far as my feelings for him go. At times I feel that we were so d.o.n.e. but other times I feel that we could work through it. We did not break up at this move. We both agreed that this was an experiment. We are apart, for who knows how long. If it works, then we are meant to be together. If not then we move on amicably.
posted by MayNicholas at 4:20 PM on July 10, 2007

Yes, it has been a weird ride as far as my feelings for him go. At times I feel that we were so d.o.n.e. but other times I feel that we could work through it.

Again, not being snarky: unless you're slinging dishes at each other on a regular basis or stewing in silent, simmering hatred, this is a good characterization of many basically unsatisfying relationships. It's the whole "not with a bang, but with a whimper" story.

We are apart, for who knows how long. If it works, then we are meant to be together.

Still not being snarky: I've been in four serious long-distance relationships in the past 20 years (one at 17-19, one at 20-22, one at 26-27, and one at 31-34 that included a strong mutual expectation of getting married), and I can tell you, this sort of hopeful vagueness (or vague hopefulness) is, to put it bluntly, useless. You need a clear timeframe and some clear metrics for what constitute the relationship "working" -- does he start to support your goals, for example? Do you two find yourselves in agreement about what region of the country to live in? Have you both decided you do or do not want kids?

Those are really concrete factors that must be in play for a relationship to work in any meaningful, healthy way. They have not been in play, according to your previous posts, in your relationship up to this point; I would point out that there's nothing particularly magical about "distance" that is likely to somehow make them come into play now.
posted by scody at 4:37 PM on July 10, 2007 [5 favorites]

Break up with the guy, but be prepared for a nuclear meltdown. Factor in tons of phone calls, emails etc. It takes a lot of work to disentangle your lives. I just got out of a 4.5 year relationship (on again off again deal) and I still don't really believe that the book is shut on this one. Its good that there is so much distance between you two. That makes drawn out break-up-and-get-back-together sessions harder.

Also it ultimately may make it easier for you get back into the relationship at some point in the future if you change your mind. Essentially you can go do whatever you want, and not have to really worry about mixing your dirty laundry with his. If you're feelings change somewhere in the future you can try to rekindle that flame without the hurt involved when you know who you've each been screwing, etc.

It sounds like you're moving toward a break up and you don't have much to loose, so go for it.

But be gentle with the guy (we have feelings too you know.) Let him down as easy as possible (but don't be a coward, we hate that even more.)

Also be aware that you will miss the routine. You're essentially cutting off a big part of your life. Suddenly you won't be able to call him up and talk about your day or whatever anymore... there may be things about him that you'll miss that you won't even realize until they are gone.
posted by wfrgms at 4:39 PM on July 10, 2007

Sometimes despite what you "think" you want - reality sets in and you realize that for your own emotional well-being that you have no business continuing a relationship ... no matter how very much you want it to work. If you can, take a step back and ask yourself if you are in love with being in a relationship -- rather than in love with the other party? How many more excuses and regrets do you really want to endure? Don't you really deserve more?
posted by peace_love_hope at 4:49 PM on July 10, 2007

No snarkyness taken.... as far as long term goals... when I moved here he helped all the way. Once I was settled in he said his favorite thing about this place was me. His least favorite thing was that I was here. Kids- I'm not so sure I want them- but that is a moot point for me right now. He says there is nothing here for him except for me. Yes it seems like we are moving toward a breakup, but I need to say this... We have a great daily rapport. We understand each other, can anticipate what each other needs, and accept each other's flaws for what they are without judgement. It seems to me that these are essentials for a long term relationship and yes I am questioning things. Is this normal? Am I expecting more than I should? (for those who read my previous posts- he finally apologized for the ring thing)
posted by MayNicholas at 4:51 PM on July 10, 2007

Yet when I don’t talk to him all I think about is meeting new guys and having emotional affairs (I have no desire to sleep with anyone, just get some emotional affection from new guys).

I would say this is more of an indicator that things are over than if you were saying the reverse (i.e. that you wanted a new guy for some casual sex but not an emotional connection). Of course, that's just me and my background talking.

In answer to your question, it does not sound to me like your honeymoon with yourself is necessarily going to end. You should probably indicate to him that you are interested in taking a break for awhile. I'd try taking a month off from interacting with him, and then call him at the end of the month. If things feel good that way for you, tell him you'd like to be friends (unless you don't actually want to be friends with him). If you're missing him terribly, there's your answer. If he isn't interested in this little experiment, write another AskMe.
posted by Nabubrush at 4:51 PM on July 10, 2007

I haven't read your previous posts, so I don't know anything about your relationship. From what I see in this thread, it sure doesn't sound like your relationship is rock solid. It's quite possible that you should break up with the guy.

However, I'm a little hesitant to jump onto the break-up bandwagon. You guys have been together for 11 years. That is such a long, long time. After 11 years, the infatuation stage is long gone. I can certainly imagine that two people, in a happy, successful relationship, could move away from each other after 11 years and be fine with it. After 11 years, two people should be perfectly comfortable with each other, to the extent that such a long distance might not matter.

Then again, that's just a hypothetical answer to your question. All I am trying to say is that, just because you don't miss him might not obviously mean your relationship is dying. Don't make any huge decisions based solely off of this. It certainly sounds like reason to think deeply about why you don't miss him. But, in the end, it should be your reflection on those deeper reasons that should indicate the strength or weakness of your relationship.
posted by Ms. Saint at 4:58 PM on July 10, 2007

Just after our ten year anniversary I moved away from my partner for a job in a different city. I didn't miss him at first, was too overwhelmed and excited by my new life. The feelings described in your post fitted me for the first couple of weeks at least. Even the part about looking for emotional attachments from other men, although it was mixed in with just making new friends and setting up a new social life in general rather than wanting a new partner at all. When apart from my boyfriend it was easy to focus on the people around me rather than on him like I usually would, and I think this is normal. There was all this exciting new stuff to incorporate into my life. But after the first few weeks and the excitement/stress from the move abated a bit the loneliness totally hit me and I missed him terribly. I spent the whole six months swinging between not missing him at all and totally pining for him.

But we were fully committed before the move and had a set time period until he would join me. We also had a plan for how to reintegrate our lives, when to look for a place to live together, what kind of job he would get, etc. And we always had long term plans which weren't overly changed by the change in location (e.g. I went back to Uni, just enrolling at a different school). It was having this solidity and certainty behind me that allowed me to not fret too much about our relationship and to focus on setting up a new life. I was doing it for both of us rather than moving apart from him. This sounds very different from your situation.

We only spoke twice a week (sometimes once) and visited every two to four week. How do you have time to speak three times per day? What is there to talk about? Why do you feel the need to stay so attached to him? You're in a weird situation, clinging to the past and trying to move on at the same time. I totally agree with scody, moving away with some vague plans and hopes isn't going to help you at all. You should either set some goals and time limits for the relationship which you both can focus on, or make a clean break and start to really enjoy your new life. Otherwise this wishy washy in between will just drag on and on.

So yeah, while I think it's normal to feel liberated and excited at first I wouldn't expect it to persist. And having some vague idea that "it's meant to be" isn't going to make your relationship work. If you really are excited and happy about your new life and moving on then maybe you should, you know, move on from him.
posted by shelleycat at 5:08 PM on July 10, 2007

In March, you wrote to say "I think it's time to break up -- am I right?"

In May: "I think this is really it -- help me be strong."

And now: "I've moved to another city, and I don't miss him, and I think about other guys all the time. What could that possibly mean?"

I think it means you've already broken up with him.
posted by ottereroticist at 5:16 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think the reason I feel so torn is part of what Ms. Saint said...

I know the lust wears off as does the flutters and the fireworks and in the end it boils down to what you are willing to accept. We both accept each other for our flaws and our fabulousnesses and the mudane day to day life is smooth. Now I have no idea if any of this is normal now that we are apart. While part of me feels its time to move on, another part of me feels that we have made it so far and have accepted so much of each other that I am looking for something that is not realistic. I am looking for a new emotional attachment that may not weather the duration that this relationship has. How do I know what is normal and what is just me loving my new life?
posted by MayNicholas at 5:42 PM on July 10, 2007

Wow. I'm in your position now.

My long term boyfriend recently moved eight hours away. Before he and I lived together I was big on personal space and liked having alone time. When he moved, I felt liberated, I could finally do what I wanted - if I wanted to leave my wet towel on the floor, goddamnit I did it - without him being there to "get in the way" as it were. I was an individual again, instead of someone's domestic partner.

Flash forward six months later, we haven't seen each other in a month, and talking on the phone is a drag (I hate the phone). I wanted to get to know other people; like you I didn't want to sleep with anyone, but I wanted what you could call an emotional affair. I really began to miss having someone to cuddle with, talk to at all hours of the night, and doing things alone all the time sucked.

We saw each other again this weekend, and I was fully prepared to break up with him. But we had a great time - it was like we were dating again, instead of the "oh you again" routine. I suddenly miss him being up my ass all the time and being there, yelling at me about towels.

My point is, that you are at the right point. I didn't read your past questions, so I don't know your history together. But when you see each other again, you will ultimately know the answer as to whether or not all this crap is worth it, or if you've already moved on. People from the internet can't tell you that. But you will immediately know the minute the time comes for you two to part again.
posted by sephira at 5:58 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

The thing is, you cannot know what will happen if you break up unless you actually do it. None of us can predict the future, and neither can you or he. The time comes where you just have to sit back and realize that this is it, it's over, and you must just be strong and get on with it. Even when it seems like you made a mistake. Even when you miss him. EVEN when you go on your first date(s) after him with someone else and all you can do is compare the new guy to your old guy and your old guy seems better. You have to make it through all that because life is about GROWING and MOVING, not sitting there, afraid to move because you don't know what will happen.
posted by rio at 6:02 PM on July 10, 2007

How do I know what is normal and what is just me loving my new life?

You're in uncharted waters, by choice, so take deep breaths and admire the scenery. In short, you keep wanting to know what is normal, what is normal, WHAT IS NORMAL, as if there's some baseline that applies to everyone. There's only you and what you want.

Do a coin toss. Heads you stay with him, tails you seek out new relationships. Now, before you do the coin toss, listen to the voice inside you. Is it saying "god, let it be heads" or "god, let it be tails" ?

But honestly, it just sounds like you're starved for emotional affection and like a young girl you're swooning at the idea of all that hot man flesh paying attention to YOU. Maybe you just need more romance in your current relationship.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:04 PM on July 10, 2007

My boyfriend of 3 years, to whom I was engaged, moved far away to attend a different university. We thought everything would be fine and we'd still be together after he moved back, but that wasn't so. I felt the same way you did, feeling liberated and happy not having to be in the same place with one person all the time. I could do anything I wanted to do at home and everything felt great. He and I were still together long distance for 6 months after he moved, until I went to visit him. I was really excited about seeing him again, but when I got there I just wanted to go back home. I didn't like that boyfriend/girlfriend situation again and so we broke up. There were other factors involved, but being apart for so long brought some things to light.

Just enjoy how you feel now and if you or he ever visit each other later on then you may be able to tell where your relationship really stands.
posted by koshka at 6:16 PM on July 10, 2007

I know the lust wears off as does the flutters and the fireworks and in the end it boils down to what you are willing to accept.

Our thirteen year anniversary is this weekend and there are still fireworks and flutters. Not every day but certainly every week, and a fair bit of lust too. Sure the initial urgency wears off, but the romance and excitement and overwhelming feeling of being loved and the security of this being right, those are still going strong.

Make a decision. Move forward. You've made this huge life change and yet you're still in limbo. Either focus on your relationship and talk to him about how you're going to make it work, or get on with your new life without him.
posted by shelleycat at 6:20 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yes, accepting each other and being comfortable are wonderful essentials, and not to taken lightly. But there are many other essentials -- for example, sexual compatibility, common interests, shared goals, and emotional support and nurturance. You've previously said, in one way or another, that you guys lack all those things.

Longevity, in and of itself, can be a fine thing (my parents have been together for 45 years, since they were 19, and are crazy about each other).... and it can be vastly overrated (my aunt and uncle were together 40+ years and hated each other's guts by the time my uncle drank himself to death). You need much more than longevity alone to have a healthy, satisfying relationship.

on preview: In short, you keep wanting to know what is normal, what is normal, WHAT IS NORMAL, as if there's some baseline that applies to everyone. There's only you and what you want.

Exactly. What's normal for me might not be normal for someone else. For example, I'd consider putting a gun to my head before I settled for an emotionally distant marriage with infrequent, unsatisfying sex, but I've seen first-hand that plenty of people are more than willing (and seem to be happy) in exactly such an arrangement.

What do you want in a relationship? And can you realistically obtain those things in this relationship in the foreseeable future? Those are the key questions you need to stop side-stepping.

IMO, no one is just cosmically "meant to be together" (and I say this as someone in a stellar relationship with the love of my life -- who I didn't meet till I was 36 and had already been married once!), and relationships don't just somehow "work out" or not. You actively make the decision to have a good relationship, and then you work at it with someone else who's willing to work every bit as hard as you are.
posted by scody at 6:29 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

I know there is no definitive anawer here, but I must say thanks to the Mefites who have contributed thus far.
posted by MayNicholas at 6:44 PM on July 10, 2007

Seconding scody's point about longevity alone not being enough for a relationship. I am prone to allow relationships to go on past the sell-by date, out of fear, shyness, inertia, cowardice, and the like. There are songs about this. It's a thing. And it's no good for anyone.

scody is right about everything; you have to make a decision, and put in the effort to make things work out.

I agree with scody that there's no one cosmic "right" answer or person. Good luck in making a decision that you are content with.
posted by ibmcginty at 7:17 PM on July 10, 2007

I'm with Shelleycat: I think people get told that "romance fades blah blah blah" so often that some people end up having incredibly low expectations of what a romantic relationship should feel like.

It is not irrational to still want to be attracted to your partner after a decade. You're not shopping for a roommate here.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 8:43 PM on July 10, 2007

We both agreed that this was an experiment. We are apart, for who knows how long. If it works, then we are meant to be together. If not then we move on amicably.

Then by all means, let the experiment run its course!

In science, an experiment doesn't have to turn out the way you expect to be considered successful. A successful experiment is one from which you learn something. Sometimes, the experiment turns out the way you expect, and your hypothesis is confirmed. Sometimes, it doesn't, but that's OK--it's still a successful experiment because you've learned something from it.

Maybe in a few weeks you'll find that you miss him. Maybe you'll find that you still don't miss him. Either way, you've learned something from your experiment. The only thing to avoid (to stretch this tortured analogy even further) is stubbornly clinging to your initial hypothesis long after the data has shown it is incorrect.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:50 AM on July 11, 2007

A little late in commenting here, but in case you're still reading:

Based on my own experience in a similar situation (which I explained a bit in a previous answer to one of your questions), I would say you need to make a clean break, work through your feelings about the situation, and find a relationship that really makes you happy. What you're doing now could drag out for a very long time. There's a good chance that you two will get along better over long distance (like you said, no one bugging you about the towels) but that doesn't mean the relationship has what you're looking for. That just means you have someone comfortable to talk to on the phone when you're feeling alone. The problems with the relationship are not going to magically change, and it will be very easy to convince yourself that they have when your only contact is by phone a few times a day. Meanwhile, by staying in the relationship, you're stunting some personal growth that has been ready to happen for a long time. You're also depriving yourself the joys of feeling truly independent, and the richness of being with someone who fits you and enhances your life. You deserve more.
posted by pitseleh at 5:32 PM on July 13, 2007

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