Long-Distance Love Falls Apart
Q: My ex and I were in a nearly perfect relationship for two years. I'd never felt such a strong connection with anyone else. We added to each other's happiness greatly. However, a year ago he started graduate school. Our relationship quickly turned into more of a long distance one, and that put a strain on us. The more I asked for his attention, the more we fought, even though those fights and the bitter sentiments afterwards never lasted longer than a few hours. At the end of each day, we still reconciled and loved each other. Everything was perfect again --except the distance.
I was beginning to have my doubts, however, and broke it off with him three months ago. In retrospect, it was stupid. I lost both my best friend and boyfriend, and I'm still in love with him. I'd already told him that, but he rejected me, saying we needed time apart to grow, but it feels more like he's putting me in the past. I want to get back together to work through our problems together, but more importantly, I want my best friend back. How should I approach this? What do you think he's feeling/thinking about this?—Cher, 20
Dr. Susan: When a guy tells you he wants time apart, you have to take him at his word. You broke up with him, and that time apart allowed him to take stock of his life and his needs. It must have been very frustrating for both of you to adjust to the new circumstances. You craved more attention, and he was no doubt busier than you realized with grad school. Your lives were diverging, and it wasn't only distance that separated you. Very early loves can't all stand the test of time and distance and still-developing personalities. Of course you miss him, but my guess is that it's over.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.