Long Distance Relationships are for the birds


#1

I have no idea how I get stuck in them, I do not look for them, they just show up and before I know it, I’m stuck playing this same old game, same pattern, same everything and I want to share my experiences here. I have it broken down to a series of stages, all predictable, always ending the same, always the same struggle and heartache and always with my heart that gets smashed in the process. People, avoid LDR’s at all cost, the only exception being if you are close enough to make regular drives to each others locations, anything else and you are just kidding yourself.

Here are the stages and the dynamic of how they work and a little extra input from my personal experiences.


#2

Stage one, you find someone typically out of state, with this last one, literally the other side of the world, and you have some things in common. You dialog for a short time and find out that you two are single and really desire a relationship. This in turn ends up being limited to phone calls, email’s, and PM’s, you have to schedule time out of your day just to communicate and it in itself tears up your schedule. This is as far as it goes, in depth, you never actually see the other person, and moving down to the last stage, you will see exactly why. At this stage, they now obsess over you in an unhealthy manner, and their entire world revolves around you and you alone. This imbalance does burn out in the end, and it does so completely, you are also supposed to reciprocate the same immature obsession or are looked upon as a bad person.

Stage two, your dialog dissolves down to only discussing that status and dynamic of your relationship. You speak rarely about any new topics and the original ones have been hashed and rehashed so much, you are talking in circles. This is also a frustrating stage since you clearly see the huge gap that’s there when you cannot be there in person, that tactile experience, the chemistry involved there simply does not exist, it cannot exist in that manner. In all of these from this spot, always I face their obsessing over me, filling in gaps on their own and their perspective is only a fantasy. You also take note the utter immaturity over it all, and you soon realize, the person you are pulled into this thing with has not grown up in this area at all so you might as well be dealing with a 12 y.o.

Stage three, this is the beginning to the end, where you decide enough is enough, time to finally meet, to see if there is something more to this and to get to the bottom of it all, to find out the truth about that person, not just stuff they convey to you hiding behind a computer screen. All of a sudden, you are then placed in defensive mode, how dare you try to make this into a real thing, their only interest is keeping it as a virtual “emotionally safe” relationship and if you push it, it just gets worse. You can set a time frame, it will always be put off, there will be one excuse after another as to why now isn’t the right time, don’t play into this game guys, if they really had feelings for you, they would make time. This is where you find out, they are only interested in a virtual relationship, they had no intention to follow through with it and you are the bad guy for trying to make it work.

Stage four, You are now living in their baggage, and the whole dynamic changes to the point, you are no longer perceived as a unique individual, you are just paying for someone elses mistakes with no benefit of the doubt. You find out this person you thought you knew is finally being honest as to their nature, and in order to keep you on the defensive, instead of talking things out, the conversation is one sided, never in your favor. You find out just how childish their nature is, that there is a reason they cannot find someone local, because someone local will not put up with their issues and at this point, it’s never about what you feel, it’s entirely them and their petty, shallow, cowardly perspective. A plane ticket and a few days off is not hard to come by, in my case I’ve even offered to furnish them pro bono, yet in all cases, they resent the fact they cannot use that as an excuse any more.


#3

Stage five, this is where they have to get creative with everything that has been conveyed along with obscuring the truth, even if they have to lie to themselves about it, I call this the dillusionial stage, for that past reality is now something entirely different from what was experienced initially. They do this as a way of justifying their actions in their minds and to get you thrown off guard, regardless of how much they have to twist the truth, you realize that there is nothing you or anybody else could have done differently, they had it set in their mind that this was never going to go anywhere and you have been used and played all along.

This last one, I really let my guard down for I thought having the church in common was going to be enough, I found out after the fact, it was used against me, it was too easy for her to think she was helping with some area of my life, when in fact, she was driving me away from it. To expand a bit here, I’ve had a very tough life, so much so many people would have been driven insane, a big part of it has been facing spiritual attack by the evil one, he knows the most effective way to get me down is to dangle this carrot in front of me, only to rip it away once I am totally emotionally involved. He uses women as pawns for these and has proven himself effective with this approach. Part of me really just wants to harden my heart, and for a number of years I was successful in doing so, yet not any more, yet I would be lying if I was not cynical with relationships in general, how can I not be, for it’s the same pattern, over and over again and the ones that did the most damage were the long distance ones.

The truth comes out when they have to face the fact, you are going to be there in person, all of a sudden you get updated photo’s, you find out they aren’t in such good shape physically and emotionall, you find out they were never willing to relocate, or have you relocate to them, for they know they would not stand a chance of this working out in the real world entirely because they have to be honest with you now.

I have done these several times, all of the patterns are the same, you are not allowed to just bow out gracefully, they cannot stand that, they then try to rehash every little iota of detail that was conveyed in the past and turn it against you. All of that loyalty you showed them, all of the subtle gestures, anything and everything they can use against you, they do and some of them drum up such fiction, you wonder if they are writing from a script, or if they were trying their best to find fault anyway they can, just so they can justify their actions.

Folks, if anybody approaches you online from anywhere, please, please learn from my lessons, these do not work, and you now have a reference point to take note of when they follow this same pattern, it’s always the same, always predictable, and in the end, you will come out with the short end of the stick. Do not feel sorry for them and get sucked into their games, there is a good reason they cannot find anybody locally, you will eventually find out just why soon enough, and with this last one, I tried my best not to get emotionally involved, yet I found it impossible to do, so I end up sacrificing my heart, just so someone can play their petty, immature games, just for their amusement. If you find yourself in one and break it off, make sure it’s very clear, not to contact each other for any reason what so ever, this will allow you to heal and move on, there is no excuse for putting you through these, none at all, do not feel obligated to even be nice about it, just say good bye and leave me alone, if they cannot get that straight, use harsher words until they do.


#4

*I didn’t read through your entire thread, but will do so…I read your last few paragraphs though, and figured you were speaking of people you met online. I think that many people have been successful in long distance relationships, but I’m not sure I would exclusively meet potential spouses in this way. I am sorry you have gone through struggles in this area…my prayers are with you, that you will meet someone suitable for a relationship closer to you. *


#5

I’m sorry for for the trouble you have had in long distance relationships as well. I wouldn’t completely rule out the option, although recognizing the same methods don’t work for everyone.
I know a few people personally who have met their spouse on-line… Also, I met my fiancé on-line through Catholic Match, while we were living 1,000 miles apart. We talked on the phone and computer and also visited each other a handful of times over the course of a year until I started looking for a job in his area. I opted to move to his area since I had previously lived where he was. A year later of living near him, we are soon to get married!
For me this was the best option, since marrying a Catholic fellow is important to me to have someone who shares in my faith and that in the area where I was living, there were very few devoted Catholic men.


#6

Been there. I don’t want to speak ill about any of the ladies, especially the last one, but in retrospect, possibly, if those things had never happened, I would now be a happier man. In my case, it also in each case had involved difference in religion. I’m currently at the “no more” stage I finally want a normal relationship.

There’s a whole lot of things you don’t see or experience on the Internet, while the way communication takes place may be attractive, as in no people around when you’re talking, you talk about things that interest you and you have some appreciation for each other, which isn’t always how things go in real life, but you’ve got to be careful. Particularly, avoid the “compensational” aspects of meeting and “dating” women that way (things that make it more attractive than real life). Avoid people about whom you aren’t sure they’re in full possession of their minds.


#7

What is clear is that this particular method of meeting women may not be right for you. But what you relay is not a universal, or even a common, experience.

Many posters will probably post saying they experienced something similar to you. Many others will post to say their experience was completely the opposite. Still others will be somewhere in between “for the birds” and “best thing ever.” And, all of these are entirely valid. Your experience is not mine, my experience is not chevalier’s, etc. Each person’s experience is what it is. We cannot extrapolate from our specific experience to a general principle.

My own personal experience is that I met my spouse via Ave Maria Singles. We lived 1,500 miles apart, in different regions of the country. We talked for about 5 months before meeting and during that time took discerning whether we wanted to invest time and money into the relationship very seriously-- no games, none of what you outline in your posts. We dated for 1 year after meeting, were engaged for 9 months, and have now been married 4 years.

So my experience with long distance relationships was quite positive. But, that was me. I would never take my experience and say that *everyone *will have that same experience or that *everyone *should want to have a long distance relationship. There are many serious obstacles in a long distance relationship, but those same obstacles can present themselves in other ways in same-city relationships.

I think it’s a very unique and individual set of variables that determines these things.


#8

“the only exception being if you are close enough to make regular drives to each others locations”

You see my point here, the exceptions are already covered from the original statement. How many of these examples do you want me to show you before you understand? It’s a trend, the nature of our modern society that has allowed for this to happen, recognize the red flags before it’s too late, that’s all. If it was just one or two cases, I’d say it’s an individual thing, this clearly is not and I’m going to warn everybody at this stage, you don’t have to get sucked into one of these.


#9

It’s just a normal consequence of men and women being able to talk freely, even if they are separated by kilometres of distance. There’s little more to it.


#10

I believe that you are right.


#11

I do have to agree that they’re not for everyone, and that more often than not they do end breaking up. But, I do think that it depends on the situation.
I’m in a long distance relationship, and have been in the same one for roughly 2.5 years of my 4.5 year relationship. It’s varied on the distance we’ve been apart and as it is now, we’re about 5 hours apart driving time. So yes, we’re close enough to drive to each other, but financially and time wise we don’t get to see each other often, 2 weekends a month is the most.
So, well it can work for some. Just not for many people I’m sure. I’m not too happy with the long distance as it is, but we’re devoted to each other and have to do it for now. If there wasn’t 100% trust between us, there’s no way I could do it.


#12

Prodigalson, I’m sorry you’ve had such bad experiences online. I agree and can recognize the truth in much of what you wrote. I always advice extreme caution in any online relationships. But at the same time…I’m gonna tell you that I met my fiance online. It started out just as you layed it out in the first couple steps. We were on opposite sides of the planet from eachother. We met online, but not on a dating site. We met through a Catholic apologetics forum and apostolate similar in some ways to CAF. Neither of us were seeking out a relationship. We started off as casual acquaintences and co-workers in this online evangelization effort…that grew to IMing more and more. After 2 months he told me he was praying about me possibly being the girl he was supposed to marry. After 9 months of long-distance communication he flew across the world to visit me.

We met, and the connection was instantaneous, as though we had known eachother our entire lives. That’s how comfortable we were together. We were completely honest with eachother, and we wanted the exact same things. It seemed like a foregone conlusion that we would be married. It seemed like it was less of a decision and more like a fact staring us in the face that we could either accept or not. Sounds sort of like a cliche, but I’m telling you this is exactly how it happened. On the last Saturday of his visit he bought me a ring, and we went to see my parish priest the next day to see about getting married, and did the initial interview/marriage prep.

We’re in the middle of the immigration process now for him to move to the US and be a permanent citizen. The wedding is in Novemeber. :slight_smile: And still…having said all that, I *still *am super-wary of online “dating” and especially of online matchmaking sites. It’s definitely best not to limit yourself to online dating and to be open and realistic through the whole process. 100% honesty is the only way to go. (That’s another cliche, but it’s crucially true.) Also, in my experience, I was actively looking for a potential future spouse for years…Finally I gave up and decided that I’d done all I could do and the rest was in God’s hands. His will be done, not mine, whatever that meant and whatever the cost. I accepted that, and a few months later I met my fiance and the rest is history.

Despite those cautions, I just wanted to let you know that online relationships are not all doomed to disaster and immature, cruel emotional/head games as you described. My advice is just, as in all things, let go of all your preconceived expectations and plans and schedules you’ve set up for your life and simply trust God. Ask that His will be done in your life and then gratefully accept whatever it is He brings you.


#13

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