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How long can we stand the distance?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  September 21, 2011 08:50 AM

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Q: Dear Meredith,

I am in my 20s, originally from Boston, and working in another state for the time being. I met my boyfriend in Boston more than a year ago. We both got jobs across the country (in different places) and moved to try the seasonal work life. I should probably also mention that I've have two long-term relationships in the past. Finally, I'm in a happy one.

It's been months now of doing the long-distance thing. We've driven out to see each other (10-plus hour drives), call as often we can, send letters and packages, and talk candidly about the joys and frustrations of long-distance love.

As is the nature of the seasonal work life, the main focus is finding and securing the next job. My time limit is that if we have not figured out a way to be together by 5 years, then maybe this relationship won't work. He is on the same page.

But that's 5 years of phone calls and always missing someone -- hmmf. I like the relationship because it gives me the opportunity to focus just on my work and not get distracted by mindless short-term romantic flirtations. I also like that I have an actual goal in my life -- getting a solid career going doing something I love so that I can make a life with my boyfriend someday.

But do long-distance relationships work when there is no end in sight and life is so nomadic? What kind of stories are out there about success stories, and failures?

– Maybe I should just hug a tree, Out West


A: Five years is a very long time. Too long. Your goal should be to live in the same place within a year. If you can't pull that off, this just won't work.

You mention that he's keeping you from flirtations and that the distance gives you time to focus on yourself. That's no reason to stay in a relationship. You can concentrate on your job without having a faraway boyfriend to keep you in line.

If you want this to work, you should be applying to jobs as a twosome. If that's not your priority, you should call this relationship what it is -- a placeholder. Hmmf.

Readers? Five years? What's going on here? Is there any hope? Would it be so bad for her to have flirtations and distractions? Any seasonal workers want to talk about their dating experiences? Discuss.

– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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