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Dealing with distance

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  January 11, 2013 07:58 AM

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Q: Meredith,

I have been in a relationship with a wonderful man for over a year now. We are both in our mid-20s and met in college in Boston, though we did not start dating until after I moved to the NYC area for medical school. We are supportive of each other in our careers and related goals, we are on the same page about our future plans, and we are very much in love. However there is one big issue between us -- 300 miles and two promising, growing careers. As previously mentioned, I am currently in medical school (about halfway through) in NYC and he is starting his career in Boston with a job that he loves in a company that he sees himself growing with.

We try to schedule as much visiting time as possible and talk every day via text and Skype multiple times a week, but at times it doesn't feel like enough. I fantasize about what it would be like to have him around to support me in person on a more regular basis, and I find myself sometimes feeling jealous of my friends who are not in long-distance relationships. I don't always feel so negatively about the distance -- at times when school is really picking up, the distance doesn't seem so bad -- but when things slow down or just in general lately, I feel like I need him around more than is possible. I become especially concerned about these feelings when I think about starting my clinical rotations in June, when my schedule will be much busier and I might need more support from my significant other.

We do have a long-term goal, as all long-distance relationships should have, an end point of me graduating medical school. We have agreed that when that happens, he will follow me to wherever my residency is at that time (hopefully back in Boston!). In light of this, him changing jobs now and moving to my area doesn't seem to make very much sense as he would potentially have to change jobs again in two years when I get a residency.

Basically what I'm looking for here is some advice as to how to make the distance easier. I have a great support group of friends and family (I'm from the area I live now), I have hobbies and am involved in my community. I feel like my boyfriend and I communicate well and are on the same page about wanting to see more of each other more consistently, but it's really starting to make me sad thinking about how our relationship can't grow to its full potential right now. These next two years are starting to feel like a reeeeally long time. Any advice, especially from any commenters who survived a long-term long-distance relationship would be greatly appreciated!

– Another Long Distance Letter in NYC


A: The only way to deal with the long-distance issue is to spend more money, make more trips, and ... well, all the things you're already doing.

But let me put this out there: I'm not convinced that you guys should wait two more years before moving to the same place. I understand that your boyfriend has a promising career and a good job, but ... does he really have to stay in Boston right now? Two years is a very, very long time. In fact, it's longer than you've been together. It wouldn't be the worst thing if he got a job in New York, spent a year or two there, and then moved with you again.

I know that what I'm suggesting is easier said than done, and that he might freak out if you try to change the plan, but it's worth a discussion. Again, you guys have two more years of this. Twenty-four months. Maybe it's time to revisit the strategy.

Readers? Should he move? How will she react if she asks him to change the plan? Should he move for someone who’s busy with med school? Is there anything they can do to make the distance easier? Help.

– 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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