My Long-distance Relationship Felt Different In Person

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Hi Meredith,

I have been “talking” to a guy since August – and recently we made it more official. We were casual friends who worked together, but then we disclosed our feelings at the end of the summer. We went our separate ways – two different states – but kept in communication. We’ve FaceTimed every night for hours since. I felt very comfortable with him in person, liked him a lot, and have really enjoyed getting to know him better, even through long distance. My feelings definitely ebbed a bit due to distance and time, but they were still there.

I’m back in the same state as him for the holidays and January, so we finally got to meet up in person again. We’ve gone on two in-person dates so far. He met my family and they like him. He likes them too. Here’s the problem: On one level, it was great talking to him and I feel like it went well. On another level, I’m not at ease. I felt anxious and stressed the whole night before our second date. It kind of felt like an out-of-body experience the whole time. Nothing about him has changed that I can tell. Intellectually, I still think he’s great. I just don’t feel the same ease in his presence that I used to. Here’s my question: do you think my stress was brought on by the combination of first date/meeting the family/suddenly being in person, or do you think it’s an indicator that something is wrong? Should I stick it out and see if I feel more comfortable next time we’re able to meet in person (in a few weeks)?

– Uncomfortable


If the next planned visit is in a few weeks, wait to see how you feel then.

Know that long-distance relationships are difficult because of the time spent in different places, but also because of what happens when people finally meet up in person. It can require rebooting the routine all over again. You got used to FaceTime, but then everything – including family – was in front of you. That’s a lot of pressure, so of course it would feel complicated and uncomfortable.

It’s possible that the discomfort is also your way of asking yourself whether these visits will be enough. Your unease could represent a lack of faith that this can go on as is. If so, you’ll feel it again the next time you see him – and you can address the issue.

There is something wrong, and it’s the distance. He might be wonderful, but the separation is real, so you’ll have to decide whether it’s something you can work around. It’s very possible you can, but at the moment you don’t know. That’s OK. Next time, pay attention to when you feel uneasy. If you have questions, write them down.

It’s not about whether he’s changed. You have to figure out whether the two of you, assuming you still like each other a lot, are building a routine that’s sustainable.

– Meredith

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