Are you having long distance relationship problems?
Today's question is only for the gutsy ladies out there to read...
DATING AND RELATIONSHIP QUESTION FROM A READER:
Carlos, I'm fairly certain there's something with me, other than being unemployed.
I am a degreed, professional, who has been successful enough to have raised my now 21 year-old son (who is living with me again) and purchased a condo by myself.
I have been married and divorced twice (both had addictive personalities and both were abusive - not physically - and I desperately want to break the pattern.
My last relationship, an on-again, off-again four-year rollercoaster ride was also with addict
(alcoholic), and now I just want to find true love and peace.
So, since I already know first-hand that money does not buy happiness, I am now communicating online with a 53 year-old guy 2200 miles away, who seems like a really nice, considerate, observant, God-fearing, biker guy with a big heart who knows how to make me smile.
Not only is he 2200 miles away, but he living in his brother's motorhome, just got a job at Home Depot helping customers (the job of a 20 year-old, he shamefully admits), and is trying to recover from having lost everything (due to his last relationship).
But yet he still keeps his faith in God, an admirable quality to me, and tries to help me with advice and emotional support.
Anyway, why am I involving myself with someone so low on the socio-economic totem pole? He is not looking for handouts at all, and is working hard to get his life on track.
Money isn't everything, but there must be something wrong with him to be in such a dire situation at
this point in his life, no? Or am I being too critical? PLEASE HELP.
CARLOS CAVALLO ANSWERS:
Well RZ, this does seem to be a problem.
I have to admit I'm asking myself the same question: Why are you involving yourself with a man who is 2200 miles away?
You know my stance on long distance relationships: They SUCK.
They give the illusion of intimacy with NONE of the reality. They let you play "fantasy" with your relationship, and it has the "forever longing" allure where you can dream about this imaginary person all the time.
My best guess is that you're doing this because you see some man who is trying to "redeem himself" - and secretly wish this was your last relationships turned out.
Look, my guess is that you are trying to make this too easy on yourself. It's not really a "not needing money" realization that is making you contact this guy.
The issue is that you don't really have a list of criteria to choose the next man in your life.
Which is why you find yourself compelled to carry on this 2200 mile relationship with someone you know you don't really want.
Come on, you know what you're doing, you're a grown up, and yet you're making a decision you don't really want to make. (But all decisions we make are for a reason. You didn't flip a coin here - this situation fulfills some purpose for you, and not necessarily a healthy one.)
I could theorize until the end of the world as to WHY, but that doesn't matter one bit.
What matters is this - you need to start making active choices by plan, instead of passive choices by accident.
So here's what I want you to do:
Take 30 minutes tonight, and sit down with a pen and paper. Put this 2200 mile guy out of your mind for a while.
I want you to list all the qualities you actually WANT in a man. Really want.
Sit down and be brutally honest with yourself.
If you find yourself hemming and hawing and debating too much, use an egg timer and give yourself just 10 minutes to brainstorm it.
Break this list up into 2 parts:
- Nice to have
- MUST have
And if you get to the part where you think: "Hmm... is 'nice to have him 2200 miles away' one of my criteria?"
You're going to cringe a bit. Especially when it comes to admitting that this long distance fantasy guy was really anything more than a way to avoid doing the real dirty work of meeting someone locally.
He was a delay tactic, and nothing more.
No, RZ, there's nothing wrong with you.
And yet there is something you need to find that you need to confess to yourself. Something you're not being realistic about in your relationships.
Here's the other part of your homework. It's also the "tough love" that most other so-called gurus and wannabe therapists out there would never ask for fear of pissing you off:
Write down the reason you chose men that "had addictive personalities and were abusive"
Because, yes, you *chose* them. And I'll bet it was long before the divorce that you were able to realize this about these men.
Something in you made you desire these relationships. Those relationships fulfilled a need in you, too.
Ultimately, until you figure out your contribution to those relationships, nothing is likely to change.
I only want the best for you - and doing that means telling you to bite your lip and get a little angry about this situation.
Use those uncomfortable (but powerful) emotions to push you down the path you want to go. You're working too hard to stay comfortable and mediocre.
Toward a healthy relationship with a man that fulfills you - instead of always leaving you a bit wanting.
And getting you back to realizing your power and worth in a relationship!
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