What would Mr. Spock say about your long distance relationship?
By: Carlos Cavallo
What would Mr. Spock say about your long distance relationship?
Let's find out - I've got an interesting question today from a reader who is in a "sorta" long distance relationship.
QUESTION From a Reader:
Hi Carlos, I just got your program a few days ago and am enjoying listening so far and am looking forward to it's entirety and learning a lot.
I am in a situation now that I would like some advice on how to approach because I haven't gotten that far in the program yet!
I will try to make it brief for you-
Been seeing a man since mid-May. Between our schedules (mostly his due to traveling for work and his custody arrangement), we have only been able to see each other once a week at most- usually Tuesdays-, sometimes only every other week.
We have yet to have a weekend free at the same time for some real quality time. We figured out that's not until Aug. 9th, so we have "reserved" it.
I'm feeling like because of our lack of time things are not developing. It feels like "friends with benefits" to me.
I don't know if he is happy with this or if he wants things to develop as well. I am willing to work with the schedule if we are wanting the same thing.
He's worth it to me. How do I find out without scaring him away?
Thank you Carlos,
CARLOS CAVALLO ANSWERS:
Donna, you hit on a very BIG question - and one that comes up more and more frequently for couples these days...
Long Distance Relationships.
Or "LDR"s as we call them. This is kinda one of those, based on the intermittent nature of it. Let me explain...
First, there's an inherent problem with this kind of relationship that I want to warn you about.
It's something I call the "Denial Factor."
What happens is that when you're dating someone long distance, you suffer from an artificial sense of attraction to that person. In other words, circumstances block you from seeing that person, which creates a sense of 'hard to get' about the other person.
That makes him feel more scarce than he actually is. And as you know from my program, that will create a feeling of attraction - even if the attraction isn't completely REAL.
I've had a few of these, and one of which I relocated halfway across the U.S. for. And in retrospect - they were both BIG mistakes.
It turned out to be "simulated" love. I did some crazy stuff just to get close to them, and it just didn't work.
Oh, I know, I should be all romantic and tell you that ANY chance at love is worth chasing... right?
That's a load of cow-pucky, as my friends in Kansas City would have said. Not every romance is worth your effort.
It's not that they can't work out, then CAN. I don't want to totally dash your hopes. You've actually got the right start to it, with once per week or so.
But they take even MORE effort to make work than most 'normal' relationships. The problem being that because of the distance, it becomes much easier to NOT put in that extra effort.
Sure, travel to see the other person is part of it, but so is getting to know that person on a DEEP level.
What a real, thriving romance requires is that you see this person on a regular basis. Get to know their good AND their bad.
(Which you only get to truly see when you have regular, multiple exposures to them.
You simply can't get that "real feel" from the occasional get-together. You need about once per week when you first start out, and eventually 3 times per week or more later on.
So be prepared, you do need to increase your frequency.
Ultimately, long distance relationships are something I recommend you avoid - if at all possible. You've got PLENTY of people in your area that are worth finding, meeting, and dating.
But since you have a fish on the hook, let's see if we can reel it in...
As you said, you are ready, willing, and able. But is HE?
How do you find out if he wants to "raise the stakes"?
Well, I want you to avoid the glaring mistake many other women might make, which is to sit him down and have a serious discussion. Where you ASK him where you think this is going.
The reasoning for that approach is this: If you're up-front and "honest" about your intentions, you simply put the question in front of him and see what comes of it.
After all, he's an adult! He's rational, and he can be mature and forthcoming about his intentions.
I'm hoping you smelled a *little* sarcasm there.
The reality is FAR different from what most of the Lazy Gurus would have you believe. (Hint: Especially if they wrote a mainstream book about this...!)
People are NOT rational. Especially men - contrary to what many would like you to believe.
Yes, men can be just as "emotional" as women. And every bit as "irrational." (We just pretend to hide our irrational desires for big screen TVs and cars under that guise of "logic.")
So if you do sit him down and have "a talk" with him, he *may* respond well.
He could also act like a perfectly normal adult male and FREAK OUT a little bit.
I know, I know... "That's immature!" "That's a sign you have a commitment phobe!" the Lazy Gurus tell you.
The reality of human attraction - the sheer glorious illogical nature of it - is something that most of those PhDs cannot admit to themselves - or to you.
It's a *natural* reaction for a man to pull back when the reality of commitment is exposed to the harsh light of day.
I could go off on this subject for days. But suffice to say, I hope you understand that even if you go into such a discussion with him about this - and you handle it textbook *perfectly* - you CANNOT CONTROL *HIS* REACTION!
Which means you don't want to trigger any weirdness. When you try to take natural gut-level attraction and get LOGICAL with it, you inevitably will freak a person out.
It goes both ways - women freak out on this when guys do it.
It feels needy and a bit desperate - even if YOU are not! And there's a part of the human mind that is repulsed by overtly discussing things that we need to SEE through behavior.
(Actually - most of the human brain evolved to detect this sort of thing. We don't trust words, because anyone can say anything.)
So instead of trying to take this into Awkward territory, I suggest you hold back a bit.
You may have a clear idea of where you want this to go, but you need HIM to act on his own desire. If you don't, you'll always be wondering if you "talked him into it" later on.
Make yourself a little less scarce, or just keep things where they are currently working out on their own.
If he's really into this, he will take action to make more of it!
This requires a little "faith" on your part. You have to trust that if he doesn't start trying to develop things more, he wasn't going to do it with you applying any pressure.
AND - this is really important: If he won't take action on his own desires to make them happen, you would be really unhappy with him in a relationship. You'd always be waiting for him to man-up and get things happening.
But you can do something in the meantime....
Instead of asking him if this arrangement suits him or if he wants more, tellhim about what you want and DON'T want. YOU set that boundary. He will respect you and feel ten times more attraction this way.
Just casually steer the conversation to the topic of what you think makes a "great" relationship.
Then put it out there what you are looking for. And what you don't want.
Don't make it specific to YOU and HIM. Just make it speak to what you are looking for in GENERAL. That way you don't trigger any weirdness.
Then let him stew on that for a while.
If nothing changes, then it's reasonable to assume he is only a "friend with benefits."
Just remember that a healthy, loving relationship grows deeper and stronger naturally.
If it's not moving forward, he's probably resisting - or possibly not interested.
But remember the "Naked Truth™" about men: If a man has a woman he finds truly special, even the most 'commitment phobic' man on the planet WILL get down on one knee to make her HIS. (And "special" does not mean your beauty, your vanity sizing, or the size of your boobs!)
It's a fact we don't like to talk about or acknowledge.
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