The guy I’ve been dating for nearly two years is 5213km away from me. I'm studying in Canada, he’s now in Zurich!
When I started university, I hadn’t dated experience before I met him. He was so sweet to me and my family loves him.
But after a year, he became withdrawn, negative, not wanting to do all the things we used to do. He finally admitted to believing that he has depression but assured me that I wasn't the cause, and we continued to date. Several months later, he announced that he was heading to Europe for “a few months.”
But the timeline kept expanding to over a year. He’s been gone for seven months now and I have no idea when I’ll see him again. I love him and he says that he loves me.
We don't talk much because of the time difference and our schedules. Mostly, I get one message in the morning and one or two mid-day. As much as it hurts, I can't ask him to come back because I know how great an opportunity it is for him to be there.
You’re feeling lost and miserable because of a misguided belief that you owe it to him to live on sparse messages as the content of your relationship.
At this life-stage and still-young relationship, you owe it to yourself to insist on a get-together soon, or else take a break. Remember, he left without discussion of how that’d work for both of you.
Think long and hard about what you need now to end the sadness. In a break, you’re free to date if you wish, and he’s free too, but you may re-connect when/if he returns.
Several years ago, my wife’s then-16-year-old cousin met someone from France through a website, who was twice her age. She ended up staying there, marrying him, and they now have children.
Now, a family gathering is imminent, and they’ll be attending. I’ve never met them, but I feel uneasy about it. My wife says that her family was upset back then and tried to get her cousin to come home. But they've accepted what happened, they're okay with the husband, and friendly with him.
I think he’s gross. Someone who initiates/arranges for a teenage girl to come live with him when he's in his 30s isn’t someone I want to befriend or even acknowledge. It alarms me that everyone’s okay with it… or maybe they feel they don't have much choice and have to act cordially.
Am I wrong for my feelings? How should I deal with this situation?
Focus first on the children. They’re innocent, of course, and their mother has seemingly adapted to her life with this man. If they seem happy and playful (you can tell after a few encounters, even if there’s a language difference), the situation may be better than you think.
He may be a decent, loving father and husband despite his approach to acquiring a much younger wife. Avoiding him could be a mistake. How else can you determine if he’s still “gross,” or, more concerning, someone who controls his wife rather than treats her as a partner?
This is also your chance to see if your wife’s cousin appears happy, content with her life, and relaxed with her spouse. If so, it’d be wrong for you to be scowling in the background. The past is history; it’s how they are now that matters.
The husband of a dear friend has just passed, after a long and painful illness. She’s spent five years watching his decline, and care-giving for him at the most basic level.
Now, she’s talking about how his spirit lives within her, how she hears him talking to her and saying how happy he is.
I don’t believe in after-life stuff and while I want to comfort her, I don’t know what to say in return.
Not My Belief
This isn’t about you. Respect her deep feelings and let her express her reaction as she chooses, by just listening and being soothing.
You don’t have to be a believer to tell her that she’s lucky to feel this way. Whether it’s a spiritual sense of the man he was through their life together, or her sub-conscious relief that he’s free of pain, it doesn’t matter. Being a close friend means accepting her emotions as valid for her.
Tip of the day:
Long-distance relationships require getting together, even if only for visits, to stay connected.