I dated a younger man at a summer job before my senior year in college. He’d just graduated high school.
We had a great summer and promised to keep in touch, but knew that distance would be an issue. We agreed it was okay to see other people.
I wanted him to enjoy the college experience even though I really liked him. We were at very different points in our lives.
We talked on the phone once a week and could discuss anything. We saw each other at Thanksgiving. When he was home over Christmas, he said he didn’t want to date anyone other than me. He loved me. I knew I loved him too, and said so. We decided to continue as a couple despite the distance.
We married three years later, before he finished school, when I was starting my third year of teaching. We had our son a year later, our daughter two years after.
It’s 26 years of marriage, and we’ve never been happier.
Sometimes distance helps you realize that a relationship has depth beyond physical attraction. It can help you see whether something’s worth hanging onto, or not built to stand up to adversity. Distance forces you to focus on the mental and emotional part of your relationship.
One Happy Couple
Whenever one reader shares a powerful truth from personal experience, countless more learn something, and have a reference point for thinking through their own situations.
Many thanks from all of us.
After 40 years of being marginalized, and mistreated by my abusive father, my mother filed for divorce a year ago.
She’s 61, and a leukemia survivor on disability benefits. While she was ill, my father – a previously absent, neglectful Dad - spent lavishly, taking us out, and buying us luxuries, by putting a huge mortgage on our house.
It turned my siblings to his side. When my mother returned home, he’d constantly go out drinking and partying, returning home at 6 or 7a.m. four-to-five times weekly.
He’d demean my mother in front of my siblings, who’d say nothing. He could take away their cars, iPhones, etc. if they interfered.
His intent is to leave her with nothing. He’s applied for, and been granted, disability for "depression" from his insurance provider. This dropped his salary and thus his spousal support obligations. He says that my mother should be able to work and support him.
He's been off work for his "depression" for nearly a year. Everyone buys it - the judge, the psychiatrists, even the lawyers - and say there's no way to prove he's faking.
He can live with his rich adult daughter without paying any living expenses, while my mother on disability has to carry the matrimonial home herself.
He also claims that his wasteful lifestyle (“dissipation,” in legal terms) during the marriage wasn’t his fault because he had an alcohol addiction.
Your mother’s already standing up to her abusive, manipulative husband by divorcing him. Luckily, she has you on her side.
FEEDBACK Regarding the young person who’s being asked for oral sex by an older boy, (May 30):
Reader – “The writer needs to report this behaviour to parents and/or school officials immediately.
“Should the behaviour escalate and need police intervention, it won't be the first time notice (so they can't ask, "why didn't you say anything before?" making it the victim's fault).
“A "paper trail" of each event will help get this older boy/man the intervention and help he needs. He needs to be approached by an adult immediately and told his actions are inappropriate. If the writer simply says no and walks away, the boy/man may simply choose another “target.”
“Also, behaviour that’s unhealthy in a sexual context can escalate, and simply asking for sexual favours may grow into demanding them, or selecting a more vulnerable target (i.e. an even younger person, or someone in their care).”
Ellie – All good points, thanks.
Tip of the day:
Love can thrive through separations by distance, if it’s based on a deep mutual connection that both work at maintaining.