Ask Max: Do Long Distance Relationships Work?

24
Oct
2011
long-distance-love

Ask Max is my weekly advice column where I respond to readers' sex, dating, and relationship questions and the max-logic fam weighs in with their own advice. If you have a question that you need help with, click the Ask Max button at the top of the page and fill in the form. There's even an anonymous feature for those of you who are shy.


This week on Ask Max we’re talking about a phenomenon that is near and dear to my heart – the long distance relationship. Can love last despite distance? Read on for the question and my response.

Dear Max,
I have a question I hope you can help me with. I’m sorry that this will be a long question but I want to give you the whole story. I’m falling for someone who lives far away and I don’t know if I should let it go or if it’s possible that it could all work out. I met this guy a few months ago on Twitter…we started following each other and then sending dm’s and then from there we started skyping. He’s really great and I love talking to him. At first it was more of a friendship but then one day I said something kind of flirtatious and then the conversations started getting more racy lol.  We really gel together and talking to him is my favorite part of the day.

After we talked for a few months we made plans to meet in person. I went to his city for a long weekend. At first I was so nervous but right from the first night we saw each other the attraction was so strong. We went out for drinks and as the night went on and we had more drinks we got closer and closer and…one thing led to another and let’s just say we had sex.

For the rest of the weekend we had a lot of sex. We talked too but it was like we couldn’t keep our hands off each other. The sex was so good and I knew it would be a long time until we had it again (if ever lol!) so it was like lets just do it as much as we can. We did talk but the conversation was still awkward at times, like we were still getting to know each other.

Now that I’m back in my home state I was worried at first that I wouldn’t hear from him again. But we still talk even more than before and we have a lot of “faux sex” as you would call it, lol. The more we talk the more I feel like Im’ falling for him but I’m worried that this an impossible situation. Everyone always says that long distance relationships don’t work and even though it seems like it’s possible for us because we dont live that far from each other (I live in Cincinnati, he’s in Chicago) I’ve never been in one so maybe I’m just naive.

My friends say that he is just using me for sex because we get freaky on Skype a lot and I send him pictures and stuff. But I don’t know if that’s true! Sometimes I think it is because we talk about having sex a lot but sometimes I think that we just really like each other for who we are.

My question for you is have you ever been in a long distance situation and do you think they can work? What are the tips to make it last? And also do you think he’s just using me for sex? How can I tell if that’s what it is? Please help me because I’m really falling for this man!

What a good question!

Before I answer, let me just say for the record that I’m a bit biased in favour of long distance relationships. As my longtime readers know, my first love and I lived far away from each other and that didn’t stop us from falling in love. I’m also the product of long distance love, as my father lived in Canada and my mother in Italy when they fell in love and even after they got married. Plus distance just works for me and my lone wolf lifestyle. I like having someone there, who is not really there you know? It just works for me.

All of which is to say that yes I absolutely believe that long distance relationships can work. Absolutely. But they work if you work at them. All relationships are hard, but in this situation you have to be particularly diligent – tiny cracks are magnified by distance. This is not the kind of relationship that you can allow to just run on momentum – you have to nurture it and be careful with it. So if you (or he) are the kind of person who doesn’t have time for a relationship, you might want to abort mission now. That’s tip #1.

Tip #2 is that you have to communicate. And not like typical girl-communication which basically consists of relying on brain waves and body language to convey your emotions. Or typical man-communication which is non-answers and grunts. Both of you have to open your mouths and speak. You have to make it clear to one another what you think is happening and what you want to have happen between you. Relationships always go more smoothly when everyone is on the same page, but in a long distance situation where you’re likely to be investing huge amounts of time and money to see each other, you have to make sure you’re clear about what exactly is going on. The last thing anyone wants to be doing is shelling out dough for plane tickets to go see someone who just regards you as a piece of ass.

Which leads me to the next part of your question – whether or not he’s using you for sex. My immediate inclination is to say that it’s completely preposterous that a grown man would rather use a woman who lives miles away for sex than go out in his own city and find available ass, but I really don’t think it is. I don’t know much about your man, but I do know that some men can get by on a constant stream of nasty Skype and dirty pictures and a strong right hand. That’s cheaper and easier than going out and searching for tail – knowing, as we do, that men can’t get sex easily, right?

So yes I think it’s entirely possible that your big appeal to this man is the epic ass he got from you and the possibility of getting it again. And there are two ways to know whether that is the situation here. One, you can ask him. Two, you can take a good hard look at the nature of your conversations and extrapolate from there. How often are you guys getting nasty and/or talking about sex? Who’s bringing sex into the discussion? What happens if you try to keep things chaste? If his eyes are glazing over in boredom when you try to talk to him about your job but lighting up in delight if you bring up your pussy, you might have a situation on your hands. Chances are if he’s spending copious amounts of time talking to you, he’s in it for more than smut, but go with your instincts. Oh – and tell  your friends to stop their noise because they’re not helping the situation.

The moral of the story is that for a long distance relationship to work, you have to really like each other and be really careful with each other. And really talk to each other.  And I think you two need to step up your communication game. It’s all well and good to ask me if I think long distance relationships can work, but have you asked him? Because if he doesn’t, you’re doomed before you even begin.

That’s my advice, but what say you dear readers? Do you believe long distance relationships can work? What tips do you have to help them succeed? Do you think this dude is using our girl for sex? Weigh in with your advice in the comments.


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6 Comments

  • BP says:

    I think LDR can work but they are a LOT of work. I have fallen for someone (twice) that lived in a different state than me and both relationships ended up not working. Like Max said it takes lots of communication and patience and dare I say finances to fly out to see each other. However, I do think it is possible…I just am not able to do it. I wish your reader well.

  • MizzCam says:

    Hmmm, this sounds like a tricky situation. As far as long distance relationships are concerned, I do believe they can work if both parties want them to. One of you can’t be doing all of the traveling, calling, etc. They can be very straining, especially if the distance is longer than a reasonable car ride – like maybe 5hrs or less, give or take an hour. Also, if you get serious, that can pose another problem. I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but I tend to be a bit possessive of my boyfriends and have a jealous streak. If you’re nowhere close to this man and rarely get to see him on even a monthly basis, I find it hard to believe that he won’t be spending any time with a woman in his city. But that’s just me. He could have a full line-up of Twitter heauxs making trips to Chicago [not that you're a heaux, but you asked if he might be using you for sex].

    I think that the fact you started out as friends of sorts works in your favor, because all of your conversations weren’t about sex. But as Max said, try to remain chaste in your next conversation and see how he reacts. If he stops contacting you as much, then there’s your answer. I was in a similar situation with a guy from Detroit. [I'm in Cleveland, so it was less than a 3hr drive] I really liked him, but the fact that I didn’t truly know him, only what he chose to tell me, made it difficult for me to trust him. Plus, I’m nosy as all the f*cks and did some digging around – background check stuff. But my point is, it’s much harder to really know someone when you’re never actually with them.

    Whew, sorry this was so long! Hope it helps…

  • shaun says:

    Like everyone else has said long distance relationships work, if you want them to. I’ve been in one for about 4 years and it’s hard. Very hard. Like everyone else has said..communication is key. And a lot of times signals get crossed, the way a person once received things..changes. and you have to rely on trust & love to make it through the rough patches. All the I’ll just go over & apologize doesn’t work when you have to get on a plane or drive 4+ hours to see them. It gets very lonely sometimes & you really have to remind yourself that it’s worth it, they’re worth it.

    As for the sexual part, women don’t get how going a day…week…month(s) without sex effects a guy. If we had a girlfriend in town we’d be having sex at least a few times a week. When you’re being faithful to someone and the only sexual exchange you get is with them…I’m sorry yes sexual content is on your mind rampant. Not to say the only thing we can/should talk about is sex..just saying we gotta get all that sexual energy out with you. And talking to you late at night, looking at you on skype, thinking about you all day it’s HARD not to sneak in some references. I wouldn’t say go chaste, cause there is nothing wrong with having a well rounded conversation. But talk to him about important stuff in your life if he flips the conversation bring it back and tell him it’s important and if he’s still trying to get you to bust it wide open on skype..then yea might be a problem.

    • MizzCam says:

      Interesting to hear a man’s POV on LDRs. I’ve never really thought about it in that way, why they ALWAYS want to talk about sex in every conversation. Makes sense, I guess.

  • keisha brown says:

    sooo late on this one..but this is a post right up my alley!

    i’ve done quite a few ldr’s. and i guess by the fact that im not in any of them now, means they weren’t successful. i dispute that a lil bit, but i’m also too close to be unbiased.

    there are TONS of cons to LDR’s. this is WELL documented, but there are some pros. all it boils down to is knowing WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU CAN HANDLE. and if you aren’t sure, that’s fine too, but be honest with yourself and the other person. it’s not just money that is being invested, it’s time. (and many would correctly argue that it’s the more valuable of the two).

    get on the phone/skype, have a conversation and figure out if you are both in the same book and hopefully even the same chapter.

    get we get a follow up post to this?


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