Long Distance Love

Q: I'm 23 and have been dating my boyfriend for a year and a half, though the whole first year it was long distance. He is a wonderful guy who treats me like gold, but I'm not sure how I am feeling now. I graduated college a few months ago and moved back to my hometown, which I despise. He is in graduate school and will not be done for another three years or so. I love him, and I only came back to this town to be with him, but all I can think about now is how much I miss seeing my friends and having fun in the city. He says he is okay with me moving away again, but I know how upset he would be. Will this relationship hold up if I move away again? -- Amy

Dr. Susan: Your boyfriend sounds incredibly understanding. Long-distance relationships are very hard to sustain unless you already have a firm bond after spending many years together. Since you say that you've never spent a lot of time together, I wonder how well you know one another. More than that, I wonder if you're ready for an exclusive relationship at this point in your life. If you miss your friends and city fun more than you relish finally being in the same town as your boyfriend, you might have to listen to your gut. You've just finished college and sound easily bored and in need of entertaining. He has years of grad school still to complete, and will be preoccupied with his studies. If you don't enjoy being near him enough to get you through the next few years, I don't see much hope for your relationship.

Perhaps, before giving up on the two of you, you ought to talk very openly about the expectations each of you has. And then see if you can't find a way to get involved right where you are by finding a job you love. You can always visit those friends of yours every so often. If those options sound like way too little for you, then I think you've already made your decision.

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