Should He Opt for Freedom?
Q: I am really confused. I've been in a long-distance relationship for over two years and love my girlfriend, but recently I've been really interested in other women. Whenever I go out I usually meet hot girls who seem interested in me and vice versa. My girlfriend has told me that she has similar feelings but that she doesn't want to lose me. I don't want to lose her either but I need more freedom. I have begun to doubt whether I really love her, or if we can last. What should I tell her and is there any way to make that sound better? -- Carl, 22
Dr. Susan: The two of you seem to have an enviably honest relationship so far, as each of you has admitted you are lately drawn to other people. Considering your youth, it's amazing to me that you've already survived two years in a long-distance relationship without the tensions building up enough to separate you. The crucial information you didn't offer is how long you were planning to stay apart before being together in person. As it is, you're both torturing yourselves by resisting your natural desires to explore other opportunities. Especially you, Carl! It's a matter of time until one of you breaks and gives in to the urges, and then has to cover up or confess to the other. As you're not married, why don't you save a lot of emotional trauma and give one another permission to date others? "It's not you, it's me." Then when you get back together, you'll see if what you thought you had is a relationship that has the potential to be fully committed. I don't know any other way to make that sound "better."
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.