Does She Still Care?
Q: I was in a long-distance relationship for eight months with a girl who treated me better and did more for me than any other ever had. Before that, I had a really bad breakup that left me very hurt, so this time I played it very cautiously. That meant I built up some walls and didn't express my thoughts or feelings in my new relationship. Other stresses in my life were affecting her as well, which made me feel bad. I told her I needed a break to get myself right, so that I could be a better person for her. She took it very badly, as she'd had other guys tell her that they needed a break and never came back. She saw another guy for a few weeks. We had contact from time to time, even though I didn't know she was seeing someone, and she would still ask if I thought she would ever see me again.
We started talking again a little over two months ago and she said she was taking a break from dating because she felt so bad about all that had happened and wanted to make some changes to herself. She asked if I wanted to get back together and I replied yes. She said if it were ever to happen, that there would have to be some changes. We've had a few trips together since and she invites me to come see her when she has a weekend off. We'll be going on a cruise together, and we're also going to the beach in two months. She started opening up about a month ago and telling me she missed me. Only a couple of weeks ago, she started kissing me again, not a make out session. She says we need to take it one day at a time, not to be paranoid that she's lying. I've noticed she doesn't care for conversations like this and afterwards becomes more closed, not addressing my "I miss you" text. Just wondering what I should do. -- Max, 29
Dr. Susan: Long-distance relationships are hard, at best. There has to be a lot of trust, or you'll drive yourself crazy. Can you handle a one-day-at-a-time relationship, especially when those days are far apart? I suggest you give her some space, don't pressure her with texts about how you miss her, and see how it goes when you get together for a length of time. But you also need to talk, later if not sooner, about the kinds of changes she wants there to be, if you were to get back together. If they're too major, then maybe you need to let go and see other people. Needless to say, your relationship is not an easy or gratifying one right now. Only you can decide how long you can take it "as is," but it's clear she doesn't want it to change at the moment.
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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.