Pillbox

Advice for Awkward People

**Hi Ruth,
I’ve been dating my sweet, wonderful boyfriend for two years now. He’s funny, caring, and head over heels for me. The problem? He’s NOT HERE. We’re only three weeks into a long-distance relationship, and it already sucks. College is supposed to be the best time of my life, but I’ve spent most of my time here sulking. I’m sad and touch-starved. My favorite part of Orientation was Play Fair because I got to actually touch people. That’s a special kind of sad.

There’s also the practical concerns. Being in an LDR is like 20 extra units with all the time that goes to texting and Skyping. When all my friends go out on Friday, I end up staying in so we can have a “date,” which was cute the first couple of times, but I want to experience college life, too!

On one hand, I really do love him. On the other, I’m young and the drama boys are cute. What if he’s “the one”? What if he’s not?

With too warm regards due to my lonely state,
Seriously In Need of Good Lovin’ E’rryday**

Dear SINGLE,
Have you ever heard of the “turkey drop?” It’s a well established phenomenon where couples from high school break up over Thanksgiving. Out with the old, in with the potatoes and pie, right?

I was a participant in a turkey drop, so I’ll admit I don’t have the best experience in LDRs, but I outsourced for tips. There’s all the usual advice for keeping non-LDRs together, but there are three main things specific to your conundrum.

1) Plan communication.
A nice thing about dating someone in the same city as you — especially at the same school — is that you’re more or less guaranteed to see them regularly. Relationships thrive on intimacy and company, so you’re just going to have to try a little harder than normal to make sure that happens. Plus, you can schedule Skype dates for a time that actually works for you. If you keep having to skip hanging out with friends to talk to him, then you’re going to start resenting him.

2) Think about them.
It is really, really easy to forget about things for days at a time if you’re not in regular proximity. The same goes for people. If you want to continue being in a relationship, remind yourself that you are! LDRs aren’t all pining and loneliness — ideally, there should be some benefit to being in one at all. Remind yourself of why you are happy being with this person and why you’re willing to put in all this energy.

3) Set a time limit.
You have to have a time limit. Otherwise, life is always going to look like this endless, indefinable stretch of time before you can be physically together again. If three weeks is making you this upset, the idea of “forever” isn’t going to keep you happy. Because that’s what it’s about, in the end. Being happy.

Does dating him from afar for the next four years (at least!) make you happier than it upsets you? Only you can decide that, and you should reevaluate as frequently as you need — but if what’s holding you back is a fear of wasting time or being alone? Remember that there’s no shame in letting go of something that used to make you happy when it stops doing so. If you’re thinking you just need to hold out for four years and then you can be happy together again? You deserve to be happy right now.

Be happy,
Ruth