Dear Shelly

By on September 19, 2002

Dear Shelly,
My boyfriend, James and I have been seriously dating for five months. Two weeks before I left for school, we had a long discussion. Together we weighed out the benefits and disadvantages of the forthcoming long distance relationship. Reluctantly, we both agreed to cease our relationship, promising to keep in close touch, but be able to see other people. I believe we left on good terms, but what is the limbo of “other people?”
Left Longing in Lynchburg.
Dear Left Longing,
The expanding black hole of seeing others tends to engulf shaky long distance relationships rather easily. But lets review where you both stand, before we can predict which direction the relationship might be heading.
In your discussion, the topic of meeting other people must have been brought up. Was this topic pushed harder from one party more than the other? In being apart do you actually intend to meet others? If he or you feel guilty due to meeting members of the opposite sex, then what you have agreed on verbally does not truly express your intentions.
In this case, maybe as a couple, you should reconsider the long distance relationship. What you feel for each other may be durable enough to stand the test of miles.
Are you eager to meet new people, to live new experiences, and to look for real individuals as a refreshment from the crew back home? If so, get out there and be social! In this situation you feel comfortable enough to forge ahead, knowing that someone you care about is living in their own world.
Are you hoping there is still something for your joined future? (Besides the benefits of Christmas break.) There will be opportunity for future rendez-vous if you keep the lines of communication open.
Go ahead and IM him, or give him a quick call on the cell phone during your free minutes. In this delicate friendship, be honest, but do not reveal what your ex-partner cannot handle. Do not go into details about the new interest you spotted in the library. Your old flame cannot handle the idea of you lusting over someone new. You do not need a game of “I can do one better” to be the next issue.
Instead, share stories, but leave certain details out, and be fair. If you still want to be close, you may want to agree to the stipulation to see other people, but not have sex. If either party breaks the clause, null and void this long distance relationship. You are most likely better off living at college, flying solo.


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