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Long Distance Relationships

Dear Dr Love,

I have a boyfriend of 2.5 years and he left this august for studies in the States. Before he left, the relationship has been fairly stable. I was concerned about the long distance relationship (LDR) and tried discussing with him how he plans to ensure that this works out. Each time, he evaded the topic and said that I should have faith in us. Since he left, I feel that the relationship is maintained unilaterally by me.

I spent a lot of money calling him while he doesn’t. He doesn't take the initiative to email me; he simply replies to the emails I sent. We each set up a blog to keep each other updated about our lives. I update mine, he rarely updates his; he doesn't even read my blog unless I tell him to.

It pains me that he seems to put our relationship at the bottom of his priorities list. I told him I feel neglected, and pleaded that he spare a bit more time for me. He always says he’s very busy. He’s very achievement-oriented and wants a perfect GPA.


I am trying very hard to be understanding. I trust and believe him when he says that he is truly very busy. But it is not fair for me to be there for him if he shows little concern for me. I don't need him to shower me with love, but I need small gestures to show that he still cares for me. I even told him that I could buy him the book “Love Clinic“ as it contains many tips that would make me very happy if he followed them. But he said he already has enough (text)books to read.


Am I'm being fair and reasonable in expecting more care and concern? My girl pals said it is natural for girls to want to be loved. Are all guys so goal-oriented?


I find it very tiring to keep giving and not receiving anything in return. I've asked him whether he wants to be just friends, so that we can have lower expectations of each other. But he does not want to be just friends. I think both of us will be upset if there's a breakup.

I'm really lost. Tell me what you think I should do.



Dr Love's Reply:

Dear Crystal,

Take comfort in the knowledge that your situation is not uncommon. As I've shared in the book "Love Clinic", entering into a LDR is a tricky situation to face, especially if it's a rather long term one. To maintain any relationship, it takes plenty of commitment and effort from both parties to make it work. It seems to me that there is a huge imbalance in the amount of commitment and effort shown by you compared to your boyfriend. Your boyfriend's apparent lack of motivation to maintain the relationship may be due to a few reasons:

1. Stressful adjustment period

He is facing a new challenge in an overseas country, having to adapt to new surroundings and a foreign culture, so it can be quite stressful for him initially. Hence, he may be unable to shower you with the attention and love that you're expecting. If this is the case, it helps that you're understanding, because this could just be a temporary adjustment phase. To be fair, you may also want to lower your expectations a little (as in, not expecting too much from your boyfriend) because a LDR is more challenging to maintain than a normal relationship.

2. Change of priority

He may have changed his priorities in life, and relegated his relationship with you to a lower priority. In that case he is likely to put all his time into his work, extra-curricular activities and even socialising with this friends, and won't be motivated to find time for you. If this is so, it's up to you to decide if the relationship is worth keeping, because it's likely to deteriorate with time if he's not doing his part to maintain it, such as keeping up with regular communication.

3. Change of heart

Let's hope it's not the case. But if he falls in love with another girl overseas, there's nothing much you can do except to get over him, start afresh and look for someone more deserving of your love.

A LDR is not a death sentence for a relationship. It can work - but only if both parties play their part. If one party is not willing, it may not be worthwhile to hang on blindly.

Hope this helps.



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