Social Question

GoWithTheFlow's avatar

Should I break off this long distance relationship before it begins?

Asked by GoWithTheFlow (108points) January 4th, 2011

I’m a 31 yr old young woman who has been writing to, phoning, webcamming (nothing indecent) with a 36 yr old man living 1600 miles away in another state for about a year now.

He is very sensitive and gentle natured, non judgmental, and loves animals and children, which originally attracted me to him
He talks very seriously about us all the time, and says he wants our relationship to be “forever”.

One problem is, although at first he seemed ok with the idea, now he doesn’t especially like the idea of moving here, he says he doesn’t know what he’s going to do once he gets here if he does come. (I wonder if he’s worried about having to work, or just worried he won’t be able to find a job in this economy). He has all his money in the stock market right now, and has been selling off stocks, very slowly, trying not to lose any money.

Also, he seems very overly sensitive at times, and gets upset because of really small things, like if I call when he’s in the middle of eating, etc. Over time this has really started to annoy me. It should be easy for him to keep his cool, and ask if I can call him back because he’s in the middle of something.

He has not had a regular job in just over a year, and seems averse to the topic of finding one. He likes the idea of working a manual labor job in a place like Alaska or Maine (which is where he is orginally from), but he wants me to move to one of those states with him and live with him. I won’t move because I haven’t met him in person, and I have my concerns about what living with him would be like, and I like the idea of being near my family and friends who live here. I also have high standards and I’m not looking for someone to sleep with before marriage, so I don’t think that would be the best situation for me since that is my goal (to wait for marriage), tho he has agreed that we can wait for physical intimacy.

The thing is, he’s been talking about moving here, and/or coming to visit me for a year now, but has never made it. seems like something always comes up. His grandfather passed away, the stock market crashed twice. He’s worried about his grandmother who is alone now. And now he has just received a letter from the IRS saying that he owes a lot of money to them, and he thinks he may not have done his taxes correctly and needs to have that fixed. What I’m trying to say is, something ALWAYS comes up.

In the meantime, he sometimes treats me as if I should be whatever he wants me to be, whenver he wants it. He talks to me in this “little boy” voice, whining and wimpering about things, pouting about stuff, and overall immature talking like a little child would, tho I know he can talk like an adult. . For some reason I feel as if he’s looking for a MOTHER and not a potential wife. ??? Maybe it’s just my feelings. He does say he has problems with his mother, and tries to avoid her at all costs tho he lives in her home right now.

I just don’t know if or when this guy is going to get it together. But I’m afraid of breaking it off, because A) I really enjoy talking with him because he’s so gentle natured, and B) i feel if I break it off it will crush him emotionally as he has no other friends where he’s living right now. He has lived all over the world since he was 18, traveling and working odd jobs. A “clean-cut hippie” kind of guy. He hasn’t had relationships that kept going for long because he kept feeling a need to explore more of the world, but now he wants to settle down.

Should I keep telling him I’ll be his “honey bear” and let him believe that if he came I’d be open to dating and seeing if things would work…..or should I just cut the ties with him completely….or should I just tell him I need more space, or what?

Half the time I really, really enjoy talking with him, and the other half the time he just gets on my nerves, but…I like him too much to let him go entirely, I think. :( I think I’m experiencing a lot of stress having a long distance relationship with everything in “limbo” like this for over a YEAR and I feel like my life is passing me by. I could be dating other people, or at least be single and not have to feel frustrated by this.

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34 Answers

phocks's avatar

It doesn’t look optimistic to me, but my advice would be:

Take a holiday. Meet him in person, even if it is just for one date or the weekend. I’d be surprised if this didn’t either clear up or confirm a whole lot of your worries or confusions.

GoWithTheFlow's avatar

Thank you, Phocks. You’re probably right. Do you think I should make him come down here to visit me, or should I go there to visit him? It would be a huge hassle for me to go right now as I’ve been having problems at work and my hours and paycheck are really slim. :( I think I should have gone to see him months ago, but he kept promising he was “coming next month”, and each month, something has happened.

augustlan's avatar

If you’re not ready to throw in the towel, I’d insist on a face-to-face meeting. Maybe you could meet somewhere in the middle?

Personally, he doesn’t sound like anyone I’d want to travel for, though.

Pandora's avatar

I think you already know what you want to do or you wouldn’t be asking us. I would certainly throw in the towel. Either he is full of crap and is married or he is a lazy bum living off of his grandmother. If he is 36 and doesn’t find employment is for him, than he never will. What he is hoping and hinting at, is that he is looking for a sugar mama and he feels you may fit the bill. His so call stocks is probably better known as his grandmothers SSI checks.

BarnacleBill's avatar

It sounds like he’s only interested in a penpal.

Fish closer to home.

blueiiznh's avatar

There are too many red flags in what you have written. In my opinion there should be a mutual desire to meet. I am a firm believer in “never settle”. You owe yourself more and there are plenty of Jelly Fish in the sea. Distance should not matter for that right “one”. Location, location, location is the key and the location is about being near each other to meet. One year is a long time. No matter who visits who, you need to move your live where you would like it to go and if someone is there with you wonderful, otherwise enjoy your life to the fullest.
My guess based on the red flags here is that if you stated you were going to visit him there, “something would come up”. But you owe that and all the other answers to yourself. If he is not willing to help provide the answers on these key things, then he is not in it for the long haul and the answers will come out.
Ask yourself what you need. You also have a right to state your needs in a caring calm fashion that you are. Someone who truly cares will listen.
Good luck

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Tumi's avatar

Not to be flippant but I’d say Move On…

Seelix's avatar

I think that if you’re not 100% (or at least 90%) sure about the relationship, it’s not gonna work.

Some of the things you’ve said (“Over time this has really started to annoy me”, “What I’m trying to say is, something ALWAYS comes up”, “For some reason I feel as if he’s looking for a MOTHER and not a potential wife”, “the other half the time he just gets on my nerves”, “I feel like my life is passing me by”) seem like red flags to me. If you’re not into it, don’t put yourself through it anymore. You’re only 31 – you still have tons of time to meet the perfect guy. It doesn’t seem to me that this guy is him.

CaptainHarley's avatar

You’re wasting your time. Drop him. Even if he were serious, which I honestly don’t think he is, you are two different sorts of people and would most likely not be a good match. You can do better.

chyna's avatar

There are too many red flags here. I would tell him I was planning on a visit to his home on a specific date. If he blew you off for that, then there is something wrong with this picture. I would stop immediately.
I had a friend that talked to a guy for over a year that did the same thing. Every single time they were to actually meet, something came up. He told her he was 36 years old. Must’ve been a typo (eye roll here) because she found out a year later that he was 63 years old. Another woman was doing the same thing with him and actually went to visit him without telling him and found all this out. She found out my friend was having the same type of “relationship” with him and they started comparing notes. His emails were just cut and pasted to both of them. Same email, just a few different words to make it personal.
I’m not saying your guy is doing this. I’m saying you need to actually meet to make a real and rational decision. If he won’t meet, stop wasting time. You’re too young to waste it on a person who, for all intents and purposes, is not real.

janbb's avatar

I realize it’s painful to think of splitting up because you can get very enmeshed in a long distance relationship but this one does have red flags all over it. It is easy to let the heart blind the head but it sounds like you are struggling to get out of this yourself. I agree with the others who say insist on a meeting somewhere and try to assess the guy in real life. If he won’t make that happen, dump him. It will be painfuf but better that than staying on longer.

blueiiznh's avatar

If you make the choice of breaking it off, make sure he know this and then stick to a No Contact rule. No contact mean no reading texts, listening to voice mails, block the email address, etc. As cruel as this may sound, a person that is an emotional leech will try to pull you back in and the first week or two are the tough ones.

Poke it with a fork. If it is done, it is done.

partyparty's avatar

Half the time I really, really enjoy talking with him, and the other half the time he just gets on my nerves
If this is the situation for you now, imagine what it would be like if you lived together 24/7.
I would say either arrange to meet in person, or meet someone living nearer to you and move on with your life.

deni's avatar

I don’t know….I think you just have to make a judgement call. If you really think it could work, then go visit him for a few days. That should settle everything.

Summum's avatar

I really think if you tell him you are coming down there he will come up with something to try and stop you. Push it and say you are going to come down there and see what this causes. I think you will find him trying to stop you from coming.

Rarebear's avatar

Don’t worry about crushing him. He’ll get over it.

Kardamom's avatar

There are just a string of red flags flying over this relationship. When you meet someone online and you don’t “live” with them in a day to day situation, as you would if they lived in your same city, you really never get to know them for how they really are. And in this case, even though you are only online, he hasn’t even given you his best self (which is usually what you get, when you haven’t yet met in person) and he seems to have a few, or more, personality traits that don’t mesh well with yours.

If you are meeting potential mates online, you are better off making sure the person lives near you or you will continually have to go through this problem of having to make lots of major adjustments in your life.

This particular guy doesn’t sound like a very good match for you. Good thing you found out before one of you moved. Ok, Next! Good luck and I hope you find a good man closer to home.

wundayatta's avatar

A friend of mine had found her perfect love over the internet. Of course, he lived a long ways away. He lived in Wales and she lived in New Hampshire. He finally flew over to see her, and her description of their first meeting made me feel like they were floating into the air in the Pan Am terminal.

They had a wonderful time. He came back two more times. They decided they were serious. They decided he would move in with her. He put it off, and off some more, and yet more. He never did come, and it broke her heart to cut him off.

I don’t know if there is a thing about older single guys, but it’s kind of hard for me to imagine people uprooting themselves to move for someone else. He doesn’t have a job, but he does have connections to the community. Does he know anyone besides you where you live?

I would advise you not to trust a single visit, either. Internet relationships work because we know so little about the other person we can place huge wonderful fantasies on them. You think you know—all about their past and their work and all that. But that’s nothing. You don’t know how they get out of bed, or how long they brush their teeth, or whether they growl at the paper, or, I bet, even if they read a paper. How do they watch TV? How private are they in the bathroom? And on and on.

Now you’re prepared to marry someone without ever having been physically intimate with them, so maybe this doesn’t bother you. Still, there is a huge element of fantasy in internet relationships and you can’t know whether you’ve let yourself be sucked in by them or not until you’ve know him,in person, for months.

Whatever you do, you better be honest with him. Tell him all your concerns, just as you have told us. If you can’t do this, then forget it. You don’t have a relationship worth paying the bill at Red Lobster for.

Discuss it all with him. Your fears. Your desires. Your concerns. Find out what he’s thinking. Maybe he is just stringing you along as much as you are stringing him along.

I would talk to him, too. Just to know. It sounds like you’ve already made up your mind and are just seeking confirmation here, but I still would talk to him about everything, just to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

blueiiznh's avatar

I also know this person and story that @wundayatta speaks of. Such a small world.
It is this kind of emotional challenge that can hurt and scar a person for a very long time.
You need to not only be truthful to this other person about your feelings and needs, but mostly be true to yourself.

faye's avatar

He sounds like a poophead.

mrrich724's avatar

I don’t have to read your novella to say “DROP HIM AND MOVE ON” simply b/c it’s long distance!

Seaofclouds's avatar

You’ve posted so many red flags, that I have to agree with everyone else. Long-distance aside, the fact that he is 36, hasn’t worked in over a year, says he has a bad relationship with him mom and avoids her at all costs, yet lives with her… all sound bad. Add into that the constant postponement of meeting, and it seems like you deserve better. You’ve spent a year talking to this man. If he really wanted to meet you, it would’ve happened by now.

blueiiznh's avatar

sounds like the verdict is “see ya later, buh bye!”

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perspicacious's avatar

I don’t know why you’ve been carrying on with him.

GoWithTheFlow's avatar

oh, wow! I THANK YOU everyone, these are some great responses!

Just to clarify, I wasn’t planning on marrying him without knowing him in person for a long while, bare minimum of a year.

Secondly, he does have stocks and not from his grandmother’s SSI. His uncle made a small fortune on the stock market and showed him how to invest little by little. What happened is…he invested too much while not having a job, and a few months after we began talking, the stock market had two major plunges following a “mistake” that was made on wallstreet , and then the riots in Greece which have affected stocks worldwide.

Lastly, I do know his age is not 63, because I see him on the webcam all the time, and he looks like he’s between 30 and 40 years old. Also, I have looked him up on and it has his address and phone number with his mother’s name there as well.

I guess I just don’t understand, that’s all. He’s a great guy, i just wonder, at times, if he has the aptitude for a stable intimate long term relationship, or if he will end up being mature enough and ready for that, tho he’s saying that’s what he wants.

And yeah, since I haven’t known him in person, it’s awfully hard to make a judgment call without outside input, so THANK YOU, EVERYONE for your two cents!!! :) You’re awesome!

GoWithTheFlow's avatar

I’m still thinking about what to do. He’s trying to get his taxes straightened out. Apparently he didn’t do the stocks part right because it was the first year he had enough he had to report it in his taxes. Well….anyhow, I’m going to meet him in a city a few hours away, and it better be soon (within a month or two at most), as soon as he gets his taxes figured out and stuff. Then after that, we’ll see. I think I do need to meet him in person, at least, and that that might clear some things up for me. Still, in the meantime, I’m keeping my options open. He has a great heart, just not sure if he’s ready for a real relationship, and with me in particular.


augustlan's avatar

Good luck! Please keep your meeting safe (public place, people who know where you are, etc) and keep us posted. :)

blueiiznh's avatar

yes, please follow-up and reach out if needed.

janbb's avatar

We always want to know the rest of the story so do please follow up with an update.

GoWithTheFlow's avatar

So far, nothing has happened as of yet. He’s doing his taxes. He says he’ll buy a ticket and meet up with me after that.

Thanks, Guys!!! :)

GoWithTheFlow's avatar

Still waiting…..I’ll post when something big happens. :) Thank you all so much for your help. Sometimes in talking about things and watching them unfold, clarity is built over time.

augustlan's avatar

Thanks for keeping us updated, @GoWithTheFlow. :)

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