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Ebecker's avatar

How can I reconcile growing problems between my long-distance girlfriend and I?

Asked by Ebecker (30points) July 2nd, 2016

As mentioned my girlfriend (almost 23 F, southern Ohio) and I (25 M, northern Virginia) live in a long-distance relationship, and have been dating for almost 7 months. During this time, several problems have arisen that we discuss/argue about, but never seem to resolve, as these arguments repeat themselves to the point that we have at least one, sometimes two, a week.

These “concerns” of ours are, but not necessarily limited to (due to my poor memory):
—Distance and travel. We only seem to be able to travel to each other once or twice a month. Furthermore, her car is leaking/burning oil (and a fix is worth more than her car), and I recently got in an accident, so traveling long-distance by car is not ideal for either of us.
—Jobs. She wants me to get one in Ohio so I can move in with her since she has a long-term one starting in August. This is great, except she’s in rural Ohio, where someone of my skills and situation isn’t in demand (geology/education background, without a teaching license, and unable to afford an Ohio substitute teacher license). I can’t move out there, from one of the largest economies in the country (Wash. DC metro area) for a location that I can’t find employment to match my qualifications. Temporary stress came from one job that she just finished prevented her from going to my favourite cousin’s wedding with my family and I.
—Making time for each other. She feels that I’m often neglecting her. However, I’ve been kept busy over the my last semester of college (we started dating in December, just before this semester), which kept me unpleasantly busy, and hard-pressed to incorporate her via the hours-long phone calls that we had grown used to early in the semester. Since graduation, I haven’t made much progress: I’ve been kept busy at home and job searching, and just started a stressful and demanding, but temporary, job. If we don’t talk on the phone or skype on a near-daily basis, she starts feeling unwanted, lonely, unloved, a burden, feeling like just a “convenience” girlfriend, etc., so it becomes a juggling act between what’s important for me: my girlfriend, my job, or my parents (both have strong physical ailments and struggle at basic chores)—pick one. She knows this, as I’ve told her many times, but her emotions haven’t changed despite a logical understanding that I have other time and person commitments besides her. She doesn’t like it when I call for the reason that she’s upset, either. This must be why she wants me to move in with her.
—Her health. After I left to go back home from visiting her almost a month ago, she’s been feeling nauseous, which she (somewhat excitedly) interpreted as pregnancy. I was doubtful since we do use contraception. When I pressed her to take a pregnancy test, she felt stressed by the entire process of buying and using it alone (I was at distance), and by my reaction, which was happy that she wasn’t pregnant. Read what I’ve written and you know that we’re not ready for children. Furthermore, she still feels nauseous, to the point that she sometimes can barely eat, and won’t do anything about it. This has been frustrating for me, especially since a medical professional relative of mine has urged her to see a doctor. Part of our arguments is me insisting her to see a medical professional.
—Money. We don’t have much.

—We can’t drive to visit each other anymore.
—Where she lives there isn’t much of a job market for me compared to where I’m from, and she already has a job where she is. We also can’t afford much.
—I don’t have the time to call her as often or as long as she wants, making her feel unwanted, unloved, a burden, just a “convenience” girlfriend, etc. She also doesn’t like it when I call for the reason that she’s upset.
—She feels really nauseous and won’t do anything to change this, and wants to have children now more than I do, and more than we should.

Thank you for reading this and for any recommendations that you can give.

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14 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

First of all, not all of these are problems of distance. If you lived down the street from each other, the car, the time, the nausea would still be part of the relationship.

I added the car because enough both would be wanting to figure out transport even if it was just around town.

The distance can be overcome if you can deal with the other stuff. But you are at a crossroads in whichever you both must ask yourselves if this is the relationship you want, or are you just sticking around because it is the relationship you are in.

All relationships end. My mom’s ended after 62 years of marriage when my dad died. The two of you need to sit down with each other and discuss if these are resolvable or not.

jca's avatar

My impression is that she is demanding (or more demanding than you would like) and also a bit manipulative with her saying she’s just a convenience, unloved, etc.

Also, it sounds like she is looking to push the relationship faster than you are (wanting you to move there and move in, her being happy when she thought she was pregnant). That tells me that she wants to be pregnant. She’s just starting a permanent job in August and wants to be pregnant now.

I can’t tell you what to do, but it sounds like the relationship may need a little break. If you did that, it doesn’t mean it’s a permanent break, necessarily. It may mean you need time to get your life in order with work and money, and same for her.

BellaB's avatar

Hi Ebecker. It sounds like you and your girlfriend are at very different places in your lives. You’re in the dating stage – she wants to be in the getting married stage.

She’s also confused – starting a job and pregnancy aren’t things that should happen at the same time.


I think you need to be honest and serious with her. Let her know what you need. You need a permanent job to get started. You need a girlfriend who is supportive of what your needs are. Having someone in your life who seems to be very demanding is not helpful to you at this point. If she thinks she can move on with life without needing so much from you, you may have a good chance.

Let her know you’re concerned about her health, but understand that is something she needs to sort out herself. You aren’t a doctor and other than suggesting a visit to a health professional there’s nothing you can do about that situation.


when you started dating, was it in-person? did you already know how demanding she was?

Dutchess_III's avatar

What do you like about her that keeps you hanging on, and what positives do you get out the relationship?

Cruiser's avatar

The 3 answers above pretty much cover it all especially @zenvelo answer. You did articulate one thing that stood out for me….“Making time for each other. She feels that I’m often neglecting her.” Women need to feel attended to and 7 months of not having her man at her side seems to me to be wearing on her and almost all the other “issues” you state, would manifest themselves from not having you there by her side. Women want to feel loved, secure and protected…hard to do that far apart and even harder when after 7 months the cards you have laid out that you have to play with have little to no hope of getting any better unless you man up and move to be with her. I get the impression you are reluctant to do this and the question is now in your lap…why do you really feel you are not ready or able to make that leap of faith to move to be with her?

BellaB's avatar

@Cruiser , I’ve been in a couple of long-distance relationships over the decades. If a person is secure in themselves, comfortable with their lives overall, they can handle long-distance relationships easily. It’s nicer to be with your partner, but it shouldn’t be stressful for either when they’re apart.

Friends of mine were married for close to eight years before they found jobs in the same city. Every other month they had a weekend honeymoon. They lived good and full lives while they were apart. It was before the days of the internet, when long-distance phone calls were expensive, so it was letters and weekly phone calls between visits. They are coming up on their 35th anniversary now. Good strong marriage – and still able to be happy when apart (they vacation separately once a year).

Ebecker's avatar

@zenvelo You make a good point. If we can figure out everything else, then the distance isn’t as significant, and we have to consider why we’re in this.

@BellaB We met online, so while we did meet online before dating, it wasn’t very many times. I also had the time back then to spend more time with her, so it was okay if she was demanding.
My girlfriend is even more insecure than I am, which is isn’t helping. That couple that you mentioned has strength, which is great, but is something that we haven’t solidified yet. It is good to know that long-distance relationships can work, though.

@Dutchess_III I really enjoy her sense of humor, and seeing how much she’s willing to put into the relationship. Our families really like the other. When we’re together, things seem better than at a distance, because I’m there to give her attention and nothing else.

@Cruiser I am reluctant to move out, mainly because I don’t have any job secured where she is. I don’t feel comfortable going out that far if I have better financial security where I am. I do want to move in with her, especially since I’m able to give her more and better attention when we’re together, easing our problems, but ultimately, I can’t justify going out there without at least some income.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, many people get a job outside of their degree. Just the fact that you have one looks good on a resume. What other types of jobs might interest you? Have you done some poking about in the area?

marinelife's avatar

In your litany about what’s wrong, you don’t mention how you feel about her and how she feels about you. Are there some positives to offset these negatives?

If not, your lives may be moving in different directions. She just accepted a permanent job? Did she discuss that with you first? Why can’t she consider moving to the DC area where as you pointed out, jobs are plentiful?

How can you leave the immediate area if your parents need help?

I would refuse to engage in the same old arguments over and over. Why won’t she see a doctor?

Are you sure she’s not more trouble than she’s worth?

BellaB's avatar

@Ebecker , long-distance tends to work best (in my experience) if both partners are confident and enjoy the lives they have when they are not together.

Further to @marinelife , what efforts did your girlfriend make to find a job where you are?

LornaLove's avatar

I met my now boy friend online 13 years ago. It took ten years, yep, ten long years before we met.

Why? Mostly it was because we both had our own lives, friends and jobs. We met as friends but he became super important to me over a period of about three years. Not important enough to move though. We shared all sorts of things, happy times, sad times, even including a few deaths.

In the early days our time was mostly spend laughing our backsides off! He had a great sense of humor and he was a great person to chat to. Sometimes when things were tough he’d talk to me about that too. Or at least talk me through it. (I suffer with anxiety, and bipolar he suffers with his own issues).

We spoke when we could. Sometimes he had thing to take care of, I worked very long hours sometimes until 10 pm at night. I also had friends to visit, parents to visit as they were ailing and we both were considerate of these types of life expectations.

I certainly did not make demands on him very early on. Simply because I had a life, I had a job and I was just doing okay without his help. He was like the cherry on the top kind of thing. Someone I could look forward to chatting with when I could. He was the same. I think if he had demanded anything I would have run for the hills.

To cut a long story short. I became more ill and also by the way suffer nausea often as a direct result of anxiety. There was so much more but eventually I moved to the UK where he lives.

I knew him ten years then, you’d think it was like falling into the arms of an old friend?Not really, real life is so very different.

Three years on, we are still together and very happy. Things are not perfect, I am still ill and he still has his issues.

Time. Time is a great story teller. Time let’s a person know really more about what they want, what they don’t want. We were not ready for each other way back then. I just feel she is moving fast and being a little needy. I really do not want to judge her though, each of us are different. I’m not saying wait ten years of course! I just think it does take time to get to know a person. Whether online or not.

Ebecker's avatar

@marinelife I really enjoy her sense of humor, and seeing how much she’s willing to put into the relationship. I enjoy our physical intimacy, and cuddling up with her to a movie or TV show. We cook and bake well together. Our families really like the other. When we’re together, things seem better than at a distance, because I’m there to give her attention and nothing else. I love her, and she says that she still loves me, so I’m going from there.

She just accepted a job that, while not technically permanent or full time yet, has high potential to become both if she does well, which is what I expect. She did discuss that with me, and since it’s her dream job, I told her to go for it. Even if we break up, she’ll still have that good job with a stable income. She did some searching where I went to college, where I have better chances than her town, but didn’t apply to much because of required Virginia state assessments and certifications in her field.

My parents don’t absolutely need my help, although they are not only grateful for help with even the most basic of chores (laundry to mowing the lawn), but paying for anything I can do.

I have, on occasion, refused to argue or continue arguing. I think part of her hesitation to see a doctor is she’s too timid to, and worried that a real problem is causing her nausea. It could be her anxiety, or something worse.

Right now, I’m not sure, but I enjoy being with her in person so much that I can’t say I don’t get anything out of the relationship.

@BellaB I don’t think she’s done much searching in the DC area, but I do know that there are opportunities for her in Virginia as a whole. There are a number of assessments she has to pass in order to practice her career in Virginia, which, when combined with her lack of confidence and financial troubles, has prevented her from doing more searching here.

@LornaLove That’s quite the experience you have, thank you for sharing it. You’re right, time and experiences do flesh out details. My girlfriend and I met on a dating site, so while we started as friends first, we always had dating/romance as the initial intentions. I think we were both looking for that fairy tale romance in at least some respect, and we had that element involved when we first met. It’s worn down somewhat, so say the least. Now, I think we’re looking to repair what’s been damaged, if it can be done.

janbb's avatar

Seven months is not a very long time to assess the long-lastingness of a relationship. I would personally be loath to give up my career or move in with someone after that short a time and with other red flags showing. I would continue to work on the issues and see each other long distance for a longer time before either of you made a major life change.

One of my children had a hot and heavy cross-country romance for a year before it became obvious that their needs and places in life were too different. Three weeks after she dumped him, he found the love of his life on an online dating site and they will be married next week.

Not trying to throw cold water over anything, just advising caution. Meanwhile, she needs to find out what her health issue is by going to a doctor.

jca's avatar

@Ebecker: does she have a diagnosed anxiety disorder? You mentioned anxiety which is why I ask.

As for her complaining about feeling ill and yet refusing to see a doctor, perhaps she is the type that seeks attention thru her illness. As long as she stays ill and makes sure everyone knows it, she gets sympathy like a martyr.

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