Rocky long-distance relationship

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

i have been in a long distance relationship for 3 years with a man from canada. we have a son together and another on the way. its been a very difficult relationship for me being alone most of the time. we talk every day online and see each other through web cam. we see each other a few times a year but its never enough. we are engaged but we dont want to marry until we figure out the immigration thing. there have been a few really rough times which we both had turned to other people for comfort. we keep coming back to each other, but about 6 months ago he left me. it killed me, was the worst pain i had ever felt. a few months after that he comes back after completely cutting off contact with me and he volunteers information that he was seeing another girl.it had never crossed my mind although everyone had told me that he likely was. he had said he was talking to her before he left me but he didnt leave me for her. also told me that she rejected him and stayed with her boyfriend. i cant stop feeling that he left me for her and came back to me as a rebound. he told me that he thought he loved her and it hurt him when she rejected him. i constantly fear this will happen again, before each time we had both screwed up but this time it was just him and we had made promises. we were engaged before and he just left. i am so insecure with our relationship now and very devasted that i cant get over these thoughts. i love him so much i would do anything, i just want to stop feeling bad things are going to happen and believe that what he is telling me is true. is it possible?

A: Yes it’s possible. The question I ask myself is whether it’s wise. What are you two doing? It shouldn’t take 3 years to figure out immigration. That’s what’s called a “red herring” – a distraction from the real issues (like why you are going ahead with making children when you can’t even make a commitment to each other).

You will soon have two children who are dependent on you and their father for love, support, and stability. The focus of your conversations at this point needs to be on whether you are going to make a real family for your kids. It doesn’t matter that you are only 22. It’s about time the two of you grew up. Whether or not you remain together, you need to come up with a better way for the children to have two involved parents who love them.

I very much hope the two of you will start to see a couples therapist to settle the question of whether and how you are going to be a couple. Ask your child’s pediatrician for a referral. If you could have solved your problems on your own, you would have done so by now. With a second baby coming, time is short. It will simply be harder to focus on your relationship when you are dealing with the very normal chaos that any baby brings. Take advantage of the time before the baby’s arrival to settle some things.

Yes, people who have had affairs can make a decision to be faithful – and mean it. Yes, people can make big mistakes in a relationship and still make the relationship work. But both people have to be willing to make the effort. For the sake of all 4 of you, I certainly hope you and your boyfriend will take this seriously.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 May 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Rocky long-distance relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/05/03/rocky-long-distance-relationship/