Long Distance Relationship Concerns


Advice Column

Subject: LDR With a Genius

Message Body:
Dear Alisa,

I’m dating this really amazing girl. We’ve been in an LDR (long distance relationship) for about 9 months now. She’s a super genius. Like she goes to Harvard, quite literally. Last semester we were totally able to keep up regular contact and date times, but I’m worried about this semester.
See, she want to take 5 full courses, which is basically considered crazy by everyone at her school. I don’t want to tell her to take fewer courses or anything, but I’m just worried she isn’t taking our relationship into consideration when making this decision. I’m afraid she won’t have time for me and we’ll just fizzle into nothing. Do you have any advice on how to broach the subject? Or even just how to get over my feelings of abandonment?

Backburner Girlfriend

Dear Backburner Girlfriend,

Your concerns are valid.  They make sense, and I feel like they would be concerns for a lot of people in your situation.

I’ll start with broaching the topic of feelings, as I feel like that is a good place to start in order to build up to bringing your concerns to your girlfriend.

I understand the fear and concern that you have about being left behind. Even though it’s not the same, I have that fear with some of my friends who go to school far away, or who are accomplishing more with their lives than I feel like I am at the moment. While these feelings are negative emotions, I try to put them in a good light.

I feel that it’s okay for you to feel concerned about her not having time for you, and that you don’t want your relationship to fizzle out. It’s okay to feel those emotions because it shows you care about your relationship. They show that you are serious about what is going on between you two, and that you don’t want to lose it.  Also, negative emotions are just a part of life. It’s acceptable to feel concern, fear, sadness, and other negative emotions because they are just another part of life. They’re the lows that come with the highs on this wonderful emotional roller-coaster that we call life. Just don’t act negatively on top of these emotions. That’s when you get into trouble. If you can act in a more positive way, it will be better.

So, as for resolving the feelings of abandonment, I feel like the first step is acknowledging that they are there. Then I recommend trying to pinpoint what exactly is causing those feelings, which in this case your girlfriend’s busy schedule, the distance, and the fact that you seem a bit intimidated by the fact that she goes to Harvard all seem to be playing a role (I’m just guessing here, so don’t shoot me if I’m wrong). Now, I don’t have any solid tips for getting over the feelings, other than talking about them, and the person you’re going to have to talk to about these feelings is your girlfriend.

So now here’s the scary part, talking about the subject with your girlfriend. I can’t really tell you what method of bringing it up will be best, but do it in a way that is more personal. Don’t do it over text unless there is no other alternative. Call her or talk to her on Skype when doing it. Contact this way will allow you to hear vocal tone and if on Skype see body language.

It might be good to find an in during a conversation relating to the amount of classes she’s taking or her schedule, and go for the time aspect. If you go for that route, it would be a good idea to bring up that you are afraid that she won’t have time to keep up regular contact first, and see if you can make those regular contact and date times you mentioned you had. You could also frame it in a way that you are concerned for her and that you want her to have time to relax, and have time to have date times, etc.

If it turns out that you are going to need to bring it up without a nice segue, I suggest bringing it up in a way that doesn’t put too much pressure on either party if at all possible. Say that you have concerns, but be clear that you want to do what is best for the both of you, and that you don’t want to hinder her personal pursuits.

I also suggest bringing it up sooner than later. You don’t want to let your feelings sit and fester until they become too much and may cause a greater threat to the relationship (I’m not saying this will happen, but it could if you bottle up a lot of negative emotions).

In general, don’t be snappy about it. Be considerate of what she has to say. Listen, and she may even have a solution that you don’t know of yet. And although it is scary because you don’t know what her reaction will be, I doubt she will hate you for it. This is just a bump. Things like this happen in all relationships. The key is communication.

Best wishes,


P.S. Congrats on 9 months. I’m sure you guys have made it this far beacause your relationship is strong. It’s even more of a reason why you’ll totally get through it.