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Advice from you LDR veterans?


Nomad

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Hi guys - first time posting on this forum/website. Seems to be a pretty helpful community however, after briefly perusing through a few posts!

 

Hoping for a bit of advice from you LDR folks. I'm in the gray-ish area early stages of what appears to be a budding LDR, and wondering if it is something that I should invest some time/effort in to pursue, before things get more complicated. I've never done the LDR thing. Honestly it has never struck me as "a good idea", but then again I suppose nobody actively searches for a LDR relationship - life just happens.

 

Anyways, here is the rundown/context. Sorry if it gets a bit lengthy!

 

I'm a 28 y/o man. Last May, I quit my job and pursued a fellowship (read: unpaid volunteer position) with a really interesting international NGO. Basically, a great way to travel to some interesting places while doing meaningful work, and build up the resume at the same time (I work in the social sector). During the 'training week' in the US, I met a great intern at this particular organization. We chatted intermittently throughout the week, but we were both quite distracted with our own tasks. Me with training, her with helping to run the logistics for the week, etc.

 

The last night of the training week included a night of karaoke at a local bar. Needless to say, everybody got quite drunk She was flirting with me quite heavily, getting a bit touchy/making a good amount of physical contact. Because we were both obviously a bit sauced, I didn't want to create a regrettable/embarrassing scene, as we were with staff/other 'fellows' from the NGO - and they would essentially be co-workers in one way or the other for both of us. Anyways, we had a good time but I didn't pursue it.

 

We exchanged lengthy emails every few days for several months, most of them a bit flirty. After ~4 months we started talking a bit more regularly through FB chat. Around this time, I decided that I was going to pursue a graduate degree the following year (Fall 2014), and she got accepted into an interesting year long semi-volunteer program in rural Africa (starting in jan 2014).

 

Anyways, I went back to the US over the holidays to visit family (I had been in SE Asia for 7 months by that point). I met with this woman again to hang out a few times, and we once again really hit it off. However, we each know that we are headed to completely opposite parts of the world. Her to Africa for a year, me back to Asia for a few months, and then to the UK (for school) for a year starting in the fall. We joked about how much it sucked, but she dropped some hints that she thought we would be seeing each other again before the nearly 2 years when I would be finishing grad school and potentially returning to the US.

 

We started texting for several hours a day after that, with some Skype convos as well. I let her know that I really liked her, but didn't want to 'set any expectations' because our paths were heading in opposite directions and it would be a shame for somebody to get hurt. She completely agreed. Anyways, she is now in Africa and I am back in Asia. We talk for several hours a day, when time differences & work schedules allow. After talking about it for several weeks, I decided that I am going to visit her in Africa for a week or so in April. She is excited about it (as am I!), and knows that it is quite a financial & time commitment sacrifice on my end. Thus, she is planning to visit me in the UK in September when I move there.

 

We both openly communicate that we like each other very much, but don't want to necessarily put commitments on the situation right now because we are each on some pretty significant personal & professional adventures. We are just playing things by ear, and communicating quite well about it. However, things do seem to be escalating and I'd consider it a pretty strong emotional relationship at the moment - but we both are very cautious about what words we use

 

While it would be great to be in the same zip code and be able to date, setting an "end game" at this point maybe seems rash. She doesn't know what she is doing after she finishes her job in Africa, and I'm spending a lot of money for a degree that will require a huge time commitment. Anyways, all of that is in the semi-distant future.

 

For now - I am visiting her in a bit over a month. We have both expressly stated that it is good to "test the situation" to see if it merits the effort it would take to sustain a relationship, given the huge logistical constraints.

 

I'm a very picky guy, and I really like this woman - feels like I am falling pretty hard for her, even though our 8 months have been relegated mostly to remotely communicating through email, skype, and FB chat. However, I don't know if I want to head into grad school spending this much time thinking about her/talking with her, and also thus 'limiting my options' in terms of meeting other people, etc.

 

Kind of stuck as to how I should play this when I visit her. Spend the week in 'relationship mode', or 'friendship mode'? Seems like she is up for either.

 

Never done the LDR thing, as I mentioned. Any advice, before precedents get established and expectations are set, one way or the other?

 

Apologies for the really long post!

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Hi Nomad!

 

I am also in a LDR....my bf travels for work also, so he is gone a lot...but he lives about an hour from me when he's home.

So your situation is a bit different...but it sounds like you guys have really gotten to know each other, which is a huge plus....and you have already spent time together. To be honest, I think LDR are a lot more common than not. The Internet, phones, Skype have truly shrunk the world and made it easier for couples to make these things work.

 

My advice is to keep in touch often. Even if just once a day. It's hard enough being apart, so talking often keeps insecurity and loneliness at bay. Try to see each other as often as possible...and yes..keep it spicy. Being apart you need to be creative...especially when you can't be intimate Im sure you catch my drift...

 

I think the fact you have already planned a visit is a great start...otherwise it sounds like you have a great basis for something really good

 

Good luck!!

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Hi Nomad. Are you and the girl originally from the same country i.e. US? I'm asking because if you're both gonna return home someday then it makes things easier. Personally, I've been through something similiar. I've met a guy overseas and we only talked more when we went home (we both live in different countries). Like you, online communication was there but we both did not have concrete plans of the future. We really hit it off but had difficulty meeting up Eventually, I guess the uncertainty and absence got to us and we let things go. My advice to you would be to NOT overanalyse and not to think too much of the future cos it can cause burnout. Communicate regularly as you are doing now, meet up often and enjoy each other's company. I hope somebody else has better advice for you. All the best!

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I have been in an LDR for a few years. However, we were both in the same country and got to see each other either once a month or once a semester. Looking at your story as a woman looking for a committed relationship... I personally could not envelope myself in this type of "relationship" because of so many factors (different career goals, cost of traveling/visiting, time apart).

 

The tricky thing is that not only do you both live in two different continent, but this planning to go on for a few years, and both of your life goals are very different. There is a lot of uncertainty in both your futures- her not knowing what to do after 1 year in Africa, and possible opportunities you will encounter while in grad school for 2 years (or more!). As you might know already, you are in no position to make any relationship promises to a woman who is moving her life in a different direction that yours.

 

As a grad student now, I can advise you that you will gain a lot of social opportunities to meet new people. Grad school is a LOT of work that requires you to work extremely close with your colleagues. It is nothing like being an undergrad where you only have yourself to rely on. You actually have to conduct projects with your peers or your grade suffers. That being said, it would be foolish to pass those opportunities up if you are not in a committed relationship. I also am aware that you plan to finish grad school in 2 years just as much as I do. Unfortunately, the reality is most grad students stay in grad school for over 2 years because plans do change and not everyone is able to balance the amount of work grad school gives you as a full-time student. Those that get out of grad school within 2 years or less are the hardcore workaholics who take 12 full time credits per semester (I recommend no more than 9 credits or you will have ZERO free time), continue through grad school during the summer, and do not have to work to support themselves.

 

My advice to you right now is to not make ANY relationship promises and wait until you are close to finishing grad school. There is too many uncertainty mentioned your post that prohibits you from making any relationship plans with a person moving in a separate direction. There is one question I do have:

 

I'm a very picky guy, and I really like this woman

What do you mean by being "picky?" What makes you picky? Is it based on a woman's maturity level/looks? Because in grad school there are a LOT of mature people than the ones you find in undergrad classes. However, some of them are those who are already married or are in committed relationships. Not all grad students are in relationships though.

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Solid advice from everybody - many thanks for taking the time to read my exorbitantly long post!

 

Sounds like the best thing to do is just to take it slowly and not place too many plans/expectations on the situation. Kind of what I was already thinking, but nice to get some confirmation from folks who "have been there", so to speak.

 

And Snny - to answer a few of your questions:

 

-Yes, we are both from the US. However, in our line of work (international development/social enterprise), that doesn't necessarily guarantee that we will both be returning to the US at the same time. Though, we both want to end up back in the same area (Bay Area).

 

-We do have similar career goals, which is one of the reasons that we are so attracted to each other. I genuinely enjoy learning about her day (both personally and professionally), and vice versa.

 

-As for being picky - this usually boils down to personality and maturity level for me. I've had a hard time finding women with similar shared interests and hobbies, that also have a personality that appeals to me. In this regard, this woman seems to have it all (from what I can tell at this point). Looks are only important to me up to a certain point - but she is also quite cute

 

-I definitely understand what you are saying about grad school. The program I'm going to is a condensed, 1 year version of a typically 2 year degree (MBA). You either finish in one year, or not at all (unless there are health problems or some other emergency). I've chatted with many current students, and the schedule is downright nutty. As you said, a crazy amount of group work etc. Between classes, group projects, networking, and studying, it seems that most students are easily spending 12+ hours/day doing something school related. So yes, this is why I am reluctant to get involved in a LDR. Not only 'limiting my options', but also because I honestly don't know if I will have the time to maintain a decent level of communication.

-Being a one year program that is so heavily focused on job recruitment (as most MBA programs are), I will literally have to start networking/job searching a few weeks or months into the program. Fortunately, the area that we both want to end up in is a big geographic hub for this type of work - but I could also see myself working internationally for a bit longer.

 

So considering the above, it sounds like the thing to do is to play things by ear. Keep communicating and enjoying each other's company without putting huge expectations on the relationship, then just see how things play out. By the end of this year, we should each have a better idea about our short term career/geographic plans. Maybe best to postpone any relationship decisions until that point?

 

Thanks again for the input everybody! I'm open to any other perspectives as well. You guys are a helpful lot

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