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I'm looking for a little advice. I've been involved with someone in a long distance relationship for the past 12 years. I won't get into the details as to why it has continued to be long distance for so long....that's another thread in itself.


I am considering ending the relationship, as I want to move on with my life, and I'd like to be with someone who is accessible and in the same town. I've developed feelings for someone else, and I've been beside myself with feelings of guilt about hurting my long distance boyfriend. I've felt evil, mean, callous, etc., the list goes on.


My sister came into town last week and I explained my predicament to her. She said something that completely came out of left field....she said that she had heard from a couple of different sources that my long distance guy has been seeing someone in his town, and that he is often seen in groups where there are many, many women. He lives for the moment and likes to have a good time....his friends are the same, and the town he lives in is CRAWLING with GORGEOUS women, especially during the hot summer months, when they all go boating. I had never even considered the possibility that he might actually cheat on me! I trusted him completely. He had always been the one to accuse me and mistrust me in the past. I had ended up having relationships with other people and have broken up with him in the past (we've been on and off during the past 12 years), so I just accepted that his doubts and fears were totally valid, and that I had given him reason to suspect my intentions. He also has problems with impotence, which he says is a result of his very short periods of time with me, and he wants to make sure that it's great during the short visits. This has been a problem for the past 2 years....and I've been patient, but at this point, I avoid sex altogether. I never had even contemplated that his impotence could be guilt over an affair? A councellor that I'm seeing immediately thought this was a red flag and so did my sister.


If I am "hearing things" from my family about this guys actions....do you think there might be something substantial to the rumours? He would not admit to it, even if I asked....


As they say "where there's smoke, there's fire".




Thank you.

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Hi There,


It's hard to say whether your bf is seeing other women where he lives. But.... seeing as you have been long distance for 12 years and you have mentioned yourself that you are unhappy with the distance and the troubles with his impotence, it's possible he may be feeling the same way you are.


In my experience, one of the best parts of being in a relationship is the ability to have physical closeness... not just in the form of sex, but in being able to spend time together, be it at the movies, shopping, talking, exercising, or just cuddled up on the couch. If you have limited opportunities to reinforce your connection with some sort of physical closeness over an extended period of time, that connection starts to fade.


I will say that if after 12 years neither of you have moved to be closer to the other, I wonder how important this relationship is in the grand scheme of things. Having said that, I wonder if maybe the best thing for both of you is to have a serious, non accusatory talk about how you are both feeling, and what the next step for this relationship is.


My guess is that you both might find yourselves relieved to end it so that you can move on to partners that may be closer and more available for the type of relationships that you need.


Good luck with everything, and let us know what you decide.

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I just finally called the long distance guy and tried to discuss this. I told him that I'd heard things, and that I didn't feel that it was working...and he responded aggressively, rather than with concern. He just kept saying "you should know better" "that's ridiculous" "I don't know how anyone could have heard those things, because it isn't true", "why didn't you talk to me about this earlier....rather than avoid conversation all week?". I wasn't ready to talk to him about it earlier, and I've had family around and very limited private time.


I said that maybe we should end it....that there were other issues besides rumoured infidelity. He wasn't as sad as I expected. He just said "maybe it is", "maybe it's best".

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You know, I'm sorry to say this, but the undercurrent I get from all these posts is that you are very caught up in yourself. I don't see, anywhere, that you really discuss or consider his feelings unless they directly relate to you. You seem to say stuff too him in order to gauge a reaction. Rumours are rumours, always remember that there may be many, many people between your sister and the source of the gossip. Each one of these people may have their own motives.


It's obvious that you aren't happy. But how much of this is as a result of things he has done, how much is a result of how you have approached things as a couple, and how much is a result of your attitude towards the relationship?


I have read through your other posts, and the one thing that strikes me is how confident and organised you are. As you state you are goal-oriented and ambitious. These are great things. But they can be very threatening to someone else, and people who are like you do tend to have very high standards... they do not "suffer fools easily". I also get the feeling that this is, somewhat, about control for you. I mean, you had not even considered that me might cheat on you... thats quite esoteric don't you think? And then, when the mere possibility is presented to you - a great crisis ensues.


You have broken this off before, not merely because you are angry, but because you wanted to try things out with other people. I get the feeling you look down on him because of what he does for a living, and how he approaches life. Its almost like you like to think highly of him because he is following his dream, but that you think his dream is possibly a little childish? Not ambitious enough? He buys cars, motorbikes, etc... which you don't think is very mature for a thirty five year old. Will he change? Maybe, but should you really want that? Can't you enjoy the fact that despite age, this man is able to go out there and have fun?


The one thing that kicked off the impressions above that I got, was when you said that maybe you should end things, specifying "other issues besides rumoured infidelity"... and he wasn't as sad as you suspected? I mean, come on! You have left him numerous times to pursue interests in other men, and now you are prodding him about leaving again. And you leave the stuble hint about "other issues" which, we all know, refers to his impotence. And after all this, you expect him to display sadness to you? You expect him to display his crushing hurt?


I think your use of the rumours was ridiculous. If I had been in a relationship this long, even if it was on/off, I would think it was ridiculous as well. THe reason you don't talk to him is because you weren't ready to talk. Earlier you note that the relationships with other men didn't work out because you couldn't make yourself emotionally available, but I get the feeling you aren't exactly emotionally available to this man either - its just that he actually tollerates it.


I get the gut feeling that you aren't co-dependant at all. I almost feel like relationships and emotions are about control for you, and you are trying to tell yourself that you are a victim in order to detach yourself - giving you a reason to breakaway without the guilt.

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I am sorry that you did not get the reaction that you had hoped for or wanted. I feel like what he said sort of reinforces my original thought that this relationship isn't very high on either of your list of priorities, as it's been 12 years with no move to be near one another or more formal commitment. I wonder if ending it won't bring a secret relief from both of you.


So, where does this leave you?


Are you actually broken up?


How do you feel about it?

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One of things that most concerns me about this, and particulary the replies to this thread, is that the general gist is to just break up with him because "its not right", or "its not working", or "you aren't right for each other" - without any thoughts of why.


Given your respective ages, what is not so important is that this currently relationship has not reached a "formal commitment" after 12 years, but why it hasn't. Given that you have tried relationships with other men the common element in all this is.... you!


Far too many people end a relationship thinking that it is the relationship that was the problem, and that they were just not "meant for each other". I see this pushed on the boards here all the time in the breaking up section, only to see the results of that in the healing section. The result is people leaping from one relationship to the next searching for the "one" who will be the answers to all their problems.


It certainly sounds like your relationship has reached a point where you do not really want it to work. Your relationship working would be him changing not just his attitude to you but his entire belief structure, and that is an unlikely prospect. But what you really need to figure out is why this has happened? I don't know, I just get the feeling there is much more to this story than is played out here...

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Thank you for your feedback. Yes, I am actually very sad about the whole situation. I'm a person who has a VERY difficult time making decisions, and although to some, it may seem for selfish reasons, I actually really, really hate disappointing and/or hurting other people. It's never my intention, although maybe it comes accross this way.


Icemotoboy makes some interesting points...and points that I have considered about myself. My unhappiness and uncertainty about the relationship has nothing to do with what this guy has done. It all ultimately boils down to my preferences in life - what I want it to look like ten years down the road. As much as I'd like to believe that it would be wonderful with this man....realistically, I know that our lifestyles are divergent in many ways - ways that could become problematic in a marriage. Who knows?!? I don't know anymore, and I don't think I'll ever choose to get married. I'm scared of it. I watch marriages fail all around me. I watch my parents...my father as openly admitted his unhappiness and incompatibility with my mother. He said if he was able to live his life over again, he wouldn't have gotten married. I know this is just one persons perspective...but maybe this is where some of my fears stem from.


I had considered the possibility that he might cheat on me. He's a great guy...why wouldn't other women be interested in him???? He's a good catch. When I found out that he might be seeing someone else...it wasn't a "great crisis"...in all honesty, I felt a little relief....which, could very well have something to do with taking the guilt off my back.


I don't feel that I look down on this man...I am not in agreement with some of his lifestyle preferences....which is why this has been a dilemma for so long. I don't ever want to try and change someone...but I had kind of hoped that maybe at some point along the line, he might realize that he should start to think about the future .. and start taking steps to ensure that it will be comfortable. That day still hasn't come. He's still happy living day to day, cheque to cheque. That's fine and he's happy - but I'm not. I don't think I'm wrong for feeling that way. I don't think his dreams are childish...It's refreshing to be around someone so young at heart...but it's also reassuring and comfortable to be with someone who also stops to reassess things from time to time. I've discussed my feelings with him before, and he knows how I feel. I don't think it's fair that I should sacrifice everything that's important to me, in order to make someone else happy. Relationships involve compromise! I've tried to exercise patience with him...patience about the long distance arrangements and patience about his lifestyle. Despite my expressions of concern, I still do not have any evidence of his consideration of my needs and feelings. It's a two way street. I hope I haven't painted myself as unreasonable in my posts. I am also a person who loves to have a good time....BUT...I am VERY serious when I need to be. That's one of my best qualities.


Yes - I did ask him about the rumours....he's asked me the same questions in the past. Why should I not ask the same?


I like to be in control of my life, where control is possible. I don't like to be in control of others. Not once have I given an ultimatum to him to settle down, move here, etc. I've been open with him about my misgivings of the past, and also with the current ones....which are the same misgivings that I've always had...just raising their head again.


I don't think I deserve to see his hurt and pain. I'm glad that I didn't. And yes, maybe it does stem back to guilt. Who likes to feel guilt??? Isn't it human nature to not want to feel guilty?


I don't think I'm a victim....I just think I'm an indecisive person, overly influenced by emotions...to a point where I cannot get on with my own life. If I'm a victim, it's only a victim to my own actions.

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You know you are very hard to read properly, which is why I got interested in your thread and read your other posts.


Hmmm, you are quite the enigma.


I think you've balanced out your other posts here and I'm really not sure what to say. I do think, though, that your parents and marrage comments build on what I was thinking before... in that there is maybe an emotional control element at play here. Perhaps control is the wrong word... maybe... protection?


I also have a niggling worry in my mind that, besides the impotence and the long distance, you may actually be happy with this guy. And all the "fluff" comes from indecision about your emotions, the problems with distance, the pressures of society to get married (tormented by your own fears around marriage), and his happy-go-lucky lifestyle.


So I guess the question is does this relationship have the potential to make you happy? Do you enjoy this man's company? Do you love him?


If the answers are yes, then to hell with all the talk of not having made a "formal commitment" in 12 years. Marriage is not all its cracked up to be in my opinion. I've seen the happy-go-lucky man and the independent-career woman combo do fantastically together. What a killer team they make as a partnership, although not necessarily the traditional one.


I'm still mulling over this... hmmm... its quite the conundrum.

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Back again...


I wonder why we've hung on for 12 years also. At first, I went away to University....finished my bachelors, then my graduate studies. When all was said and done, seven years had passed. I wanted to travel and see the world before my career became serious....I wanted him to come with me, but he couldn't because of A) passport B) money, because he had chosen not to work for a year. That was okay....I went alone....and returned rich with new experiences and memories. I was disappointed that he didn't join me...despite the fact that he constantly said that he wanted to go with me and he wished that I wouldn't go alone. I continued to feel sad that I didn't have the chance to share the experiences with him, and that I could only try and recount them to him verbally and through pictures. I tried to find employment in his community, as he didn't want to move here, even though it would've been easy for him to find a job in his trade. I tried forever, with no real indications that he would be in favour of coming here. Through all of these times....and being in my twenties, attractive, single in the city...I did have chances to meet and date others. I dated a couple of men seriously...trying to move ahead with my life....with people who seemed to be a little more similar. The reasons that my other relationships failed - because I couldn't stop thinking about the long distance guy. I couldn't bear the thought of marrying someone else because of how I knew it would make him feel. I always feel too guilty about moving on in life. We have invested so much time together (albiet on and off and from afar) that I feel that it's expected, and I'm ruining someone else's life if I decide not to. Maybe I'm overly full of myself for thinking that I'd hurt him. I have gotten to know him quite well over the twelve years...and I do know that he's got a soft heart, and that we have always held a spark for each other, despite the periodic break ups. Twelve years is a LONG time, and we have been such a big part of each others lives that the permanence of goodbye is very painful.


Maybe I'm just completely nuts....feelings are sometimes so hard to decipher. Maybe I should just forget ever being a good partner. Maybe it is ME....maybe I'm just not relationship material at all.

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a couple of thoughts... first, long distance relationships work ok when both people are very involved in their other activities in separate towns, and really like one another enough to try to maintain a connection, but don't mind the fact that their partner isn't available much.


however, they STOP working for a variety of reasons, including growing apart and meeting other people who are local and more available to be a larger part of each others lives. so eventually one or both find someone local, and the LDR couple break up, and even go through several cycles of breakups and reconcilations as those other relationships come and go.


but eventually, one or the other has to agree to move and both commit to the relationship or it implodes because of distance and insufficient contact to keep the relationship going.


your long distance fellow's impotence could be a very clear sign that he is cheating with other people and feeling guilty about it, or is just not feeling close enough to you anymore to engage in intimacy... and i am sure you are also suffering now from both the lack of a sex life with him, and a desire to have someone more involved in your life...


so i do not think either or you is a terrible person or not relationship material, i think it is just time to either commit to the relationship, or recognize that LDRs can only go on so long before they collapse for all kinds of reasons...


so maybe both of you are feeling bad and guilty, because you both are growing apart... so you really need to decide what you really want to do and communicate with him... it is probably just time for this relationship to wind down and stop, or move forward with both of you in the same city. it really doesn't matter how much time you have invested in each other in the past if the arrangement is no longer working out for either of you, and neither of you is willing to move to the other person's location... but if you really do think he is the right one for you, then maybe it is the strains of an LDR that is causing all these problems, in which case serious discussions about moving closer to one another is in order.

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