April 6, 2012 in Features

OK to play while boyfriend is away

Washington Post
 

Hi, Carolyn: I’m in the early stages of a long-distance relationship. We see each other as many weekends as possible.

Whenever he visits me, I clear my calendar from Friday to Sunday. When I visit him, I can’t help but feel like I’m intruding on his life.

I think this has to do with the fact that we haven’t been together very long. I feel awkward tagging along, but I feel even worse sitting alone in his apartment while he honors prior commitments (he has a part-time job and is also on a casual sports team). I keep coming this close to telling him I don’t want to visit when he has other plans scheduled, but that seems like it would come off as controlling. What do you suggest? – New York-D.C.

I suggest you get your head out of your (boyfriend’s apartment).

He lives in either New York or D.C., obviously. So, your away games are in a city that offers so much interesting stuff for people to do and see that visitors risk the paralysis of too many choices.

I get it, you’re there to see your boyfriend, so you want to see your boyfriend. But when he’s had these prior commitments – which I applaud him for honoring, by the way – why haven’t you used this time to explore Inherently Fascinating City?

When you decline to make your own plans – even tired, or stranded in Culturally Challenged City – you essentially say to your boyfriend, “I skulked around your apartment the whole time you were gone because I lack sufficient curiosity and initiative to do anything else.”

The implication that you have no interests beyond being with him is relationship-endangering. What’s sweet in the “early stages” can get stifling fast. And unbroken togetherness is vacation life – artificial – whereas keeping commitments is daily life.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com; follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ carolyn.hax.


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