If you find yourself currently in a long-distance relationship – or “situationship” – then I made this video for you, my loyal friend.
In it, I give you the 4 questions you should ask to figure out if it’s all worth it…
Let’s Get Closer in OUR Long-Distance Relationship.
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Are long-distance relationships a waste of time?
I think one of the inherent dangers that isn’t talked about nearly enough in long-distance relationships is that it’s very easy to say things that are romantic. You know, “I really like you… You’re really special… I haven’t met anyone like you in a long time, or forever… You and I would be so great together…” without paying the tax for saying those things. See, when someone lives next door, there’s an actual investment tax. Someone can say, “You’re really special. Oh my God, you and I would be great together.” But if they live next door, you’d go, “Okay. So why aren’t we together then?” Someone would actually have to back that up.
Long distance, you can get away with saying all of these romantic things, and at the same time going, “But oh no, you live all the way over the other side of the world. I’m here. It’s like a Romeo and Juliet scenario. How are we going to make it work? It’s so difficult, isn’t it? But you’re so special. I really like you.” You get to say all of these romantic things with complete impunity, because someone couldn’t reasonably expect us to do all of these difficult things to make it work in the moment.
We can for a very long time be in a long-distance relationship or situationship or tunnel vision with a person, to the exclusion of all of our other options that are on our doorstep, not knowing that it’s ultimately going to be fruitless. That when push comes to shove, this person isn’t going to make any sacrifices to make it work with us.
That begs the question: How do we read someone’s intentions in a long-distance relationship so that we have some idea of whether we might be wasting our time or not.
Here’s a couple of simple questions you can ask.
First, what would be the next practical, logical action they would take in this situation if they meant what they say?
Or, to put it a different way, if I felt the way they say they’re feeling, what would I be doing? What sacrifices would I be making? What actions would I be taking? How would I be going out of my way to make this work? And if the answer to that question is drastically different from what they’re doing right now, then you know that, at the very least, you’re in a situation where what the two of you are prepared to do varies massively.
Now, in this situation someone is going to tell you all of these reasons why they can’t take certain actions, why they can’t fly to see you or clear space in their schedule so that you can come to see them, or meet you halfway. You may then look at those excuses and say, “They’re legitimate. I can’t argue with those. They’re logical. They make sense. It is difficult.”
But here’s the way you have to look at it. There’s a principle called Occam’s Razor: Of two explanations that take account of all of the facts, the simplest explanation is likely to be the correct one. So for example, when someone gives you all of their reasoning about why they can’t invest, why they can’t take action on your relationship, why they can’t sacrifice, you can look at all of that and try to decipher their excuses and understand these complex arguments as to why someone can’t do what you’re willing to do. Or you could look at the other explanation. They’re not willing to do what I’m willing to do in this situation to make it work. They are not committed enough to make this relationship work. It’s the simpler explanation, and it’s therefore more likely to be the correct one.
So look, I’m not saying you shouldn’t invest in long-distance relationships. Are all long-distance relationships a waste of time? Of course they’re not, Harry. How could they be? Yours and I relationship is long distance, isn’t it? Would you say that that’s a waste of time?
Hmm. No, I guess, I guess it’s not.
Hesitation was rude. Do you know why it’s not a waste of time? Because at the end of the day, if you picked up the phone and said you needed me, or I picked up the phone and said I needed you, either of us would be on the next damn plane.
Yeah, that’s true.
We would both risk COVID. You wouldn’t? Eh, we found his limit.
Depends how much you need it.
We found the line.
Not all long-distance relationships are a waste of time. But, if you are going to invest in a long-distance relationship, or dare I say any relationship that is logistically difficult, then be aware that something that is inherently very difficult requires grand measures to make it work.
Do you have someone who is willing to take those grand measures to make it work? Are you willing to take those grand measures to make it work?
That’s a different video, isn’t it, Harry? Are you really looking to do what it takes to make it work? Or is this relationship just filling a hole for you right now because you’re not happy? And deep down you know it’s not right, but you keep investing in it anyway because it seems better than nothing. It’s a distraction from your existential melancholy that is keeping you in a depressed state. God forbid you go there and explore that. No. Instead, just keep this fire burning with someone that you can pretend is right for you as a distraction from your misery. Different video.
I don’t why you were looking at me when you said all that.
And of course, is it equal? That’s what it always comes down to, isn’t it? At the very least, make sure that this person is willing to make it work in the same way that you are. Not just through their flowery language, but through the gravitas of their actions. And by the way, that doesn’t mean that the sacrifices will always be equal. I think that that’s a bit of a oversimplification. It could be that one person has this big life that another person has to move to come and be involved in, because the reverse just isn’t possible. Right? It might be that one person is making a bigger sacrifice, but is that sacrifice welcomed? Is that sacrifice something someone respects? Do they then make space for the person that moves in their life when that happens? Sometimes the actions aren’t the same, but you see that the intentions are the same through what both people give to the relationship, for the space that they make for the relationship in their lives.
Make sure you’ve got one of those if you’re going to do something as difficult as a long-distance relationship, because it’s bloody hard, Harry. It’s bloody hard.