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Parallax - Advice            January 22, 2001


Timely Questions

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Falling in love takes seconds - staying in love involves a serious commitment of time. Can a relationship last when the couple is separated by an hour's drive and conflicting schedules? How much time should a girl wait around while her guy waffles over commitment? Can coworkers spend intimate lunchtimes together everyday without crossing the line? Our timely team advises.


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There's always time!
 Date: 01/22/01

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No time for love?

Dear Conversely,

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My boyfriend and I have known each other for a year and have been dating for almost four months. I love him with all my heart, but he lives an hour's drive away. He also works ten-hour days during the week, while I work full-time shift work (often on weekends) and go to school. He is a major priority for me, but I can't cut anything from my life to sacrifice for him and neither can he. I miss him tremendously, and didn't think it was going to be this bad - whenever I'm not around him, I ache for him. We can't even talk much on the phone because I work a lot of days, and can only talk to him on my breaks. I've thought about moving in with him, but that won't be for at least another year, since school and work is forty-five minutes in the other direction. I don't know how to make this work. Am I being co-dependent, or is it okay to feel this way? If it's not, then how do I stop missing him so much? I don't know what to do, but I love him and I want it to work out.


Her view:

Dear Aching,

Of course it's fine to feel this way - it's a sign of your affection. There must be something that can be worked out so that you can see each other more often. An hour away is not prohibitive - people live on opposite coasts and make things work.

You'll have to sleep less and figure out time. Try to study at his place some evenings, or rotate driving to each other's houses during the week so that you can have late dinners together. There is a way - you'll just have to work around busy schedules and sacrifice the luxury of short commutes. Be creative. Find five minutes of phone time during your day - everyone can do that.

Send love letters or e-mails…send candy and little care packages. Try to communicate and interact as often as possible. It sounds as though your busyness is only temporary, so put up with it for this short time period and then figure out a schedule that will work. Obviously this cannot go on indefinitely. Cut back on some work hours if you have to.

If you really love each other, you'll find some modicum of time to be together.

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His view:

Dear Aching,

Sometimes love shows up at the most inopportune times. Sure it's tough, but unless you want to find yourself a man who lives only ten minutes away, you're going to have to make this one work - even under adverse circumstances.

It's very nice of you to say the he's a major priority, but saying so does not automatically make it so. If you can't cut anything from your busy schedule, then I'm sorry, but you can't say he's a major priority. Clearly, your priorities are work and school. And there's nothing wrong with that - as long as the two of you communicate your feelings often and clearly. The next best thing to actually giving him the highest priority is telling him that you wish he could be your number one concern.

As to the aching, don't worry. That should lessen over time as the initial infatuation passes. However, if symptoms persist after a few more months, you'll need to cut something from your schedule.

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