Dear Wendy: “My Long-Distance Boyfriend Is Moving Here — What Can I Expect?”

I’m 28 and my boyfriend is 27 and he and I were dating for about a 1 1/2 years when I decided to move across the country. It was something I’d always wanted to do before “settling down,” so he was supportive. We did the LDR thing for another 1 1/2 years, and then decided to go on a break. I know, I know, breaks are usually precursors to breakups, but I was finishing school, he was thinking of changing careers, and we both felt a lot of pressure. So we took some time to focus on ourselves. That was a year ago and we’ve kept in touch and visited each other often. Well, we finally decided that he is going to move here to be with me. I think we’ll have a great time, but I just don’t know what to expect! We’ve both been used to being on our own, and this will be such a change. I have no doubts about the guy — he’s wonderful for me — but I’m starting to get sentimental about closing this “independent chapter” of my life. As someone who’s done it, can you give me a little insight as to what to expect? What issues came up for you? How did you both keep your independence when one of you doesn’t know anyone in the city? — Ex-LDR

The one thing for sure you can expect is there’s no way you can anticipate everything you’re going to feel and experience when your boyfriend moves in with you. I could give you a whole list of things that came up for me and my now-husband that I wasn’t necessarily prepared for, but just as no two relationships are alike, what was true for my experience may not be true for you. That said, I can tell you with confidence that the best way to handle any potential growing pains that may flare up during this transition is to be open, honest and respectful of each other. Encourage your boyfriend to reach out to any contacts he might have in your city — former college acquaintances or colleagues and the like. Even one person is a window into a new social group that isn’t comprised solely of your friends. If he doesn’t have any contacts there, be sure to introduce him to friends’ boyfriends or husbands whom he might have a connection with. But don’t press the issue. In time, he’ll make friends through work or various activities he joins, and what you’ll find is that as much as he’ll be creating a new life for himself in a new city, the two of you will be creating a new life together.

It’s natural to have a period of mourning for the chapter you’re closing — I certainly did — but, don’t forget that your boyfriend is moving to your city for a very good reason: to be with you. Don’t get too distracted by the notion that OMG, YOU HAVE TO RETAIN YOUR INDEPENDENCE that you forget what a gift it is that you get to be together now. It’s certainly healthy to have interests and friends outside your relationship — and your boyfriend will develop those in time — but you’ve just had over a year and a half apart, so enjoy getting reacquainted. And be patient with your boyfriend as he adjusts to his new surroundings. You might find it helpful to have bi-weekly check-in sessions with each other to see how the other is feeling and what needs you might have. Don’t be shy about asking for an afternoon to yourself or letting your boyfriend know you want to have a dinner with your girlfriends once a week.

And if you two plan to live together and share expenses, definitely make sure you’re on the same page about what that entails before he moves in. Will you be splitting the rent equally? Will one pay the rent and the other cover the rest of the household expenses? And don’t forget to discuss how you plan to divvy the household chores, too. These are discussions anyone moving in together should have — not just couples moving from long distances to the same home. But as long as you keep the lines of communication open and address any issues before they become Issues, you’ll be just fine.

I’m 24 and I live in Geneva, Switzerland. In April, I met a really great guy from San Diego who was here on business. We had a great time together and when he went back to SD, we kept in touch. I’m not very forward when it comes to guys, but he texted me several times a week and we had two hour long chats on the phone every weekend. In June, he took me on an incredible weekend in Vienna. This trip was a big step for me, and I was really nervous about it, but it felt right and we had an amazing time. He didn’t pressure me into sex, and we ended up just kissing in bed. It was perfect. We both came back to Geneva together as he had business meetings for the next couple of days, and he promised to find some time in the next two days to see me again. In the end, his schedule didn’t permit us to see each other before he went home, but he texted me sweet little things every day he was here. A week after returning to the States, he informed me he’s dealing with some family issues and is “off the map.” I checked in with him a week later with a text, and got no response. Days slowly crawl by with no word from him. What should I do? We have fantastic chemistry together, and I don’t want to lose him. — Swiss Miss

I’m sorry to say, SM, but it doesn’t seem like your San Diego guy shares the same enthusiasm for you as you do for him. Something that is universal for men regardless of where they’re from: if they’re interested in a woman, nothing will stand in their way of showing it. I also find it suspicious that the only times you’ve seen him were when he was traveling on business and that his excuse for disappearing without so much as a reply to your text is he’s dealing with “some family issues.” I’m willing to be those “family issues” might have something to do with a wife he neglected to tell you about who discovered he was having a tryst with a young Swiss woman while he was supposed to be working. Chock this up as a life lesson learned, SM, and in the future don’t be so fast to fall for a guy you don’t know much about.

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