Does He Want a Long-Distance Relationship? How to Find Out

Mary has been on three great dates with an amazing guy. The only problem? He’s moving away. She wants to try a long-distance relationship but doesn’t know where he stands. Should she bring it up, and if so, how? I answer this tricky question in this week’s episode of LOVELife... 

Transcribed:

Welcome everybody to LOVE Life here with Matthew Hussy, we have a caller on the line today.  Mary tell me what you wanted to know today.

Mary: So I’ve been seeing this guy for about a week now and we’ve hung out three times in the last week, but he moved to Montana for a 3 month work contract and I want to know if now is the right time to start a relationship being long-distance… and I know he’s coming back so I just would like your advice on how to proceed and what to say and do.

Matt: When does he leave or is he already gone?

Mary: He left on Saturday

Matt: He left on Saturday and have you been speaking to him since?

Mary: Yes, I spoke with him on Sunday just to check up and make sure that he arrived there safely and we spoke for a brief moment, but I kind of cut it short so he could spend some time with his family and friends since he’s been gone for so long.

Matt: Well, you seem very sweet and thoughtful. Has he tried to reach out to you since then?

Mary:  No, he hasn’t. He told me to text him or keep in contact with him.  He did let me know he was going to be very busy with his family and friends the next couple days.

Matt: Okay, so here’s what I would do … the simple answer to your question: “should you have a long distance relationship with somebody that maybe you’ve been on three dates within a week?”

I think you can. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that especially if he’s going for four months, it’s not a long period of time in that sense.

If you felt like he was a really great guy and you wanted to see where it went and he felt the same way about you, there’s nothing wrong with pursuing that, but of course you want to make sure you’re both in the same place because the real danger of any situation like this is where one person is operating under a misapprehension… so if you on your side are waiting for him to come back, you’re being monogamous, you’re considering yourself exclusive, but he’s not on his side, then that’s something that has the potential to cause you pain down the line especially if you haven’t discussed it with him.

It’s really dangerous to assume that the person is doing the same things you are.

Mary: Yeah, we made plans to meet up in the end of July since I’ll be there for work and so we made plans meet up that we would talk about it and I assumed that we would keep in contact.

Matt: So, what do you want? Do you want to be exclusive with this guy?

Mary: Yes, I do  

Matt: Okay, you do.  Now how much would it affect you to hold on and wait to see what happens when you see him in July verses make clear to him that its exclusive now or at least have that conversation now?

Mary: So yeah that’s what I want to know. I’ve already prepared myself emotionally knowing that he was going to leave a week before we start hanging out.  I told myself I have to stay unattached, to be okay with whatever the outcome was going to be.

I just want to know how to initiate a conversation without scaring him off… or understand he he’s feeling.

Matt: So, why don’t you ask him?

Mary: Uhhh. I’m afraid of the answer.

Matt: Right. So now, will you be more afraid if you find out his answer now or if he comes back in July and you find out that he’s been with other people in between?

Mary: Probably then.

Matt: You’ll be more hurt if you find out later on that he’s been with other people?

Mary: Yeah, because I’d have invested so much of my time and thought into it to find out that he didn’t see anything.

Matt: Right, so even though it’s uncomfortable, it’s probably less painful to just figure it out now.

Mary: Yes

 

Matt: But the problem is –and this is the hard part. I understand where you’re coming from– if you’ve only been on three dates, you don’t want to feel like you’re pressuring him in him into a decision that’s premature, right?

So you don’t want him to feel like, “God well it’s only been three days and she’s already asking me to be in a relationship and we don’t even know each other that well and this is all a bit much.”

So the reality of the situation is that it’s a little difficult.

That’s okay. Many relationships are difficult or slightly complex, but maybe you have the conversation with him and you say to him “listen, I like you from the three dates that we had. I wanted to know what you felt whether you felt like this had the potential to go anywhere.” Obviously it’s difficult with you being away, but I wanted to see if you feel the same way, if you feel like this has the potential to kind of go somewhere and is worth pursuing.”

Mary: Okay

Matt: And see what he says.

You’re not immediately hitting him with “I think we should not see anyone else. I think we should be exclusive. “

I would get a read on where he’s at because, you know, often if a guy likes you and he’s had a great time with you, he equally won’t want you seeing other people.

So by the way, when he comes back to you –and I wouldn’t do this by email or anything– I would I would actually say this to him when you speak to him on skype or however you speak– just be like “you know, I had a great time with you on our on out dates together.  I know it’s kind of a tricky situation because I don’t really know if you feel like this is going somewhere and I don’t want to assume. So I wanted to know what your thoughts were.” And then, let him let him speak.

Matt: Now, if he comes back and says, “well you know, I’m not really sure either, and it’s kind of tough with me being away right now” and so on… say “that’s fine, the reason I ask is because I have people asking me out and it’s tough to know what to say because I don’t want to disrespect something that might be developing with you.”

That’s a very, very elegant way of communicating that you are not someone who’s disloyal, you’re someone who does like him, but you’re someone who is also in demand and has options. And there may also be a price for him to pay if he decides he wants to be very casual.

Mary: Okay, yeah does that make sense. Yeah, with him being so far away and the nature of both our jobs, I’ve been so busy. Is there a right amount of time to wait to contact him? How often should I do that?

Matt: Well, I think firstly you have to give a little bit, right, because sometimes the mistake women make is they hold back too much. They say, “Well I’m just waiting for him to call and text me I’m not going to be the first one to do it.”

And you know, sometimes that can be a little childish because it takes two people. But, you also don’t want to run the risk of over investing and being the one calling and texting all the time so it’s fine to call him even if he doesn’t answer and he sees on his phone as a missed call. Even seeing someone’s number as a missed call gives you a sign, “Oh, they were trying to reach out, that is really sweet.”

But, what you don’t want to be doing is getting into the trap that you’re the one who always initiates contact.

Mary: Yeah, that’s my concern.

Matt: Yeah, so you can call him. You know, if you feel like calling him, give him a call. And be chill about it. Be casual. “Hey, I wanted to see how you were and how it’s going on over there.”

Be sweet about it, you know, you want him to see your sweet side, but at the same time, you know, don’t then, the next day, be the one to pick up the phone again.

Let him.  Then let’s see how much he invests in return and if you find that day after day after day consistently he’s not investing, then it gives you some sense of where his priorities are right now.

Don’t be afraid reaching out to him, but at the same time, make it balanced and make sure to have that conversation with him where you find out where his head’s at because for guys it’s very easy to just ignore a situation if you don’t bring it up, but if you bring up very often, you’ll get the truth.

Mary: Yeah, okay. Thank you so much.

Matt: And Mary, don’t be don’t be too afraid of the answer. Okay? Remember, you’ve been on a couple dates with a guy who you like. There are more of those out there. There are more guys out there that you will go on three dates with and like and think it might be able to go somewhere with.  He’s not the only one, so if it goes somewhere with this guy, that’s wonderful, that’s fantastic. I wish you both all the luck in the world. If it doesn’t, don’t worry.

There are more out there and you can have this feeling again –maybe one week from now, maybe a month from now, but you will feel it again.

Mary: In your opinion, does it make any difference if it didn’t start out as a date, at all. It was just simply two people hanging out on an adventure and then it kind of happened on the last night and we were like, “Uh, okay” We realized we’d liked each other and it was just unspoken of. Does that make a difference?

Matt: In what did you decide you liked each other? Did you kiss….or?

Mary: Yeah, he kissed me and he hugged me and kind of just held me in his arms for a while.

Matt: Its… it’s very, very tough because the reality is: it may be something. You know, sometimes things happen that way. You don’t call it a date, but you find that the two have you have a connection and something that was just you hanging out casually becomes something more.

But, you also have to be very careful. Sometimes when someone is leaving, it creates a sense of romance about something that wouldn’t be there if someone was staying.

You know– I’ve had many of these experiences in my life –where the fact that you’re leaving creates drama in a situation that makes it exciting and romantic, but that’s not the same as having a real connection. That’s the drama and the excitement created by circumstance. You know what I mean?

Mary: Yes

Matt: So, you know the Romeo and Juliet story?

Mary: Yes

Matt: What was it that? There was the two camps with the Capulets and Montagues, is that right?

Mary: I’m not exactly sure I think…

Matt: I think so, I think it was the Capulets and Montagues, but anyway two different camps.

The whole Romeo and Juliet story is about two people who really are striving to be together, but are not supposed to be together because they’re part of two opposing groups of people. The real test of how in love they are is: could they be in the same camp where there’s no drama and where there’s no hurdle to overcome and still want to be together and spend their time together you know?

Would Romeo and Juliet have been just as in love and just as romantic with each other if everyone said, “Yeah this is a really good idea, you should be together.”

[Laughing] Then you’ll know.

So, someone leaving can create a sense of excitement and drama– by the way, don’t get me wrong. It can be a lot of fun to feel like: someone’s leaving we must make the most of this moment! — But it doesn’t always equal the same level of romance and connection in love when the hurdles aren’t there.

So, be very careful not to glorify or glamorize the situation. Instead, look at it with a sober head. Say, “Is he investing in me? Is he giving me the signs of somebody who likes me and wants to pursue something?”

If he’s not, ya know, I need to watch out for the red flags that show if he’s in. You know I need to watch out for the red flags that show “I’m kind of glamorizing this. I’m actually not getting the response of someone who is really interested in pursuing this in a bigger way.”

So that’s why I say: Have the conversation with him, get his thoughts, and when you reach out to him –don’t be afraid to reach out to him, don’t play the game “I’m never going to reach out to him and see if he comes to me”–be prepared to reach out to him but do not do more than your share.

See if he comes back and if consistently you find out the you’re reaching out to him and he’s not reaching out back, then that’s a major red flag and I think you should be continuing the search to go out there and meet other interesting people… even if you think it might be fun to me up with him when he gets back.

Mary: Okay, thank you so much Matthew.

Matt: You’re so welcome and thank you for being so honest with me, I really appreciate it and I know that so many women will have benefited from this. So call us again sometime okay?

Mary: Great, thank you so much. Have a wonderful day

Matt:  Yeah, you too Mary. And thank you to everyone listening out there. I know that many of you have questions just like Mary’s.

I don’t care what they are, I don’t care if they relate you love life, your personal life, your health, social life, whatever it is, call in and I will do my best. I might not be able to answer everything but I will absolutely do my best.

9 Texts No Man Can Resist

6 Responses to Does He Want a Long-Distance Relationship? How to Find Out

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  1. Lowri Powell says:

    I went travelling last summer across Europe for a month with my friends. In Budapest we went on a walking tour of the city. I spied an attractive looking man. I may have made my laugh a little louder & saw him looking back at me over his shoulder as the tour guide was talking. The group walked further on and stopped so the tour guide could point something out. The man I spied stopped next to me. He started conversation. We kept talking for the whole tour. I liked how he looked, I liked what he said, I liked his voice. I liked Harry. Both of us were planning on going out that night so we arranged to meet. We met & we went to a ruin bar. Our friends were dancing, but he bought me a drink & we sat on a sofa & talked. He eventually leaned in, timidly, to kiss me. He took me across the river & we walked up to the castle & we watched the sunrise, a perfect red ball rising above the sleeping city. And then we kissed for two whole hours, I’d never properly kissed a guy before. I’m fussy & had never met someone I wanted to kiss. at around 7am he walked me back to my hostel & we said good bye. We messaged & I invited him to visit me once we were both back in the UK. We’re both from the UK but he lives 5 hours away. He visited & we spent 3 perfect days & 3 perfect nights in each other’s company. We camped in the beautiful countryside near my house. We spent the second day walking 15 miles along the beautiful beaches & around the headlands of the peninsular, just talking the whole time. Talking about childhood, friends, family, university. In quiet places, he’s stop and wind his arms around me & kiss me & hold my face look into my eyes. I didn’t sleep with him, I was a virgin & too self conscious to take off my pants, but every other item of clothing either of us was wearing managed to come off during the nights… He seemed enchanted by me and by my body and by my face. As enchanted as I was with him. When he left to go home, I wasn’t sad, more overcome at how perfect waking up to someone next to you in the mornings could be. I was overwhelmed. Our universities were an hour & a half away from each other and we said that if either of us were there we would be welcome to stay with each other.
    We carried on messaging, both still keen. I asked if I could visit him that summer too, he sad it would be lovely to show me his home. But he never arranged anything. I’m sure he was too scared of being hurt or hurting me, in pursuing something so beautiful that he thought would be impossible to maintain with distance.
    As time went on, we continued messaging, mostly every day. Though it became much more sexual. I’d invite him to visit me in university but he’d be busy & wouldn’t make an effort to rearrange. Around Christmas time he then messaged saying he still wanted to visit, so I replied with dates of the next few weekends I was free for & asked which he was free on. He never replied. I think he was scared. I think the feelings he’d developed on our 3 day camping trip scared him.
    I ended up seeing another guy, but it only lasted 2 weeks.
    Some time in January I visited friends in London to go to the Lumiere Light Festival. I told Harry I was in London (where he goes to uni) & managed to corner him into going for a drink with me.
    He told me I looked nice. We sat talking for 2 hours, I could tell he was trying to impress me. He brought up that he never agreed to see me because he couldn’t see how it would work & didn’t want to hurt me. I told him I didn’t want to force him into long distance commitment considering we’d spent 3 days together. I told him that I was fussy, and that I only wanted something with feelings. But that to me, meaning & feelings didn’t have to equal commitment given our unique situation. He said he’d never been interested in a casual relationship because they always tend to get messy. I said as long as I knew he had feelings & cared for me, that we could just enjoy the time we could spend together. I told him I don’t get jealous, that if he got with other people I wouldn’t need to know. But so long as he had feelings for me that were real & it wasn’t only sex he was interested in that was fine. I told him it didn’t have to be complicated or messy. That if we were honest it would have been fine. He told me he was seeing another girl, I told him I’d be seeing another guy. He looked surprised & shocked & asked if I’d slept with him! I said I hadn’t, which was true. He told me no guy could ever walk away from me without regretting it. When I left he insisted on ordering & paying for my taxi to my friend’s house (which was over an hour away). He texted to thank me for a lovely evening & to check I got back safely. I thanked him back.
    I tipsily messaged him a week later. We were flirtily talking for a few days then he told me he was ‘no longer restricted by the girl he was seeing’. He invited me to visit for a weekend. I visited, he was quite ill & tired so it was nice but a let down after all that time apart. I’m sure he felt like it was a let down too.
    Again, we continued messaging, often sexually. I’d ask if we could visit, he’d not respond / ignore me. Eventually he agreed. Just before Easter I stayed the night, I lost my virginity to him. I felt no more attached to him after, although he seemed more attached to me. We spoke throughout Easter (both of us at home, 5 hours away). Back at university, we saw each other maybe 5 times more. He was keen to see me, but it’d always be me messaging first, me arranging to visit & me travelling up to see him though. I was so keen & still just as head over heels. The first few times were so lovely & simple. I met his friends, I got on really well with them. Harry asked if I liked bagels because there was a place he wanted to take me for breakfast the next time I visited. He asked quite a lot about how my friend’s relationship worked (she & her boyfriend had the same distance as me & harry had between our unis). It was as if he was considering being in a relationship.
    During exam season, I would visit him more or less every week, though only for a night due to revision. He’d always take me out for a meal or drink in the evening & I’d leave mid morning.
    After exams I spent a week in London visiting 4 good school friends who are at various universities there. I was hoping that finally I could spend a good amount of time with Harry, not just a night. The date I’d arranged I would stay with him on came. He’d gone home for the weekend & it was Monday. I had a message at 3pm saying he was staying home an extra night for his brother’s birthday so couldn’t see me. All of my other friends in London were busy or away. I had nobody to stay with. A friend was away but she gave me the key to her empty flat. I felt like he just wasn’t fussed on seeing me & cried a lot. I asked if he was free to see me the next day. He said he was, but only at 9pm. I spent the day reading in a cafe. I went for a drink with him & 2 of his friends that evening. We went back to his, spent the night there. The next morning I asked if he had work that day. He didn’t but he said he had house viewings & some other things to sort out. I asked if I could say another night but could just occupy myself during the day. while he was busy. He was very reluctant. I got tearful as I felt he didn’t want to spend time with me. He then said he’d drop his plans & could do them on another day. But it was the fact he’d been so reluctant, I told him that & that I didn’t want him to feel forced to see me. I was crying a lot now, he told me he felt that if he spent the day with me too it felt like a relationship & he couldn’t have that. He’d be in America travelling for 2 months in the summer & I’d be away too, he wouldn’t be able to see me. He said he’d want to be there to look after me & he couldn’t be. I tried to reason with him, saying that you could still spend time with someone & not have a relationship, but just appreciate them during that time that you are able to spend together. I was crying he was hugging me. He said we probably shouldn’t see each other after this had all been said as I had been so upset by it all. But he said he’d sleep on it & ring me the next day as he didn’t like making rash decisions. I used his laptop to book my train tickets back home (& noticed one of the tabs was of my Instagram interestingly…). I cried the whole train journey home.
    Once home I pulled myself together. It was almost a relief to no longer have to keep trying to subtly convince him that he’d want something more serious with me, that it didn’t have to be complicated, persuade him he liked me enough for a long distance relationship.
    I swore I’d focus on myself, friends, no boys. A week or so later I started seeing someone else though, I didn’t forget Harry, but it was a nice distraction & refreshingly simple. He was nice. I messaged Harry saying that I hoped we could remain friendly & keep in touch from time to time. He was keen in his replies & asked how I was & if I was free after my trip to Peru. I said I had no plans, he didn’t reply, perhaps assuming I meant I was free to see him.
    I then went travelling across turkey & then Peru. In Turkey I drunk messaged Harry to say I was seeing another guy. He replied saying he was happy for me but that I should be drunk messaging my boyfriend instead. I apologised, 2 days later at 2am Harry told me not to worry & asked about Turkey. The boy I was seeing didn’t message any more, I wasn’t too bothered. Harry messaged though while I was in Peru, asking about how it was going.
    A few weeks after Peru I sent a snap chat to Harry saying I;d failed my driving test. He then started conversation over text asking about my travels. We then spoke on the phone when I was drunk that night for an hour, just chatting away. We still had an ongoing text conversation that he hadn’t replied to me on. He never did reply.
    I go back to university soon. Harry doesn’t know I’m not seeing the other guy anymore. I’m in London in october for a DofE award ceremony at St James Palace. I don’t know if I’m naive & just over romantic but I feel that there is something special with Harry, that even after a year of mostly being apart, both of us are still just as attracted to each other, personally & physically.
    Should I ask if he wants coffee? We can talk. I can explain I’m single but am dating other guys, but that I’m looking for something meaningful. That I want a man who appreciates me, who wants to spend the day with me as well as the night. That before, I was only upset & crying because I felt like he really was reluctant at the prospect of spending any amount of time with me & only wanted sex. That I realise now, after seeing the other guy, spending time in the day too only makes the night more intense & more intimate.

    After coffee, if he agrees to coffee that is, it’d be up to him. I’ll still date around, he has to message me first, he has to arrange meeting up, if I have plans with friends or family I won’t cancel them for him, I won’t make excuses for him. I will only invest as much as he does (which before I 1000000% was NOT doing). I wasn’t a challenge before, to other guys I was an extreme challenge, but Harry knew how much I admired him, his personality, he knew I wasn’t seeing anyone else but it was okay for him to see other girls. He knew he had no competition, he knew I’d arrange to see him, he knew I’d travel to see him so I think, he therefore took me for granted. If I’m more of a challenge, & only invest as much as he works for, maybe he’ll work harder, maybe he’ll realise he wants me to himself, & would give himself completely to me. Maybe the distance would become irrelevant… maybe… what are your thoughts?

  2. Jane says:

    I am currently in a long distance relationship too. He lives in Japan and I live in Singapore. We have been together for more than 1.5yrs. Same as Racheal, there nothing to guide me too.. As for what I have been through. Long distance relationship requires Tonnes of communication and hard work between both parties. My boyfriend and I have communication issues too..and there are other issues like: I feel insecure when he is out with female friends alone for the whole day.. whenever he is out, he often do not message me and when he is back, he only share with me vague information like, he ate and had fun, or the meetup was not bad. Recently, he went out with a girlfriend (he meets once every two weeks) and usually spends a day with her, its the first time I asked if he will go out with her again to hike two weeks later alone or will ask more friends? he got angry and he has decided not to talk with me because i do not trust him and he says I am always insecure and want a fight. There onwards, He says he needs space and time to rethink about our relationship, and he does not want to face the same problem again with me asking him questions and feeling insecure when he is out with girls or friends.. he couldn’t give me timeline when I ask how long will he take to think.. and he told me, if i am so unhappy with him, I can leave. Its just devastating for me to hear, and I am lost in what should I do.. that was three weeks ago. I tried to call and want to solve the issue in the first week, but he ignored all of them, but now it seems better, we msg each other daily… but he is not caring or sweet anymore, he hardly ask me any questions to know how i am doing or have a sense of worry or jealousy when i meet a new male friend… in the past he says he trust me fully, that’s why he is not jealous of any friend i am out with, but to me..I wish he can at least show me that he feels smtg. From the beginning, we hardly ever skype to see each other, the most is once every week or once every two weeks..now its even harder.. the most is sometimes he will say i can send him a picture if I want.. and I will send.. and i will ask for his too, and he will send too or say no.. but he does not say anything afterwards. I am really lost, I have loved him so much and i have cried so much. but he doesnt reciprocate. He has mentioned before, if he has felt my love so much, he will be the one crying instead of me. but apparently not. he dont feel my love for all these years.. I flew over to him most of the time and I am always there for him. Right now, it has been having a really hard time for me to cope with my life, currently unemployed (want to have a career change) and my love life is in a bad shape. I wish there is some sort of material for me as a guide or a way to solve things so that we can be back as normal.. :(

  3. Rachael says:

    I am currently in a long distance relationship, he lives in Germany, I live in Australia. I do not know anyone doing the long distance thing and I just have nothing to guide me. Its hard to have serious conversations about things as I usually do this face to face. We are having a communication issue at the moment and I was hoping you would be able to discuss the long distance relationship. I think this is the first article/video you have mentioned long distance relationships (that I have seen). I think I definitely need help at the moment.

  4. Polina says:

    I’m wishing this girl good luck. It’s difficult enough to manage the long distance relationship, which was already formed for a few years, let alone starting it after only 3 dates and a few talks. It will take immense amount of work, if her feelings are mutual. But the advice Matthew gives is very wise and thoughtful!

  5. Vanessatan says:

    Long distance relationship is not easy at all. Based on my experience, up to 60% of the long distance couples have the breakup finally. Anyway, your post is great, I always love your posts!!!

  6. Tammy says:

    Hi Matthew!

    Unbelievable how you post your stuff online and it interacts with my life right now?! He just left (this morning) for a 3 year-job overseas, second time now though.
    I’m happy, proud and sad about it. At the same time, I’m now taking my own life in my own hands right now, so glad I get my oppertunity to be more of me. Start up my own business.. Life is pretty and (bitter-) sweet right now..

    Thanks for the tips! It is so hard too want to spend as much time with your love and try to life your own life and do all the things I want, which I put on my to-do-list for this year.. life is a struggle, I guess I have to learn how to juggle with what I got on my plate.. ;) Thank you for putting this video online! Keep up the good work! ^^

    Love,
    Tammy

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