Author's Note: I've always been a big fan of advice columns. I don't know what it is. From Dear Abby to Ann Landers to Ask Laskas. Writing an advice column would be awesome, but I was never quite sure how to go about that. Then I remembered, I have the internet.
Maybe this'll be a regular thing. We'll see.
I’ve had a crush on a girl for a long time, and now she’s dating a real jerk, but she doesn’t see it. I don’t want her to get hurt. What can I do to save her from this guy?
- Want To Be The Hero
I’ll put this bluntly: You can’t, and even if you could, you shouldn’t.
She’s dating him for a reason. She likes him – likes his company, likes spending time with him. That’s not your decision to make. You only see a small part of their relationship. Even if the girl talks to you a lot, complains to you a lot, tells you “everything,” you’re still only getting a small sliver of the whole picture. Furthermore, your vision is clouded by the fact that, since you have a crush on her, he is your romantic rival. You likely think you are being objective and impartial. You are not. That’s okay. But you need to acknowledge to yourself that you are not the best judge of what is good for someone else, especially in a case like this.
I get it. You want what’s best for her. You don’t want her to get hurt. That’s normal. On top of that, if you’re like me, you’ve been raised by Nintendo and Disney to chase the princess and rescue her. You have been lied to. Girls don’t need rescuing, and they aren’t sitting passively waiting for a hero – no matter how much you’d like to fulfill that fantasy. It’s your fantasy, not hers. It’s important to understand fantasies don’t reflect reality. She is her own person, autonomous and capable of making her own decisions. If you can truly accept that and accept a platonic relationship with her, free of bitterness, jealousy, and cynicism, you could pursue that. But if you can’t do that with a clear head and heart, put distance between you and her, for her sake and for yours.
I’ve been dating someone for a few months now and I really like them. The problem is, it’s long distance. Is there a way to make it work, or is it doomed?
- Ocean Between Us
All relationships are tough sometimes, and long distance relationships have an extra layer of issues that can make it seem insurmountable. It’s not.
All the standard relationship advice applies here; trust, honesty, communication, affection. When it comes to long distance relationships specifically, there are some things you do to ease the heartache.
First, have a plan. How long will you be apart? A summer? A year? Five years? Figure out together when the relationship will stop being long distance, and how that will happen. Will you move to their city? Will they be moving to yours? When will that happen? It’s a hard conversation to have, because you may discover that your relationship isn’t’ compatible with your lives: If neither of you is willing to move and you crave close proximity, you may be better off as friends.
Once you have your plan, work toward it together. Take that money you would have spent on dates and squirrel it away for the moving expenses. Get a calendar and count down the days until you’ll see each other again. If you won’t be living in the same city for a long time (I once spent a year working overseas while my then girlfriend, now wife was finishing college) plan an opportunity to come visit. Being stuck in a stressful situation indefinitely can feel unbearable; knowing concretely when you’ll see each other again can be just the ray of hope you need.
Second, embrace the good news: you’re living in the future. It’s easier than ever before to communicate over long distance. Invest in a long distance package and webcam. It’s time for you to resuscitate the lost art of writing letters, even if you’re sending them by e-mail. It’s not a perfect situation, but it can be enjoyable. Someday, if you end up together, you may even remember your late night letters and conversations with fondness.
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That's all for this week! If there's a question you want answered by The Unlikely Advisor, leave it in the comments, find me on Twitter (@isaacjourden) or Facebook, or send an e-mail to email@example.com.