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Dear Abby: Woman feels widening gap in long-distance relationship

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I’m in a relationship with a man who lives eight hours away. We met last year through a dating site while he was in my area on a business trip but lost contact shortly after he returned home. We recently reconnected and have been talking and/or texting daily since. I’m looking for a job in his area, and he is in favor of that.

Ever since the last time I visited him (a week ago), his texts have become less romantic and there are fewer of them. We also haven’t talked on the phone as often. He works 60-plus hours a week and sees his children on weekends, so I understand his time is limited. (However, he made time for me until a week ago.)

Today I asked him if he was still interested in me. I pointed out that I haven’t heard from him as often as I did before my last visit, and I’m getting the feeling he’s lost interest. He said he hasn’t lost interest; he has just been busy.

He went on to say he doesn’t have time to be on the phone with me 24/7, and my pessimism bothers him. I responded that I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want to hear from him at least once a day if we are in a committed relationship, especially since we don’t have the luxury of being able to spend time together often. Is it too much to ask to hear from him on a daily basis? After all, I am willing to relocate for him.

— Serious in the South

Dear Serious: It’s entirely possible, with his work schedule and family commitments, that he has been busy in the week since your visit. It is also possible that he’s feeling pressured because of your impending move to his city, and you have picked up on the fact that he is distancing himself. I suggest you slow down that move. Don’t push or smother him. Give him a chance to pursue YOU for a while. His reaction to that will tell you everything you need to know.

Dear Abby: When my mom passed away, friends and family were very responsive immediately following her death. During that time, I was numb and in a fog. Weeks later, when I really needed emotional support and help packing things up, no one was around. The same thing happened when my father passed away, and now with the passing of my beloved dog. I realize that everyone is busy with their own lives. A few days of caring and then “crickets”! Is this the new normal?

— Busy in California

Dear Busy: I am sorry you have experienced all the deaths you have because the sadness can be cumulative. I do not think people mean to be insensitive at times like this. Unless someone has experienced the kind of losses that you have, they often fail to understand that the grieving person may need more than an “I’m sorry for your loss.” This is why it is important for those who are grieving to express to their friends what they need from them. Sometimes people are just waiting for guidance.

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