Dating and Relationship Advice

Dear iris,

I’m in a long-distance, complicated situationship. As of right now, this guy hasn’t been communicating with me consistently or responding to my texts. I think he hasn’t answered because he enjoys the social life a lot more.

I can tell by his story posts he wants to focus on being with his friends in person. I think he still cares about me, but I think the effort to message may get in the way for him. It’s hard because he said I could message him whenever I wanted to, yet recently, he hasn’t responded.

He’s been viewing my stories, liking my friends posts, and occasionally liking mine too. Does it mean anything when it comes to him liking my friends' posts and mine?  I don’t know what’s going to happen between us, but I’m trying to remain hopeful and positive. How should I remain sane? It’s been tough because he told me that I could communicate with him whenever and he even told me to let him know when I go back to his country. I’m not sure what to think. Any advice will help.

Signed, Confusion From Afar

Dear, Confusion From Afar

I’m going to be very honest with you. Long-distance relationships are hard enough, even when they’re committed and in the same country. What you’re in sounds like something very casual. I'd guess the guy you’re talking about feels the same way, given his actions. It sounds like he’s living his life as if he's single, and then when he has time, he catches up with you. That doesn't sit well with you.

I can tell you really like this guy and want things to work out (although, logistically, I’m not sure what your goal is), but just because you’re hopeful doesn’t mean this situationship will turn into a real relationship. To be blunt, the success rate for long-distance relationships isn’t high. And that’s with two committed people who have plans to live in the same place again. Since you’re casual, and there aren’t any plans for you both to live in the same country, why do you want so badly for things to work?

I understand really liking someone. I understand wanting to be positive. But dating also involves a healthy dose of reality. You’re not committed to each other. So why are you causing yourself so much pain worrying over someone you can’t even see?

If I were you, I’d cut off this situationship because it sounds like you want a real, fulfilling relationship. You deserve to be happy and find someone who puts in the effort you want them to put in. By the way that you wrote your question, you seem very caring. You can find someone just like that, but who wants a committed relationship with you. It’s not that big of an ask from life.

But if that feels too hard to do, then, at the very least, don’t take this situationship so seriously — especially since he’s clearly not. Reply to his texts when you can, but don’t think too much about him liking your friend’s photos. Talk to him when you both have the chance. But don’t let this situationship rob you of so much of your joy.

If you still want to give this thing a solid shot after reading everything I said, then you need to have another conversation with this guy. Tell him how it makes you feel when he doesn't respond for a long time. Set clear expectations for when and how often you’ll text each other. And please, for the sake of your happiness, talk about what all of this means. Do either of you have plans to move to the other’s country? Or is this just going to remain a fun, casual thing? Either is fine, but knowing that answer can help you adjust your expectations and hopes.

In the meantime, when you begin overthinking his lack of response, do something that distracts your mind. Maybe that’s calling a friend or painting or reading a book. Thoughts can feel overwhelming, but the second you stop giving them power, they’ll disappear, even if only for a bit.

To me, you seem to have feelings for this guy on a committed-relationship kind of level. You have to remind yourself of the reality, though. Lowering your expectations to what this is — a long-distance situationship — could help you manage your emotions a bit better.

I wish you the best of luck in whatever you do decide.

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