I met a woman three years ago through the internet, and it was magic the first time we spoke. We communicated for three months online, then by phone, and finally met face-to-face. It was love at first sight. We lived 200 miles apart and I was in a position to sell my home and move where she lived, so I did. Once I moved here, though, the relationship did not go the way I had anticipated. We have much in common, but for some reason the relationship isn't happening. Yet we still seem drawn toward each other. Do you think I should hang on and wait for circumstances to change, or face reality that this relationship is over?
-Confused and Unsure
Dear Confused and Unsure,
Your situation is one that millions of people could identify with-a love that begins with passion and then whimpers out. On the surface, it's a good sign that you were willing to make a major move because of your love. It's important to follow love wherever it leads you, as long as it isn't threatening to your safety and well-being. Sometimes people go too far in surrendering to love, but under ordinary circumstances, you have to give love a chance.
But sometimes it's easier to be passionate with someone at a distance than to have them close by. There are many people flying across the continent at this moment, motivated by the excitement of a distant romance. Your move could have been unsettling to the woman you met on the internet.
Love makes us all crazy, and fortunately we sometimes go to extremes to turn real love into a shared life. But I wonder about your huge effort to pick up your life and move. Did you discuss this move with the woman first? Did you plan it together? If not, she might feel overwhelmed and confused herself.
I am not one of those who think you should be quick to abandon ship and get on with your own life. If you are still drawn to each other, maybe you need to talk through your move. What does it mean? Is there pressure now on the woman that wasn't there when you lived apart? You might ask yourself what motivated you to make such an effort. Sometimes there is a bundle of personal insecurity in an action that seems innocent and well-intentioned. Examine yourself. Talk openly about your need to be close by.
All love needs distance as well as closeness. With your move, you have done away with a significant distance that seems to have served you both well. Maybe now you have to find ways to keep enough emotional space around your relationship so it can continue to flourish.
One last bit of advice: Don't wait passively and don't expect the one you love to come around to your expectations. Sort out your own feelings and concerns. First, ask yourself what you may be doing to interfere with the relationship. Specifically, do you have any fears that may have led you to respond perhaps too fervently and too quickly. Should you face reality? Of course. All the time. But reality includes all the subtle, tender, ambiguous feelings that go into any relationship.