Long-dis­tance re­la­tion­ship may be too far to over­come


DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I have been to­gether off and on for more than two years. We have been in a long-dis­tance re­la­tion­ship the en­tire time. I live in Cal­i­for­nia, and he lives in the Mid­west. I’ve been try­ing to get him out here be­cause I have a job I love, and he could eas­ily get a job in his sec­tor out here.

His is­sue is that this area has “too many peo­ple and is too fast-paced” for him. I’m not sure what to do. I don’t want to quit my job and move there. Find­ing a job there wouldn’t be easy since con­struc­tion is not boom­ing as much. What do I do? Do I just give up my job, or keep try­ing to con­vince him to move? Or should I cut my losses and start over? — LONG-DIS­TANCE DAT­ING

DEAR LONG DIS­TANCE: I don’t think you should give up a job you love in an en­vi­ron­ment you en­joy on the chance that this two-year re­la­tion­ship might be­come per­ma­nent. If it goes nowhere, where does that leave you? It’s time to ask your­self whether you re­ally want to tie your fu­ture to some­one who prefers a dif­fer­ent way of life. Once you an­swer that ques­tion, you will know what to do.

DEAR ABBY: My son has his master’s de­gree in in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions, so he trav­els to places I will never see. He’s in Italy now, and he asked me what I would like for a sou­venir. I said I wanted his mem­o­ries.

I asked him to get a bag and put in it menus, train tick­ets and bar nap­kins, and to jot down at night on hotel sta­tionery what he did, saw, how the weather was. I asked him to men­tion any­thing dif­fer­ent or un­usual and col­lect coast­ers, valet stubs, any­thing that would help him share his ex­pe­ri­ences with me when he gets back.

I said that when we go through all the stuff, I will get my vi­car­i­ous thrill then — bet­ter that than some “tchotchke” I’d have to dust. Good idea? — PROUD MOM IN FLORIDA

DEAR PROUD MOM: Great idea! As the years go on, those “mem­ory jog­gers” will let you both re­live the ad­ven­tures he’s hav­ing now, and they will be­come in­creas­ingly pre­cious. I know it from ex­pe­ri­ence.

DEAR ABBY: I am sure this is­sue af­fects many peo­ple, but I have not seen it ad­dressed in your col­umn. Of­ten­times mar­ried part­ners are sep­a­rated by many years in age. Even­tu­ally the older of them has to en­ter a long-term care fa­cil­ity due to a men­tal/phys­i­cal de­fect.

Even though the bond and love that kept them to­gether over the years still ex­ists, the younger still has phys­i­cal and emo­tional needs that can no longer be met by the older spouse. What are the ethics in the younger one hav­ing a “friend with ben­e­fits” to ad­dress those needs, if it’s done dis­creetly with­out caus­ing em­bar­rass­ment and hu­mil­i­a­tion to the older spouse? — FRIENDS WITH BEN­E­FITS

DEAR FRIENDS: This is a highly per­sonal de­ci­sion that no one can make for any­one else. While many read­ers may dis­agree, I see noth­ing wrong with tak­ing care of your­self as long as you re­mem­ber you have a moral obli­ga­tion to sup­port your spouse “‘til death do you part.” To me that means vis­it­ing and spend­ing time with your spouse ev­ery day to en­sure his/her needs are taken care of in a com­pas­sion­ate and dili­gent man­ner, and to let the per­son know he or she is loved.

TO MY JEWISH READ­ERS: It’s time to hide the matzo again — Passover be­gins at sun­down. Happy Passover, every­one!

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