Dear Doctor Schwartz, I was just dumped after a three year long distance relationship. He told me so many things that made me feel special. Wants to marry me , have kids, not to worry about anything, that he is doing this for us… ( he is a professional athlete) he said all of this but never made an effort to see me after the season or and even went as far as saying that he won’t be able to see me at all this off season due to his training. All in all I feel that I was controlled over the phone. I was not to get upset about him breaking his promises , I was just supposed to understand his job! My question is, was this contolling and why did I put up with it? Is there something I need to work on within myself?
- Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
- Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
- Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
- No correspondence takes place.
- No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
- Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
- Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
A: Long distances:
My experience working with people in long distance relationships is that they are extremely difficult and, in the end, do not succeed. Please do not accuse me of suggesting that these relationships can never work. I am sure that there are those people who have succeeded in building a solid relationship even though it begins long distance. But, that is just it: a relationship may begin on a long distance basis but if both individuals fail to make an effort to close the distance and become close partners, there is little chance it will succeed. Why?
I guess there are many reasons why people who live far away from each other will find it difficult to cement a permanent partnership. First, it is really difficult if not impossible to get to know your partner if there is a distance that prevents regular and intense contact. Talking on the telephone does not constitute close and intense contact. It is only living in the "hot house" of an intimate relationship where people see one another regularly and learn about each other’s foibles that we can speak about being up close, intense and personal. Distance prevents this intensity.
Second, people who live far away learn different life styles from their partner and find it difficult to adjust when they do come together.
Third, one should ask why they are entering into a long distance relationship? Does one or each have some type fear of intimacy and closeness?
Of course, there are circumstances in which people start their relationship together and have it interrupted by military service. However, when the time of service is over they once again resume. If they are married there is a good chance they will resume and be good together. There are many cases where a spouse or boy friend, due post traumatic stress in a war time experience, comes home, is not the same as before they left and the relationship fails.
So, am I a fan of long distance relationships? Well, no, not for any other reason but they it is so difficult to make them succeed.
B: Was he controlling?
I do not know if the ex boy friend was or was not controlling. However, what you need to know and understand for your future is that you allowed things to go on for too long. I always advise couples that come to me for therapy that "what you see is what you get." Someone can promise you anything but if they rarely or never come through, call a halt and end the relationship. Empty promises and reassurances are just that, empty, and that means that you should move on. In the future, be clear about what you want and if your partner cannot or will not be reasonable and compromise, dump him.
In many ways, this man did you a favor by ending things because you can move on with your life. Relationships are based on trust, mutual respect, honesty and integrity. Settle for nothing less in the future.
Final answer: Do Not Put Up With It!!
Best of Luck