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There’s a saying ‘distance’ is often the least of your problems when you’re in a relationship. However, when your significant other has to either go abroad or you don’t meet as often as you used to because life gets in the way, we often blame distance as a cause for all the tension.  The real challenge implicit within the long distance equation is the discrepancy between your expectations for the relationship and the reality of your current situation. It is within the ‘gap’ between these dual ends of the long distance dynamic that all the long distance relationship problems vacillate. This week, Annie received many emails regarding long distance relationships and means to salvage the sinking ship, probably because the holidays are over and the significant other has to return to his or her work…

Q: Annie, my boyfriend and I were engaged in a very physical relationship ever since we started going out. We eventually fell so in love that it got to the point where I, who hated the idea of marriage didn’t mind being married to him. But then he suddenly had to go abroad on a scholarship and we talk all the time, but I have a fear that he might not be as into me as before because we don’t meet physically. What do I do?
A: The three largest problems a long distance relationship often faces are communication problems, relationship problem and psychological problems. The problem you seem to have is the lack of physical intimacy, which comes under the category of relationship problems. However, according to what you said, a lack of physical intimacy wouldn’t be enough to drive away this young man from you. If he prioritizes you over everything else, maintains communication and makes you a part of his world every time, then your relationship is one of the least likely to sink. When he comes back and he will, make sure he knows you feel the same way.

Q: Annie, my husband had to go to Australia on a business trip, and he will be taking a co-worker along with him. The said co-worker is actually very pretty, and they will be away for a couple of months. If I ask him not to go, I know he won’t but I don’t want to be a jealous wife that keeps her husband from achieving new heights in life. What do I do?
A: Jealousy is one of those emotions that eat you from the inside if not handled in the right manner. Well, the first thing to understand is that jealousy is an instinct that we humans have to protect us from losing the person we love. Now, the question is how to express jealousy in the right manner? And the simple answer to this question is that you have to be reasonable about it. Avoid the two extremes: ignorance and neediness. Let your partner know when you feel jealous and clarify it together, so that it does not “boil” inside your mind. Therefore doing that, instead of trying to repress the feeling, or become over controlling and aggressive as a result.

Q: My girlfriend went abroad with her family for a few months and I feel an overwhelming loneliness. Sometimes when she’s busy and can’t talk to me, I just stare at the ceiling with nothing to do. What do I do, Annie?
A: Loneliness is a common problem that plagues most long distance relationships, at some point or other. The absence of your significant other and an awareness of the long time span that has to elapse until you get to see them in person can make the feeling a rather overwhelming one to bear. I suggest you engage yourself in activities that don’t give you much time to think. Stop revelling in the loneliness and enjoy the time. The more you occupy yourself, the faster the time will travel, and she’ll be back to you in no time.

(Have any questions that plague you? Just ask Annie. Drop an email to askanniewhy@gmail.com)