Sometimes the hardest thing about long-distance relationships is when the long-distance part is over. Here’s a letter from Sarah, who’s struggling with just that:
“Dear Rori, I am Sarah. I have this wonderful guy, we are engaged, almost getting married but things went wrong and now I don’t even know the status of my relationship.
Like many other relationships, he was very sweet, attentive, kind and sensitive. He was the ideal man to be with. I don’t even need to put in effort and he loves me totally. We started off as a long distance relationship. but we made plans to visit each other at least monthly or bimonthly.
Things were going great, until I came back. Then he started off wanting personal space, he started to pull away. Now I don’t understand and I keep wanting to go near. The more I want to go near, the more irritated he is.
I made mistakes – like keep calling him, keep wanting him to meet him. But he is resisting me.
I even became the “sweet” woman, totally sweet and nice and sensitive that he is so busy with his work. And I’m so afraid of making things worse that I agree and become the submissive girlfriend. The strain has been on for about a month or so and I’m very worried. We hardly meet now, he had canceled our dates twice.
We hardly talk on the phone. I really love him a lot, and I don’t want to lose him. I really want things to improve. I really don’t know how can I go about doing this, but the first step I will take is to start loving myself and have trust in him. Thank you, Sarah.”
Here’s my answer:
Sarah, it’s great that you want to focus on Loving Yourself – that’s a crucial place to start.
And then – instead of worrying about or working toward Trusting HIM – practice trusting YOU.
To do this – I want to help you with your ability to Receive, and the Tool that will help you the most right now is to Date Yourself.
And I’m asking you to flirt with men. Flirt with male friends, with male co-workers, with new men who approach you out in the world, and with your fiance. You have to start fresh – as if you’re dating.
Take YOURSELF out – to lectures, art galleries, concerts, jazz places, dinner, bookstores…wherever there are people who share your interests. Dress in a way that makes YOU feel good – sexy and like a “girl.”
At the same time – and I know this is the hard part – Leave him completely alone!
This looks like: Do not call, do not go over to his home or his work, do not ask for anything.
This is about you focusing completely on YOU, and then appreciating HIM when he does show up. When he moves towards you, starts initiating being together, and without any prompting by you gives you affection, attention and time, you have to be completely open, warm and authentically in your true feelings – whatever they are – even if they’re filled with anger, jealousy or fear. And here’s just a bit of “Why”:
The main problem with long-distance relationships is that those of us who are in them (you and he, here) are usually in them instead of in relationships with people we can see all the time, is BECAUSE of the distance.
In other words, if we’re afraid of intimacy, in a deep, underground place inside (and we’re ALL afraid of intimacy) we need distance.
And what happens with many, many long distance relationships is exactly what has happened with you – they fall apart the minute both of you are able to be together. Being able to be close physically (in the same town, in the same house) – makes the deep need for distance even stronger.
And intimacy is all about feelings. Feeling them, experiencing them, and sharing them.
That’s why it’s so important to learn to stay in touch with your true feelings (not just the “nice” ones), and learn to share them with a man in words – so YOU feel authentically and exactly who you really are – and he experiences you as authentically who you really are.
Now here’s some Tools for the “How”:
In order to bring him closer, you must re-create the distance you once had – without playing games.
You must move away from him energetically, physically, in every other way. This is my “Leanback” Tool.
And at the same time, every moment that he shows up and comes toward YOU – you must be WIDE OPEN to him – leaning back and totally receptive.
If all you do is the “distance” part – the turning away from him and focusing on yourself part – you’ll end up being cold, and that will push him away.
If you continue, as you are now – to be warm and loving and yet leaning FORWARD (moving toward him, thinking about him, calling him, initiating affection and sex) – ESPECIALLY in the moments when he’s moving toward YOU – THAT will push him away.
It’s the combination of leaning back and still being open and receiving of whatever he gives you that will make all the difference here – and I know you can do it.
Just practice out in the world like this:
1. Imagine him coming toward you, giving you flowers, offering gifts and love.
2. Now, imagine leaning back, opening your palms toward him, and receiving his gifts. Feel what that feels like for him to step close and for you to do nothing but receive. Resist your instincts to move toward him, give him your love, or say nice things to him.
Just imagine yourself melting and receiving.
3. Now step away from him, and turn around. Completely turn your body around 180 degrees.
4. Now imagine that there are hundreds of men in front of you, all who want to give to you – love, gifts, everything you want – and imagine receiving their gifts, too.
Imagine what it feels like to get flowers, diamonds, love, attention, affection and everything else you want from ALL these men, including your man who’s giving to your BACK right now, because you’re turned away from him.
5. Take all the gifts, and then turn back to your man in your imagination, but take a full step back, away from him. Smile, open your heart and imagine him coming toward you again.
6. Then take his gifts and just stand there. Be aware of the hundreds of men behind you, all wanting to give to you.
7. The next time he calls, or you see him – practice doing this. Imagine that he’s giving you gifts, even if he isn’t, and imagine that you’re receiving.
All the practicing you’ve done in your imagination will help you!
Let me know how this works for you. The idea is to overcome your OWN fear of intimacy – your own fears about love and your own resistance to RECEIVING – so he can overcome his fears right along with you.