Ask Sharleen Joynt: Is My LDR Doomed?

Sharleen Joynt—Bachelor contestant turned dating guru—on whether absence really *does* make the heart grow fonder

Sharleen Joynt column

(Illustration: Bijou Karman)

Dear Sharleen,

After a summer of living in the same city, I’m heading back to school, hours away from my boyfriend. It wasn’t a big deal last year, because we’d only been dating for a few months and went with a “let’s try it and see” approach. But now we’re invested in each other, and he’s worried that the LDR is gonna be way harder. How can I convince him it’ll be fine? How can I make it fine? 

—Going the Distance

Dear Going the Distance,

Ah, the dreaded LDR. Because of my work, nearly all of my relationships have been long distance at some point, so I consider myself something of an LDR expert. However, while distance is often blamed for destroying good relationships, I couldn’t disagree more. IMO, if being apart is what makes a relationship crumble, the distance was just accelerating something that was going to happen anyway. That said, living in different cities for long stretches can make infidelity tempting. There are cracks that simply wouldn’t exist (at least not in the same way) if you both lived in the same place. And under certain circumstances, those cracks can quickly become chasms.

I think there are two major factors that contribute to LDR success. The first is obvious: you’re excited about each other enough that you’re willing to work through the distance. It sounds to me like you and your BF have this one down. After all, if the more casual approach worked for you last year, this time around should be easier. The foundation has been built; there’s more to hold onto.

The second major factor: there is a foreseeable end to being apart. This is a weird analogy, but I love weird analogies. You know when you’re in a gym class and suffering through plank? When the instructor is shouting that you have only 30 seconds left, then 20, then 10, if you’re like me, you’re way less likely to give up. The same thing goes for an LDR: it can work as long as the distance isn’t permanent. So make a long-term game plan for when school’s out. It’ll keep the two of you less likely to succumb to temptation and more excited about the future.

Lastly, think about how many couples stay together out of convenience. This is a terrible reason to stay together. Your LDR might be a royal pain in the ass, but the effort expended likely also means it’s worthwhile. So, try to enjoy it. There really isn’t anything in the world quite like missing and being missed by your loved one—it’s a sweet, healthy kind of agony.


In desperate need of Sharleen’s sage advice? Email your dating queries to editor@flare.com with Ask Sharleen in the subject, tweet us @FLAREfashion or post on our Facebook page using #AskSharleen. Then, look for her reply in a future issue!

More On-Point Dating Advice From Sharleen Joynt:
I Love My Boo, But Not His Cats. Help!
When Does Sharing Become TMI?
My Friend is a Train Wreck, Should I Stop Her?

When Should I Stop Making the Next Move?
My BF Is a Heavy Pot-Smoker, Should I Leave Him?
How Do I Get Back in the Dating Game After Years?
Dating Rich and Ditching the Friend Zone
Why Is My BF Icing Me Out on Social?

And ICYMI, Sharleen is also our Bachelorette Canada recapper!