I have been in a relationship with my girlfriend for 4 years now. We met each other during our undergraduate studies. We've a great time over the past 4 years. After graduating, I went for higher studies and she took a job. Now we live very far from each other (over 2000 miles). So, it is long distance relationship now.

Last week my gf watched a movie till late with a colleague at their office. We talked over phone after she came back. Naturally, I asked her the reason for watching movie with her friend till 2 am. Initially she was very cool about it and explained that they are just friends and that nothing happened. However after some time she started crying. She confessed that she felt attracted to her colleague and even fantasized that being in a relationship with her colleague will make life so simple for her. She said that she feels very lonely in a new place. There are mostly men in her office and most of them show interest in talking with her. She said that this is very distracting for her and sometimes she feels tempted to spend time with these friends.

I was completely shocked as this happened completely out of the blue. Later on, she explained that this was all a big mistake. She apologized and promised that anything like this will not happen again. This kind of situation could have happened with me as well, but her telling me about it and then crying has made me anxious.

I believe everything that she has told me. But this small experience has made me very uneasy and suspicious. Every time she is in her office, I feel scared. I love my gf and don't want our relationship to fall apart because of some stupid incident. How should I deal with this situation? What should I say to my gf and what I can do (or ask her to do) so that she feels less lonely? Also, what should I not say/do?

  • We can't tell you what to do. We can only give advice on how to do it, once you know what you want. Dec 26 '17 at 7:35
  • I answered from a position that this is not opinion based, to support my position I cited scientific information.
    – michi
    Dec 26 '17 at 11:37
  • For how much longer is it expected that you will be apart? She says she feels lonely, is it because you do not spend a lot of time talking/ interacting?
    – clark
    Dec 26 '17 at 13:25
  • @Anne I want to be with her. I want both of us to get over this. I want to express that I am very happy that she shared everything with me. But I also want her to know that I was deeply hurt after hearing what she said. I am asking for suggestions about how to express these thoughts without sounding rude and bossy.
    – lonelyguy
    Dec 27 '17 at 20:05
  • 1
    She showed you a great deal of confidence by actually sharing this with you. I would suggest you consider this to be a good thing because that means she is still close to you and there is something to build on. Don't scold her, or she won't share her lonelyness and desperation again Jul 12 '18 at 22:04

I feel with you and your girlfriend, and I know the strain that distance can put on a relationship.

Let me first expand a bit on psychology in relationships and then answer some of the questions you raised from that basis.

From a psychological point of view, conflicts in relationship are normal and a natural consequence of being a human being, or even a living being.

What seems to matter is our way to deal with those conflicts. This seems to be central in maintaining and strengthening a relationship. see John Gottman’s work for details.

I think it is a good sign that both of you were able to talk about it, and I consider it a sign of trust and respect that she shared her feelings and fantasies with you when you asked her.

How should I deal with this situation? What should I say to my gf and what I can do (or ask her to do) so that she feels less lonely? Also, what should I not say/do?

Obviously feeling anxious is completely understandable and an appropriate reaction to a perceived danger. Don’t let anxiousness guide your behavior though.

  • Refrain from moralizing, attacking or degrading her for her feelings, fantasies and actions, because the fact that she shared it with you is a good basis to strenghthen the relationship. Don’t undermine that basis by the above behaviors.

  • Refrain from stirring up problems from the past, this will damage the basis even more. Instead, stir up good times and successful resolution of critical situations from your past.

  • You of course might want to tell her of your feelings and thoughts, and that having “affairs” is not acceptable to you (if it applies), but keep your communication to using “I” instead of “You” phrases, and always express positive feelings, hopes and thoughts as well.

When you told me about X, I felt both anxious and relieved, because I feel afraid of losing our relationship, and relieved because my gut feelings were accurate and you trust me to share with me what’s going on with you. (...)

  • Let her know you love her and want to maintain the relationship if she is willing, too.

  • Tell her that you do not want to get into controlling her, because that would damage the good relationship both of you built, and ask her to continue to be open towards you and support you with reassuring you if possible.

  • Establish a regular time for talking / skyping and commit to it.

  • Make plans to see each other regularly and to spend time with each other, make mid-term plans for moving together. Mid-term plans don’t substitute short-term contact with each other, so do both instead of either-or.

Let me know what you think of my suggestions.

  • 3
    Thank you very much for your suggestions. I was looking for exactly this kind of advice. The second suggestion is great. The others, I am already doing, more or less. Also, the things that you mentioned that I should avoid doing, are very helpful. I sometimes tend to stir up old problems. Now, I won't do that.
    – lonelyguy
    Dec 27 '17 at 20:34

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