Christian Counseling: Long Distance Relating


My boyfriend and I have been on and off for 7 years. We met sophomore year of college. I am 26 now. He is 27. During an off time I moved to LA. He still lives in our hometown of Pittsburgh PA where he is trying to get his nonprofit off the ground. We are in a long distant relationship talking about marriage. But who moves? I love LA and the weather. I even started a modeling career on top of me teaching English. He is in Pittsburgh trying to get his nonprofit together. We love Jesus, are not sexually active, and both want Gods will for our lives. He loves Pittsburgh and I love LA. What do we do???????? Its been extremely stressful. He really wants me to move back home.



There are a few things that seem apparent from your question. You both have an emotional attachment that has survived for seven years and are seeking God about your future. These are necessary and helpful for a continuing and healthy relationship. You have a right to be cautious about making sure your marriage gets off on the right foot. As you may know, Christian marriages fail at the same rate as non-Christian marriages, about 50%.

What is also apparent is the relationship is not yet stable, even after seven years. Also, retaining your place of residence seems important enough for both of you that it causes stress (perhaps threatens your future together) and likely creates some doubt about each one’s depth of love and commitment.

It appears a couple of the central issues concerning you both are hoping for or wanting some guarantee or increased confidence in a secure future together before giving up the lives you have created for yourselves. That confidence should not be based on who is willing to move, but should be there in good measure before deciding on a move. When you both are confident in your future relationship, it will likely be easier to let go of your life for one another, which is required for a healthy marriage.

The distance between you both, Pittsburgh to L.A. and your love for them, is a problem. The difficulties in a long distance relationship are many. One is the obvious limited time together to see one another’s moods, resilience, conflict resolution, and the like. Also, projection plays a significant part in constructing a mental image of one’s partner. In this, in the absence of the person, people tend to accentuate the positive and minimize the negative, thereby creating an artificial relationship that often unravels during the first couple of years together.

May I suggest both of you seek individual (preengagement) counseling to help you sort through what has been and is interfering in establishing relational stability. History has a tendency to repeat itself, and the “on and off” nature of your relationship concerns me. It would also be to your benefit to explore individual limits to your love for each other, expectations, and the basis of attachment (not out current loneliness or a fear of being alone in the future). If you feel you can’t live without the other, consider it a good sign, though it is not sufficient for determining the suitability for marriage.

If you both believe God is directing you toward one another and you both remain “in love” with each other after counseling, I recommend you come to a decision on one or both of you moving (to a new location) to join in further exploration of the relationship, along with couple counseling before making any marital commitment.

Listen to your desire and your doubts, know them fully and He will direct you. Take your time to be sure.  

My best to you both. 

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