Readers’ dilemma: Long distance from Paris to London


I’ve been dating a guy I really like for a few months. We met through one of my friends and things have been going great so far. The one drawback is a pretty big one: I live in London and he lives in Paris. He runs his own business and is really busy and I have a job in London I really love, so we see each other once or twice a month max. He tells me he misses me and wishes I were around all the time, but moving isn’t an option for either of us. I’m not sure where we can go from here – do I have to give up on a good thing?

Sean, via email

The Guyliner replies:

On the face of it, this looks like a problem a lot of people would love to have! You have a great guy, who is self-sufficient with his own business and lives in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. You, in turn, live in a pretty amazing city yourself, and only two or so hours on a train separate them. But I’m not entirely unsympathetic to your LDR woe. Long-distance relationships bring pressures of their own: not being able to spend a lot of time together, except in short bursts; the idea of spontaneity all but disappears; and there has to be an element of trust. But long-distance relationships have their upside too – there’s less risk of becoming sick of the sight of each other, and only seeing each other once in a while can keep romance alive much longer than it would if you were in each other’s faces 24/7.

Your boyfriend says he’d like to see more of you and have you around all the time, but from what you say it doesn’t sound as if he’d get much time to see you if you did live in Paris. Right now, he sees you on the odd weekend and everything is amazing, like an extended holiday romance. But when you put a relationship in its natural setting – whinging about your day at work, bickering over what to order in a restaurant – and the glamour quickly fades. You should try to keep this good thing going as long as possible, especially if a move to the other’s city is out of the question for either of you.

Overthinking things and worrying about the future is common early on in a relationship, especially if you really, really like someone. But it is usually a waste of time. You’re not doing the present any favours if you’re spending it wondering what’s going to happen next. It can be scary, but there is a lot to be said in a relationship for just ‘going with it’. Carry on as you are, but don’t ignore your problems. If you’re concerned things are going to fizzle out if you don’t address the distance issue, suggest spending a whole week in each city. Spend it together, but don’t take the whole week off – work as normal for a couple of days. It won’t exactly be an experiment under natural conditions, but it should give you a brief idea of what to expect. It may be that you’ll find the odd snatched weekend of bliss is preferable to the humdrum realities of takeaway pizza in front of the sofa. The future has a habit of sorting itself out. Let it fall into line; it doesn’t need any encouragement from you.

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