Letting Go of Invisible Friends

I’m sorry to break this to you, but there is no such thing as a long distance relationship. That’s correct, you have no relationship. An LDR simply does not meet the criteria necessary for it to be considered a legitimate relationship. There is no reciprocity of anything more than words passing over a phone line or an IM text. Understand me here – you have no relationship. You have self-assumed accountability, self-assumed liability and internalized responsibilities to be loyal to this person. You are entertaining a commitment to fidelity with an idealization, and ignoring what everyone outside of your LDR will regularly tell you is insanity. LDRs are one of the more insidious forms of ONEitis.

LDRs are the most easily identifiable form of ONEitis, and it would be laughable if it weren’t so damaging to a guy’s life progression. The LDR man generally sacrifices years of his life in this pitiable effort to pursue his ‘soulmate’ across the planet or even a hundred miles away. The very thought of refuting the idea that an LDR can work is equatable to denying his belief this fantasized ONEitis fueled idealization that he’s swallowed for the better part of his life. It’s easy to criticize an LDR in the terms of questioning either party’s earnestness and fidelity in entertaining an LDR and this is usually the tact that most people giving advice on LDRs follow. One or both parties are or will ‘cheat’ on the other over the course of time, its true, but LDRs are far more telling of a mentality that results in much more damaging consequences as a result of deeply conditioned self-expectations and fears.

I can’t begin to list the number of otherwise intelligent and ambitious men I’ve known who’ve drastically altered the course of their lives to follow their ONE. Men who’ve changed their majors in college, who’ve selected or switched universities, men who’ve applied for jobs in states they would never have considered, accepted jobs that are sub-standard to their ambitions or qualifications, men who’ve renounced former religions and men who’ve moved across the planet all in an effort to better accommodate an idealized woman with whom they’ve played pseudo-boyfriend with over the course of an LDR; only to find that she wasn’t the person they thought she was and were depressive over the gravity that their decisions played in their lives.

An LDR is akin to a LJBF, but writ large and festering in a man’s life. You play surrogate boyfriend, voluntarily accepting and internalizing all of the responsibilities and accountabilities of being a woman’s exclusive, monogamous partner with no expectation of reciprocating intimacy or sexuality in the immediate future. However an LDR is worse than a LJBF arrangement since it pervasively locks a man into a success or failure mentality with regards to the relationship actually being legitimate. After all, she’s agreed to remain his girlfriend (from miles away) and if he’s the one to falter it’s his lack of perseverance in this  ONEitis ego-investment that dooms them. Once the LDR inevitably ends he’s the one left with the self-doubt, he’s the one beating himself up over wasting time, money and effort and he’s the one feeling guilty whether he or she is the true ‘cheater’.

An LDR is like having an invisible friend with whom you’re constantly considering the course of your actions with. Consider the personal, romantic, familial, educational, career, personal maturity and growth opportunities that you’ve limited yourself from or never had a chance to experience because of this invisible friend. When you finally divorce yourself from this invisible friend, will it have all been worth it? Guys cling to LDRs because they’ve yet to learn that Rejection is better than Regret. AFCs will nurse along an LDR for years because it seems the better option when compared with actually going out and meeting new women who represent a potential for real rejection. They think its better to stick with the ‘sure thing’, but it’s the long term regret that is the inevitable result of an LDR that is life damaging. Nothing reeks of desperation or verifies a lack of confidence more than a guy who self-righteously proclaims he’s in an LDR. Women see you coming a mile off, because you are a guy without options, clinging to his one previously realized option. In fact the only reason a man entertains an LDR is due to a lack of options. If you had more plates spinning an LDR would never look like a good idea.

And finally, it’s not uncommon to see the “not in my case” defense offered about how you actually DO see your invisible friend once every 4 or six months. To this I’ll say again, what opportunities are you censoring yourself from experiencing by playing house with a woman you only see this often? Do you honestly think you’re the exception to the rule? The truth is you’re molding your lifestyle around what you hope your relationship will be in the future – that’s no way to live.

31 comments

  1. I saw too much of this in college, and it was never fun to watch. So many dudes ruined what social life they could have had by trying to hang on to that girl from high school.

    In almost all cases it’s the girl who has the power in these relationships. The dude is putting everything in his life on hold or accommodating the girl, while the girls would often choose to go to different cities, states, colleges.

    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that these relationships never worked out in the long run. Practically every one I knew of, the dude got cheated on.

  2. I had an LDR for 3 years in a grad school program. Everything in Rollo’s post describes that LDR. There is no substitute for face to face contact, living near your woman, interacting in person, learning body language, and slowly interweaving your lives together. You learn what the other likes and does not like, you have physical intimacy.

    You learn subtle cues. You learn whether she’s telling the truth or lying. You learn whether she’s into you or not. You learn to tell whether she is really in love with you, is cheating on you, or is considering cheating on you.

    And if it goes south, you can know that early on and move on to other prospects.

    Doing all that in an LDR is not possible.

  3. If you have the intestinal fortitude, you might look at the section on LoveShack.org that is entirely dedicated to making an LDR work for you:

    http://www.loveshack.org/forums/f36/

    Word of warning: the LoveShack forums are the literal antithesis of the man-o-sphere. If you ever wanted to evangelize the virtues of Game this would be the true proving ground.

  4. LDR’s are the perfect situation for the branch swinging, attention starved sex. What could be better than getting your emotional fix from a “boyfriend” who lacks the ability to monitor your day to day activities?

    That college chick I was banging a few years ago tried to pull this on me awhile back. Really? You’re getting ready to start school in one of the craziest party cities in the world, and you want me to play boyfriend from 4 hours away? I wonder who would get more out of our “relationship” that consisted of a few late night phone calls every week and a two day visit every few months. Hmmmm…..

  5. Wow. That’s nauseating.

    What’s interesting to me is to see the stark contrasts between the culture that exists in that forum and blogs like yours and roissy’s. Then you have places like SS where guys go to pull their heads halfway out of their asses.

    No matter how comfortable or uncomfortable you are with the truth it seems like there is an outpost on the internet for everyone that will make you feel right at home.

  6. Chuck:

    Cosign. My LDR told me she was faithful. But looking back, there was no way for me to know that. And since I didn’t know the rhythms of her daily life, how could I know or even see the subtle tell tale signs?

    It’s so hard to explain to those who don’t know, that a woman can get sex anytime she wants. All she has to do is announce it and watch the men line up, and she chooses the best one. That task is much easier with a BF who sees you once a month or less.

  7. This sounds a lot like me right now!

    This chick went to the east coast who i was seeing. Said she’d only be gone for a month.

    Anyways, like an idiot I’d text and call her often, but almost a month after I last saw her amd without telling me, she starts dating a guy, has sex with him twice after knowing him for just 3 weeks, and gets pregnant. He treats her like shit and she’s devastated. She has to go get an abortion.

    Now she wants me back! She says she’s changed and yada yada and she has justifications for everything she did, all based on how she ‘felt’ at the time.

    Bottom line is LDRs DO NOT WORK. I’ve seen it with my own eyes and have seen just how sleazy chicks can get! It only took a month for her to forget about what we had. And this was a girl who talked so much about being classy, old school, and Disney movie love and all that garbage.

    Let me tell ya, that experience was a real eye opener!

  8. Sorry to hear that John Doe. Of course she wants you back. Don’t take her back. Don’t walk away. Run. Run quickly and don’t look back.

  9. Damn straight. My only LDR was like three months, maybe less, and it still was a big factor in messing up part of my 20’s. It was as much the one-itis for the girl who was leaving town as it was the dynamics of the distance itself. Dumb decision. But I learned from it (it was actually the case that got me into game) and am better for it, in spite of it.

  10. Is it really an LDR if you see each other Fri-Sun every week? Some LDRs are close enough to travel to each other every week.
    Some jobs will have you based out of and “living” in one city, but you’re in some other random city during the week and free to fly anywhere you want on the weekend.

  11. Long distance works if the girl is truly in love with the guy in return and will sacrifice her time, money and lays out a concrete plan to be with him. All these cases aforementioned sound one-sided.

  12. This post basically nails the psychology of the LDR. In my experience, the fact that I chose to stay in an LDR as my new girlfriend started at a different college was definitely influenced by my insecurity/perceived lack of options.

    However, once you have decided to be in a relationship with someone (which implicitly means they are worthy enough for you to want to invest your time and emotions in), it can be difficult to just straight-up say “We’re done.” After improving my game I’d be much more likely to, but if you’re going to make the questionable decision of getting into a relationship, I don’t think it’s that much crazier to stick with it if it has to become long-distance.

    DOUBLE HOWEVER, if you are starting a relationship that will have to be long-distance from the start, you’re an idiot. Also, I suspect most LDR’s look at it as if the long distance is only as a temporary obstacle. This may be true, but it shows some naivety (the girl is likely to cheat and benefits more throughout), and also belies a lack of options/self-esteem in the man.

  13. I married my LDR over 20 years ago and I can tell you everything you’ve said in this post is true. I have a lot of regrets and face a bleak “golden years” as the kids leave and we have a stale, kid focused relationship. Guys, do NOT move to another town or take another job to be near her. To do so sets a horrible precedent. She should follow you. If she won’t, say good bye.

    I’ve taken the red pill way too late in life to make a difference in my marriage (divorce and restart is not an option I’ll consider), here’s hoping others will listen to what you’ve said.

  14. I agree with the overall idea that most long distance relationships are doomed before they even begin. Geography is a powerful thing and 100s of miles of highway is not a factor to be overlooked when trying to maintain a relationship. I know a couple men who actually have a shit-ton of options like 22 year old investment bankers making 150k a year who choose to hold on to their college girlfriends. It’s amazing really.

    The man I am currently involved with is quite a catch and I admire him deeply and think of him fondly. We’re essentially best friends who are very much in lust. We see each other pretty much every weekend and it works for us since we live in different cities. Lately he’s been talking about commitment (finally), but there’s one caveat: I have to go to grad school in his city. He has secured his “dream job” at a big consultant firm and has absolutely no intentions of moving so I am put in a rather difficult decision. Luckily, I don’t suffer from the prince charming disease or believe in “the one,” but it’s still not an easy decision to make. It would do me better to stay in my city career-wise since that’s where the best opportunities are for work in my field and I’m not really the type of girl that would up and relocate for a guy due to his promise of commitment. On the other hand, grad school is only a one year commitment. We’ll see..

  15. Pingback: Year One «
  16. I had always heard Long distance didnt work, with my borderline girl, I thought ‘im different, we will make it work’.

    I was delusional.

  17. Like many things I’ve read here, it’s best to avoid talking in absolutes. A friend of mine travels a lot and met someone in Boston when he lives in SF. His rules for LDR are 1.) that there is a plan for it to not be LDR for more than 1 year and 2.) they see each other in person at least once a month. His lover moved to SF to be with him and they are loving it…and my friend is 10 years older and they met when his lover was only 21, and a neuroscience major (so score for him!).

    Granted, my friend is an extremely high paid lawyer who can afford to travel whenever he wants, to anywhere in the world, and can afford to pay for his 21 year old grad student’s plane ticket too.

    The rewards of success.

  18. Question:

    Girl I’m seeing is about to leave town for 6 weeks for a temporary school rotation. She will be back after 6 weeks. How should this be approached?
    Advice?

  19. My only attempt at monogamy was a LDR. We weren’t even that far away (saw each other 2-3 times a month), but even then, I wouldn’t recommend it. Even for people interested in monogamy.

    It just prolonged everything. Prolonged how long it took for us to figure each other out, to learn each other’s bad side, and to then accept that things had long been over. It was a waste of time. If we lived closer, and spent more time together, it would have probably never lasted as long as it did.

  20. Hi all:

    I am a 33 year old who is currently in something like an LDR, but doesn’t fit the definition perfectly. In fact, it is possibly even worse, because we officially broke up since 2012 but I still think of her pretty much non-stop. In 2010, when I was 29, I met a wonderful 26 year-old girl during an MBA. Although I had had many partners, my self esteem was always pretty low, so I really thought I had hit the jackpot. She was beautiful and amazing and we really made each other laugh. (See, I still refer to her in these longing, ONEitis-esque terms.)

    After the MBA, I ended up getting a job in the US, while she got a job in Europe. We tried to make it last with an LDR through 2011, then in early 2012 we broke up officially. However, I still kept (keep?) lingering hope that maybe we would get back together someday. In late 2012, 5 months after our breakup, we saw each other, in a painful reunion where I found out that she had had multiple other partners, and I felt cuckolded, even though we hadn’t been together. In the summer of 2014, we saw each other again, where she again emotionally blackmailed me and we ended up arguing pretty harshly. Our 2014 reunion lasted only one day, but in that one day, our arguing escalated to the point that she punched me a couple of times, an action I would consider an automatic disqualifier for any girl but her.

    Now we are reaching the end of 2014. I have had numerous partners since our breakup (low-quality partners tbh) but no real love to speak of since breaking up with this girl. I threw away all her photos, deleted and blocked her facebook and linkedin, but I still think about her a lot, as the memories of her help me withstand some of the loneliness I feel. I have even entertained the option of quitting my job to move to Europe to be closer to her, and give it one last try. She has also sent me emails where she asks if she will ever stop loving me, and thinking about me, and wondering if she did the right thing by pursuing her career, or if she should have followed me instead. I suspect that a lot of her comments stem from anxiety, as she turns 30 this week.

    As much as I hate to admit it, my logical, rational side keeps screaming ‘Enough is Enough!’, but the beta, AFC side of me whines ‘But you love her/she’s the one/you’ll never get better’ or similar platitudes along those lines. The worst part is, 2 years after we have broken up, and knowing that she has had other partners, I still don’t have the courage to take down our photos together on facebook, partially because I still want it to work, and partially because a small side of me is afraid that she might pick up the phone or send me an email and abuse me or manipulate me into feeling guilty for doing that.

    I am new to the Manosphere, so I hope to find articles/blogs/anything that can wake me the fuck up, because right now I am beyond Beta, I am so hopelessly, pathetically, lamentably Beta that I don’t even think the term would do me justice. I am literally in a bonafide trance, still thinking constantly about a girl, who gives me absolutely nothing in return.

  21. Hi Guys,
    Following manosphere for last couple of weeks. I so wish I could have found it at least 2 months before, I would have been able to steer the relationship my way……. Well it was a LDR, my 3rd LDR in span of 10 years, which lasted exactly for 3 months like the previous two.
    I somehow never felt attracted to women romantically when I meet them in person.
    I followed one rule to get my lays which was girl should be committed to some other guy. And being honest about the situation of being available to fuck as per our mutual convenience always worked and these girls were around even after I had been total dick to them.
    By reading manosphere, I realized how I had this Oneitis instilled in me….. and how i pushed her away from myself by revealing everything to her about me……. The only good thing is that hurt never lasts more than 3 days…..
    So just want to let you guys know that you really ROCK.

    Cheers!!!

  22. I agree with most of this but I’ve got 2 friends that met their partners online and lived in different countries and both are now happily married. One moved to the states to be with his future wife and the other stayed put as her future husband moved to be with her. As long as you intend to close the distance it can work but if no one wants to move it’s pointless.

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