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Long Distance Relationships

February 9, 2003 |


Dear Mr. Keillor,

I'm a 20-year-old college student. My boyfriend just moved 1200 miles away and we've been giving the long-distance thing a shot. I really miss him terribly because he was my best friend and helped me take care of myself, something I don't do so well sometimes. Both he and my dad have been telling me that I should learn to be so independent that, if I had to spend the rest of my life alone, I can be happy. While I can see the practical value in this sort of independence, I doubt if it's completely necessary; it might even hamper really meaningful emotional bonds. I belong to the class of romantics for whom, to paraphrase a Cary Grant movie, the reason they sing in their baths is that they know they will be having breakfast with their loved one. My question is this: is this sort of romanticism really a sugar-coated type of emotional disability, or are my boyfriend and dad heartless cynics?

Yours,
Di

I'm with you, Di. The independent life of monastic discipline, cold baths, bran flakes, 20-mile runs, seems a little dry compared to singing in the (warm) bath and waiting for your lover to bring you breakfast (eggs over easy). Even sitting in a chair and reading a book and looking across the room at your lover reading her book is pretty rich stuff. I think your boyfriend is recommending independence to you simply because he's 1200 miles away and he's afraid you might meet Cary Grant.

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