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Need Advice [law school and long-distance relationships]

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Hi guys,

I really need some advice. 

My boyfriend currently lives in Calgary and I go to U of A--we've been dating for about a year and a half. I had thought that he was going to transfer to a university here in Edmonton next year to be with me, but now he's started to really enjoy university there and I don't think he wants to transfer here anymore.

If he doesn't transfer, we'll end up being long distance for the next 3 years unless I transfer to U of C. Moving here has been really hard on me--I haven't really made any friends nor have I been enjoying the law school environment.  The only thing that has really gotten me through it all was that I thought he would be coming next year permanently. He's also only able to visit about once a month. 

Does anyone have any experience with long distance relationships? If so, how do you make them work for so long? Would it be more worth it for me to just transfer? 

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I agree with everything Hedgis says. Also, remind yourself of the fact that he wouldn't move for you, and it's not fair for him (or you) to expect you to do the same. Now is your time to be selfish while you're young, not married, and without children (assuming this since you didn't mention them as a moving consideration). If you're miserable where you are and you think the only thing that will help is being with him, fine, maybe that is best for you. But also maybe consider why you can't find independent happiness without him.

Edited by CoffeeandLaw
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I have had experience doing long distance with my girlfriend who also lives about 2-3 hours away. We usually only see each other once every 2-6 weeks. Frequent face time calls break up the monotony of studying and it makes the weekends we are together that much more memorable. If he visits you once every month, could you not visit him once every month as well? Long distance has worked out for my girlfriend and me quite well so far.

I do not believe it would be worthwhile to transfer, for all of the reasons stated in previous posts. If the two cities/schools are equivalent in every other way, perhaps that is an option but that is an assessment that you will have to make.

Edited by JohnStuartHobbes
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So you’re a 1L?  This isn’t a decision you’re going to have to make until next summer. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with entertaining the possibility of transferring in the back of your mind until then. You’ll be working with a lot more information then - for example things may turn around and you decide you like law school at U of A and you no longer want to transfer. I generally agree with others that it’s usually not a good idea to transfer only to be with someone, but by summer you’ll know whether you still don’t like it there and whether things are going well with the bf. If keeping open the possibility of transferring is giving you some peace of mind or helping the relationship in the meantime then fantasize away. This is a next summer problem. Just do your best at law school and in the relationship in the short term. He may change his mind too. 

Edited by NYCLawyer
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2 hours ago, blow said:

Hi guys,

I really need some advice. 

My boyfriend currently lives in Calgary and I go to U of A--we've been dating for about a year and a half. I had thought that he was going to transfer to a university here in Edmonton next year to be with me, but now he's started to really enjoy university there and I don't think he wants to transfer here anymore.

If he doesn't transfer, we'll end up being long distance for the next 3 years unless I transfer to U of C. Moving here has been really hard on me--I haven't really made any friends nor have I been enjoying the law school environment.  The only thing that has really gotten me through it all was that I thought he would be coming next year permanently. He's also only able to visit about once a month. 

Does anyone have any experience with long distance relationships? If so, how do you make them work for so long? Would it be more worth it for me to just transfer? 

PM me if you want. This is very doable.

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Thanks to everyone for responding. I understand everyone's perspectives/opinions and appreciate all of them. 

1 hour ago, JohnStuartHobbes said:

If he visits you once every month, could you not visit him once every month as well?

He still lives at home and I can't stay with his family when I'm in Calgary because they are conservative. I don't have a place in Calgary either so the that's why the onus lands on him. 

2 hours ago, Hegdis said:

Do not tether yourself to a relationship at the expense of your future. You will regret it. Make sure this decision also works for you REGARDLESS of the relationship you want to preserve. 

I definitely appreciate this and respect it. I understand that I shouldn't tether myself so whole heartedly to someone--but we have long term plans to get married and I think that's why I'm thinking of taking such a serious step. 

 

1 hour ago, CoffeeandLaw said:

Also, remind yourself of the fact that he wouldn't move for you, and it's not fair for him (or you) to expect you to do the same.

This is a great way to put it. Thanks. 

 

Overall it seems that no one really thinks it's a good idea. Thank you to everyone that wrote again--it has given me some much needed insight. :)

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2 minutes ago, AJD19 said:

Look for a side guy in Edmonton🤷‍♂️

I love him too much and could never do that to him 😂

Edited by blow

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Once a month from Calgary to Alberta? My brother does the drive more often to see his friend.

I did a distance relationship from June 2014 to March 2016.  I lived 733 km (I just google mapped it) from my boyfriend. I saw him at least twice a month. Conference in Toronto that ended on a Friday? Take the train to Montreal for that 1.5 days anyways! Every long weekend was spent either in Montreal or he came to visit me. Not to mention that I did the Ottawa/Montreal distance for a summer as well.

You need to create an identity for yourself that isn't attached to your significant other. You need to schedule time together (video chats) and still do "couple-y" things. We baked together. We also had a thing where we each created a cookie jar for one another and took turns exchanging it. We went to the park together sometimes (video calls!). We also encouraged each other to hang out with friends and do things independently so that we had stuff to talk about.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, artsydork said:

We also had a thing where we each created a cookie jar for one another and took turns exchanging it.

This is so adorable it hurts. 

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13 hours ago, blow said:

Overall it seems that no one really thinks it's a good idea. Thank you to everyone that wrote again--it has given me some much needed insight. :)

It's not that its necessarily a bad idea.  It's just that you mostly talk about your boyfriend, and not yourself.

Can I assume you're from Calgary as well?  Do you want to go to U of C?  Are you not enjoying U of A?  What do you want to do?

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Not saying this will happen, but I saw a lot of people in law school cheating on their long distance others. Just be aware it’s a very real possibility and hopefully you can find a way to make it work for you. 

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9 hours ago, artsydork said:

Once a month from Calgary to Alberta? My brother does the drive more often to see his friend.

This is mainly because of the financial cost. neither of us have a car and the bus costs 84 dollars there and back. we just don't have the funds at this point in our lives as we're both students. The cookie jar idea is very cute--I'll definitely have to try it!

 

4 hours ago, Malicious Prosecutor said:

It's not that its necessarily a bad idea.  It's just that you mostly talk about your boyfriend, and not yourself.

Can I assume you're from Calgary as well?  Do you want to go to U of C?  Are you not enjoying U of A?  What do you want to do?

Ya I understand that for sure. I don't really fit in at the law school at UofA but I overall don't feel like I'd fit in much better at UofC. Overall I would say I'm unhappy in Edmonton. Not because my boyfriend isn't with me, but because I don't fit in with my peers and don't have any sense of community. I just go to class, study at the library, and go home. I will go days without talking to anyone in person. All of my relationships/conversations take place through a phone--calling/videoing my family, friends, and boyfriend. 

 

4 hours ago, TrialPrep said:

Not saying this will happen, but I saw a lot of people in law school cheating on their long distance others. Just be aware it’s a very real possibility and hopefully you can find a way to make it work for you. 

I'm very committed to my boyfriend, so this isn't really something I've even remotely thought of. 

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We had a long-distance relationship and end up with a great, happy marriage and one child [for now]. 

 

I would try to bring some balance in the discussion, if you could please bear my ramblings. 

 

It is almost always hard for outsiders to judge on behalf of you for your own situations for a lot of reasons:

  1. Maybe there is something you did not or could not tell us. Maybe it is too personal and private. Maybe you forgot something
  2. Maybe there is some subjective perceptions on your side. Humble beings like us are not all-knowing God and thus cannot possibly know the full truth. 
  3. Maybe there is something special about your relationship that we cannot possibly understand without going through it ourselves. Ergo, the expression "you just don't get it" by some movie stars after a lot of explanations and arguing in movie scenes. 

It all comes down to various worldings of the same old issue that human beings cannot possibly know the full truth, including the future, the past and arguably the present. 

With such limitation, humans always have to face so many ifs and what ifs.

  • Yes, he did not move for you. But maybe he did something for you in the past to balance it out. 
  • Yes, you could achieve local optimal by planning the future regardless of him. But what if I express my opposition that the idea of marriage or a union of some kinds at least partially if not wholly rest upon aiming for the collective if not global optimal, instead of the local optimal? 
  • etc

As you can tell, the list can go on and on.  With every proposition, there is always some what-ifs to counter against it. 

 

Hence I would suggest you to ignore the mess of ifs and what-ifs but focus on principles:

  1. Overall, does he treat you unfairly or fairly? Alternative giving and taking are fine. But overall, if he takes too much but gives you too little, it is hard to see your relationship is worth keeping. 
    • For instance, if he did a lot for you in the past, I would say it is totally okay for him not to sacrifice this time for you. Maybe it should be your turn to do something for him this turn. But if he always ask you to sacrifice for him, it is extremely hard to say your relationship with him is worth keeping. 
    • You have to figure out the definition of too much and too much yourself. I am afraid no one can help you on this. 
  2. Overall, is he a good mate or at least has the potential to be a good mate for your life?
    • It can be complex: some people break it down to different categories like finance, intelligence, industriousness, and morality.
    • It can be simple: do you think he is a keeper?
    • For obvious reasons,  if you are planning for a long term one such as marriage, the the threshold for sacrifice would be much higher than the one for a one-night stand. 

 

Mated souls are supposed to go through hell and move mountains and seas for some mutually agreed goals such as the good of the family. I can certainly tell you, you likely would have a lot of difficulties if not sufferings that dwarf the difficulties of a long-distance relationship. For instance, bringing up multiple children properly, taking good care of the old parents and in-laws, old age issues such as Parkinson's disease, etc

 

 

Ask yourself if he is the one or at least has a good potential to be the one. If he is, don't be afraid of the difficulties.  Go through hell with him; it will only make the union stronger for the tsunamis down the timeline. 

 

There is no warmer feeling to have a true mate that you know would always have your best interests in the heart, against the cruel world. Some critics laugh at the idea of union by pointing out it is in some way just an alternating arrangement: one sacrifices this time, the other does next time. Everyone "chooses" to believe the other one does more for her or him, although the contribution is fairly equal. Even so, I wish the game never stops as it is so warm and beautiful. I would reply to the critics: be my guest and be the lone wolf, the smartest guy alone in your own room. 

 

If not, move on and look for the one, because why the hell won't you?

 

I quote Dante, hoping to bring you more courage:

 

"When I had journeyed half of our life’s way,
I found myself within a shadowed forest,
for I had lost the path that does not stray.

Ah, it is hard to speak of what it was,
that savage forest, dense and difficult,
which even in recall renews my fear:

so bitter—death is hardly more severe!
But to retell the good discovered there,
I’ll also tell the other things I saw.

I cannot clearly say how I had entered
the wood; I was so full of sleep just at
the point where I abandoned the true path.

But when I’d reached the bottom of a hill—
it rose along the boundary of the valley
that had harassed my heart with so much fear—

I looked on high and saw its shoulders clothed
already by the rays of that same planet
which serves to lead men straight along all roads."

Edited by ScipioAfricanus
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I feel like I'm echoing @ScipioAfricanus, but I don't agree with some of the posters who draw a strict dichotomy between your boyfriend and your future. Your boyfriend may very well be your future, and you fighting to be close to him could be a legitimate choice especially since you don't seem to be having a good time at U of A. That said, maybe wait a bit and give U of A an honest shot before you come to a final decision. Maybe you'll learn to love U of A, and you and your boyfriend will find a way to make it work long distance. Some deep reflection on the nature of your relationship might also be in order to see if it's worth the sacrifice. Is he someone who will grow with you? Will you both still be content with each other when the spark fades? Do you respect him as a person? My boyfriend and I have lived in different cities for almost three years now, and we still feel our love and trust for each other growing every day despite the distance.

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On 10/29/2019 at 6:16 PM, blow said:

 

Does anyone have any experience with long distance relationships? If so, how do you make them work for so long? Would it be more worth it for me to just transfer? 

My wife and I were in a long distance relationship while I was in law school.  I had the easier end of things as I was in law school, which has all sorts of fun social stuff built in and she was doing grad school alone in Prince George (which is a festering pest hole).

 

Skype, try to visit regularly,  I took a summer job in Vanderhoof near her field research site to be closer etc...

 

 

 

 

 

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Are you from Calgary? Are your friends and family in Calgary? How did you both choose to go to your respective schools? 

It's not that people are saying it's a bad idea. People are concerned because you mostly focused on moving to Calgary because of your boyfriend.

Long distance relationships are hard, especially with the circumstances you've described. If you'd be happier in Calgary (with or without him) and your support network is there, it seems like a very logical move. 

If you're going to continue to be long distance, maybe work on how to make the visits more frequent and less expensive. Can your boyfriend get a vehicle? Can you stay with a friend in Calgary? I'm guessing your family isn't there since you said you can't stay with your boyfriend's family. 

Edited by inespere
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=

On 10/30/2019 at 11:52 PM, ScipioAfricanus said:

Overall, does he treat you unfairly or fairly? Alternative giving and taking are fine. But overall, if he takes too much but gives you too little, it is hard to see your relationship is worth keeping. 

He definitely has always been there for me. He is my main companionship right now even when we are a part. He helped me move all the way out here when none of my family was willing to come help me/left me to do it all alone. I do think he is the one for so many reasons and it is something I know is worth keeping/fighting for. That being said I really appreciate your comment about how long distance for now will make our relationship that much stronger in the long term. I haven't really thought of it that way and have been only thinking about the short-term pain of being a part. 

 

On 10/31/2019 at 2:39 PM, inespere said:

If you're going to continue to be long distance, maybe work on how to make the visits more frequent and less expensive. Can your boyfriend get a vehicle? Can you stay with a friend in Calgary? I'm guessing your family isn't there since you said you can't stay with your boyfriend's family. 

He is saving up for a car and I do stay with a friend whenever I go to Calgary because I don't have family there. I feel uncomfortable with it though because I need to spend time with both of them and it's difficult to justify staying at her house to see my boyfriend. I feels like I'm using her and it really isn't something I enjoy doing/feeling.

 

On 10/31/2019 at 12:11 AM, BNAAct1867 said:

That said, maybe wait a bit and give U of A an honest shot before you come to a final decision. Maybe you'll learn to love U of A, and you and your boyfriend will find a way to make it work long distance. 

This is something I have truly been trying to actively work on. In the beginning of the semester I genuinely would go all day without talking to anyone in real life--my sole form of communication would be over my phone. I realized over time that people in my cohort have made friends because they all party together/ drink together and because I'm not someone that enjoys those things I've just slunk into the shadows so to speak. It's extremely difficult for me to make friends ordinarily, but the frat environment is not something I'm able to get on board with. That said I'm trying my best to enjoy the city/ partake in other activities outside of the law school. But it is still debilitatingly lonely at times. 

 

Thank you to everyone that has written in the forum--I really appreciate it. :)

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You've been together for 1.5 years. Observe all the relationships that you've known that have lasted that long and later failed, and try to be as objective as possible. Keep that in mind. Statistically, there is a very good chance that your relationship will not last.

If you haven't even lived with each other for a particularly long period, you probably don't even know each other very well. Long distance makes it even harder to get to know someone. 

Just be careful with your sacrifices. You may feel one way, and project those feelings onto someone else, but they may not feel similarly. This happens all the time, not just with intimate relationships. It's hard to see, and can bite you in the end.

Pay attention to sacrifices he has made to this point. They're evidence of his investment in your relationship. If he hasn't made any significant ones, I think it's difficult to judge how serious he is about the relationship.


Sorry, it's just that you're in love, and it makes being objective more difficult. This post will probably seem a lot more prescient in hindsight, if your relationship does not last, and you read it through the lens of someone no longer in the relationship.

 

This may all seem very cynical, but I'm really just suggesting that you be more careful.

Edited by HouseOfPolycarbonate
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