Dating and Long Distance Burnout
My boyfriend and I started dating in February before quarantine. It was lots of fun, so we started doing long distance when COVID hit. We’ve been doing long distance a while now, but he says he's lost energy for the relationship and isn't sure if he wants to continue. Right now we're on a break so we can take a breather, pray about it and think it through. Do you have any advice about “relational burn out” or if this might be a point where we call it off?
Long Distance Burnout
This pandemic has left so much carnage in its wake – including many relationships. I’m really sorry to hear that it has impacted yours.
The early stages of dating are fragile in the best of times, much less during a world-wide crisis. And some people are better emotionally equipped than others to handle tough times of crisis. It sounds like your boyfriend may be struggling with the emotional fall out.
You don’t mention in your question if his burnout is only the result of the stress of long distance dating or if it encompasses more than that. Either way, I can tell you that my husband and I dated long distance for over a year. He lived 14 hours away, yet still managed to come see me on a monthly basis, write and make phone calls – despite being a full time graduate student and working part time. He says nothing would have stopped him.
My point is this: At this stage of the pandemic, I think if he was as into the relationship now as he was at the beginning, he’d be willing to do whatever it takes to stay connected – phone, Zoom, texting, etc. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Also, you may be able to consider this as good information on his ability (or inability) to suffer well in tough times - good to know so early in a relationship. So perhaps it’s time to move on and invest your time, attention and energy into someone who is able and willing to reciprocate whole heartedly. You certainly deserve that much!
Alisa Grace ('92) serves as the co-director of the Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships where she also co-teaches a class called "Christian Perspectives on Marriage and Relationships." While she speaks and blogs regularly on topics such as dating relationships, marriage, and love, she also loves mentoring younger women and newly married couples, speaking at retreats and providing premarital counseling. Alisa and her husband, Chris, have been married over 30 years and have three wonderful children: Drew and his wife Julia, Natalie and her husband Neil, and their youngest blessing, Caroline.