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Advice – Abstinence in LDR.

“Modern Tea” by Adara Sánchez Anguiano is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 

/u/strawberryxcheeks on /r/relationship_advice writes…

“So I’ll keep this short. I’m a 27 year old male with a LDR gf [26F]. I see her for 3 weeks a year. We’re working towards cutting the distance. As far as sex goes, she wants to wait till after marriage. I love her to bits, but basically I haven’t had sex in years, even when we get together we just fool around, no proper sex.

I try to control my urges with porn. I’ve only really had one other serious gf, and I haven’t had too many sexual experiences outside of that. I pay for porn sites as well as two girls on Snapchat premium. I don’t interact with them but like the content they send when I pay. My gf sends me nudes but I’m desensitized to them at this point. I don’t want to cheat on my LDR gf, but I need help as to how to approach this relationship further. I love her to death and cannot imagine anyone else with me, but the lack of sex is driving me crazy.

I need help and advice as to how I should go about continuing this relationship, is paying for Snapchat premium a step too far or am I just lonely, I’m very confused.”

Dear Strawberry X Cheeks,

For the sake of this column, I am going to operate under the assumption that you are also okay and completely onboard with waiting to have sex with your current long-distance girlfriend. I am also going to wholeheartedly trust you when you say that you want better ideas on how to communicate your needs better.

Have you ever taken a really long flight out to somewhere? Like five to ten hours out? What do you do when you get settled in for a five to ten hour flight? You hydrate up, bring a full bottle of water, and enough entertainment to keep you busy while you’re in the air. It’s just a temporary aspect of the travel that sometimes the transportation aspect in between the destinations suck. But you have to do your best to prepare to stay sane.

It might be a good time for you to sit down and reconsider what are the most important facets of your relationship. What are those needs you need met? The problem isn’t that Snapchat premium services are one step too far. The problem is in the total sexual communication breakdown. First determine how important it is that you get your sexual desires met. Decide if you’ve done your best to get ready for this flight you are already on. Do you have enough entertainment at hand? What do you need to do to stay sane with your current travel partner until you can land in Marriage? It sounds like you are at the assessment part of your planning here, and you are considering if you need to reach out to your travel partner – your girlfriend – to make sure that you have enough here in between the two of you to make it to Marriage safely.

Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

Start with what you shared with us here – “I love [you] to death and cannot imagine anyone else with me, but the lack of sex is driving me crazy” – and figure out a way to make this relationship work. What are some boundaries and agreements that you might have agreed to either implicitly or explicitly? And what adjustments can you make to make sure that you and your partner can remain sane on this journey together? What is the furthest extent you and your girlfriend can remain flexible for each other? Once you can get a better idea on what she is and isn’t comfortable in terms of sexual boundaries (and specifically what she would consider to be infidelity), you’ll have better idea on what you have to work with. Some people do consider porn to be cheating while others do not consider consensual non-monogamy be to be cheating. So there is a lot of grey area here to flesh out.

Some of those grey areas you might want to explore is in what different ways you can continue to keep intimacy interesting in your long distance relationship. Nudes by themselves don’t mean anything without context. You’re already getting fresh influx of new pictures and videos of other people online. Think about in what different ways you can utilize all of internet to make the foreplay, exchange of photos/videos/audios, and dirty talk captivating and stimulating for both of you. Get creative with each other.

I really hope your conversations with your partner are fruitful. It is hard enough to do this walk with wholly consenting partners who are enthusiastic. So mindfully approach this with bright attitude and eye for silver lining. It really is just a journey you two are on together. Destinations might be set, but the itineraries are not.

Good luck!

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

I want to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to send me your questions and comments at teatimetomato@gmail.com. If you liked my advice for this post, please subscribe below to get alerted when my next advice column is published!

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16 replies

    1. Thanks! As someone who has personally been in a handful of long distance relationships, I know how difficult it is to stay romantically and sexually connected over distance. Setting long term expectations to close the gap and proactively working toward that goal together is the best way to manage long distance relationship blues.

      Thank you for your feedback and follow!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello there,

        I’ve been there too, and you know what I think? Long distant relationships can be pretty simple when both parties are on the same page. The problem begins when one side just wanted to string you along while without finding someone better. Long distant relationships aren’t new at all. Look at how queens and kings used to get married?
        My personal opinion is that men and women are very lazy to have real relationships and don’t have the necessary tools to sustain them. It is easy to go with the flow during the initial hormonal phase, but then when the hard is required, they move on to another person because it is too much for them.

        In some cases, long-distance relationships are the perfect combination for men or women who are emotionally unavailable.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I definitely agree with you about LDRs being a lot simpler and easier to facilitate when both parties are on the same page, especially about communication. It’s just so wild to think about at this day and age where we have so many different tools available to communicate. I feel like if more folks were into putting in the hard work associated with relationships in general, we’d be a lot more love in the world.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Long distant relationships are a different animal when we are talking about intimate relationships. However, all this new trend with social media made it even more difficult because people are paralyzed with the number of choices they supposedly have. Most of the time, they have amazing partners by their side, but now be inconsistent is the new trend and play emotional games a new norm.

        Not all individuals are like this, but the vast majority, yes, they are.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. So I’m curious to hear more from your perspective. What do you think that folks in long distance relationships nowadays can be doing better in order to stay connected with their intimate partners?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. 1. Have dinner, or movie dates through Skype or facetime.

        2. Once or twice a week, have a phone call for at least one hour.

        3. Avoid the everyday texting thing which kills the relationship through time.

        4. Control social media usage and look after how you talk with other people, it is easy to fall into the micro-cheating thing.

        5. Have a goal in common, and even from your country, you can make surprises to your partner.

        6. Try to find what is your attachment style and work on it. Avoidant individuals can drive you crazy, even if you have a secure attachment style.

        7. If you want the relationship to work out, decide if you want to move to your’s partner country and start to find information about visas, and please don’t accept the partner visa because this thing has created many problems for many individuals.

        8. Be real and consistent. Real relationships are all about consistency.

        9. Look after actions and not words!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I like all of these with the exception of the third and the fourth point. I’m pretty needy attention wise, especially with folks I’m dating. So I need to stay connected with my partner every day. For me personally, I don’t think I can be in a relationship with someone who can’t talk to me every day (regardless of distance).

        I don’t think it is fair to assign the same level of expectation to long distance relationships as you would a short distance relationship; they are each very different in how they are handled. Staying connected and managing your social connections is important, but doubly so if you’re not getting consistent physical need met from your partner. What is more important is building trust with your partner to ensure that no one breaks any agreements. Micro-cheating seems like a slippery slope, in my opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Thanks for linking this article to me. At the bottom of the page, the author quotes a 2013 study and says…

        “In heterosexual relationships, women who text more frequently tend to feel happier in their relationships, and their partners do as well (Schade et al., 2013). Interestingly, though, the more men text with a partner, the less happy they tend to be, the less happy their romantic partners tend to be, and the more their partners tend to report considering breaking-up with them (Schade et al., 2013).”

        Which seems sort of contradictory. I wish we can dig deeper on why they found this particular result. Also, I would have loved to see a more recent study regarding communicative patterns in modern relationships as new social media platforms and apps have emerged since 2013.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I was in Portugal, and he was in Australia, but even with all this distance, I hired a pastry chef to make him a birthday cake. We used to talk almost every day, like good mornings and whatsoever, but we had one day or two days of the week to make phone calls and talk about everything, including serious stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. That is so sweet. I loved that you did such a wonderful thing for your partner. My ex from London did something similar for me. She called a local pizza joint to send me a heart-shaped pizza on my birthday. It sounds like both of you made a lot of time for each other to stay connected, both in light-hearted and serious communication. Are you still together with your Australian partner?

        As for the 2018 study you linked, pg 148 outlines that “[i]n general, the sheer volume of texts that participants sent and received did not significantly correlate with the variables under investigation. The only exception was participants’ age showing that younger the individual was, the more texts they sent and received.” They go into more detail in the following page which reveals “[t]he regression results showed that most background variables did not play a significant role in the prediction of relationship satisfaction except for relationship length, which was a consistent, significant predictor of satisfaction.” So based on this study you linked, there wasn’t a correlation between how much someone texted their partner and the overall relationship satisfaction. The only consistent factor was the relationship length, which interestingly had a negative correlation with the relationship satisfaction (i.e. longer you’re with someone, the unhappier you become). What did you see in this study?

        Liked by 1 person

      10. No, we are not together anymore, for him I was in his words, a good person but too intense, and he wasn’t in love anymore after three days of saying I love you, Alexandra. I was blindsided and felt a punch on the soul.
        That’s why I say people want others who play games, not the ones who are stable and want real commitment.

        I think text and even sexting can be a good thing, but we should always use phone calls and visual calls to connect with them. Texting creates a sense of fake intimacy, and we should be aware of that. At the end of the day, we want to be with people that want the same we do.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. I heard that same sentiment – “a good person but too intense” – echoed back at me from a former partner of mine as well. Maybe he felt threatened and scared by the concept of love and affection in the face of the daunting task of closing the gap. I’m sorry to hear that you felt blindsided about the breakup.

        You do bring up a good point about some folks who use texting to mask a false sense of intimacy. But I do feel that with the right people, texting adds more to the relationship rather than it taking away from the intimacy. Creative sexting can go such a long way to vitalize a sexual connection, even over long distance!

        Liked by 1 person

      12. For three months, I felt completely numb. It was too hard because I was in Australia without my family and friends, and I felt betrayed. But now, after close of 7 months, I am feeling my authentic self again. He let everyone interfere in our relationship, and when I called him out, he didn’t like it.

        I did my best I did what a real girlfriend should do, and that’s what I advise people: never edit yourself to please others.

        Have a lovely weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

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