He Moved Back to the Country. How Do We Transition from Long Distance?

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Written by: Dr. Wendy Walsh

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Known as America's Relationship Expert, Dr. Wendy Walsh is an award-winning television journalist, radio host & podcaster, and the author of three books on relationships and thousands of print and digital articles. More than 1.5 million people follow her sage advice on social media. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and teaches in the Psychology Department at California State University Channel Islands and has been the host of "The Dr. Wendy Walsh Show" on iHeart Radio's KFI AM 640 since 2015. Walsh is also a former Emmy-nominated co-host of "The Doctors," as well as former host of the nationally syndicated show "EXTRA." She was named a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2017 after speaking out about harassment at a major news network.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Reader Question:

One of my friends moved to Hungary about nine months ago. We started talking a lot and accidentally moved past the friend zone. We both apparently had crushes on each other and didn’t know it.

He just moved back to the country and spent his first two days he was free with me and even spent the night. I’ve been really anxious and self-conscious since then.

I understand he’s busy, but I almost feel like I’m adjusting to a whole new relationship dynamic.

How do we transition from long distance to being home?

-Genevieve (Illinois)

Dr. Wendy Walsh’s Answer:

Dear Genevieve,

Here’s what happened emotionally: Your friend moved away and was homesick. He was lucky to have you on the phone and online when he was feeling lonely and isolated.

Because you were far away, and not being a real day-to-day girlfriend, he could project all his wild fantasies on you. In his mind, you were perfect.

The same things happened for you, but when he came back to this country, reality hit.

You are a real, living, breathing person with your own needs, schedule and vulnerabilities. That’s a shocker.

While you seem to be more open to letting the long-distance fantasy convert into a real-world love, he is probably feeling more confused than anything else.

He doesn’t need you anymore to remedy his homesickness, and I’ll bet he’s wondering if he needs you at all.

My suggestion would be to talk about all the feelings both of you are having. If he can’t tolerate sensitive conversations, then he probably can’t handle an intimate relationship.

You learned a big lesson. Online and phone relationships are only real in the separate minds of each person.

But they are not real in the world and you two aren’t partners until you actually navigate life together.

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