Getting used to a long-distance relationship

My partner and I just started a long-distance relationship, and by long-distance I mean about four hours away. Not too bad, but definitely a big change from being just a five-minute drive away. I currently work 9 to 5 and don't have a lot of free time during the week. So the weekends are the only time I get to see my partner. But my best friend is feeling neglected.

I've tried to have the three of us hang out, but I think both of them feel like the third wheel. I've been working really hard to balance the two of them and to spend alone time with her but also alone time with him. My partner has been really understanding and has reassured me that it’s OK to skip a weekend with him ... but the thing is I want to see him and I want to see her. I just feel like I'm being pulled in so many directions. Meanwhile, I'm so tired. I also just want a damn weekend alone, but then I feel guilty if I take time to myself rather than seeing one of them or the other. How do I find a balancing act that works? How do I maintain a relationship with my long-distance partner while still giving my bff the quality time she needs?

– Flailing Tightrope Walker

Long-distance relationships can make you a special kind of tired. It's not just the scheduling and travel; you also have to be on when you get there. It's harder to sit on the couch and enjoy passive quality time with someone you love. You might feel pressure to make every minute count, no matter who you're with. Sometimes you have to be less of a friend or partner.

It'll help to accept this reality instead of pretending you can fix it. You're not going to be able to please everyone the way you used to – and that's OK. Your needs are different now.

My thought is that the BFF is going to have to accept less weekend time. You need those days for your boyfriend and, on occasion, for unwinding by yourself. It'll be possible to see her on some Saturdays and Sundays, but there will be no standing weekend date. That doesn't make you a bad friend; it just makes you a busy one. Over a lifetime, people get partners, have kids, move, etc. Best friends should be able to go with the flow. They should want you to thrive.

Let your friend know you want to do see her as much as possible but that you hope she can be flexible. Then give yourself some time to get used to this new routine. In a few months, it might feel a little more natural for you and everyone else.

– Meredith

Readers? Any advice on adjusting to the distance?