The temporary distance is terrible

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Last summer, I met my soulmate. From the beginning, he allowed me to be myself. He was always open about the traumatic experiences of his past and what he's done to overcome them through therapy and rehab. I have never felt more safe and happy around someone. He validates my feelings, makes me laugh, and he does what he can to make my life easier.

When autumn came, he started acting differently. He blamed it on his past trauma and stress, but it was more than that. In hindsight it should've been obvious that he was using drugs, but I wanted to trust him and took his word when he insisted he was sober. His drug abuse rapidly escalated and he got into legal trouble. Now it's been seven months of waiting for his next court date. He calls me daily from jail, we write letters to each other, and I'm still as in love with him as in the beginning. However, it is so hard for me to be physically apart from him. I get lonely without him because my family is toxic and I recently moved so I have no local friends. What can I do to make the temporary distance between myself and my fiance a little less unbearable?

– Unbearable


You didn't ask whether this is a healthy relationship, only how to deal with the temporary distance.

But ... I'd like to tell you that this is a good opportunity to make sure he's not the only person in your life who brings you joy and emotional security. If you don't live near friends, please visit them. Consider relocating to be closer.

Also, seek counseling for families and loved ones affected by drugs. That's you right now. Much of this relationship has been about dealing with the aftermath of last fall. You shouldn't commit to a life of this until you figure out what it means.

Doctors – a primary care physician – and public health departments should keep lists of places that can help, if you don't already know what's available or can't find services online. You can also reach out to places where he's found help in the past.

Basically, your letter makes it sound like everything you do is about him. Waiting. Writing. Loving. In a healthy relationship, a significant other shouldn't be your everything, a person you orbit and think about all day. You should still have space for community, hobbies, and other close connections.

Use this time to get therapy, even if it's in a group. Talk about what's going on there, but also feel free to talk about your family.

Again, please visit friends. Consider how they spend their time and where they focus their energy. Think about how you feel when you're around them – whether your life seems more balanced.

Isolation isn't helping this. Find a way to be around others who make you feel safe.

– Meredith

Readers? Thoughts about the best use of this time? You caught the "fiance" moment at the end?