Ask The Advice Goddess 18

I live and work in the San Francisco area, where I read your column in The Pacific Sun. About a month ago, I was in Los Angeles at my family reunion and I met this great woman who is a close friend of one of my cousins. She and I have been talking on the phone and sending a lot of email back and forth, and I recently went down and spent a weekend with her. The weekend was great, but I'm feeling a little worried about starting a long-distance relationship. Can long-distance love work, or will it just be a ticket to pain and frustration? -- Telephone BillThe much-maligned long distance love affair does have its merits. Like people with large pores, most relationships are more attractive at a distance.*Everyone looks sexier over the telephone.*Amusing bad habits stay amusing a whole lot longer.*When you are together, day-to-day concerns about global warming, strip mining, and whale-saving are put into perspective by more immediate problems, such as where is the closest place to buy condoms after 11pm.*You no longer need rely on the whims of strangers for heavy-breathing phone calls.*If you get married, you can pay for your honeymoon with all those MCI Miles.*Should you lose your job, you can easily qualify for a position as a phone sex operator.*You will make lots of new friends...most of whom work for the phone company, the airlines and 1-800-FLOWERS.It may seem a relief to banish talk of clogged rain gutters and uncapped toothpaste tubes in favor of breathy conversations planning the next time you can get naked together. However, it's also rather difficult to communicate a funny thought that just crossed your mind to a person on a busy cell phone hundreds of miles away. In spite of numerous advances in technology, scientists have yet to figure out how to transmit a hug over the Internet. Moreover, while love may "know no boundaries," Visa and Mastercard feel differently.That said, it seems wrong to nix exploring a potential relationship just because it's geographically inconvenient. To shorten the distance between you, try to keep yourselves in each other's lives, even when you're not together. Send lots of cards -- each addressed to a slightly different name centering around inside jokes between you. Get a pair of little tape recorders and record "talking letters" to each other while you're on your way to work. Leave messages on each other's home answering machines while you're at the office. Vary where you rendezvous: meet at her house, meet at your house, or meet halfway and turn it into a mini vacation.Go ahead and pursue your long distance relationship. Just understand that if it works out, eventually, somebody's going to have to make a phone call to Atlas Van Lines.--------------I'm a guy in my twenties. I've had a crush on this girl for over a year. We've had breakfast twice. I'm really kind of stupid around her. The last time we had breakfast, she gave me a kiss on the cheek goodbye and I could barely speak. Afterward, I kept calling her when she had a big deadline, because I didn't hear back from her. She freaked out on me: "I told you I was going to call you back!" she screamed into the phone. Since then, I've called her almost every day, but she hasn't returned my calls now for over two weeks. I really want to go out with her. Do I have a chance? - Obsessed!Nobody ever badgered anybody into loving them. When you hope to get a woman to return your affections, it's best if she doesn't place you in the same category as strangers who phone at dinner time to try to convince her to invest in Panamanian swamp land.Beyond your using your telephone as an instrument of torture, you made the mistake of displaying intense feelings for this woman before you even knew her. She probably believes that you are either a little mad or that you are in love with some fantasy of her that has little to do with who she really is. In either case, you're probably disqualified.You might have a slim chance to at least become her friend. Lie low for a month or two, then phone her. Apologize for the barrage of calls and make it clear that you want to be pals. Invite her to join you and other friends for casual evenings playing pool or going to parties. If, over time, she sees that you've retired from your brief career as her stalker, she might someday let you reapply to be her boyfriend.

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