Dear Boomer: Long Distance Love

Fifty years ago, I rode my Kawasaki from Portola Valley onto campus, usually squeaking into class just on time. While much has changed since then, one thing has remained constant: our humanness. We still search for meaning and need connection. We still have dreams and we still screw up. In the last 50 years, as I’ve changed careers and locations, I’ve never stopped appreciating and observing my fellow companions. So, “Ask Boomer” anything. Surprise me. Life is short. Let’s add on to it.

— Helen Hudson ’74

Want your question to be featured in the next column? Ask Helen here!

I think I might be in love with my best friend, but he’s not interested, and I want to give myself a chance to meet someone who is. Help! 

Dear Help! 

It is very natural to fall in love with a “best friend.” Sadly, the ones we fall for don’t always fall for us and it’s gut-wrenching when that happens. Studies show that the deepest, most lasting love actually requires a “best friend.” Furthermore, if all lovers were truly best friends there would be no divorce. What a concept! 

I think you have answered your own worry though because you say, “I want to give myself a chance.” Indeed. Give yourself that chance and get back out there. The beauty is that you know what it feels like to love. You also know what a real friendship means. Now that you have all the tools, get back out there and use them. 

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Hi, I’m in a long distance relationship and am finding it difficult to cope, even though I really love my significant other. I’m finding it hard to properly engage with life at Stanford and am often anxious due to being in a long distance relationship, but I don’t want to break up. What should I do? 

Dear Long Distance: 

My alarm bells are clanging! You say you’re finding it “difficult to cope,” and “hard to engage with life at Stanford.” This is not a particularly healthy place to be. It’s like tying your feet together before you go out for a run.  You also state that you are “anxious.” Again, not a great mindset for a college student. My first inclination is to ask if either of you anticipated this difficulty in advance? If not, you now find yourself in limbo — also not a good place to be.  

You say you “don’t want to break up,” but your relationship at present is broken. Why? Because you’re having trouble coping, not engaging and anxious. You’re not happy. You don’t feel free to be yourself but you don’t want to give up what you had. You really “can’t serve two masters” and end up sane. I suggest an honest chat with your partner. Sometimes the greatest and kindest love is knowing when to let go. 


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