Writer’s note (31 March 2019): This piece was written when I was targeting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) women who were having dating troubles. I’ve since transformed my coaching business into one helping all women who feel anxious and insecure in their love lives find healthy, intimate relationships with themselves and others. Learn more.
A smart, successful, and fiercely independent millennial STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) woman named Jacklyn had a problem: She and her boyfriend were separated by an entire continent and dealing with some of the detrimental consequences of a long-distance relationship.
They met online and totally hit it off while they were both living in the US. In time, he had to move back to Italy for work and she stayed behind, like a 1950s wife waving her handkerchief at her husband as he set sail for war. They stayed in touch over text, call, and video chat, and sometimes she would visit him, like a contemporary girlfriend.
But when they weren’t in the same room and couldn’t enjoy the physical intimacies of a romantic relationship, things became more difficult, like anyone could imagine.
“It’s been working so far, and that spark remains when we see each other in person,” she told me. “But sometimes I ask myself whether I should close the gap between us or look for love here.”
It made sense that she would question whether or not she was wasting time on a long-distance relationship, given that, as a human with needs and feelings, she was depriving herself (and he himself). The two love birds couldn’t nest together.
Saying those words out loud served as a sanity check. But their longing for each other grew, and she felt like she needed to make a decision quickly.
So, as her dating coach, I came from the skies in my superhero cape and coached her to a breakthrough by asking her simple, yet powerful, open-ended, empowering questions.
My questions made her think about the situation differently, getting her to consider her life with and without this person and how her life would change if she stayed or went.
I asked her how her Italian Stallion made her feel when she was with him. I asked her how she felt living her American life. I asked her what love and relationships meant to her. I asked her what independence meant to her. I asked her to envision her ideal romantic life and how her Italian Stallion fit into that picture.
As she answered those questions, she began to feel lighter and Claritin Clear. She began to smile more and over-think less. She began to see the power of love, and coaching.
She didn’t have a resolution yet, but she felt like we had arrived somewhere more “fuck yeah,” adding a “confidence” tool to her toolbox. Since coaching helped her throw away some mental roadblocks, like throwing away a scrunched paper of bad poetry into a bin, and tap into her emotions, intuition, and values like a monk, she felt more empowered to make the best decision for herself and her relationship.
Life coaching is about bringing out the client’s brilliance (instead of telling her what to do), so, like an old, blind master, I told her I had complete faith she would find the answers in time. We left off there.
The next day, Jacklyn sent me a message:
Holly! I just wanted to thank you for the coaching you provided yesterday! What we did was amazingly powerful. When I got home last night, a friend offered to buy me a plane ticket to Switzerland, so I’m closing the distance between my partner and me by a whole continent! The incredible power of intention and manifestation!
The rest is history.
Some STEM women frequently travel for work, and sometimes they can’t find time to date (or they don’t prioritize it). Sometimes they avoid commitment because they think they’ll just have to hop on another plane again. Sometimes they try to make a relationship work under the circumstances.
Long-distance relationships can be difficult, but not impossible, to survive. But I don’t recommend them as much as I don’t recommend working out after eating a bunch XXtra Hot Cheetos. (It buuuuurrrrnnnsss!) I’ve seen long-distance relationships “work” in my family and with friends, but they eventually closed the gap.
After every long-distance relationship I tried, I learned that I value close proximity. So, every time either my boyfriend or I have to travel, we make sure that time apart has a specific expiration date, like a milk carton.
But what if you’re a frequent-flying millennial STEM women who’s trying to make time to date?
As your dating coach in a cape, here’s what I might ask you:
- How much is dating a priority right now? Perhaps rate that priority on a scale of one to 10, one being “not a priority whatsoever” and 10 being “it’s a matter of life or death” (or, I don’t know, something similar).
- Depending on how you answer that question, how will you move forward? If dating is a low priority, then you can continue on your merry way elsewhere.
- Let’s say you’re making dating a high priority, like a 7 or 8. How can you make it a 9 or 10? Seriously.
- What’s one baby step you can take to make that priority a reality?
- Once you think of that baby step, how committed are you to making it a reality (perhaps on a scale of one to 10)?
- How will you keep yourself accountable?
As you saw with Jacklyn, there’s no pressure for you to have the answers right away, as cognitive change can take a while, like a turtle in a race. Take your time. The answers will arrive from within, like the old, blind wise guy said.
Are you in a long-distance relationship? Does it seem to be taking a toll on your well-being? Are you having trouble deciding whether to close the gap or move on? How helpful was this article? Comment below or reach out to me in a safe space.