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(Editor's Note, this letter was written before Doc's death in August, 2020 but still relevant as Doc's principles are timeless).
I have been a fan of yours for a long time, and you have helped me tremendously with my current girlfriend, who I’ve been going out with for seven months.
Sarah Jane happens to be beautiful, smart, funny, and, did I mention, gorgeous? She’s easily the best girl I’ve ever had. We have a great time whether we’re playing volleyball or taking a cooking class. Plus, this girl always makes laugh. Even when she’s dressed down in something like a sweat suit and sneakers she looks like a model. And to top it all off, she’s just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. She’s a Flexible Giver and not at all hardnosed or structured. I couldn’t find a better catch if I tried for a hundred years.
Now here’s my problem. In a few months I will be leaving on a church mission for two years. There’s no way out of this obligation for me, so I can’t even think about it. I don’t know the exact place where I’ll be stationed, but it could very possibly be out of the country at a remote location. Needless to say, I’m not looking forward to this entire situation.
While on this religious mission, I will be limited to letters, e-mails, and only a few phone calls a year. I don’t want to lose Sarah Jane. Is there any way that I can keep this woman interested in me for the next two whole years? She has expressed an interest in waiting for me to return, but I know a woman with her looks and qualities won’t last long without a man by her side.
Is there any hope for me, Doc? Can you give me any tips for keeping her? Thanks in advance and keep up the good work!
Joseph - who hates to leave her behind
Have you checked out Doc's latest video? This week's subject is how can he tell if she's really interested or not - she's giving him all the signs but he is NOT picking up on them - don't make the same mistake!
Since Sarah Jane has a lot of great qualities, I can tell you right off the bat that we have a lot of work ahead of us -- a LOT of work.
So let’s take a look at your situation. You’re leaving the country on a church mission for two long, lonely years. You’re going to leave your girl behind and she’s going to wait patiently for you and nobody’s going to ask her out. The only problem you have is that she looks like she belongs on the cover of Vogue. But she’s going to be loyal to you for all the time you’re gone. And you’re going to try and hold her Interest Level while you’re in a foreign country digging a sewer and preaching the Good Book.
The picture is clear, dude. But I’m on your side, so we’re going to come up with a plan to try and help you out.
You’re right about one thing: Sarah Jane won’t last long without a man by her side since plenty of guys will be hitting on here. They’ll tell her “I just want to be your friend.” But they don’t really want to be her friend. They want to be her boyfriend. And they’re going to want to knock you out of the box and you won’t be in town to hold your position. You’ll be organizing prayer meetings on the other side of the world.
Is there any hope for you? You know what the Reality Factor says, don’t you? “When you’re 5,000 miles away for years at a time, her memory starts to weaken.” So I’ll say it again, pal – your chances are not good.
This is what you have to do. You have to keep it light and funny right up until the day you leave for wherever they send you. And then, when you’re getting ready to board the plane, you’ll say to Sarah Jane, “Here’s my e-mail address. Keep in touch, baby.” Forget the phone calls. If she wants to call you, she can call you. I don’t want you phoning her. Then you just have to hope this girl can last and that she’s so busy on her job she doesn’t have time to go out and have a little fun with some other guy. Fat chance.
Your best chance of making this relationship last is to keep Sarah Jane’s Interest Level in the 90s up until the time you leave town. Then you two are going to exchange e-mails. You’re going to see how hard she tries to keep in contact with you. You’re going to have to hope that at the end of two years she’s still writing and calling you and that nobody’s taken her out and made her laugh.
Here’s something else to think about, Joseph. When you got into this thing you knew you were going to have to go off on this mission. Before you asked this girl for her phone number and took her out on the first date, you should have said to yourself, “I better be careful about falling for this stunner, because I’m going to have to take a hike pretty soon for two years.” And you should have realized the heartbreak you were flirting with, especially with a girl who’s a ringer for Bella Hadid. I’m not being negative here – just honest and realistic. And I’m trying to enlighten you, which is my job. To you Psych majors, in a sense this relationship was doomed from the beginning.
As you know if you’ve read my book, I’m not a big fan of the long-distance relationship – there are way too many obstacles to overcome. And if by some stroke of luck she’s still around when you come back to America, you’ll be strangers to each other.
But I want you to do your best to beat the odds. That’s why I’m here – to coach you guys to have a fighting chance.
Remember, guys: when you don’t live close by, it’s a lot harder to keep your relationship intact.
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