My boyfriend and I met within the last few months of him living in the US, and dated very briefly and casually (we didn’t even kiss) before he moved home. However, we kept in touch online in just a friend capacity. After about six months, he started emailing me more regularly. Things went well as we progressed to our current schedule of multiple daily emails and regularly Skyping with each other. He has visited me twice over the last seven months and I am going to Europe over Thanksgiving to spend time with him and meet his family.
We have already mutually decided that we are going to have a serious discussion about the future of our relationship when I am there. Despite the fact that I feel our relationship is ready to progress in some way, I just don’t feel like I’m ready for anything like one of us moving. I am also positive that I would never be happy living in Europe. The impending conversation has also made me realize, however, that there’s only so far we can go with the relationship as it stands.
My question is, how should I approach this big discussion we are going to have? How can I even properly evaluate my feelings on the situation? I still am not really in settle-down mode yet. I’m just not in a place to make a commitment that would mean one of us moving across the ocean. He, on the other hand, is definitely in the mind frame that he wants things to progress further, and has even brought up that he could see us getting married. I do love him, and I could see us being very happy together, but I absolutely can’t see (at all) how either of us could move, due to our respective careers, and several other factors.
I don’t want to go back into the dating pool right now, as that’s a huge step backwards from all the truly great stuff I have going with him, but I also don’t want to keep moving forward with this if there is no way it could work in the end. This may sound harsh, but I feel like it could help me to try dating again, now that I can really see the benefits of a serious, committed relationship. I would frankly expect that trying to date again would drive me firmly, straight back home to his arms (if he would still have me, of course). But just having that certainty that he’s the right guy for me could mean everything. — Long Distance Quandary
If you aren’t ready to move forward and you can’t see how things can continue staying the same, then it seems the only direction you really can move in is to move on. Long distance relationships only really work if there’s an end date — at the very least, an end period. But if you’re right about neither one of you ever being open to relocating, then what on earth is the point in continuing this relationship, unless you both truly enjoy exactly where things are and have no expectations beyond emailing every day and visiting each other every couple of months…forever?
But not only does that not seem to be the case, it’s also a terrible way to live. It means closing yourself off to the potential of a truly fulfilling relationship. It means avoiding — yes, actively avoiding — the possibility of sharing your life with someone. But, maybe you’re afraid of that. Maybe you’re afraid of the possibility of sharing your life with someone and getting your heart broken. Maybe keeping someone at arm’s distance — or, more accurately, an ocean away — means sparing yourself the agony or really investing in love.
But, I say invest. Invest in love! Instead of thinking about how there’s no way you could possibly relocate for your boyfriend, start thinking of ways you can. Think of how you can invest in this relationship — heart, mind and spirit. And if you can’t — if your heart or your mind or your spirit is still telling you it isn’t possible — then you need to accept that this isn’t the guy for you or you aren’t ready to risk getting hurt. Because if he were the guy and you were ready to risk getting hurt, you’d turn “I can’t” into “I’ll figure out a way.” When it’s real love and when your heart is open to feeling it, nothing stands in the way of being together.
So, be honest with yourself so you can be honest with your boyfriend. If it’s love, then make the investment. And if it’s not, then move on, so he and you can eventually find someone who makes investments worth their returns.
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