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“Was it a Mistake To Start Dating Long Distance?”

I have a guy best friend whom I’ve been friends with for the past year. We’re really close and talk all the time, and tell each other everything. This semester I came to Australia for an exchange program through the university and that’s when I realized that I may have fallen for him and that I like him as more than a friend. I guess the distance made me realize that. So I told him that. And I was pretty happy when he said that he liked me too. So we started dating and it’s been three and a half months now.

But lately, he’d been acting different. He stopped sending his goofy texts and doesn’t really respond properly to messages. I felt that something was wrong, but I waited to see whether there was actually a problem or whether he was just stressed about exams. Finally, I was just really annoyed by the whole thing and I asked him why he’s been so serious lately. This is what he said: “Well, it’s just that I’m not feeling anything. I thought I would feel something, you know, about us. But it was better when we were friends. When you’re in a relationship you should feel something else. I’m just not feeling it.” Then I asked him why he’s waited all this time to say this to me, and whether he thought that starting the relationship as long distance wasn’t a good idea. And since we were so close when we actually started dating, neither of us felt any difference when we started dating. He said that dating a best friend is always a treacherous path.

Do you think that because we haven’t met in person yet, that’s the reasons we wouldn’t have feelings of intimacy that should be there in a relationship? I know that talking on the phone and talking in person are two completely different things. Am I wrong to be upset about all this? I know that I would rather have him in my life as my best friend than not at all, but I still really like him a lot. We’ve agreed to sort it out in person when we meet, but in the meantime I’m really confused and would appreciate some advice. — Confused in Australia

Woah, talk about burying all the important details toward! You started “dating” while you were away on an exchange program? You actually haven’t even met in person yet? You’re going to meet in two weeks? This is the kind os information an advice columnist needs right upfront. Also: How far apart do you live when you aren’t studying abroad? When you say you two are going to meet in person does that mean that one of you is going to visit the other or is one of you moving or do you share a hometown that you’re both going to for the holiday? How long will you have together? So many important details left unanswered!

Based on what I do know though, I can tell you this: you are not in a relationship with this guy. Pen pals? Sure. Maybe you’re even “intimate” pen pals, in the sense that you’ve shared a lot about yourself and feel a strong connection. But that kind of intimacy is very different than the kind of intimacy you share with someone in person. It’s no wonder this guy doesn’t feel anything “different” since upgrading your relationship status. Nothing between you changed. I mean, how can you say you’ve been “dating” when you haven’t been on a date? How can you say you’re in a relationship when you’ve not communicated face-to-face, without a couple of screens between you? That’s not intimate. Touching, kissing, being alone together in silence, listening to your hearts beating, feeling the warmth of your body heat — that’s intimacy. It’s the kind of intimacy you can’t get over the phone or Skype or email.

However much closer modern technology may bring us, it’s not the same as being in each other’s presence. So, sure, you can be friends with someone you’ve never met in person before — this site is a good example of that. But best friends? Lovers? Boyfriend and girlfriend? No. Not if what you want is an authentic relationship where your best angles aren’t always prominently featured on the screen just so, or your words aren’t carefully crafted before hitting “send.”

In reality, we are much more imperfect than we are on our various screens and through our online personas. We are more imperfect, and much more beautifully layered in 3-D. Our laughs are louder. Are anger more tempered. Our time more filled with tedium. We are boring and exciting and wonderfully complex and witty.

Before you decide whether this guy is boyfriend material — or even best friend material, for that matter — I urge you to learn who he is in the real world. Does he give you chills when you touch? Is there a way his hair curls just so around his ear that you’ve never noticed on Skype that makes you feel sort of giddy? How does your body feel against his when he pulls you in for an embrace? There are so many ways you will better know who this person is when you meet him and how he fits you and your life that will guide you to more informed decisions about your future together.

And you may decide that knowing someone in the flesh is so much better than knowing someone long distance and that you’d rather keep yourself available to someone who can take you on real dates. That’s good too. That’s better than good, actually.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

avatar Sunshine Brite November 29, 2012, 9:10 am

WWS, I had no idea starting off the letter that you guys HAVE NEVER MET. I’m just having trouble wrapping my head around how I could think of someone as my best friend and start dating without having spent a single day with them. I know what it’s like for technology to keep me close to someone, but I always had real life experiences to fall back on when thinking about them.

I’m really cynical and would be skeptical that he’s trying to sabotage meeting because he was lying about some aspect of himself… age, occupation, relationship status, if he liked a certain type of food, something.

avatar Sunshine Brite November 29, 2012, 9:10 am

I feel like I should’ve put up a spoiler alert the way this letter was written

avatar MissDre November 29, 2012, 9:27 am

Her letter was really confusing, but what I’m hoping she means is that they haven’t seen each other (met) since they decided to start dating. She said in the beginning that it was the distance that made her realize that she liked him, right? If you’re only pen pals, how does going to Australia create more distance? Anyway, So I’m thinking they were best friends when she left, decided while she was away that they should be boyfriend/girlfriend, and have not had any face to face time since making that decision.

avatar jlyfsh November 29, 2012, 9:48 am

Yeah I read it the same was as you did and was confused by Wendy’s and other people’s interpretation. Shows how important being very clear in your letter is! And why email/text can be so confusing!

bagge72 bagge72 November 29, 2012, 9:53 am

Right, this is what I got too, I think they have just never met while in a relationship!

FireStar FireStar November 29, 2012, 9:58 am

I think you are right…if it is the distance making her heart fonder she needed to know him before…

avatar MISS MJ November 29, 2012, 10:02 am

This is how I read it, too. They were friend in person for a year, presumably at college. Then she went to another country for a semester. Then, while she there, they started “dating” and they haven’t seen each other in person while they’re “dating” yet. In any event, I guess the advice is more or less the same – see how it goes when you meet up with him LW. Maybe the sparks fly, maybe they don’t.

avatar shanshantastic November 29, 2012, 11:37 am

I definitely read it like this. In high school (yeah, I was stupid) my best guy friend admitted that he had feelings for me. Then he graduated, and a month later he moved to California from our hometown in Ohio. I missed seeing him, and I jumped to “OMG I think I have feelings for you!!” We started “dating” in July and didn’t see each other in person until December. And you know what? The first time he came for a visit was awesome. The second time, a little less so…the third time, he came home for the entire summer and by the end of it I just wanted him to go away! When I went to visit him in CA I knew before a day passed that I wasn’t into the trip, or really into the relationship, and it all just fell apart from there.

TL;DR: LW, keep the lines of communication open but don’t commit to any decisions until you actually get face time. It could make everything better…or it could make you realize that you really are better off as friends.

avatar SallyS November 29, 2012, 4:42 pm

One more saying that’s the way I read it, too. I think she means “meet” as in “meet up,” not “spend time together for the first time.”

Fabelle Fabelle November 29, 2012, 9:11 am

What. Does she really mean “meet in person” for the first time EVER? Or is she trying to say, like, SEE each other again– but for the first time since they’ve been “dating”? Please let it be the latter.

JK JK November 29, 2012, 9:14 am

Yeah I understood it the latter, but with Wendy´s answer I´m not so sure. LW, if you´re out there WE NEED CLARIFICATION!!!!

avatar kerrycontrary November 29, 2012, 9:22 am

My understanding is that they were friends for a year (in person), and then she started studying abroad. So when they “finally meet” is when they first see each other in person as boyfriend/girlfriend. Not meet for the first time ever.

avatar csp November 29, 2012, 9:24 am

So, I am wondering if this LW has English as a Second Language and that word was lost in translation. The way some of the sentences are formed makes me think that could be true.

avatar MissDre November 29, 2012, 9:29 am

Yes, that’s what I thought…. I was definitely confused by her wording but when I stop to think about it… I really think she means seeing each other for the first time since deciding to be in a relationship.

LK7889 LK7889 November 29, 2012, 9:54 am

I hope those of you who think the meaning of the letter is that she’s been “real-life” friends with him are right and that this is just an example of bad writing…

Jess Jess November 29, 2012, 10:52 am

Yes, that’s how I read it.

avatar oldie November 29, 2012, 9:17 am

Writing is more than stringing words together to make a sentence. You have to actually organize your thoughts, then perhaps re-read what you wrote to see if it actually makes sense. It’s sad that a college student hasn’t mastered these skills. I can tell that the LW isn’t happy in whatever sort of relationship she has with this guy, but the actual nature of that relationship hides behind a dense fog of incomprehensible writing.

avatar MMcG November 29, 2012, 12:05 pm

Thank you for saving me the trouble by reading my mind. I can’t give advice when I can’t begin to comprehend the situation.

It’s called WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY, and HOW… C’mon LW :)

LK7889 LK7889 November 29, 2012, 9:28 am

Huh. I have no idea what is going on in this letter so I don’t really know what to say to the LW.

Details ARE important.

On that note, assuming we read it like Wendy did, here are the short answers:
- Yes, not meeting in person will lead to a lack of intimacy.
- Yes, you’re wrong for being upset – you’ve never met the guy!

LK7889 LK7889 November 29, 2012, 9:31 am

On a completely unrelated note, does anyone else ever imagine that if you are talking to someone online that you’ve never met in real life, that they are really some uber-intelligent bot that is using online conversations to grow into an AI or a spam bot that is trying to market to you subconsciously? Or am I just a nerd?

avatar sonicwombat November 29, 2012, 10:24 am

Well that would explain why my online best friend keeps mentioning the freshing taste of Pepsi!

avatar bethany November 29, 2012, 9:29 am

I can’t finish your letter or read Wendy’s reply–

LW– You are not DATING this guy. You can’t start DATING someone when you’re on the other side of the world. You’ve never been on a DATE with this guy. Cool your jets, wait till your semester abroad is over, and then actually go on a DATE with this guy, then determine if you like him enough to start a relationship.

Are people really this desperate to be in a relationship??? This makes me sad.

avatar bethany November 29, 2012, 9:31 am

OMG– You haven’t even met in person?! Jesus Christ, LW. Seriously?!

avatar emmkat November 29, 2012, 9:41 am

Am I just really out of the loop or something, but when did it become such a trend for people to think that they’re in a relationship when they’ve never even met the person in real life? It makes absolutely no sense to me.

FireStar FireStar November 29, 2012, 9:41 am

You can love someone, be close to someone, even have a crush on someone – but unless you have chemistry you aren’t going to have that special thing that makes for a good relationship. And chemistry for a couple is different than for a friend (even a ‘best’ friend) – it involves a physical component you two apparently don’t have yet. You really like him and kind of assume the physical chemistry will be there too…he just knows that it isn’t here now. I think meeting up is a great time to figure out what your level of attraction to each other will be – and to just relax about everything until that time.
If you two actually have those types of feelings for each other when you see each other (for the first time as a couple) – then you can address Wendy’s questions about making long distance work. Until you even know that you two click on that physical level that couples need to click on – why worry about things that might not even come into play? The transition from friend to something more isn’t always meant to be – as nice as it is to be romantically involved with your best friend – sometimes what makes for a perfect friendship just isn’t enough to make for a successful relationship.

avatar jlyfsh November 29, 2012, 9:45 am

I think I’m with MissDre that you have indeed ‘met’ but not since you started ‘dating’. I think. Leaving that sort of room for speculation is confusing, to say the least. Anyway, even if you have indeed ‘met’ and have hung out with him in person stating that ‘we’re dating now’ doesn’t really change anything. So your friend is right. You’re not actually dating, you’re talking about it.

I think your decision to wait until you can see each other face to face to talk about this is a good one. I would not push anything via text/computer until then. It’s way too easy to misinterpret (obviously) things when you’re not talking to the person. And if there is indeed something more there, I’m going to guess that having a living, breathing person in front of him instead of a text message will help him decide if there is something left to work on between you. I would also ask him if he’s willing to ‘start over’ with the dating. Not necessarily erasing the last 3 and a half months but considering them ‘pre-dating’ or something I don’t have a term for!

FireStar FireStar November 29, 2012, 9:54 am

You are killing me jlyfsh! We just rid of pre-engaged – we can’t introduce pre-dating!!!! Say it isn’t so!!!!

katie katie November 29, 2012, 9:56 am

sampson’s head is going to explode.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson November 29, 2012, 10:15 am

WTF Jlyfsh you’re better than that.

FireStar FireStar November 29, 2012, 10:29 am

In fairness to poor jlyfsh – half of us can’t even figure out if they have ever met… and lord knows what the term is for THAT.

JK JK November 29, 2012, 10:32 am

Pre-acquaintanced?

avatar bethany November 29, 2012, 10:36 am

“online boyfriend” is the term!

LK7889 LK7889 November 29, 2012, 9:57 am

But what about pre-pre-engaged? That one still applies, right?

Also, I think I like the term pre-post-dating. Yes, pre-post-dating explains EXACTLY what is going on with this LW.

avatar *HmC* November 29, 2012, 10:52 am

Ha, I can’t stand the “pre-engaged” thing! There’s already a term for that and it’s called dating. If you don’t feel that connotes enough seriousness to others, then… get engaged! Or stop worrying so much about how serious other people think your relationship is. :P

LK7889 LK7889 November 29, 2012, 10:56 am

Why can’t I define my relationship as post-pre-dating AND pre-post-engagement and then get mad when other people can’t accept the seriousness of my incomprehensible relationship status?!?! It’s fun to get irrationally mad when other people get confused and exasperated!

LK7889 LK7889 November 29, 2012, 10:58 am

Maybe calling it not not-engaged is acceptable?

“Oh, we’re not not-engaged!”

Then everyone around them gets a funny look on their faces as they try to decide what THAT means…

avatar jlyfsh November 29, 2012, 10:00 am

haha I had no idea what to call it! what is it when you’re talking about dating but not actually dating? i have no idea! ;) maybe this is what teenagers are referring to when they are talking about ‘hanging out’ or MAYBE this is what the mean when they say, we’re talking. what do all these terms mean? i need a dating glossary so i know what the appropriate terms are. or maybe the LWs need to just have less confusing love lives ;)

FireStar FireStar November 29, 2012, 10:07 am

I’m going to go with “talking” on that one….I’ll even push it to interested if there is flirting going on…but if someone wants the dating title they have to date, if they want a relationship then both people have to know about it and agree, and if they want to be engaged, there has to be a proposal and an acceptance.

avatar jlyfsh November 29, 2012, 10:10 am

ok whew, we can go with talking then. i don’t actually think they’re dating either. very confusing letter, which i guess left me confused about the words to use in my comment!

FireStar FireStar November 29, 2012, 10:27 am

It is almost enough to make you down right nostalgic for the old days of arranged marriage – when you just went from stranger to wife in one fell swoop! :)

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson November 29, 2012, 10:15 am

Haha silly kids these days.

Diablo Diablo November 29, 2012, 10:05 am

@Firestar – do you think this was pre-meditated?

FireStar FireStar November 29, 2012, 10:08 am

that made me laugh!

avatar Christy November 29, 2012, 10:05 am

OMG my gf and I totally pre-dated. I thought of it as maybe-dating, my gf apparently called it pre-dating. We were going out and spending a lot of time together, but there wasn’t a label on it. I really like how my gf and I each talked about our situation to our respective best friends and each labeled what was happening.

But we were like the most awkward people in the world, so I don’t think it should spread to anyone else.

avatar jlyfsh November 29, 2012, 10:21 am

as much as i would love to think myself capable of starting a trend, i doubt i’m the first or the last to use the term pre-dating. and i’m going to guess the use or damning of the word on DW is going to change it either, but who am i? i guess we’re supposed to say you were ‘talking’!

avatar Christy November 29, 2012, 11:48 am

I mean, we were going out on dates too–movie, dinners, shopping. We just weren’t calling them dates.

Jess Jess November 29, 2012, 10:55 am

Wait, are we getting rid of pre-engaged? Because I am totally in that boat. Ok. Well I suppose I’ll have to doggy-paddle awhile then until the actual “engaged” boat comes along ;-)

Amybelle Amybelle November 29, 2012, 10:05 am

I think whether they’ve met in person or not is irrelevant; he said flat out he’s not feeling it so MOA. He’s not going to see her and think “oh wow I guess I am into her after all”. Honestly the LW sounds a bit delusional and like she is coming on pretty strong and hearing what she wants hear.

Diablo Diablo November 29, 2012, 10:08 am

Exactly. “I’m just not feelin’ it” is not guy code. It’s straight talk. He doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you, and you are not in a relationship. Doesn’t matter what his reasons are. Doesn’t matter if you did or didn’t actually meet in person. It’s not over because it didn’t begin. MOA

KKZ KKZ November 29, 2012, 12:24 pm

I was on a thread elsewhere this week where guys were saying they wish women who are trying to reject their advances would just come out and tell it to them straight, rather than try to be ‘nice’ or ‘gentle’ about it, and also be honest about their reason for rejecting.

And I thought, well, that’s all well and good and sure we could do that – but what about the guys who don’t take no for an answer, no matter what reasoning is given or what ‘padding’ the girl added? Clingers, stalkers, whatever you want to call them, the guys who keep lingering or think they can argue their way into a woman’s heart.

I saw that red flag come up in this letter too. LW, he’s not feelin’ it. It’s sad, but you can’t negotiate desire. Best to just revert to being friends which, given your circumstances, probably shouldn’t be that hard – though you may want to take some time and space to get over your crush on him. Because that’s really what this amounts to, you don’t really have a boyfriend, you have a crush on a friend who doesn’t feel the same way, so that’s how you should treat it.

avatar Lindsay November 29, 2012, 2:39 pm

Exactly! I was the most straightforward I’d ever been with this one guy — after our first date, I called him and said, “I am not interested in dating you. I don’t think we should be more than friends.” The next words out of his mouth were “Sure, we can be friends for now and then see what happens.” What?! No! Because what’s going to happen is NOTHING. I finally just had to ignore his phone calls until he went away because he was clearly going to hear whatever he wanted to hear.

If this guy thought that it was just the distance or something, he’d say so. But instead, he just said that he’s not feeling it.

avatar Lindsay November 29, 2012, 10:08 am

The letter really sounds like they know each other in person. Otherwise, why would her being in Australia change anything? I think there was just a poor word choice. Anyway, you shouldn’t start dating someone when you’re not there in person. A good part of dating is the feeling you have for the person when you’re with them, and that’s not happening with you guys, obviously. See what happens when you return. But I’m doubtful, because if this guy jumped into it without having feelings for you, then it may have just been impulsiveness on his part, and being together in person still might not change things…

avatar Matcha November 29, 2012, 11:11 am

Yeah, this is what I was going to say. It sounds like they were friends in college, she moved to Australia for study abroad or something and realized she liked him. Then they started a LDR but he’s not feeling it.

Anyway, I did something similar since I had been best friends with my now boyfriend for a few years. He moved away for work, and we realized we had feelings for each other so we started an LDR and scheduled regular visits. If she really never has met him, then I’d consider him a ‘pen pal,’ but if she has then I’d say it’s just a legitimate LDR (granted he doesn’t really seem into it.)

avatar MISS MJ November 29, 2012, 10:24 am

I think LW’s guy may have met someone in person that he connected with and that’s where his newfound uncertainty came from. It happens. Especially when you’re “dating” via electronic devices, or whatever you call it. What bothers me the most is that it sounds like the LW went to Australia, got homesick, immediately clung to home by starting to “date” her friend and managed to miss out on being young and unattached and open to meeting new people in a new country. That’s a real shame. Australian accents are sexy!!

Kate B. Kate B. November 29, 2012, 10:36 am

This letter is confusing. The way I read it, they did know each other as friends, but changed their status after the LW moved to Australia. I just don’t understand this definition of dating. If you haven’t been out together live, in the flesh, in person, you are not dating!!! You are pen pals, just as Wendy said. I, for one, would keep this guy as a pen pal and explore “dating” when you are able to see him in person. If you continue to live in Australia, you will have an LDR at best, which is a whole other can of worms. In the meantime, you’re in Australia. They grow up nice down there. There must be something in the water. I say check out real, live guys instead of a cyber pen pal, which is what you have.

avatar MMcG November 29, 2012, 12:13 pm

“In the meantime, you’re in Australia. They grow up nice down there. There must be something in the water. I say check out real, live guys instead of a cyber pen pal, which is what you have.”

PLEASE TAKE THIS ADVICE!! The average Aussie is right up there in terms of genetic victories of attractiveness, sporting & drinking prowess — have some fun and your friend will be there waiting for you.

Kate B. Kate B. November 29, 2012, 1:44 pm

Seriously, what do they feed them? They should export it. I’d buy it and feed it to every man I know.

avatar Lindsay November 29, 2012, 2:18 pm

Yeah, I had a fun fling when I studied abroad, and so did many of the other international students. You can’t get those accents just anywhere. Have fun now and worry about this dude later.

avatar *HmC* November 29, 2012, 10:46 am

LW- I appreciate that you want to understand what’s happening, but there’s usually not much use trying to “sort out” relationships, especially this early on. He told you he doesn’t have the right kind of feelings for you in order to have a relationship. Relationship over. That’s really all you need to know. Don’t torture yourself with the whys and hows.

Also, I’m not exactly clear, but someone is your best friend and then boyfriend of three months and you’ve NEVER met in person? If that’s the case… wow. I feel like an old fart, but I honestly don’t get all this clinging to long distance love nowadays with young people. I think technology makes it so that everyone thinks they can do the long distance thing. But when you’re young and your love interest is on the other side of the world, I feel like it can be such a waste of your time and energy to not focus on the people around you.

avatar Bossy Italian Wife November 29, 2012, 10:51 am

Oh, the long distance relationship… oh, the dating the bestie thing. LW, I mean this is the nicest possible way: you sound like a glutton for punishment. You shouldn’t be official with anyone you haven’t met yet because how COULD you feel “something more” when there is no “something more” to feel????

Take the relationship part OFF the table and meet up in person when you can and then discuss the POSSIBILITIES. Otherwise, you are just setting yourself up for disaster!

avatar Desiree November 29, 2012, 10:52 am

Is it bad that the first thing I thought is: “Why isn’t she dating all those cute Australian guys?!?” I mean, if I were to move to Australia, the LAST thing I would want to do is get in a long distance relationship. All those guys with a sexy accent–why is she wasting that?

avatar *HmC* November 29, 2012, 10:53 am

Amen sister.

avatar Desiree November 29, 2012, 10:54 am

Oh, and LW, the reason your boyfriend doesn’t “feel” anything is because you guys haven’t had any physical interaction since you became a couple. He can’t even miss kissing you while being long distance because he doesn’t know what kissing you even feels like. It’s no wonder he’s having trouble mustering up a sense of intimacy with you.

avatar Addie Pray November 29, 2012, 11:54 am

Yessss! I thought the same thing. No, no, no, right when you move to Australia is NOT when you take on a long distance boyfriend!

avatar SweetPeaG November 29, 2012, 12:36 pm

When I was single, I wanted an Australian man to just appear into my life magically. Like, an Australian cowboy. I am totally with you. Why isn’t this woman living out my fantasies for me? And then reporting back about them?

Brown-eyed NoVA Girl Brown-eyed NoVA Girl November 29, 2012, 1:23 pm

preach! LW, it’s time to prioritize. I can assume that none of the guys back home are nearly as fun as the Aussies… even the ugly ones (if there are any)

bagge72 bagge72 November 29, 2012, 10:52 am

LW I think you skipped some importants steps when you told this guy you liked him! When you first told him that, and he agreed, you two should have agreed that when you get back, that you would see where things were going, because you can’t start a relationship continents apart from each other, especially if you are friends first, and this may have actually ruined it for you two.
This dude is right he had all of these feelings for you, but he had nothing tangible to put them towards, so really his mind just got the better of him, and he now wants it back the way it use to be! This is going to be really hard to change now, and if you want to keep him in your life it seems like it might have to be as just a friend. The good thing is that unless you were sexting all of the time, and the image of his pee pee isn’t burned into your brain then this should be pretty easy to do.

So I say if you still have time there at least tell him that you want to wait on this whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing until you get home, and enjoy the rest of your time hooking up with some handsome dudes from down-under! You probably missed out on a lot of fun by jumping into a relationship over the phone.

avatar Painted_lady November 29, 2012, 11:09 am

I hate to sound catty here, but LW, how exactly did you agree to talk about it? Because if he said “I’m not feeling it,” and then you said, “Oh no! We need to meet first before we make a decision,” and he didn’t tell you no, then this is the romantic equivalent to a parent telling a child, “We’ll see,” and they have no intention of doing whatever it is. If, however, he suggested it, or there was some conflict as to whether or not this was what he really wanted ACCORDING TO HIM, then yeah, maybe there’s a chance this will work out.

Also, is there any way you could have mis-attributed your loneliness to feelings for him? If there was no attraction before you left – going with the assumption that you have met, because otherwise, WHAT? – then maybe that’s what it is. Just maybe. Because my boyfriend and I started very similarly – best friends, then started dating long-distance – and when we were together or even on the phone in the year or so before we started dating, everything was very weirdly charged. Like, went to visit him one weekend and spent the entire evening wondering why I was fantasizing about having sex with him. That kind of charged. I’m not saying my experience is universal, but the fact that you only developed an attraction to the guy when you weren’t around him…maaaaaybe there was something else at play.

avatar Addie Pray November 29, 2012, 11:51 am

LW, follow your heart! But also your gut. And what Wendy says. And all road signs.

P.S. I don’t care what Wendy says, I consider you ALL my best friends *and* lovers!

Diablo Diablo November 29, 2012, 1:04 pm

Addie, I’m not allowed to have lovers. I think it’s time for the “just friends” talk.

Brown-eyed NoVA Girl Brown-eyed NoVA Girl November 29, 2012, 1:31 pm

We must go forwards, not backwards, upwards, not downwards – and always, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

avatar Addie Pray November 29, 2012, 1:43 pm

Let me guess, it’s not me it’s you? Been there, heard that. Imma go listen to my break-up playlist now. Sing it, Swifty.

Diablo Diablo November 29, 2012, 2:37 pm

A little sadder, a little wiser.

avatar SweetPeaG November 29, 2012, 12:32 pm

I have two pieces of advice, depending on what the actual scenario here is. Because I’m not sure!

LW, if the two of you HAVE met in person while the two of you were just friends (meaning, the two of you have been in the same actual room!), here’s my advice… tell him you value your friendship. Tell him that you understand his hesitance to take this further when you are so far away. Keep talking with no pressure. I understand how this guy doesn’t “feel” anything when he can’t even hold your hand or give you a hug. So, just be friends for now. You can like him. You can harbor a big crush on him. There is nothing wrong with that! It’s fun to have a crush. As long as you aren’t instantly rejecting any other potential dates because of this crush. If at some point you find yourselves living near each other, then you can think about the idea of dating again. And if that point comes, take it slow. You have to go on (at least) a few real dates before you should put a serious label on a “relationship”.

Now, LW, if you have never actually met this guy in person, I have some different advice for you. I have the feeling that maybe you feel socially awkward, particularly around people you find attractive. Meeting people is hard! Dating is hard! I understand that. Take it from me… I didn’t really date until I was 23 because I wasn’t awesome at talking to new people. But, it’s time to embrace the awkward! Because, guess what? Everyone is awkward. Everyone is nervous to go on a date with someone new. Don’t sweat it. You cannot be in a relationship with someone you’ve never met. You just can’t. It’s not healthy to rely on interactions with people only through various screens just because the real world is scary. So, go out and be yourself (no, really!). You’ll find there are nice guys in the real world totally willing and happy to get to know who you are.

bittergaymark bittergaymark November 29, 2012, 1:26 pm

Huh? Strange. Okay, I also took this letter to mean that they had yet to met up in person WHILE dating… Not that they had never ever met before… (Most telling clue, if they had NEVER met before, than how would the “distance” of living in Australia have made any difference? C’mon, Ladies — especially you, Wendy! — step it up a notch… cuz as it stands, many of you are all pretty lousy detectives..) ;)

At any rate, I would be a bit irked if the very minute they left the country — one of my best friends suddenly decided he needed to TIE me down only now and not, say, while he was conveniently nearby (and oh, you know, not seven or eight thousand miles away) so we could actually, you know, date.

Look, I think you are homesick. And so you grabbed onto the handiest thing at home you could hastily toss an internet leash around. To answer your question: Was it a mistake to start dating long distance? Uh, hell yeah, yes it was. You don’t make a commitment to somebody and you don’t expect a commitment from somebody when you aren’t really there to begin with. By pushing things and expecting too much you have completely blown it in my opinion.

Back off and MAYBE you can revisit this when you return home… But yeah, it may be over.

avatar Addie Pray November 29, 2012, 1:48 pm

Ok, ok, you raise a good point… But the “we haven’t met in person yet” comment at the end *was* pretty damn misleading. And it wouldn’t be the first “I’ve never met my boyfriend” letter Wendy received, so I don’t think Wendy’s literal interpretation was so far off.

avatar MISS MJ November 29, 2012, 3:00 pm

“And it wouldn’t be the first “I’ve never met my boyfriend” letter Wendy received…”

This may be the saddest sentence I have read today. Face. Palm. Times 1000.