“How Can I Live Without Him??”

I met my boyfriend online two and a half years ago, and while we didn’t mean to develop real feelings for each other, we eventually did. I lived in Canada and he lived in Australia, so for the next year and a half we both worked and saved enough money to visit each other for a few months each. We met around five months ago when he first came to visit me, and by the time I went back to Australia with him I was extremely in love. He was my first boyfriend and even my first kiss, so I’m pretty attached to him.

Initially, before we met up, he had told me he was willing to move to Canada if we got along just as well in person as we did online. I guess that’s why I was willing to meet him in the first place, because I knew there was no point falling for someone I could never be with in the long run. Now it’s been two months since I’ve been back home, and he’s been saying lately he doesn’t even want to live here for a few months, let alone the rest of his life. This is really hard on me, since I’m so attached, and I’ve been starting to say that I guess I’d move there to be with him. The thing is, I really don’t want to leave my family; Plus, I just started school, and I always thought that if I were to move, it would be after my graduation.

I guess my question is: what do I do now? I really don’t want to break up with him. I don’t even know how to let go of someone I feel so strongly for, and I don’t know how to live my life without him. — Long Distance Devastation

Of course you know how to live your life without him. That’s exactly what you were doing until two and half years ago — even until five months ago, which is when you first met him in person. Breaking up is never easy, but if you don’t see a future with him — and you only would if you’re willing to pick up and move your whole life to Australia (which I absolutely do not recommend doing if you are in any way on the fence about it!) — you need to MOA. It’ll hurt, but you’ll get over it … and then you’ll leave yourself open to meet someone who is more available to you. Why continue investing in someone who’s made it clear he isn’t willing to make an equal investment?

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.


  1. Don’t move to Australia! There are a lot of possible reasons why he doesn’t want to move the Canada, but almost ALL of them are red flags when it comes. If he said he was willing to move at one point and changed his mind, there are a couple of options:

    1) He thought he’d like Canada, but didn’t, and if he stayed, he’d just end up resenting you.
    2) When you finally met in person, he realized something didn’t click between you two the way he thought it would.
    3) His feelings aren’t strong enough for him to move to Canada…

    See where I’m going with this? Unless he had some amazing job opportunity or needed to care for a relative (which I’m assuming he would have told you either of those), he’s not into you enough to move to Canada. Do you really want to screw up everything you’ve built for a guy who’s not willing to do the same for you?

    1. I agree with your list and what your saying. The reason he doesn’t want to move could be a deal breaker. Do you know why he won’t move? The only things I would suggest cutting him some slack are if he thought he would like Canada, went to visit and realized he doesn’t like it or if he has a great job. The reason I let your first one slide is because I am someone who moved to a town for my fiance and I hate it here. I’m from Hawaii and live in the middle of a valley in the middle of nowhere. It is really hard to have a good relationship when you are in a place you don’t like. I love my fiance, and I willingly moved to a place I didn’t like for him and its hard. But, at the same time, don’t let that excuse be a cop out for something else.

      You don;t have to choose right now. You could stay in school in Canada and have a long distance relationship. Or you could transfer to an australian school. But, I would suggest talking to him and asking why he doesn’t want to move. If you can’t even ask that question and get a mature response, stay where you are! You sound young and as this is your first love, tread lightly. Take your time and make sure you are doing things you want, not things he wants you to do or he’ll leave you.

      And know if things don’t work out you can definitely live without him. It wil suck and be hard, but you can do it!

      1. Any chance your valley in the middle of nowhere is in Colorado?

      2. nope. i wish lol. central valley california. I didn’t even know it existed till I moved here. 🙂 lol

  2. Please don’t move. From your letter I can tell you are very young. You are just starting school and have a whole life ahead of you! He’s you first kiss, you first love, but believe me, you’ll get over it. Most people don’t end up with their first and go on to life happy lives. Just like Just Peachy said, why move for a man who isn’t willing to do the same for you. Move on, you will be fine!
    best of luck!!

    1. Steph, I think you and Wendy said it well. LW if you do nothing else, please take the comments into consideration. We all are looking out for your heart and your safety. There are definitely more fish in the sea and trust me you will find one who will make this guy a mere speck in your rearview mirror. MOA sweetie. It gets much better once you heal.

    2. Tinywormhole says:

      Yes! This is a really great point. I remember when I was younger and so completely in love with someone who didn’t quite feel the same way, how completely painful it was to finally admit that to myself and move on. But now that is a distant memory, merely a piece of the perspective I gained over the years that allowed me to recognize mutual, permanent, compatible love when I finally found it. It will hurt to let go, LW, but you will be so much better in the long run.

  3. Oh, LW. I know what you’re going through, and my heart hurts for you, because it sucks so much. You really do need to end it, though. Otherwise it becomes a long, drawn out thing that’s much, much worse.

    Yeah, you’re going to miss him. The chatting and the Skype and whatever else. You’re not going to know what to do for awhile without having that there and it’s going to feel like some vital part of your life is missing.

    But, and I know this isn’t particularly comforting at this moment, you will get over it. There will be other boys, boys who don’t live on the other side of the world, who you can get to know. Just think…someone you can actually see at all times of the day! Or call without thinking about a time difference! It’s amazing when you get to have that.

    My first relationship was like yours and ending it made me cry and cry. But it’s what I needed to do. I was never going to get what I wanted. So end it. Cry. Miss him so much. Write him angry emails about how much he lost by not wanting to be with you. (DO NOT SEND THEM.) After a month or two, go out and find some other people to date. I promise you that things will be okay, and probably better, than you ever expected.

    (P.S. After my LDR ended, I jumped into a local relationship that was also not what I truly wanted. Guess how that ended? (Hint: badly). Don’t make my mistake. Hold out for what you really want.)

  4. Yes, you can and should move on. It will be especially difficult for you because after a typical break-up you go from seeing the person all the time to not seeing them at all. Every day there’s a reminder that the relationship is over because they’re physically absent from your life. For you, you already spent your day-to-day life without him so on the surface not much will have changed. My advice to help yourself through this process is to keep busy. If you’ve been thinking of joining some extracurricular activities at your school, do it now! Go out with friends! Start a new hobby! Meet some new people! Explore all the museums and galleries and shops that you’ve always meant to go to but hadn’t gotten around to! Yes, it will hurt, but the break-up doesn’t have to define your life and eventually, you’ll get through it. It’s a dumb cliche, but so true: no one ever actually died from a broken heart.

  5. I went through the same thing in my senior year of highschool, only we didnt meet online (he was a exchange student from Germany). I even went to Germany and visited his whole family! We tried our best to make it work, but ultimately at that age, neither of us could commit to moving to another country and be sucessful in our education (as we would be in our own countries). Sometimes I regret not being the one to move to Germany to be with him, but then again I would have been very dependent on him and his family for some time, and when you are so young it really isnt healthy for one of you to be so dependent on the other, right?
    In the end, I am glad I had the experience with him that I did, and there will always be those memories in my heart because I loved him. I figured out that we are given our life, and to really have a solid relationship with anyone we need to be self-fufilled first-then you have a foundation to build from.

    always cherise the feelings you have/had for him, but realize how important the love for yourself is.

  6. moonflowers says:

    Just because you’re attached to him, or that he’s your first everything, doesn’t mean he’s the right person for you in the long run. It’s easy to become attached to someone you think you know, only to find out a few months later (as the happy hormones wear off) that you’re actually dating a stranger.

    Even if you’re super in love, listen to the signs when he tells you who he is. When he says he can’t imagine living in the same country as you, and doesn’t talk about arranging plans for you to be with him, or give a plausible excuse for why he can’t relocate (at least none in the original letter), don’t try to rationalize it away.

  7. silver_dragon_girl says:

    Oh, LW, I know exactly how you feel. The same thing happened to me. Long distance sucks, especially when one person (you and I) is willing to do ANYthing to make the relationship work, and the other (your guy and my ex) decides they aren’t.

    Please listen to me: You need to let him go. I know it hurts. I know that it will feel like a giant hole has opened up inside you and nothing will fill it up except him. I know that the days and weeks following will be a roller coaster of emotions. I know that you will want to call him and beg him to be together again.

    The feelings immediately after a breakup are some of the worst ever. BUT. You can do it. And you need to. This guy flat out told you that he doesn’t want to come to you. He doesn’t even want to come visit for a few months- do you know what that is? That’s him pulling away from you. He knows this is doomed. You know it’s doomed. One of you has to pull the trigger and initiate the breakup, and please, for the sake of your pride, let it be you.

    You have done everything in your power, reasonably (moving to Australia is NOT reasonable), to make this relationship work, and it isn’t. Don’t blame yourself. Don’t obsess over where it went wrong, don’t try to figure out what would have happened if you’d done X instead of Y. Sometimes things just don’t work out. It’s cold comfort, but it is true.

    LW, you WILL learn how to live without this guy in your life. I promise. And when you do, you will find that you are a stronger person for it.

  8. You will go on without him and eventually will wonder why you even thought you couldn’t go on without him…and sorry if this is condescending, but you sound way too young to relocate across an ocean and potentially like 4 time zones from your current life.

    Also, you are in school and this is the best place for you to meet a lot of people and have a lot of fun (as well as many sleepless nights of studying) so focus on that if you need something good to think about while you get over this relationship.

  9. It sounds like you are very young. Your life will go on. Please don’t waste your time pursuing something with a guy you’ve only met twice in two years & lives on the other side of the world. I understand you have fallen in love with him, but you need to think about the long haul here. Is moving across the globe really what’s best for you ? IMO, it would be a huge mistake. He, himself, doesn’t have it in him to move to where you are, so why are you going to do that for him?
    Everyone has had a first love & about 95% of them don’t end up with them. It’s completely normal. You will have many more experiences & loves, you do not need to move thousands of miles away. You said it yourself that’s not what you want, so don’t do it. Don’t do it. MOA. Deal with the short term pain now & you’ll come out shining in the end.

  10. This is your first boyfriend, your first kiss . . . and your first breakup. Of course this will be painful. And I know it feels like two and a half years is a long time to invest in a relationship, and you really want it to work out. The only way to make it work is if you’re in the same place. But moving across the world at such a young age, when you are just starting school, would be a bad idea. The bottom line is that you haven’t spent that much time with him in person, so it would be a huge risk to move for him. If you moved to Australia, and you broke up, you’d be stranded in a country far away from your loved ones, and I’m sure you can only imagine how horrible that would feel.
    Yes, it’s really sad that he’s unwilling to move to Canada. He originally said he’d be willing to do that, and he’s letting you down. You know how I see it? This is his relationship to lose. If it comes down to moving to Canada or breaking up, it’s his call. Just about everyone has been through the experience of losing their first love. Just remember you are not alone. It is one of the most painful, searing, experiences. I know your emotions are really intense right now, but you will get through it.
    Do not jump into another relationship after the breakup. Allow yourself time to heal. And most of all, don’t get into another long distance relationship! As you can attest, it’s really hard!

  11. ReginaRey says:

    LW, I DID kind of move for my first love, and I urge you not to do it.

    I started dating my first boyfriend at the very end of my senior year of high school, when we were already committed to go to different colleges. Like you, I didn’t know how I could “live without him,” because I was so infatuated and in love with him. It made my year of college MISERABLE. All I wanted to do was stay shut up in my dorm room talking to him online or on the phone, and I became extremely possesive of him -I always wanted to know what he was doing, where he was, who he was with, etc. Because I was so miserable, I blamed it on the school. After a year, I transferred to his school. Well, we broke up after another year, even though in all honesty we should have broken up before I ever moved.

    He was my first love, and I didn’t understand that the love I felt for him could be eclipsed by feelings for other guys later on my life. I was 2 hours away and moved and regreatted it. You are half a WORLD away. Do not move for him. As other commenters have noted, he obviously wouldn’t do the same for you. My ex boyfriend wouldn’t have done it either. Move on from this relationship before you do something you’ll really regret, and devote your time to relationships where the guy’s feelings are equal to your own. I promise, this will NOT be your only chance at love. Far, far from it.

  12. GillianCate says:

    I agree with what Wendy and a lot of the other commeters are saying. I was in your position once, and from experience, staying in the relationship when neither of you wants to make the move is only going to delay the inevitable, prolong your misery, and make it much more difficult when you do break up.

    I spent a good amount of time convincing my ex (also from Australia and also my first real boyfriend, incidentally) to move to the United States after I realized that I could never leave my family. He agreed, but eventually decided he didn’t want to do it. The thing is, he didn’t tell me he didn’t want to move; he just started trying to sabotage our relationship. We tried to repair things, and he said that he was committed to moving and that he had just been going through a period of doubt, but we eventually broke up–three years after we had initially started arguing about where to live. Even though he was in many ways a good boyfriend and being with him taught me how to be independent in relationships, I look back on the time we spent together with a tinge of bitterness, because I wasted so many years of my youth staying in a relationship that was doomed.

    This doesn’t mean that long distance relationships don’t work; it just means that you have to be on the same page in order for a long distance relationship to have a happy ending.

  13. Landygirl says:

    I’m sure you’ll do just fine without him. Believe it or not after your heart has mended, you’ll find someone else who will fit into your life.

  14. Australia > Canada. But don’t move anywhere unless you have a secure job that you love and will be sure to enjoy it. I could say the same for him, which is why you may need to let this one go.

  15. i think that you may not really know what a relationship should be like…. meeting online, seeing each other every few months, i mean most of your interaction and your relationship has been online. since he is your first boyfriend, i would highly suggest that you move on because I have a feeling that when you get to experience a short distance relationship, you will enjoy it a lot more! you may even discover that you didn’t really love him as much as you thought you did… i know I figured that out after my first boyfriend.

    as wendy always says, long distance relationships have to have an end point. you are way to young (it seems), you guys dont even know each other well enough (in my opinion), and it it looks like he is not into the relationship enough for you two to have an end point. so for just that reason, i would say to MOA. but guess what? after you get over him, you will be able to meet a boyfriend who you can see whenever you want! its great, trust me. i have done both, never in the way you did, but i have done both, and the long distance ones are terrible. ill never do it again.

  16. caitie_didn't says:

    I know it’s your first relationship, but it can hardly be classified as a relationship when you’ve barely spent any time together. Online is NOT the same thing as in person! (particularly when the relationship gets its start online).

    Besides that, you’re starting college! That’s a big deal, and a chance to meet new people, discover new interests and become your real self. Don’t waste this opportunity by staying in your room moping and/or talking on msn/skype/gchat with your long-distance boyfriend. It’s too big of a sacrifice and I GUARANTEE that you will regret it if you do.

    1. Fairhaired child says:

      I totally agree – to me they have only officially been dating 5 months since that was the first time they met in person. She met him online 2 1/2 years ago but I’m guessing they only played with the idea of dating 1 1/2 years ago when they started saving. And it’s been two months since she came home from seeing him.

      I feel so heartbroken for her bc one of my most emotional relationships was also long distance starting from meeting online then deciding to meet and date after months of communication when I was at the end of highschool. However I lived only 4 hours away and we saw each other at least 2 weekends a month after our official meeting in person/dating point – he also wasn’t my first bf.

      I can’t imagine how she must feel being so far away. However at that age – and already with him seeming to pull away she def shouldn’t move! She has so much more to experience in life!! Yes she may decide to keep the communication kind open with him – but at the moment they are on different life paths and this relationship (right now) will not work. That’s not to say years from now she could end up with him again – but for now she needs to do what’s best for her and experience more in life! (and dating)

  17. Ah, my dear, I’m so sorry for your hurt. Stay where you are, and please throw yourself into your life. I’m sorry, but more of your relationships will end than will last, and it will hurt every single time as keenly as it hurts now. But trust me, please trust me: if you keep taking that chance you will find that you’ve collected a treasure trove of good–even great–memories, until you find exactly the right person. Hold on, and hang in there.

  18. I´m going through something similar right now. We´ve been together for 2 years, and were in a very serious relationship, albeit a long-distance one. He´s helped me through so much in this time, we got together when my father was very sick, he died three months into our relationship. A year later, my mother commited suicide. He´s always been there for me, through my darkest hours. I can simply not fathom finding someone who I could trust and love like I trust and love him. But somehow, his workstress in the past few months got too much, we talked less and less and even though I hoped we could make things work again, especially since he still said (and says) that he wants to be with me “in the long run”, he said that for now, he couldn´t do it anymore. I´m beyond devasted, he´s one of the three people left on this earth I truly, deeply love, and I feel so very alone, having lost him. He says that things have gotten too hard between us (even though we´ve obviously had hard times before), and that he might need time to get more experience in the relationship department.
    What I realized, though, is that even though I love him and would do a lot to get him back, is that I shouldn´t sacrifice my dignity and self-respect. So, no, I did not rush there to save the relationship, and neither did I make the breakup hard on him. What I also realized is, if this made him break up with me, and he would risk his alleged “love of his life” to have an easier time (he suggested that we should get back together in 2 years, when we could be physically together), then it probably wouldn´t have worked out anyway.
    I hope you will be able to admit that to yourself too. It sucks, and for now, even though I know it, I´m still devastated. But if you get out with your dignity intact, not throwing yourself at him when it´s clear that he doesn´t want the same, then at least you have something. And there will come a time when you´ll find someone else.

  19. Before you met, he said he’d move. Now, you’ve met.

    “I don’t want to live there for a few months, definitely not forever” = I don’t want to be with you for a few months, definitely not forever.

    It sucks, but move on. The guy has basically spelled it out for you.

    1. demoiselle says:

      Yeah, he’s not interested in making the relationship long-term. That was breakup talk.

  20. I agree…don’t move for this guy.
    Think of this as your first experience with love…learn from it, remember the nice times, and move on. You will put it past you and eventually meet someone else who is better suited to you.
    When you look back, you’ll be glad you didn’t put your whole life on hold and move far away for someone who wasn’t really interested in being committed to you.

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