Skip

Cutting line and fishing
September 5, 2012 8:14 PM   Subscribe

I broke up with my boyfriend when I moved across the country several months ago, because of the distance. Now I want to date him long-distance. Should I talk to him about it or wait it out and hopefully stop wanting to date him? Flurries inside.

We're both 30-somethings, I moved for grad school. He has moved cross country twice in three years, and really loves the town where we met, so he's not moving. I love the town where we met and want to move back in ~2 years. We dated a bit over a year before I moved.

We've both been in awful long-distance relationships, including awful moving to end the distance, so a few weeks after he expressed not wanting to move, I said I thought we should break up when I moved.

We have a lot of friends in common. Most of the close ones seemed sincerely sad that we were planning to break up. We held it together pretty well before I left, but the night before we held each other and bawled for a bit. Hearing him cry was probably the most awful I've felt.

Currently, we talk on the phone about once a week for ~45 minutes and text or email a couple times a week - mostly light stuff, interesting pictures, how-was-your-week. He wants to send me something valuable that he has a spare of. He was an absolute champ helping me pack my moving van. He is a wonderful friend (not just to me). We love/miss each other. We have similar goals for the future (no kids, house, chickens...). There are some annoyances I let slide because I was moving anyhow, but nothing deal-breaking. The sex was awesome.

I was still a bit torn up from a breakup and drama with (ex-)close friends when we met, and I knew I'd be moving, so it took me a long time to open up to the relationship and say I loved him, and neither of us really said it much because we knew it would hurt more later. I would like to try to date him again with more emotional skin in the game. However, I also have a habit of re-dating people after a breakup and get that it's not particularly healthy. And I haven't been really single for more than three months in five(?) years.

I've been actively dating people in my new (small) town. I have dated/messaged my way through most everyone who's seems even decently compatible. I've tried several sites, no dice. I have a good social life / friends otherwise for just having moved here, and am settling into the new town pretty well. It's not like I'm staying at home crying; I have a pretty full life and I still miss him a lot. I'm also fairly sure I've untangled missing-old-city from missing-him (and also missing-having-someone from missing him).


Options I'm considering:
- Ask if he's interested in being my guy again, probably over skype. I'm open to hearing yes or no. I would respect a no, and it would help me get over him.

- Continue contact with him, but spend the next three months dating other people / trying to "get over him by getting under someone else", and if I still want to date him then, talk to him about it in person when I visit my former city.

- Conventional wisdom: Cut contact indefinitely until I'm over him. This only goes so far as he hangs out with my best friend at least weekly and we have other mutual friends. If you suggest this, please provide advice beyond "just ask your friends not to mention him" as this was a problem last time I had to cut ties with someone.
posted by momus_window to Human Relations (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Take every chance you get to be happy. Will trying an LDR with this guy make you happier than not trying it? Then do it.
posted by Etrigan at 8:19 PM on September 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Sounds like he's still very much a part of your life and still there for you. Ask him if he's interested in doing a long-distance relationship, and point out that it does have a end point because you're going to move back in two years. If he says no, then you start thinking about how to get over him.
posted by orange swan at 8:20 PM on September 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


- Ask if he's interested in being my guy again, probably over skype. I'm open to hearing yes or no. I would respect a no, and it would help me get over him.


Do this. Once. Do it once, and once only.

- Continue contact with him, but spend the next three months dating other people / trying to "get over him by getting under someone else", and if I still want to date him then, talk to him about it in person when I visit my former city.

Don't do this.

- Conventional wisdom: Cut contact indefinitely until I'm over him. This only goes so far as he hangs out with my best friend at least weekly and we have other mutual friends. If you suggest this, please provide advice beyond "just ask your friends not to mention him" as this was a problem last time I had to cut ties with someone.

Do this if you have to. The advice you ask for does not exist. Either he occupies mental space for you or he does not. There is no in between. Sure this was a problem last time but that doesn't change anything.

Basically you're done with this guy, whether you realize it or not. The two of you cannot be anything until you move back and that's in two years, and in two years he'll have long since moved on so maybe you should endeavor to do similar.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:22 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think that you should consider taking a break from dating. If you're going to be in a relationship with this guy in two years, well, you both have a lot of growing and changing to do in two years, and I imagine that some of your growing could be well done alone. You have similar goals now, but who knows if you still will? And those little things that you let slide might have turned out to be much bigger than you realise.

I think that there's no reason that you should have to cut ties with him completely, why not remain casual platonic friends the way that you are now and see how that goes? I get that you're lonely and miss him and don't think that you have the best prospects in your new town, but that might not be the best reason to get back together with someone- especially a long distance relationship; those are so tenuous and hard to maintain.
posted by windykites at 8:23 PM on September 5, 2012


Consider that you're hanging on to this not because this guy is all that awesome, but because for whatever reason having a long-distance crush/distraction is useful for you. When you can't really date seriously (in your case possibly because you're not committed to living where you live or you just need a break) it's nice to have that mild romantic energy without putting a lot of effort into it or worrying about being rejected. Especially if you're not used to being single; having a designated "guy to be into" probably feels very comfortable for you. And frankly, it's nice to have the affirmation of your attractiveness and the feeling of easy intimacy that is there with exes.

That doesn't mean you actually want to have a relationship with him, though. You might consider whether you enjoy what you have right now, and that a long-distance relationship might bring trouble that you don't actually want to deal with. If you're not putting too much time and effort into this, it might be worth just seeing where it goes and how you feel in a few more months.

The key phrase here is "time and effort". You really don't want to be putting your all into this non-relationship. If you think you're expending too much there's something to be said for limiting things without doing the dramatic cutoff. Wind the emotional intimacy and time commitments down and keep yourself interested in other things. You know better than any of us whether you can actually date while you're hung up on this guy or whether it will be a waste of time for everyone involved, but I think dating is a great way to get out of the mindset that a certain person is "the one".

Some things you can do: Avoid the phone. In fact, you should probably not have his number in your phone if you're prone to impulse calls. Don't email him about things that matter to you, keep it light and send him the same stuff you send other people. Don't check his facebook, hide or block him. Don't ask friends about him and if they bring him up, change the subject.

Talking to him in person is a mixed bag. The chances of you sleeping with him and that fucking up your decision making are somewhat high. On the other hand, you have a lot of communication that can't happen over skype that will let you know whether it's a good idea to even ask, or if he's obviously really into you, or if he's not as attractive as you remember...all of those things are important information. Plus, getting rejected in person is a lot harder to rationalize and wave away, which is ultimately a good thing because you can move on more quickly. Skype is just really unromantic and impersonal (and lo-fi) while still being high-pressure because you can see each other's faces. I think skype is a bad idea for this kind of conversation. If you have to do it right away, the phone is probably better so you can hide any awkward reactions.

You'll notice that I have a lot of thoughts about this! I find myself in this situation a lot due to my discomfort with intimacy. This kind of non-relationship-relationship feels great to me because I don't have to deal with the fact that being close to other people makes me feel bad. I like being in control of what the other person knows about me because it feels safe. If you think that might be an issue for you, and that you avoid having really close relationships where you can be involved in each other's lives on an intimate level, think about working on that. It's sort of a lonely way to live long-term.

Good luck!
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:02 PM on September 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh, and the whole breaking up and then getting back together more seriously is something I have done, again, out of fear. It's more comfortable and less scary to be in control of how fast things get serious by taking a big step back when the issue is pressed and then getting back together when you feel more confident about it. It's not a horrible thing, it comes from having been hurt, but it's worth thinking about whether there's a larger issue here to deal with. I could be totally off base, but I thought I should mention it in case it rings true to you.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:10 PM on September 5, 2012


Ask. You ONLY broke up because of circumstances, not because of any other problems in the relationship. It sounds like you're still happily in contact anyway, so...hell, give it a shot.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:19 PM on September 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


it sounds like the only reason you two broke up was bc of your moving, and being apart won't be forever. it sounds like you two still have a a lot of love and respect for each other. please ask! i think you would always regret it if you don't. if he says no, at least you know you've tried and you can finally move on without that question hanging over your head.
posted by violetk at 9:38 PM on September 5, 2012


- Ask if he's interested in being my guy again, probably over skype. I'm open to hearing yes or no. I would respect a no, and it would help me get over him.


Do this. Once. Do it once, and once only.


BEST ANSWER
posted by Ironmouth at 12:17 AM on September 6, 2012


Two years is really not that long.
posted by salvia at 12:58 AM on September 6, 2012


I did LTR before marrying Husbunny. Worked out fine for us because we understood that the situation was temporary. We also visited each other every other weekend.

My concern is that you seem very intent on being in a relationship. You broke up because you were moving, you dated around to find someone, and you didn't, so now you seem to be circling back around to the best thing available.

My suggestion is to broach the subject with your ex. "Hey Ex, it seems like we're doing pretty well with the distance thing. Perhaps I was too hasty when we broke it off just because I moved. You know I'll be done here in just a couple of years, what do you think about trying a LDR?" Either he's in or he's out.

If he says no, then you need to cut off all contact. If he says yes, be aware that LDRs are very intense and that once you're back in the same area, it calms down a lot and becomes something else. Be prepared for that, it's kind of a shock.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:01 AM on September 6, 2012


And I haven't been really single for more than three months in five(?) years.

I think you should consider leaving it as it is and try actually being single for a while. Stop dating, be alone, be yourself and see what you think about it after many months. It seems like you hit the dating awfully soon and hard after the move. Give it some room to breathe and be a friendship. Tell him you are doing this - taking time out of relationships to be yourself for a while. He knows you're likely headed back there in a couple years. He's obviously still invested in you as a person. If he has any serious inclination towards being with you he will wait.
posted by nanojath at 10:04 AM on September 6, 2012


« Older Have I done something wrong, a...   |  So. I need to move and live wi... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.


Post