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How to solve a distance problem with an ex-girlfriend?
November 24, 2012 11:14 PM   Subscribe

The girl I used to see and I are living on different coasts and she doesn't think I care enough about her. Should I move to New York so we can be together?

We met each other while working abroad teaching English for the same company. We had a non-committed relationship, but we didn't see any other people. She often came over to my place and we spent almost every weekend together.

She had to move out of the country for a few weeks, but when she came back, she moved into the apartment right next to me and we spent all our time together.

A few months later (which was 11 months into our relationship), things went bad on a vacation together. She really loved me and was crazy about me. I liked her a lot and was very happy with her but didn't care for her as much as she cared for me. She wanted to get married. I agreed that we should be boyfriend and girlfriend but she wanted marriage.

She met some of my relatives during that vacation and because of the emotional stress, she didn't make a good impression. Those relatives told my parents bad things about her so my parents don't like her even though they never met her. I met her parents before and I didn't like her mother.

We ended up breaking up because it was too emotionally painful for her to stay with me and she moved back to her hometown of New York City. We kept in touch and I finished my contract abroad for another 7 months before moving back to the States too in April 2012. She wanted me to move to New York to be with her. I ended up moving back to Southern California where I'm from. I chose there because it was better financially for me to go there where I have some old work contacts and family. I also was afraid that moving to New York would be another emotional strain for her.

I visited her for Labor Day weekend and we both visited San Francisco for Thanksgiving.

We both think that there's no future together because we live on opposite coasts. She wants me to move to NYC. I don't think she should move to Southern California because she loves her hometown and has her family there. She's been seeing another guy for a couple of months but she still cares for me a lot.

I don't have any attachment to where I live, but I think I should stay there for a while (at least another year and a half) and save some money. I feel a slight sense of loyalty to my boss and my boss's boss now because I worked with them before I worked abroad and they helped me get my current job without even having to interview for it. My job is with computer software (unrelated to the teaching English I did abroad)

The time I spent with this girl was one of the happiest times of my life and I feel like I lost it and can never get it back. Should I move to New York?
posted by commitment to Human Relations (31 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
She wanted to marry you. You did not want to marry her. Don't move across the country; there's no happy ending there.

There are other people, who live in Cali, with whom you could have fulfilling relationships. Likewise, she'll eventually find someone in NYC.
posted by ellF at 11:18 PM on November 24, 2012 [17 favorites]


She really loved me and was crazy about me. I liked her a lot and was very happy with her but didn't care for her as much as she cared for me. She wanted to get married. I agreed that we should be boyfriend and girlfriend but she wanted marriage.

and

The time I spent with this girl was one of the happiest times of my life and I feel like I lost it and can never get it back. Should I move to New York?

...are interesting, back-to-back. When you were with her, you felt less than enthused, but now that she's gone, you feel like you had it better than you realized. Perhaps you didn't appreciate what you had, or perhaps you are forgetting the less-than-great times now that you've got some distance between you. Hard to say.

I think the main question is this: are you ready to get married, and to this girl? Move to New York and spend a few months making sure you're as crazy about her as she is about you, then ask her to marry you. If you're not ready to get married, at all or just with this girl, don't move, because you already know that's what she wants, and your moving there will just set an unrealistic expectation.

In short: go there intending to marry her unless you realize you don't want to after a few months (ie don't lead her on!), or stay where you are.
posted by davejay at 11:19 PM on November 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


It's interesting to me that you describe all the relationship stuff here in the past tense.

It makes me think that, deep down, you see whatever you had with this woman as having happened in the past.

If you were writing things like "I love her", "she's crazy about me", and "we want to get married", I would agree, you guys should get on the same coast ASAP. But you're not, so you shouldn't.

Long distance relationships resulting in both people successfully living in the same city and continuing to date -- much less the relationship eventually resulting in marriage -- are pretty rare, even among people who currently dig each other.
posted by Sara C. at 11:38 PM on November 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Agree with davejay. If you aren't ready to buy her a ring: don't move, stop leading her on, and cut the contact while you both get over it. If you do feel ready to buy a ring and propose now: move, wait six months, then propose.
posted by jacalata at 12:16 AM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait, four months ago, your ex asked an extremely similar question from the opposite point of view ... using the same account. So, are you both here looking for feedback on this relationship? Is one of you trying to persuade the other using feedback from AskMe?

The thing is, there's so much more you two know about this than any of us can know. And the context in which you're asking is clearly a little out of the ordinary.

Anyway, on the assumption I'm talking to you both, I'll say you should reconsider the idea that a long-distance relationship has no future in it. When we were still dating, my wife and I did two years apart after only 1.5 years of being together, and that was before there was Skype/Facetime/etc. It's only gotten easier. So LDRs can indeed have a future in them.

What the LDR would take, though, is exactly the same as what taking the plunge and moving to NYC really requires: just loving each other so much that it's obvious now you want to do it. It's OK that you didn't know that before you tried being apart. If you're feeling it now, just do it. Your parents will get used to it. If you move, your bosses will understand the reason. If it's what you want, it's leap of faith time.

...

Still having doubts? Then stop all this, and cut each other loose for real.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 12:23 AM on November 25, 2012 [21 favorites]


If you really wanted to be with her, this wouldn't be a question. You'd be in New York. You'd read sentences like this: "I ended up moving back to Southern California where I'm from. I chose there because it was better financially for me to go there where I have some old work contacts and family" and laugh at the ridiculousness of choosing such mundanities over the person you want to spend your life with.
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:46 AM on November 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


[OP, moderator here. I'm not deleting the question this time, but multiple users on one account is confusing and against the guidelines, and we need posts from this account to come from only one person from now on. You can read more about that here.]
posted by taz at 1:01 AM on November 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


Until the second-to-last sentence, this question reads like "someone else is really hung up on me, and honestly I don't care much about them either way. Should I change my whole life to make them happy?" I think if you really wanted to move to New York, there'd be a lot more evidence of... ya know, your desire to be with this girl. If you didn't want to marry her when you lived literally next door, why now? What changed?

"She doesn't think I care enough about her"- 'enough' for what? Enough to marry her when she asked you to? No, clearly you don't. But why SHOULD you? You're not obligated to care that much about her, so why try to force yourself to when it really doesn't read like you actually love her at all?

Wait, four months ago, your ex asked an extremely similar question from the opposite point of view ... using the same account. So, are you both here looking for feedback on this relationship? Is one of you trying to persuade the other using feedback from AskMe?

I thought it was sort of odd that someone would ask a question about whether they should uproot their life and move to the opposite coast to be with someone, without really mentioning any of their own emotions at all until the last sentence, but constantly referencing their ex's emotions. If this was really posted by the other half of this ex-couple, well, that's not cool.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:18 AM on November 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Danger, Will Robinson. Your ex is unhappy. That's her problem to solve, not yours. Even if you were in love with her and desperately wanted to make her happy, you would be incapable of making it happen; you can no more make her happy than you can go to the bathroom for her. I'm sure she genuinely wants you nearby, but I doubt that having you there would actually make her happy for longer than, oh, maybe a few hours. Because you aren't what she really needs; you're just what she thinks she needs. She wants and has wanted you to commit to her, but she is not committed to you; she's got another guy. I think she doesn't want you so much as she wants you to want her.
posted by jon1270 at 3:39 AM on November 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


She's been seeing another guy for a couple of months...

It's over between the two of you.

You need to stop wasting large amounts of your (finite) life churning "What If?" scenarios through your mind. Stop clinging to false hope. One polite email from you saying you need to move on, focus on yourself and wishing her the best. Then end contact and move on.

I repeat. It is over between the two of you. The time you spend denying this is time utterly wasted.
posted by Wordshore at 5:09 AM on November 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


IF this is for real --- if this and the previous posting about this same relationship (written from the point of view of the NYC person) are, as taz says, written by two different people and are not some kind of game --- then you two need to face the fact that it's over between you.

You moved to SoCal for the same family/job reasons that she moved to NYC for; she says you have problems with alcohol, you say she's seeing someone else, neither of you sounds like you really care all that much for the other. It's over, admit it and stay where you are.
posted by easily confused at 5:39 AM on November 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wait, are you the girlfriend writing as your ex to try to get AskMe to side with you? Because that's how this reads.

If not, it's not at all clear why you would even consider moving across the country for this woman, as other commenters have observed. Unless there's more to your feelings than you're letting on, this is clearly done and dusted.
posted by Specklet at 5:39 AM on November 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


I notice that in the previous question on this account, your girlfriend wrote, "A is coming to visit me (or NYC, it's not clear)." "A" refers to you.

Today, you wrote, "we both visited San Francisco for Thanksgiving."

So, she wasn't sure if you were going to NYC to see her, or just to visit her. And you don't say you saw each other for Thanksgiving; you say you both happened to go to San Francisco at the same time.

In both cases, you seem more interested in the city than in her. So I would recommend staying in your preferred city and not trying to keep this relationship alive when it apparently isn't.
posted by John Cohen at 5:52 AM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Coming back to this question, and pretending I don't think it's written by the girlfriend, the last paragraph should probably change to say:

I feel like the time I spent working abroad teaching English was one of the happiest times of my life and I feel like I lost it and can never get it back, and now I'm mistakenly associating the feeling of how awesome that entire experience was onto the not-that-interesting relationship I was in at the time, and this is making me think maybe it was a great relationship after all. Should I rekindle that relationship in the hopes that it would make everything else about my life the same as it was back then as well?

Answer: No, definitely not. Break off contact, stop leading her on and give both of yourselves space to move on. Figure out what else you're missing about that time and see if you can somehow get that back into your life without simply turning back into a younger version of yourself that has the same mistakes to get through.
posted by jacalata at 5:53 AM on November 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


Yes! Go ! If you go and it doesn't work out, you'll know. If you don't go, you'll never know if it would've worked out.
posted by at at 6:26 AM on November 25, 2012


[Folks, we've talked to the OP, answers still need to be helpful because it is still AskMe.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:46 AM on November 25, 2012


If there is any Askme gaming going on, it sounds to me like it's being done by whichever of you DOESN'T want this move to happen. When I first read the above-the-fold part of this question, I clicked to read the rest because I assumed there must be one heck of a set of extenuating circumstances that would make this a question that needed to be asked - one that could warrant any answer other than "What? No, of course not."

Instead, I read that after you were with her for nearly a year you only felt that you liked her, not loved her. You say nothing that suggests that this has changed since then. And then I read something vague about how she acted around your relatives - does not making a good impression mean she burped at the table and said "who" when she should have said "whom," or does it mean she screamed, carried on, and otherwise suppurated drama? Since that whole episode was so glossed over I'm inclined to assume it was closer to the latter than the former; moreover, why is that nearly the only thing you have to say about this person? How is that meant to suggest you should upheave your life to be with her?

She likes you more than you like her. She did ... something ... significantly unpleasant when meeting your relatives. She's emotionally carrying on with you despite the fact that she's seeing somebody else. You fear that you moving to NY would be an emotional strain for her. And you ask if you should move across the country to be with her?

What? No, of course not.
posted by DingoMutt at 6:50 AM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, someone here really, really wants this tortured relationship to work, and the other party, meh.


That being the case, you both need to break it off permanantly. No phone calls, facebook, email, visits, vacations, etc.

The problem with these drama-filled relationships is that they lead to obsession and warped thinking.

OP says that the time of the relationship abroad was the happiest of his life. Well, could that be because he was in a different country, doing work he enjoyed, with a love interest that he didn't have to devote too much effort to?

It wasn't that the relationship was so great, it was that the situation was awesome.

Some people remember college as the best time of their lives. They were young, had little responsibility and the future was rosy.

The problem with settling down is that things become mundane. You work, you live, and if you're lucky you have a relationship that works. It's not exciting, it's not dramatic, it compliments your life as it is today.

So no. Don't move. Don't even encourage this relationship any more. It's over, it's been over for quite some time.

Each party should work to find a good relationship in his or her current location.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:57 AM on November 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


You're trying to decide if you should move across the country to marry someone who is seeing someone else at the moment. Things which are important enough to factor into the decision, apparently, include the fact that you didn't like her mother, and the fact that you feel "a slight sense of loyalty" to your boss.

This sounds like a mess. What you're describing is just drama and nonsense. You're not together, and it doesn't sound like you want to be. For heaven's sake, leave it at that.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 7:01 AM on November 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't think so. It doesn't sound like either one of you like the other one or their family all that much.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:08 AM on November 25, 2012


Speaking as the mother of adult children you sound to me like you have some growing up to do. You call her a "girl"; I don't know how old she is, but if she's old enough to teach in another country she's old enough to be called a woman.

You're not ready to get married to anyone, and moving to a strange city where living isn't exactly easy sounds like the wrong move for you. Let go and move on.
posted by mareli at 7:21 AM on November 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


No, nobody should move. Cross country moves should only be undertaken in the service of a strong relationship, not a failed one. And this relationship has already failed, to the point that whichever one of you is writing this is referring to both of you as exes.

You guys need to stop talking to each other entirely. Tis situation is going to make you both miserable until you do.
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:43 AM on November 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Everyone, thank you for responding. This is the girl who posted in the summer - what happened was I came here to see him Thanksgiving for the last time. Long story short, it was fine, then I felt sad about it (sadder than I thought I would've felt) and he felt sad about it and wasn't sure what to do. He thought about asking AskMe but did not have an account I guess (we're staying in the same hotel room) so I told him he could use mine. I think asking him to move to NYC is unrealistic - really, if he wanted to move there he'd have done so by now. Anyway, I'm starting to run on.

The guy who posted this post will select what he thinks is the best answer and that will be the end of it (by which I mean only I will use this account from now on). I apologize for confusing everyone.
posted by commitment at 7:59 AM on November 25, 2012


Feeling sad when you see your ex is about the worst reason in the world I can think of for ditching your life and moving 6000 miles away from your family and friends. I've felt sad when seeing ALL of my exes for the first few months to a year after we broke up. My solution was to sever all contact and definitely to NOT SHARE HOTEL ROOMS WITH THEM. Now I am good friends with almost all of them! But it took many months of ZERO contact to make that happen.

Now, if you'd both felt effortlessly filled with joy when you saw each other and immediately began picturing spending the rest of your lives together, and suddenly all the stuff about your boss and her mom and all the rest of it just totally vanished from your minds completely... then maybe maybe MAYBE I'd suggest that you guys try to make it work. But 'try to make it work' would still not involve an immediate cross-country move, because that is an enormously difficult and expensive proposition with no guaranteed job or social safety net on the other end of it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:47 AM on November 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was going to suggest an intermediate step besides moving, for instance getting a Skype account and video chatting each day. See if you have enough love to get through the Skype and video hurdle, and if there is still love there in a couple months, go for the move. But, the last question says that they talk on the phone every day and "might" visit each other. There have now been two visitations, and there is probably no need for an intermediate Skype step if they still talk on the phone "every day" and it's already been 5 months. I just keep going back to that sentence saying it was the happiest time of his life. That sort of means a lot and is a decent reason to give a relationship a try. Sometimes people can be skittish about commitment at first. A lot of them go on to have happy committed relationships.

Things that would mitigate this: she put a lot of pressure on him to visit, or it really was mostly about seeing the city / for another reason, or she was/is always the one calling and it's not mutual, or they both do call and email but for him it feels like an obligation or is out of guilt rather than something he chooses. Or, there is some specific incompatibility from when they were together that they both know would not work in person and they are ignoring it. Or, if his gut feeling just says no. In any of those cases, he's got to tear off the bandaid and let her know that it is not happening - ever.

If he does move, she should accept the risk that he might get skittish there in NYC, and if that happens she'll get really hurt.
posted by kellybird at 9:21 AM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


[OP, yes, do restrict this account to your own use only in the future. Commenters, I know this is a weird situation but meta-commentary on the posters' motives for posting is not that helpful.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:51 AM on November 25, 2012


I came here to see him Thanksgiving for the last time. Long story short, it was fine, then I felt sad about it (sadder than I thought I would've felt) and he felt sad about it and wasn't sure what to do. He thought about asking AskMe but did not have an account I guess (we're staying in the same hotel room) so I told him he could use mine. I think asking him to move to NYC is unrealistic - really, if he wanted to move there he'd have done so by now.

OP, there's the answer. It doesn't sound like she wants you to move to NYC at all. Do not move to NYC.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:41 AM on November 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


This relationship is over. You both know it. This is why you feel sad.

It's okay. Love ends. You move on. You love again. You have fond memories of your ex. Maybe you and your new sweetie get together for dinner with them and their new sweetie and you all have a lovely time.

It's okay. It's not simple, but it's okay. You had something beautiful together, now it's over.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:59 AM on November 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


It's not that there is no future because you live on opposite coasts... You live on opposite coasts because there is no future together. If you really felt the need, the fire in your belly that you couldn't be without her, you would have moved to NYC regardless of financial situation or contacts or whatever other excuses you used to rationalize to yourself why it was better for you to move back to So Cali.

You were both fortunate to enjoy a lovely romance in an exotic locale, but it was effectively a summer romance, for you at least. Be honest with this girl that you don't see a future once and for all; wish her well, and enjoy the memories.

Oh, and protip: if you don't like her family and yours don't like her, in this initial stage when everyone's supposed to be on their best first imprssion behavior and forgiving faux-pas related to nerves and stress, etc... Yeah, that never gets better. Family that doesn't like you (or her) now will be openly advocating for a break-up or divorce later. Not the good support system that every long-term relationship needs.
posted by vignettist at 12:05 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Being sad when you see someone is not a reason to move. Being sad when you don't see someone is a reason to move.
posted by corb at 9:34 PM on November 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


The part about the relatives? It reflects poorly on the relatives, not the girlfriend.

OP, you sound young and unduly influenced by a group of people (your relatives) who should mind their own business. Your inclusion of this detail as a concern, frankly, does not reflect well on you.

To the ex GF - I would not want to get back together with someone who would allow negative gossip from relatives who do not know me well influence the rest of his family's opinion of me.

The rest of this is dramaz, but that bit about the relatives was cringeworthy enough for me to feel it was important to highlight for the posters of this AskMe. It's red flag territory when someone's family is that negative and domineering. It's red flag territory when someone you are dating allows their relatives to even be gossipy about you in their presence. Just... NO. It is indicative of an enormous lack of boundaries and respect. It is kryptonite for healthy relationships.

You should both go "no contact" and move on from each other. The guy in this situation, especially, comes with too much baggage (unsure of his feelings, poor family dynamic) to make it worth fighting for.

Good luck to you both.
posted by jbenben at 11:57 AM on November 26, 2012


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