My first long distance relationship with my first serious girlfriend. Bad idea?
April 25, 2010 10:01 AM   Subscribe

I'm young, in a serious long distance relationship with an amazing girl, but don't have much relationship experience. I don't know where to take things.

Dear mefi,

I've been in a relationship for around 7 months, and it has become long distance in the last  month.

We are both 21, and lost our virginity to each other. We get along amazingly-she's easily the  best friend I've ever had. We have never argued, though there has been some stress and  jealousy on my part due to an ex of hers who is still to this day telling her he loves her.

Both of us thought long distance was a stupid idea before we met, but neither of us had  much relationship experience and underestimated the bond that would be created.

She is extremely dedicated to me, she thinks I am the one. I'm very happy with her, but  both of us now live in different countries and there is no definite time we can be together.  We could only be together if one of us moved to the other's country, which means starting  a life together. But I'm nervous - I'm still young - what if I reach an age and suddenly  wonder what else is out there, what I maybe missed. In fact I'm already starting to wonder.

When we were together (in the same country) I never gave this a second thought. And if that  were still the case i wouldnt be posting on here. But now we're apart, I wonder if I'm  wasting my time - what if we aren't right for each other?

But then I worry that I'll lose something great and regret it in the future. I love her so much  and don't want to hurt her just because of my childish desire to 'experiment'. But I worry I  might end up hurting her more if I just keep ignoring this desire.
I guess I'm just being selfish- you can't have everything right?

I'm also not sure how to talk about this with her. I'll be visiting her the week after next.

I'd be interested to hear your experiences or if you have any advice. I suppose I don't really have a question, apart from "What  should I do?!". I'd really appreciate hearing experiences of people reading this though, and what made you do what you did?

If you have any private stuff to share please contact me at
Not my real name :p
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'll be visiting her the week after next

I would wait until then. If you really enjoy being with her, then I guess you have your answer, logistics aside. And don't worry about her ex - dude's just being mopey and will get over it; she remains "extremely dedicated" to you. If you're not happy then, you should maybe agree to see one another as friends the next time you're in the same place / talk when both of you are feeling up to it, but not wait around in the interim.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:11 AM on April 25, 2010

But I'm nervous - I'm still young - what if I reach an age and suddenly wonder what else is out there, what I maybe missed. In fact I'm already starting to wonder.

This is the key, really. If you're wondering this now, a month into your long-distance relationship, it does not bode well for the relationship's future. It would be one thing if you'd been together for a long time beforehand -- several years, as opposed to several months -- but as it is, you just don't have enough experience with this girl to know whether or not she's long-term girlfriend material, let alone anything else.

I don't know how far apart you and your girlfriend are -- England to France is very different from, say, America to Australia -- but if you're too far apart to be able to see each other AT LEAST once a month for a decent length of time, I would advise against attempting to continue this relationship.

(FWIW, I've been in two long-distance relationships -- one, with a boy in California, that lasted a little over a year but ended very badly; and one with Mr. Narrative, who lived in Boston for the first year and a half we were together. In the latter case, we saw each other nearly every weekend, which was expensive but absolutely worth it.)
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:17 AM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding Narrative Priorities. Being in different countries that are adjacent is very different than being across the world from each other. While my husband and I were sorting out immigration issues, we were across the world from each other, and it was the hardest thing I've ever done. We saw each other once in nine months, and honestly, if we weren't already married and totally committed, I can't say whether our relationship would have survived that kind of stress. And that was knowing that we would be together in the same place once everything was sorted (we were both willing to relocate if necessary).

It also depends on whether either of you is willing to relocate when the time comes. If neither of you is willing to consider moving to the other's country once your relationship warrants that kind of commitment, then you need to think about whether there is a future in this.

As for wondering whether you are missing something, wait until you go see her - if you leave her still wondering, then I would say you need to rethink this whole thing. If you finish your time with her wondering why on earth you were wondering about other possibilities, you may want to try this thing and see if it works.
posted by scrute at 10:49 AM on April 25, 2010

I spent two years in a long distance relationship, that was also my first real relationship. Here is what I think made it work:

One, and I'm pretty sure this is the big one: There was a definite end point. We both knew when it would stop being long distance. I know people who have semi-successfully done the indeterminate end date. I do not know how. For me there was definitely a feeling of being in limbo during the LD part. We were transcontinental, and lucky enough to have the cash to see each other about every two months. There was about 9 months of short distance before the long distance started, and I think it is important to have that time to learn whether or not you like each other.

Two, both of us were confident that this was gonna be a real long term thing. This related to one, but different.

As far as worries over missing out on something: I feel ya. I kinda had the same sort of doubts when I started on this relationship (Spoiler alert: Dear Reader, I married him.), but addressed them as follows: either it's a good thing, or it's not. If it's a good thing, don't trade it in for some imaginary relationship. If it's not, then don't stay in it. I would not make decisions based on preconceived standards of what you should be doing.

Good luck!
posted by PMdixon at 11:02 AM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

Seconding PMdixon's comment of a definite end date being key. I spent 9 months apart from my fiancé last year while studying abroad, and it was hard, but doable thanks to knowing we would end up in the same countries. I am 25 but my peers at university are your age, and I know one pair out of the many couples that were together at the start who actually remained together when they returned home. The temptation of exotic nights out and people is a huge lure.

Living in different countries puts an enormous strain on a relationship, communicating without being face-to-face means missing out on the nuances unless you have a couple of years behind you and know your partner inside out.
posted by ellieBOA at 11:24 AM on April 25, 2010

A desire to find out whats out there and experiment can ruin many great relationships later. I think people should it out of their systems before having serious relationships. You don't want your spouse to suddenly tell you, after 7 yrs of marriage, that they don't feel they got to see what was out there and have fun because you were their first and only and want to do it in now. Be kind to you and her and don't settle down until you feel ready.
posted by meepmeow at 12:12 PM on April 25, 2010

Yeah, it kind of sucks when your first is so great. You know you have mistakes to make and lessons to learn, and you certainly don't want to make them with her. It's hard, and long distance makes it harder.

Honestly, you have to let go of the analysis for a while. In my case, she was the smarter of the two of us, and told me that it was simple: she liked being with me, so she chose to be with me. I didn't understand until years later what she meant. It didn't mean she was less serious, or that it was easier for her. It meant that she understood that you can't front-load a relationship with all of this worry about whether a person is the one and only, or whether it will last forever. You just have to be in the relationship now, and let yourself enjoy that, and those other things become clear naturally. Or they don't, and that's important to know too.

Long distance is hard. And the pressure of moving closer can be a strain early on, precisely because it forces you to do a bit of that front-loading I mentioned. But it is possible, and even fun. Visits are a blast, and you can be creative with ways to stay close when you are apart.
posted by Nothing at 1:51 PM on April 25, 2010 [7 favorites]

« Older How to find proposals for past RFP?   |   Waiting begets waiting Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.