Is falling in love before going away a good idea?
May 6, 2011 8:58 AM   Subscribe

I have met a girl that I really like but I am going abroad for a half a year in three months. I don't know if I should let myself allow falling in love with her or just distance myself to her emotionally. Also the history seems to be repeating itself…

For the first time in a really long time I really like a girl. For the first time in a really long time I really FELT something in a kiss...

We became acquainted a few months ago and things have been evolving slowly since. The other day we kissed and I have a really good feeling about her. I am truly on the edge of falling in love.
The thing is, I am going on exchange studies in three months, being 10.000km away from her for a half a year.
I really really like the girl but I am also really afraid to fall in love with her, because I'll have to leave her again very soon.

It has to be said also that 4 years ago (when I was 20) I was in the same situation with another girl. Back then it was just too late: I had already fallen deeply in love with her. When I met her I had already planned an 8 months trip abroad. I was with her for 7 months before I went on my trip convinced that it would all work out for us. When we saw each other again after 8 months apart, 8 months of waiting for each other, she broke up with me right away. Not only did it she break up with me and broke my heart, it basically also ruined my entire trip having a girlfriend overseas, missing her so much I couldn't focus on just enjoying the trip.
The break-up took very hard on me, I have had a hard time getting emotionally attached to girls since, and it has been difficult not to compare girls with the x, which never came out to the new girls' advantage. It has played a great part of the past years and therefor it's an extreme release to know that I have finally moved on, though it took me almost 3 years.

Finally I am ready to fall in love again with this new girl, but now I just se history repeating itself… I don't want to experience the same thing again all over. At the same time I don't want to let go of the new girl. She is really too terrific and it's been so long since I've had these feelings for anyone. The situation is so absurd that it physically hurts!
I haven't told the new girl about my exchange trip yet either. I know it's inevitable, I'm just afraid it will make her distance herself from me. I know I have to tell her before things get serious. If I allow them to.

Should I just jump into it and fall in love - see where it gets me? Or should I distance myself to her or whatelse can I do? .. and what do I do if I fall in love? The timing of this is sooo miserable!

any advice?

posted by Sexy Motherfucker to Human Relations (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
A year and a half? That's a heck of a long time to be physically separated from this girl you're falling in love with. I would honestly hold off since you're not over the edge yet. You will meet again in life if these things are meant to be. You will grow and change over the course of your trip, and you've learned from your past experience that you won't enjoy your time abroad if you have a girl tying up your emotion back "home," wherever that is. Think about it this way: If you tell her now that you are madly in love with her, what good will that do? What do you expect her to do?
posted by sunnychef88 at 9:04 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I probably won't be the first person here to wonder if the timing, while miserable, doesn't have something to do with your feelings themselves. Maybe history is repeating itself in that you're prone to fall for people when there's an expiration date on the relationship in some sense (i.e., you're leaving). That said, there are very often independent life circumstances that affect our feelings for other people, so if my guess is right, it's not to say that your feelings are illegitimate or something.

Concrete advice as opposed to armchair diagnosis: tell her right away that you're leaving. Then, if you start falling for each other seriously, see if you can agree as soon as possible not to be exclusive while you're gone. If you can both handle that, it would eliminate the factor that complicated and ultimately ended your last relationship.
posted by Beardman at 9:07 AM on May 6, 2011

No, it's NOT a year and a half. It's half a year. OR a mere six months, if you want to describe it a touch less hyperbolically.

First of all, three months is a long time when you are just starting out. Anything could happen -- you might not be seeing each other by then. And the six months that follows may sound like a really long time, but frankly it's not as intense as you're making it sound.

But again, first you have to GET to those months. So I think you're putting the cart a bit ahead of the horse. If you feel like seeing this person and she feels like seeing you, that's wonderful. You'd have to be crazy to think you can look down the road even a few months and think you can make a "plan" that will usher you safely past the bumps and bruises of falling in love. Four years ago is pretty distant history, considering that you've only been an adult for what, six years total?

Anyhow, for now you have committed to a life of topsy-turvy travel/living situations, and one way or another you're going to have to get used to eking out a romantic life under those circumstances.
posted by hermitosis at 9:11 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Your choice seems to be to a) enjoy her company for 3 months or b) not have that experience.

I don't know you or her, but having recently been in a mini-relationship with a predefined "expiration date" like that, I can say that it worked really well to talk about the going away up front, enjoy each others' company for a time, and agree that trying to continue the relationship while apart was not going to happen (but you can still check in with each other when you return to see if picking it up again makes sense).
posted by transient at 9:17 AM on May 6, 2011

Six months ain't no thing! Seriously. If you're into each other you can do six months standing on your head. It's not six years. Don't worry it to death. Make your move, see how you feel in three months and if it's all flowers and butterflies it will probably be easier than you think to get through a moderate period of separation like that.
posted by troublewithwolves at 9:37 AM on May 6, 2011

Should I just jump into it and fall in love - see where it gets me?


Or should I distance myself to her or whatelse can I do?

Don't distance yourself from someone you like! That is a game for fools and androids!

.. and what do I do if I fall in love?

Cross that bridge when you come to it. Hit up again in three months, we'll be here.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:39 AM on May 6, 2011 [5 favorites]

I just returned from a year and a half abroad.

The exact same thing happened to me before I left. I met an awesome girl, and things were great in the time leading up to my departure. I broke up with her to go on the trip -- we discussed it in advance, so it wasn't a surprise for her. A timing and freedom thing, despite us liking each other a lot.

I'm very glad I was single while abroad. I lot of great stuff happened that would have happened if I was in a long-distance relationship. The girl and I talked about once a month while I was gone, and agreed to give it another shot if we were ever in the same place at the same time again.

She was single for most of the time that I was gone, and managed to get a serious boyfriend right before I returned. Oh well. That's how the world works.

Assuming that I probably wouldn't have married this girl if I'd stayed around, I'm pretty sure that I made the right choice.
posted by adamk at 9:41 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Anecdotally, about 10ish years ago, 5 months in to our relationship my (now) wife left for a 6 month backpacking trip across Australia. We waited things out and kept in touch and when she came back picked things up where we left off.

If I wouldn't have taken the chance and pursued things with her back then my life would be radically different than it is now, but I also I think I would have ended up passing the love of my life by. For me it was worth the distance and time away, and even if things hadn't worked out I still would have taken a shot at it.
posted by iamabot at 10:30 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'd break it off. Because I hate love.

No really, though, I think that it would be better to be able to enjoy your time abroad without pining the whole time.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:01 AM on May 6, 2011

I met my love (and mother of our 2 kids) 3 months before leaving to the other side of the (large) country for 2 years. I guess it went well, since we're still together. You either take a chance, or don't.
posted by ddaavviidd at 11:34 AM on May 6, 2011

Six months is nothing. I barely remember the past six months.

With regard to your former heartbreak -- everybody's got their former heartbreak story until they find a keeper. We all got dumped in a McDonald's or while hiking or after a romantic weekend or before our birthdays or while eating a doughnut or after having come home after being away for six months. You can't really hope to avoid it by avoiding similar circumstances -- it was the relationship that caused the break-up, not the events surrounding it.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:46 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

You can't choose whether to fall in love or not, if you think you can then that's not love. I'd have as much fun with her as you can for three months, but tell her you're going for six months at the onset and don't expect her to be faithful while you're gone. If you come back and she's waiting at the airport then great, if she's not, well, at least you had those three months. If you don't pursue her you're going to pine anyway, so you might as well make the most of it. If you were really IN LOVE with her then you'd cancel your trip to be with her. And you're not going to do that, are you? Also, all this is about your feelings, think about her feelings too and put them first. Again, if you love something, that's what you do.
posted by joannemullen at 5:41 PM on May 6, 2011

I agree with joannemullen's sentiment. My first thought on reading this was "you can decide whether or not you're going to fall in love?"

Have fun. See what happens. It's cliché, but you tend to regret what you haven't done, not what you do.
posted by cardioid at 11:50 AM on May 11, 2011

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