LDR or not?
March 13, 2013 12:17 AM   Subscribe

5yr relationship relationship about to embark on potential 2 years or longer LDR

Hello all,

I will try to keep this concise.

Let me keep this short and simple. I've basically been seeing this girl since high school and we had dated for 4 years before our initial break-up over a long-distance relationship when she was doing an exchange program. When she came back, the spark was still there and we decided to give it another shot. We are both 22 years old and still have undecided futures. All I know is that I am going to be backpacking right now for 3 months in Southeast Asia and then potentially going for another 2 years to teach English in Japan while she will be doing her masters in Canada at that time as well.

We will now be together for 5 years and are at the start of our LDR. I am just afraid of it not working out again because we don't seem to have a definite tangible end-point to where this LDR stops. But because of the previous break-up and reunion, she is really determined to make it work and seems to be set to want to marry me.

I just don't really know how to gauge all of this because we are still young and at a point in our lives where we can't really be sure of where we'll be. Furthermore, I feel like we have a really strong connection, but I also feel like she has a lot of personal maturation to do in terms of managing her own emotions. She's not necessarily bipolar but goes through emotional rollercoasters. I had always been there for her and we always got along and rarely fought in spite of it, they were just personal issues that I sometimes needed to coach her through. Now I am just afraid of the steps we will be taking and would love to have some opinions about this.

I basically can't decide because on one side I feel like I've never really connected with someone at this level, but on the other side I feel like we both haven't matured to a point where we can really say what we want. I feel like in order for me to be 100% about an LDR, i need to basically feel like there's a tangible ending and also for me to be sure that this person's the one. But as of now it's all quite ambiguous so I'm not too sure of what steps to take. I feel like we've known each other for so long that we're practically a part of each other and even if we break up we'd still remain really good friends.

Help. LOL
posted by Trinergy to Human Relations (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Break up. Don't string this along. See the world. Now is the time to do so.
posted by quince at 12:38 AM on March 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


I think your intuition here is worth listening to. And with length of time undefined, it seems inevitable that one of you will reach the point of wanting a local gf/bf, or meeting somebody, and it will be way worse to wait and break up then. You're both off to explore the world and grow, and the freedom will help with that.
posted by salvia at 12:41 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Break up now and don't string her along any more.

If you want to hold out hope for this relationship -- my sister broke up with her HS boyfriend when they went to college. They both went to school in separate states, dated other people -- he actually was even engaged to someone else at one point. After school, they both moved back home and reconnected and got married 9 months later and they've been married for 8 years now. It does happen.
posted by empath at 12:49 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


...I've never really connected with someone else at this level...

You're 22. You have only begun to meet the people who will impact your life and whose lives you will impact.

Let her go. Stay in touch if you want, while you are both out of country. If you both return and are single and want to make another go of things, try then. But don't try to have an LDR at 22. Live while you are young and free and unemcumbered.
posted by tigerjade at 12:53 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Give yourself the gift of independence as you begin your adult lives. If you are meant to be together, then eventually the universe will find a way to tell you. No-one should go into an LDR feeling uncertain the way you're feeling, especially one that's so long, with no defined end date, and with both of you so young.
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:58 AM on March 13, 2013


Oh, this sucks because it's so hard to do the right thing (which is break up, and bear in mind you can always reconnoiter). I didn't do the right thing, and it's basically torpedoed any chance I had of getting back together with my partner. Long distance is hard, and going into it with doubts is not going to end well. I'm sorry.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 12:59 AM on March 13, 2013


Breaking up doesn't mean you won't ever be together again. Let her go. You'll still be friends -- it's much easier from a distance. But go and live!
posted by bluedaisy at 12:59 AM on March 13, 2013


Best answer: Aw, hon. You're not ready. You talk about strong connection and the growing up you've done together, and the fact that she wants to marry you. But love can be so different to that as a more mature, worldly person. Love, when you're ready, can be just pure joyfulness and sharing and working together to make a better life for yourselves, because you want to settle down. You're not ready. Go and see the world, try new things, find out more about who you are. Extend as much lovingkindness to her as you can without muddying your message (that it's over). Express to her how much it's meant to you to know her, but be unequivocal about the fact that you are ending things (e.g. don't be vague, it'll confuse her). If you're worried about her emotions, do what you can to ensure she has someone to talk to after you have your conversation - you still care, after all. But you need to do what's best for you. She might meet someone who wants exactly what she wants, so staying together would rob her of that opportunity.

You're not ready. Breaking up is the kindest thing for you both.

Good luck.
posted by pink_gorilla at 1:21 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Best answer: I'm old-fashioned in this. I believe if you are with someone for five years... you should know if they are "the one" by now (a phrase I don't believe in, but for all intents and purposes here I'll use it). 22 is young, but it's not 12, you are an adult. The girl is in love with you and wants to marry you; to her, you are "the one" ... If you don't want to marry her, even some time in the future, you are stringing her along, and honestly, you are being cruel.

I have never understood the line of "we don't know what's going to happen" in regards to love... this is not the weather, or wars in a foreign country, this is something directly in your hands; saying "I don't know what will happen" is an excuse to not choose. What will happen, in this case, is what you decide will happen - you decide to stay with the girl, or you decide to break up. But nobody is forcing you to go backpacking, nobody is forcing you to spend two years in Japan. You can not say "well we have to have a long distance relationship, and long distance relationships are too hard, so we'll have to break up." The logic there is backwards. The fact is, the relationship is a lower priority to you than other things, and you are choosing other things over the relationship.

As others have said, you are young, so choosing other things over a relationship that isn't that serious, isn't necessarily a bad thing. But if you're ok consciously choosing other things over your relationship, and you don't think you want to stay with the girl or marry her in the future, then yes, absolutely break up with her. If you were serious about the relationship I think you would be looking for a way to stay with her and make it work.
posted by celtalitha at 1:40 AM on March 13, 2013 [29 favorites]


Best answer: I basically can't decide because on one side I feel like I've never really connected with someone at this level, but on the other side I feel like we both haven't matured to a point where we can really say what we want.

You've set these facts against each other as if they conflict, but they don't. It's no surprise you haven't connected with anyone else at this level; you're very young, as you say, and from your relationship timeline it doesn't seem like you've really had a chance to. Indeed, these two statements fit together perfectly. You're more insightful than you give yourself credit for.

This is something we should do a better job of stressing to kids: Your first love will feel unique, and when it ends you will feel like you've lost something unique. Maintain perspective in both those situations. Don't get completely rapt in the relationship, and don't be totally devastated by the breakup. It is unique, sort of, but only by virtue of being first. Your later relationships will be just as passionate, often deeper, and probably miles more interesting and fun in their own way. Go live 'em.
posted by cribcage at 2:18 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


All I know is that I am going to be backpacking right now for 3 months in Southeast Asia and then potentially going for another 2 years to teach English in Japan while she will be doing her masters in Canada at that time as well.

You have two choices: go off backpacking by yourself, or go with your partner to Canada. LDR is not an option. After 5 years you are a couple or you are not a couple. If you do not grow together, you grow apart.
posted by three blind mice at 2:21 AM on March 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't think it matters either way and there's no right thing to do. Try it. Break ups are painful anyway, but if you give it your best shot , you'll be so much more emotionally available for the right person if and after this relationship ends, and you won't be Facebooking her or googling her or boring other women with stories about "the one that got away" down the line. And it might even end as you're separated. You don't have to decide everything now. But do be honest with her about your ambivalence.

Breaking up a longterm relationship isn't the worst outcome in the world, trust me. Accept the path your life and heart want you to take, accept yourself, and learn about yourself and others and don't regret the choices you make.
posted by discopolo at 2:28 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


My husband and I of 8 years are doing an LDR right now. It has a clear end to it. We have a plan on when during the LD part we are seeing each other. We couldn't do this otherwise and we know we aren't breaking up.

I see two choices: (1) You both define very well what the relationship for the two of you will look like for the next 2 years. (2) Breakup and then figure out later if it makes sense to get back together.

#1 is going to be very difficult at 22 with all the options and excitement you will have in your life for the next few years, but if the relationship is worth it to both of you, then between the two of you, you will make it work. If you can't do #1 and do it well, then #2 is the only option.
posted by chiefthe at 2:34 AM on March 13, 2013


Also, the whole ending it but never saying you'll never be together again because maybe you can find each other later? Roll of eyes. I have an ex who had twenty years on you who seems to think this is possible for us, and he won't accept how lame and pathetic and selfish it is (and how I'm not interested in that and find it an absurd and slightly horrifying idea). It's also not something I would ever consider because it's wrong to do to people you date afterwards. I couldn't go into a new relationship and feel like a good person if I secretly believed I would end up with someone else. That is a crappy thing to do to another person. I wouldn't want to be with someone who secretly fantasizes or considers the possibility that they'll end up with someone else. How crappy would it be to be on the other side of that?
posted by discopolo at 2:45 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, my relationship started as a very-long-distance thing and the only thing that made it not an insane idea was that we both had a clear desire to be where the other one was, we both expressed a willingness to give up what we each had to go be with the other, and we eventually worked out a concrete plan and timeline for how that would happen. If you don't know that answer right now, you will not figure it out in the next 2 years.

Break up, see the world, and if you're both still single get back together for coffee in 2 years to find out all about what the other person has been up to, and see if the spark is still there.
posted by olinerd at 3:04 AM on March 13, 2013


But nobody is forcing you to go backpacking, nobody is forcing you to spend two years in Japan. You can not say "well we have to have a long distance relationship, and long distance relationships are too hard, so we'll have to break up." The logic there is backwards. The fact is, the relationship is a lower priority to you than other things, and you are choosing other things over the relationship.

Just want to reiterate celtalitha because they stole the words out of my mouth. When you are the with the one you want to be with, the become entwined in your life. There isn't a line between "the relationship" and "the life you want to live."

Of course LDRs can work, but that's usually because people are separated by circumstance, not by choice. This is not that. You are choosing a different life than a life with her and so you should break up because she wants more than you do.
posted by like_neon at 5:22 AM on March 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


Something within you is telling you to go somewhere and do something new. You have wanderlust. That's cool to have at 22. Go, wander, experience new people, new loves, new everything if you're going to leave. But be honest with yourself, if you wanted to stay with her physically, you'd make that a priority. You haven't.

So break up with her. It won't be easy. But you'll start fresh with new challenges and have no obstacles to experiencing life.
posted by inturnaround at 5:37 AM on March 13, 2013


Here's my story if it helps: I was in your shoes when I was your age, and my boyfriend at the time and I embarked on a LDR. In hindsight, we did it because of course we loved each other, but we were also afraid to just end it.

During that time I met someone else with whom I had an incredible and overwhelming "this is the one" attraction, but never really pursued it because I was in a LDR.

But it was enough for me to realize that I needed to break up with my boyfriend and live my life without him.

30 years later, I'm marrying Mr. This Is The One.
posted by kinetic at 5:38 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think you want to break up, be single, and be free. If I'm right, you should go ahead and do that.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:07 AM on March 13, 2013


The biggest mistakes I've made in my life have been made when I didn't listen to my gut. It's clear from your post that your gut is trying to get your attention... I recommend you listen to it.
posted by summerstorm at 8:18 AM on March 13, 2013


Break up. Revisit the relationship in two years. If one or both of you don't want it, you've saved yourself two years of wondering. If one of you does want in and the other doesn't in two years time, then you're broken up anyway and have missed two years worth of chances.
posted by Solomon at 9:08 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Talk to her. If you guys are super close friends and will remain so even if you break up then be honest with her. Say you are worried about a LDR with no plans for the end of it. If you don't think she's "the one" whatever that means then that should also be part of the discussion. If you want to be able to not think about a LDR when travelling and working on other things then tell her that's what's going on.

I can say that it fucking sucks to be dumped because someone is too chicken to even try a LDR without the courtesy of actually discussing it. I probably would have agreed with them, but still. Communicate.

If you break up have no illusions about getting back together at some future point without a plan of some kind (which probably won't feel so freeing as just cutting it off, and no one wants to be settled for).
posted by Feantari at 12:10 PM on March 13, 2013


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