Should I talk to my boyfriend about me leaving, or ignore the situation?
March 22, 2007 3:53 AM   Subscribe

Should I talk to my boyfriend about me leaving, or ignore the situation?

My boyfriend and I got together around November, both aware of the fact that at the end of August, I'm moving a 5 and 1/2 hour rail journey away until next summer (long story, it's not really relevant why I'm going, I just want to make it clear that it's not something that can be changed, nor is he coming with me - that's not an option. However, I AM moving back here afterwards, so we'll be in the same town [Southampton, not that it matters] again).

So, I'm not asking HOW it's going to work or what we should do about it. What I'm asking is, SHOULD I TALK TO HIM ABOUT IT? Because we have not, as yet, had the conversation. To be frank, I am terrified he's going to say he doesn't want to do the long distance thing, so I avoid the conversation with all my strength. There have been numerous occasions when I've thought about talking to him, but when it comes down to it I'm too scared, because I feel it's better to be ignorant about it now and not know what's going on than to be told "this is only going to last another 5 months", which would absolutely break my heart and I believe that, to save pain later on, I'd have to end this relationship NOW.

It's definitely a very stable, happy, fantastic relationship, for both of us. He's already asked me to go away with him in the summer, we're both doing the 'meet the parents' thing in the next few months, we have a brilliant connection on ALL levels (for a start, the sex is unbelieveable, for both of us), and we have both said on many occasions that we've found something really VERY great. And I know 5 months is a long time and we could feel differently, but I really don't see that we will. So when I think about it like this, I think, he won't break up with me just because I'm moving away for a bit. But then there's the lingering worry that he just might.

So there's all that, all I want to know is, is it better to just try and enjoy the next few months and not raise the subject (even though it's always in the back of my mind), or talk to him about it now to get some reassurance either way?
posted by trampesque to Human Relations (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Live it up for the moment. Yeah, it's going to be in the back of your mind, that's natural, but for the moment, just be and live
and enjoy what you got. Things might work out later. They might not. But for how, they are, so just enjoy that.

Probably within that last month you guys will talk. Until then, enjoy the ride.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:16 AM on March 22, 2007

yes, talk to him about it. Continue talking about it. Do not wait till the last month to begin discussing it.
posted by necessitas at 4:24 AM on March 22, 2007

Um. Looks like you're straying towards panic and paranoia again.

End of August... I'm guessing you're going into higher education of some kind? Look, you won't believe me now, but he's the one that's going to get dumped, not you. You have nothing to worry about.

So, my best answer: Just go away and enjoy your time together, instead of worrying about the future.

But... you're a worrier, right? I might as well tell you to "just" flap your arms and fly. So my practical answer: talk to him, get the reassurance you need (and you will get it), then go and enjoy your time together.
posted by Leon at 4:24 AM on March 22, 2007

Best answer: There have been numerous occasions when I've thought about talking to him, but when it comes down to it I'm too scared, because I feel it's better to be ignorant about it now and not know what's going on than to be told "this is only going to last another 5 months", which would absolutely break my heart and I believe that, to save pain later on, I'd have to end this relationship NOW

I bet he's thinking exactly the same thing.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:28 AM on March 22, 2007

Yes talk about it.

If he wants to end your relationship, it'll be explicit. If he wants to continue it, it'll be explicit and you can stop being terrified.
posted by beerbajay at 4:36 AM on March 22, 2007

Best answer: Talk about it. The distance is no big thing. My fiancee moved 8 hours away to Toronto for nine months and now he's back home. Yes it sucked, but it worked out fine because we were very much into each other.

If you don't talk about it, you won't know.
posted by santojulieta at 5:15 AM on March 22, 2007

Did you see old yeller?

Don't farm it out. Rip the bandaid off and talk to him.
posted by filmgeek at 5:19 AM on March 22, 2007

It's only a year, and it's not that far. I've been in an open-ended LDR, and a finite (but very far) LDR, and finite is much easier. In the second case, that talk didn't come up until a few weeks before I left. We hadn't been seeing each other all that long either, and neither of us were ready to talk about it until we'd settled in more, so it worked for us that way.

That said, if you can't stand not saying something, if it is just weighing on your mind too much, you should bring it up, because otherwise it'll ruin your time left. But ideally, you won't let it weigh on your mind. It's still 5 months away, enjoy the time you have. One other thing to keep in mind: long distance relationships are really hard, and insecurity is made much much worse by distance, so you might want to work on your need for reassurance.
posted by someone else at 5:56 AM on March 22, 2007

Talk now. Think of all the wonderful "I'm going to miss you" sex you can have between now and August.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:16 AM on March 22, 2007

Yes, you should at some point talk about it.

However, I think that the best way to kill a relationship is with lots and lots of endless "all about our relationship" talks. You live the relationship, you don't talk it, and it is pretty easy to talk the life right out of it. So make sure that talking about things doesn't turn into a replacement for just doing the nice things that create a good relationship.

I'd also suggest (much closer to your departure) making a couple of things explicit: if one of you sleeps around, does the other one want to hear about it, or would they prefer it be kept secret? How often and in what ways do you expect communication? Visits? This is sort of the long distance relationship equivalent of talking about finances and kids in a "regular" relationship -- people can come in with some pretty strong ideas, and it is better to air them and be aware of the other's expectations. There is no one right answer to any of these questions (whatever makes both of you happy is fine), but if you have different expectations without communication, problems ensue.
posted by Forktine at 6:17 AM on March 22, 2007

Please clarify: He does not actually know that you are leaving at the end of August? If you don't tell him between now and then, it's going to be a surprise?

If this is true, he at least deserves the courtesy and respect of knowing your plans. You love each other. Act like it.
posted by Robert Angelo at 6:40 AM on March 22, 2007

Response by poster: No no, he knows, he's always known. The problem is that we've never talked about what we're actually going to do when that time comes, and I'm wondering whether I should initiate that sooner rather than later, so we know what's going on.
posted by trampesque at 7:02 AM on March 22, 2007

WTF? Of course talk about it.
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:03 AM on March 22, 2007

It sounds like you and your boyfriend are young and you have about as much time together before August as you have already invested in your relationship. Think about how many things have changed in your life since November and realize that things will probably look just as different (probably better) in August in comparison to now.

Have you ever been on a trip to somewhere fantastic where you felt that you would literally trade a limb for another week in paradise? Hopefully, you did not then spend your trip agonizing over the fact that the dreaded packing of the bags and trip to the airport were approaching faster and faster. Hopefully, you put it out of your mind until the day actually came to fly back home.

You know it is coming and so does he. There is no reassurance he can give you now. August is five months away and then you have a year apart after that. He does not know what is going to happen any better than you do. Just enjoy each other and try to savor the special poignancy that accompanies knowing that a wonderful chapter is going to come to a close (not to say your relationship will end, but it will look different).

Also, I totally second everything that Forktine said. Wait until the inevitable is right around the corner and then talk about it. No use planning how you are going to pack your bags until it is time to go to the airport. Take care.
posted by melangell at 7:11 AM on March 22, 2007

Best answer: So you're less than five months into the relationship, you've got at least five months until you move, things are otherwise going great, and you're worried about how he's going to feel about you in August? There's no way he has any idea what you going away means to your relationship, either.

You should talk about it, but the same way you talk about your summer plans. Let him help you plan your trip. Talk about how you wonder what you'll do while you're there. Make your time away seem tangible, but don't confront him and expect him to have a plan already. A lot can happen in five months.
posted by mikeh at 7:21 AM on March 22, 2007

August is pretty far away considering you've only been with him since November. I'd chill out until about June or July. Enjoy the time you have because by the time August rolls around, you may either both feel so strongly either way (this relationship is great/not going to go the distance) that the conversation could be easy at that point.

FWIW, my SO and I had "that conversation" about a month before starting long distance, even though we knew about the impending distance from the day we got together (five months before leaving).
posted by ml98tu at 7:26 AM on March 22, 2007

No no, he knows, he's always known. The problem is that we've never talked about what we're actually going to do when that time comes, and I'm wondering whether I should initiate that sooner rather than later, so we know what's going on.

OK. My take is that right now you're worrying too much. Focus on enjoying the next couple of months -- Spring should be lovely, right? -- and then do the big talk about the future in mid-summer.
posted by Robert Angelo at 7:33 AM on March 22, 2007

Where's everyone getting "a year" from? I'm starting to doubt my reading comprehension.
posted by Leon at 7:33 AM on March 22, 2007

After some really great sex, while naked in bed, say "So what do you think you'll be doing while I'm gone this fall?" Be prepared to deal with any answer in an adult fashion.
posted by agropyron at 7:38 AM on March 22, 2007

you're worried about the long-term potential of this guy? are you worried about investing all this energy and time into this guy right now only to have him call it off in august because of the distance? or are you worried that he's going to want an open relationship or something else that you find intolerable?

relationships are about risks. people will tell you that you should just enjoy your relationship now but if you're thinking about the long term, it's gonna be hard to focus on the now and actually have a good time. plus, he's going to notice that you seem a little off and wonder what's bothering you - or he should at least.

don't talk until you figure out what you're worried about but if gets to the one month mark, then talk. if he's being honest and truthful about what he has with you, then he's just as worried as you are.
posted by Stynxno at 7:52 AM on March 22, 2007

I find that the fear of the unknown or of uncertainty is much worse than the fear of the known. Also, I find sharing my fears with my significant other helps to diminish their effect, as well as strengthening the relationship.

You might find the same, if you tried it. So I think you should talk to him.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:17 AM on March 22, 2007

Do you expect people to say, no, just stay ignorant and hope for the best, so that you can be completely unprepared for whatever the outcome is when you're making a significant transition in your life? You're just creating a redundant discussion here as another means to avoid the crushingly obvious, absolutely incontrovertible answer. Start talking about it at the earliest opportunity. Long distance is never a treat, but you're in a better than average position with a distance short enough for frequent visits and a definite and not excessive time limit on the separation. But your number one action to improve the chances of your relationship weathering it is to communicate well about it before the fact. Take a deep breath and deal with things.
posted by nanojath at 9:28 AM on March 22, 2007

Talk to him. As soon as possible and don't make it too big of a deal. Hell, I'm still in a relationship that went through a four-month trans-Atlantic long-distance era and it was fine.
posted by melt away at 11:00 AM on March 22, 2007

Best answer: I'm in a similar situation with my boyfriend. I think you should talk about it--in fact, I think it will be hard not to talk about it, because it'll come up as you talk about your future.

We haven't been able to "solve it," but our conversations have been helpful in determining certainties: We can't do long distance, I can't follow him, he can't stay, we love each other, the friendship matters, we're happy for each other, it's hard, we may visit, we'll be patient and open, maybe there's potential for something in two years. Not everything is absolute, because our feelings change as the date approaches and we don't cotton much to contracts anyway.

What's hardest is knowing that you're about to lose someone you love because of your (exciting, good) opportunity. We've elected to stay together through the summer because we love each other, and being apart now wouldn't make it easier. It took some talking to get to that point, and we each still get upset sometimes because it's hard to move the relationship anywhere when you know it'll end, or at least change dramatically, soon. Sometimes it's overwhelmingly sad, and sometimes I hate him because that makes this easier.

I try to stay present in loving him, remind myself to be grateful for his love and friendship throughout our time together, and focus on my life and priorities. It's not easy, but I think it's a lucky thing to be loved, even if it ends. Good luck.
posted by hamster at 11:02 AM on March 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

I find it hard to believe this is a serious question.

If it is, then yes, of course you should talk to him about it. How could the situation possibly be helped by pushing it off and giving you and he LESS time to come up with a plan and deal with it?

Imagine if you will if you only found out a week before you had to leave. Wouldn't you have preferred to have had more time to prepare?
posted by Ynoxas at 1:39 PM on March 22, 2007

Best answer: i think if it's on your mind so much then you should mention it to him and see where you're both at with it. BUT, i don't think either of you should be pressured into making a decision right now. it sounds like you are ready to commit to doing the long distance thing but don't know if he is. four months into a relationship, few people are willing to commit to anything that spans more than a year into the future. in july or august you will have that much more of the relationship to build on and he may be willing to commit to long distance even if he isn't now. i guess what i'm saying is, by forcing a definitive conversation too early, you may be more likely to get the answer that you don't want.
posted by lgyre at 5:56 PM on March 22, 2007

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