Auntie SparkNotes Knows Who Makes the Rules Around Here
This week, we heard from a young man who really loved his girlfriend... until she broke the rules. [Cue threatening theme music!]
Okay, here is the situation. I have a gf I love very much. The day before I moved 600 miles away we had been dating a year. I told her she may kiss any guy she wants or whatever until I get back in three years, the only rule would be she couldn't have sex and the guy HAD to know about me. So she's dating and following the rules pretty closely but she told the guy that we had broke up. idk, it hurt, but the question is am I doing the right thing? I'm almost positive it’s true love. She would make the perfect wife and we get along soo well... when we are together anyways. But she seems so perfect not just in the way that teens think "oh well she makes me happy" but we could actually live a happy life together. Am I doing the right thing?
Auntie SparkNotes hates to hear that you’re putting yourself through so much pain. Relationships are hard, long distance relationships are harder, and knowing that the girl you love is dating around in your absence is hardest of all. But even though you’re hurting, that doesn’t make the rest of what you’re describing any less wacky.
First, let’s answer your question: Are you doing the right thing?
Well… no. For several reasons.
Reason #1: You’ve got a lot of rules going on here, but you're ignoring the one essential rule for long-distance relationships: Generally, you should attempt one only when the period of time you'll be apart will exceed the period of time you were together by no more than three hundred percent. For example, if you've been together for three months, your long-distance romance probably shouldn't exceed nine months. Anything longer than that is just too soul-crushing.
People do a lot of growing up between their late teens and early twenties, but you’re expecting that: a) your girlfriend will spend three years following your rules, b) you’ll be seamlessly reunited in 2012, and c) neither one of you will have changed at all. The chances of a), b), and c), actually happening fall somewhere on the spectrum between “pigs flying” and “hell freezing over.”
Reason #2: Speaking of rules…well, what's up with that? Your girlfriend owes you honesty, consideration, and her best efforts not to break your heart…but she should be giving you these things because she wants to, not because they’re part of the ironclad Rule Book governing your time apart. Legislating her behavior might make you feel safer, but you can’t control the way she feels—and she needs to be able to talk to you about that as an equal. You haven’t said how she feels about this arrangement. Maybe this is a good time to ask her.
Reason #3: (singing) There are no rules in loooove! Seriously, though: People who fall in love as teenagers can live happy lives together, but only if they don’t try to stop each other from growing as people just to keep the relationship afloat. You each need to focus on your own lives—especially since, for the next three years, you can’t be together anyway. And if you reconnect in 2012 and it’s still magic? That, sir, is true love.
Tormented by teen angst? Driven mad by desire? Struggling with an addiction to swiss cheese? Auntie SparkNotes has your number…figuratively speaking, we mean. Leave a question in the comments, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.