I'm about to say something I think you hear a lot. But I'm gonna say it anyway. So there's this guy... Well, see, he's my boyfriend, actually, and I love him and we have very few issues, and communicate well, and have been happily together for about 10 months now. Problem: I recently moved. So we now live thousands of miles apart. And though he and I are planning to attend the same college in the fall (applications and initial deposits and such are already submitted), this long-distance thing is beginning to raise some questions and confusion. And most of that is actually due to... Guy Number Two.
Number Two is the first person in my new town who made an effort to get to know me, and we've quickly become very close friends. We share almost all the same interests, and talk constantly about anything and everything, and he's even lent me the entire series of a TV show we both love. I usually have trouble trusting people and getting really close to them, but we seem to just be so alike that we click and it's not really a problem. But the problem is—I think I like him as more than a friend. But I still love my boyfriend and don't want to lose him. Part of me keeps saying that if I had grown up here instead of back where I'm from, I would end up with Number Two for sure, but I didn't grow up here.
I know that the standard answer when choosing between two guys is "Follow your Heart" or "Do what makes you happier!" but I have no idea which would make me happier, or even how to find out. I feel like I'm being asked to choose between lasagna and tacos. I love them both, and I wouldn't be able to say one is better than the other. Both have pros and cons and if I had to give up one forever I would cry and be miserable because I love me some tacos and lasagna. But not at the same time. Cause that would just be wrong. Just like both guys at once would be wrong. I'm not sure what path to go down, because they're different and one isn't necessarily better than the other, but I don't want to hurt anyone and I feel like the longer I ignore the issue and pretend it doesn't exist, the more painful it will inevitably be. So. How do I choose between lasagna and tacos???
Let me allay at least one of your fears: I'm not going to tell you to follow your heart. Hearts are for pansies. I'm going to tell you to follow your brain, even though I realize this makes me sound like a cold, calculating Advice Robot. "But Jono, love can't be quantified with logic, you dumb idiot!" you are probably thinking. "Furthermore, lose some weight!" you will likely add. And though you have a point, and I should probably just emit some sad beeps and boops and sulk mechanically away, I'm going to stick by my thesis and try to do this whole post with robo-logic. How you feel about these two foodstuffs is your business; mine is just analyzing each scenario as best I can.
1.) Consider each relationship, as it is right now.
I am aware that long-distance relationships are hard. Mine was a mess, for reasons beyond the fact that I was in it. You have all the obligations of having an SO, but all you actually have is a voice on the phone and some IMs on a computer. And a phone can't hug you, and I guess you can try to make out with a computer, but that just leads to tongue sprains and shame. So I know things can get rocky, but look at it this way: you're weighing a current, actual relationship against an imagined, potential one. Economists have a term for this comparison. I have no idea what that term is or anything, but they do have one. Nominal... Boyfriend Value? Forget it, the point is that one of these relationships is official, and the other one is worth about as much as a glob of mud, because it doesn't exist (yet, anyway).
What if Guy Two likes you purely as a friend? What if you pour your heart out, and he's like "Eww blech" and wants nothing to do with your heart? What if he is interested, but it turns out that, once in a relationship, he becomes an unstoppable hurricane of awkwardness and failure? Then instead of one boyfriend and one friend, you'll have no anythings. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
2.) Consider the future of both options.
You're committed to going to college with Guy One, right? So if you stay the course with him, eventually you two will be out of the "I love you too, telephone!" stage of long-distance relationships. You will actually be in the same place, and it will feel like a relationship again, and he will lovingly bake you heart-shaped cookies, and the two of you will cavort in a meadow as delicate butterflies flutter around you and a rainbow has a baby. You will remain good friends with Guy Two, but he'll be off somewhere else and is therefore not important to this fever dream of happiness.
Other scenario: you break up with him. You enjoy some time with Guy Two, maybe, but then you go off to college anyway, where you immediately find that you have every single class with Guy One. He spends them all pegging you in the back of the head with erasers, which causes you to fail all your classes, drop out of college, and turn to a life of petty crime and constant misery. One day Guy Two calls you on the phone to tell you he is breaking up with you because he is dead. Somewhere, a man kicks an orphan, for no discernible reason.
Now, all of this is not only wild exaggeration, it's also just my opinion, based on the information you've given me. Which leads me, sadly, to:
3.) Follow your heart!!
Yeah, you knew this was coming. Sorry. Look, the fact is that no Advice Robot, no matter how handsome, can logically tell you which of these options is correct. I've made it clear what I would do, because it seems to me that if Lasagna is a good boyfriend and Taco is a great friend, there's only one way to actually keep them that way, instead of changing one of hem into something far more awkward (Eggplant Lasagna / Shoe Taco). But as my boss astutely pointed out to me, you're also not limited to only either tacos or lasagna. Maybe you'll get to college and find yourself blown away by the wide variety of pancakes and waffles and french toast coming at you from all sides, like you have just survived a Denny's explosion. In the end, there's no wrong decision, but it does have to be your decision. All I can tell you is not to regret whatever you decide; you have a metric buttload of life left ahead of you, and probably lots more foodstuffs, so make the best decision you can and don't look back.
What do you think LW should do?
Related post: My Crush Is a Mankler