Over the summer I met a really amazing guy. It was at a college program in American history, and we pretty much hit it off, so much so that I went from NBK to holding the title for the second most romantic first kiss (sorry, but The Notebook rain kiss will always beat out any and all kiss, whether it be first or last). We decided to continue seeing each other, since we were both interested in going to the same college and knew that if we could get through one more year, we could make it work.
There's one little hitch, though. He lives in California, and I live in Virginia. What are the odds, right? I learned about the wonderful invention that is Skype, and things were going well despite the distance. We made it through almost two months, and then school set in. He made it through two weeks, and decided that it wasn't working; he didn't think it was fair to me that the few times he would Skype me during the week would be when he was exhausted from long hours of work and short hours of sleep, but that we will see each other at said favorite college and can try again. I was pretty quiet and composed during the whole situation, but looking back now, I wish I wasn't so passive. I wanted to tell him that I knew when I agreed to this relationship that it wasn't going to be easy, and that I was grateful for what little interaction we would have together, whether it be a random text in the middle of the day or a groggy Skype conversation late at night. I wanted to ask him why he wasn't willing to fight a little more for us, because I still am. So here are my options: I put my confidence pants on, tell him all of this, and risk losing him forever. Or, I say nothing and risk drowning in my own pool of tears and self-doubt, at least until we're in college... which isn't really a safe option either since who says we'll be the same awesome people that love theater, film scores, and history in a year?
Well, you're onto something there, Sparkler. Not that you or your beau will have magically morphed into a couple of gross werewolves who hate everything by the time you meet again—you'll both almost certainly be just as lovely then as you are now—but that in matters of the heart, there's no such thing as a "safe option." There's nothing you can do to guarantee this guy's unwavering affection for you, or yours for him. No foolproof plan, no magic formula. That would be true even if you were just miles apart, instead of on opposite coasts. It will be true next year, when you're on the same campus; it'll even be true if you rekindle your romance and make things official and get to call him your boyfriend.
And of course, as you've unhappily discovered, it was true when you decided to take a stab at dating long-distance—which, despite your high hopes and best efforts, is an arrangement that just didn't work.
But that's something you need to accept, sweet pea, for the sake of both your dignity and any relationship you might have with this guy the future. Begging for an explanation won't convince him that you should be together; you'll just force him to say some much-less-kind version of the thing he's said already, which is, "Not right now." He isn't rejecting you personally, or even permanently, but he is nevertheless rejecting you—and he's trying to do it in the gentlest possible way, with genuine hopes for a second, better chance. Please don't throw that back in his face over some naive romantic notion that you only get one chance to make this work, logistics be damned. Not only will you accomplish nothing, but you'll be forever tarred with the stinky, stanky stench of Desperate Clingy Lunatic.
Instead, try this: put this guy on the back burner, and focus on what's in front of you. File him away with all the other maybe-someday things you're hoping for but not counting on, and don't delude yourself that being with him right here, right now, is your one and only shot at romance. (I can see you doing that, darling. Stop it.) And if you do meet again at college, please let it be with the benefit of a really terrific senior year behind you—and without the burden of a built-up fantasy relationship that only exists in your head. If you spend the next twelve months pining for this dude, you won't grow, you won't change, and you won't be anything but disappointed when your real-life reconnection doesn't live up to expectation.
Whereas if you both spend this year living your lives to their fullest, you won't be exactly the same people when you meet again... because you'll each have had experiences that made you better people. And with any luck, you'll be better together.
Have you ever had to put a relationship on hold until you could be in the same place? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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