Ask Jono: Long-Distance Crush
Let's get to it, I've got a problem and no it isn't scarcity (although my economics teacher would beg to differ). Sorry, you probably don't even know what I'm talking about... My economics class is taking over my life, but that isn't my problem. Okay I need to stop rambling, here we go!
Last summer I was able to go to Europe as a class trip and I did a five day family stay in Geneva, Switzerland. I had a host brother who is only a few months younger than me and while my friends and I joked about me getting a boyfriend during the trip I was never serious about it. Then I met him. We got along incredibly well. We have a serious love for music and we even like the same YouTubers and have the same sense of humor. He's crazy amazing and the only guy I've met that I've gotten along with so well and we only knew each other for FIVE days. So being the teen girl that I am, I developed a crush on him. Nothing happened partially because it was against the school policy to have romantic relationships and partially because I have no idea about how to read guys.
So here comes the tricky part. After I got back we messaged every once in a while and I learned that he's really good friends with another girl in Canada and he met her the same way I met him (through traveling and being a host brother). He's known her for much longer and I don't know what kind of relationship they have. Lately we've been talking a lot and it's so hard to tell if he's flirting or not because we can only talk on Facebook. We don't really talk about many personal subjects but at the same time I feel like we're totally open with each other. What am I supposed to do? Seven hours is a really big time difference and what could even become of an online relationship? I'm only 17 so I have a long life to live and plenty of other boys to fall head over heels for so is it worth it? I've tried giving up but I can't. It makes me incredibly sad to like him so much and not know what to do about it because he isn't here. Help me!
If I had a robot sidekick, it would be flailing its arms, bleeping and blooping, and telling me that someone was once again considering a LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP. Or maybe it would be more concerned about a purely online relationship, or a relationship involving such a significant time difference. Actually, who am I kidding; if I had a robot sidekick I would have forgotten to put batteries in it and it would be dead. But its concerns would still be legitimate. Long-distance relationships are rough even when you're in the same time zone and you get to see each other regularly. But all of that is secondary, because we haven't even established whether or not this guy likes you yet.
You gave two reasons for stuff not happening between the two of you when you were actually in the same place: you can't read guys, and it would have been against school policies. Now, I may just be a simple country advice columnist [stretches suspenders], but I think a guy who's attracted to you will give you some sign of that attraction, even if there are School Policies and you are bad at boys. I'm not saying he doesn't like you; I'm just saying you haven't given me a clear reason to think he does. You've talked periodically, but not about personal subjects, and he was apparently willing to discuss some other girl he's close to. These aren't the most reassuring signs.
Your letter implies that you don't have many serious conversations, and one way to gauge his interest is to try to engage in more of them, because a real attraction should be accompanied by some kind of emotional closeness too. Chatting on Facebook is fine, or on any other messaging service, or over Skype. The point is just to have a chance to get closer to each other, which doesn't happen when you're just sending each other bland pleasantries or one-liner comments about music. Having conversations with actual substance is the only way to really get to know someone who's this far away from you, but—as you were pragmatic enough to realize—there's a good chance this won't ever become the relationship you want it to be.
I've had a real long-distance relationship with an actual girlfriend, and I've also had one like yours, which was basically just a long-distance attraction that was never going to go anywhere. If you'd asked me at the time what I wanted out of that second one, I'd have shrugged and then eaten a sandwich (which, coincidentally, is also what I would have done if you hadn't asked me). But the point is that I thought it was a heartfelt, lasting, mutual attraction, and I refused to think it through any further than that. I didn't expect us to get married, but I thought we would... uh... something. So I'm not going to wag my finger at you and be like "Forget this boy! I have spoken. I am from the internet." I know you can't just forget about him. But you also rightly pointed out that there are plenty of other boys to fall head over heels for, and I think that's what you should concentrate on here.
I usually tell people who are interested in LDRs that they need an endgame, some possible scenario in which they end up living in the same place, and let's be honest: you two are not likely to have that. You said you can't give up, and I don't want you to think about it in terms of giving anything up. Instead, just try not to fixate on him over everyone else. I remember all of my hopeless teenage crushes, and in each of them, I had a reason that this girl was uniquely suited for me because of some thing or other that we had in common. I'm not belittling your feelings here; I'm just reassuring you that I went through this too, and none of them left me wallowing in miserable longing forever. I guarantee you that if you look at this post next year, you're going to blush and be like, "Oh God" and shield the screen from your boyfriend who is standing behind you and is attractive and is an astronaut. Getting over a very strong attraction isn't easy, but it always happens eventually, if you let it happen. The only way to stop feeling hopelessly drawn to one person is to try to move on and allow yourself to feel attracted to someone else.