Should one commit to a relationship that’s about to become long-distance?

Goku asks:

My college is almost about to end.  All my life I’ve been into terrible relationships. I have an amazing best friend who supported me throughout and helped me get through. She went through a break up 6 months ago, for a lot of reasons, but main one being she wasn’t that into him, she says she distanced herself from him cause she knew that they don’t have a future since she’ll be soon leaving the country for higher studies.  Let’s name this guy “Y”. During this her ex, let’s name him “X,” who she dated 3 years ago came back. It looked like she had never gotten over him and jumped into a relationship with Y (from what I know, X was into a lot of trouble, trying to figure out things in his life, and since there was no communication, she started seeing Y; when she made out with Y she broke up with X), and till date is guilty of not being there for him.  Now when he came back she went crazy behind Y’s back, and kept drunk calling X. I was being supportive while he randomly ghosted her or avoided her. But a few months ago, when she was getting better with the whole thing, we had a moment and from then on we started making out almost every day and now we are physically involved, I had never known that I have feelings for her, and we decided we’d just have a few months, after which we’ll be in different time zones, different countries, so we’ll go with the flow and not give any tag to our bond since we’re best friends before anything else and we can’t ruin that. But 2 months ago X again texted her saying that he was hurt the first time she left him so that’s why he was pushing her away, and now he wants to give it a try, even though she’s leaving this country. He said he’ll make things better. She said we’ll see, and assured me that right now she’s sure nothing will happen, but in the future if he becomes the person he used to be she might go with him.  Well, that hurts! Now they talk every day for hours on video call or normal call and he hits on her casually, breaking my heart. I’ve told her that it hurts and every time we have this conversation it doesn’t end up well. She’s involved with me emotionally and physically and says doesn’t want to lose me. She can stop talking to him for me but I can’t let that happen no matter how badly I want it, because I don’t want to bind her or stop her, I want her to do what makes her happy. Every time I try to get myself better something happens, either he flirts with her or she casually tells me how in future they could be together, and it breaks my heart every day, I have anxiety and she knows that in my past I’ve been betrayed a lot. I am so scared, I don’t want to lose her, and when I spoke to her about it, she said I overthink a lot and she’d prefer not talking about him with me (while before she would tell me about their conversations). Now I travelled all the way to her place with her, celebrated Valentine’s Day with her, and right after that she said she’ll meet him once and maybe stay at his place for one night.  She said she isn’t sure that something wouldn’t happen between them and she wants to be honest with me so if there’s even a 0.1% chance, she wants me to know it’s possible. I couldn’t sleep the whole night. Then, seeing that, she said she won’t meet him, nothing will happen, and she’ll stop talking to him – but in an annoyed tone. I don’t want to stop her from talking, but how is this fair to me, that while she’s with me (even without a tag) she could even think of having a moment with someone else? She says she’s complicated and she knows she’s hurting me, and doesn’t want to lose me ever. I don’t know what to do. I try to communicate with her every day, sometimes the conversation goes well, and sometimes it turns ugly and then I have to set it right. I’ve started hating X and now even if she mentions him it hurts so bad. I want to stop thinking about him or their conversations or what’ll happen when they meet. I told her about this and she said she’ll meet him but she won’t do anything because she doesn’t want to ruin things between us, but that she even had a thought bothers me. I don’t know what to do, it’s so messed up. I feel so overwhelmed and anxious, I just feel like running away. She hates it when I get upset over this, and tries to make me feel better, and even says she’s ready to give it all away, but I don’t want that. I want her to do what she wants.  Please help me, I have 3 months left with her and I want to make the most out of it, and that makes me anxious, that this will come to an end. We’ll be best friends forever but this that we have will end. I don’t know how to stop overthinking (or am I even overthinking?). I love her and that’s all I know.

Hi Goku –

Wow!  That’s a lot you’re going through!  I really have two responses to it, but first I have to say that I absolutely adore the phrase you used, “not give any tag to our bond.”  You see, I literally have tags to my bond with my human friend Handsome, and wear them on my collar!  So yeah, I love that term!

Okay, so first of all, there is no question in my mind that this girl is very afraid of full commitment right now.  The way she’s treated all three of you guys tells me so.  X may have not been the perfect boyfriend, but if she really wanted to be with him she’d never have gotten involved with you; Y really seems to have been left in the dust; and she is playing with you like a yo-yo: pull you in, spin you out, pull you in, spin you out, etc!  Now I’m not judging her; she’s young and there’s no reason why she ought to be committing fully to anyone just yet, but I might be inclined to say that she’s not a good match for you, as you are clearly someone who gets much more attached.


There’s another side to this.  You say that you and she will be living in different time zones in three months.  You even say, “knowing that I have 3 months makes me anxious, that this will come to an end we’ll be best friends forever but this that we have will end.”  Well, my sense is that you’re right to be anxious!  In fact, I’ll agree with you that what’s going on between the two of you is guaranteed to end in three months!  Or, better put, it will change in three months.

My friend, your job right now is to take care of yourself.  She’s doing just that for herself, and apparently doing a pretty good job of it.  She’s protecting herself from getting too attached to you or X, and only struggling with the fact that she sees she’s hurting you.  You need to do just what she’s doing, but in the way that works for you.

What would that be?  Might the best thing be for you to pull away from her and let her figure out what she wants for her future?  Might the best thing be for you to insist that she spend the next three months with you and stop trying to be so nice by giving her space to make her own decisions?  Might the best thing be for you to kidnap her and X, and put them in separate cells in a dungeon, telling her she can only be freed when she agrees to marry you, and until then you’ll starve him to death? 

Okay, so number three is NOT a good idea; I’ll accept that!

My main point here, Goku, is that she’s not wrong.  She’s acting in a very rational way for someone in her position.  While you, you wonderful romantic, are behaving in a way that would make total sense if no one were about to move, but you’re not facing up to the fact that something is about to change in a big way.

What I think would be especially great, whatever else you do, would be to have a good talk with her about what sort of relationship you two would like to have after college.  Maybe being best friends for a while isn’t a bad idea – you both know how easy it would be to shift that back into a romance if that becomes possible again.  Or maybe you want to try to get her into a committed long-distance relationship, and maybe she’d be up for it (particularly if X hurts her feelings again).  Or maybe you want to take care of yourself by getting space from each other, and not hearing about what she’s doing with other guys so you can move forward in your own life.

But what you need is to decide.  And in that sense, I’m going to disagree with her full-out: you need to think more!  Think hard, and think clearly.  If you can get away and go sit on a hillside or a beach for a few hours, that’d be great.  Really think about what you want to achieve in the next chapter of your life.  And whether you’d like to be free to get involved with other girls, or try to commit to her. 

Truly there’s no wrong choice for you to make (other than that kidnapping thing).  You guys have your whole lives in front of you, and any decisions can be changed over time. 

But you need to pick something now.  Knowing that you love her and she loves you, and that you’ll be far apart, and that she is who she is at this time.  What will be best for you?  Choose that, bring it up to her, and see how she responds.

And as long as you two stay as honest and good as you are now, all will be okay. 

Wishing you all the best,


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