Long Distance Friendship
Visitor's Question from a 13-15 year old Female
Five years ago I met through a mutual friend a guy from England. I live in Los Angeles. He came out to visit every summer for 3 years and we always stayed in touch, and became very good friends.
One summer a friend of mine and I went to England to visit, and it sparked a romance between this guy and me. We began a long distance relationship that lasted for about 9 months. It got pretty serious fast, we even spoke of marriage. We broke up mutually because the distance and schedules were too hard to be able to maintain a relationship of that magnitude. He was the busier of the two. It was getting harder to communicate, and I began to resent him for not being able to make the time.
He was my first love, and I was devastated. A few days after the break up I said that maybe we should try again, anything worth having isn't easy. He didn't feel the same and thought we made the right decision. I was heartbroken again. He wanted to remain friends because it was what he valued most. I agreed to being friends but it was difficult to continue a friendship while getting over the break up.
It's coming up to a year since we've broken up and neither of us has had another relationship. He told me that even though he felt that we made the right decision he still loves me, thinks about me everyday, and sometimes second guesses if we DID do the right thing by breaking up (I sometimes feel the same way). He then said in his heart of hearts he knew it was the right choice, and that he didn't want to be responsible for hurting me again in that way. Anyway he says that even though we can be good friends we have to be careful to keep some distance so as to not be "too close". We have an understanding that our relationship will never again be romantic.
I don't call him or contact him unless he contacts me first. He usually does by sending an email once every two weeks or so (which seems pretty often for ex's to communicate right?), and he even called this weekend and we talked for an hour and a half. The conversation was just about everyday stuff, nothing heavy.
It feels strange from going to being in love to being close friends, do you think being friends like this is possible or are we fooling ourselves? I am afraid that since we both have expressed some regret somewhere down the line our 'close' friendship will spark into a romance again which will mean another heartbreak. I do care about him and I don't want to write him off completely, but maybe I should. Can you help?
Actually it is VERY common to go from lovers to best friends. Best friends love each other! So the only real difference is in the sexual / raising children area. And with you guys being so far apart, that wasn't going to be an issue unless one of you chose to move. Which doesn't sound like it was an option.
I know many people who talk to their exs every 2 or 3 days and have remained happy best friends. So that is a great thing to aim for and it's nice that he is still a good part of your life. But don't put your entire life on hold for him because you think somehow things might "reconnect" in the future. Are you going out with friends? Spending time on yourself? Enjoying hobbies? Getting out to social events where you are meeting other guys? If you hide out at home and only talk to this one guy, you are going to be really unhappy when he finds someone close to home to be with and you are "deserted".
If this long distance thing was meant to work, then sometime in the past year one or both of you would have found a way to move to be with the other - by changing jobs, finding a temporary job in the other's location, etc. But neither of you did. You both like your own worlds. So enjoy your world, let him enjoy his, and enjoy where they intersect. But understand that what you have is an intersection of worlds, not a way to live together and be a couple.
-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at RomanceClass.com