My girlfriend of 6 years and I are in a long-distance relationship that is in mid-implosion. Maybe the implosion bit is a little bit melodramatic, but seriously - we’ve broken up. Previously, our relationship has been pretty stable and we’ve dated throughout university. She graduated last April, and started her Masters in October in Europe. We’ve done it before, as she’s gone to another country in Europe for a semester of her undergrad as well as, she had a summer job on the other side of the country. This time though, it’s much longer. She left again in January and won’t be back until September. I bought plane tickets to visit her over a school break that happened to be right over her birthday, at the end of February, and we had made plans for me to go live with her in June, after I graduated.
My time there wasn’t the best but I figured that things like that happen though, that week wasn’t the best for us but I didn’t put a lot of weight on it. Since then, we’ve been barely texting. Any message I send will take a while to be answered, and the responses are shorter, not to mention I was the one initiating any conversation.
Today we Skyped and she told me she wasn’t feeling good about our relationship. She’s been unsure of where we’re going and she wants a break, or maybe to break up (it’s still not 100% sure what exactly our status is, or maybe I’m still in denial, I don’t know). She also told me is that I did what I “needed to” for her birthday, but I didn’t go out of my way to do anything special. Maybe that’s true, but I did also fly to London. She said she needed time to think about things and that we’re basically not in a relationship for now. I will also be seeing her in about a month and a half. One of my friends and I are going on a backpacking trip through a few countries in Europe, ending in her city. She said we should talk then. All I really want to do is fix it all, but what do I do?
I’m sure you have picked up on the fact that long distance relationships are obviously difficult, especially when turbulence occurs. This is due to the fact that physical contact is a key component to maintaining a healthy connection. Now, I’m not saying that long distance relationships are altogether impossible, however, sometimes fights and disagreements can be settled without any words at all – sometimes all it takes is being close. Going forward without this key component without a doubt hampers things, especially in your situation, where there’s an ocean between you.
Your best plan of action here is to be prepared for whatever may lie ahead. Explore all scenarios. I could certainly see how someone might feel uneasy about their relationship when they’re a whole continent away; it’s hard to keep something together when you can barely reach it. There may be external factors influencing her decision as well. It’s quite possible the weight of her studies has now taken priority over your relationship as it would be the focus in your absence. As ugly as the scenario may be to think about, there may be someone else in the picture as well. Remember, the physical contact feature is huge. Quite simply, if your relationship was her top priority (which it should be to successfully maintain it) she should show it.
A lot of things can happen in a month in a half until you see her next, this whole thing could blow over, and everything could return to normal. If the issues don’t subside, you’re not going to be able to successfully repair whatever damage has been done in a day or two while you visit. Don’t expect this trip to be able to magically stich the pieces back together – it just won’t happen. If you have any chance of repairing this, it’s going to take a lot of togetherness and time. One of you is going to have to make a compromise regarding the “long distance” part of your relationship. It would be a good idea to talk to her again before you leave and ask her if there is something she isn’t telling you. Not “feeling good” about a relationship is a sign of a bigger problem; there’s a deeper issue that needs to be explored. During your next communication, express to her that you would value her complete honesty so you can air everything out. Be ready to have a deep and meaningful conversation about what was working and what wasn’t and proceed from there. This will result in either a shared understanding and may repair things (at least until you see her again) or if the conversation heads south, you’ll know it’s time to start the process of moving on.
As for your trip across Europe, you may want to rethink the purpose of this venture. If things don’t go so well during your initial talks, try your best to end things amicably, then use your trip as a soul searching endeavor and a way to move on. By the end of it, you may decide not to visit her at all – that’s okay, but if you do, use it as somewhat of a final goodbye. Appreciate the time you did spend together and try to part ways harmoniously.
It won’t be easy, but you’ll get through it. Let us know how your trip goes and best of luck.