Breaking Up With College Boyfriend
Dear Miss A,
I’m in need for desperate advice. I don’t know how to deal with the situation I’m in. I met a guy in my junior year of college. We ended up moving in with two of his fraternity brothers our senior year of college. During the summer and winter breaks we dealt with the long distance relationship, me in New Jersey and him in Connecticut. When graduation came along, we both kind of ignored the fact and didn’t want to face it that we were never going to be living in the same state or going back to school in a few months where we would see each other everyday.
We were dating for a year and a half and since I had a part time job as a bartender on the weekends there, I kept that and went up there every weekend. We rarely got to see each other since I was working on Friday and Saturday nights whereas he was going into work in the afternoon and I wasn’t getting home until 2:30 a.m. He would come to New Jersey during the week after work at around 8 p.m. and leave the next day at around 1 p.m. because he again had work. I started working on Sunday during the day come the fall, and that was the only day he had off. Looking back now, that was a mistake and I probably should not have picked up a shift even though it gave me a bigger paycheck. We did this for six months until recently we brought up the whole conversation of us being in the long distance relationship and what we were going to do since we were both now looking for full time jobs, him in Connecticut and me in New Jersey.
I’m the stupid one who brought up the conversation saying what are we doing here, we never really do anything since our schedules are so different. And I told him I did not want to move to Connecticut since I went to school there for the past four years and had been away from home whereas he lived 20 minutes from school and we saw his family every week. The conversation never had an end and we both kind of just ignored it but we both were thinking about it. We spent New Year’s Eve together and a couple days into 2012 he called me to tell me that he wasn’t happy anymore because we weren’t doing anything and he didn’t see himself moving out here to New Jersey anytime soon. He was the one however to tell me that he wasn’t going to give up on us and that when the time came where I got a job or he got a job we would figure it out.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, I know that our relationship wasn’t the same, but I didn’t think he was that unhappy to where he was going to call it quits. He says that the distance did us in and if we probably were together all the time or if we actually made the best out of our visits to one another then our relationship would have worked, and he still loved me which made it even harder to do. He just didn’t want to be wasting my time. I looked back at all the things that I could have done differently that would have made it worked and made us both happier and he knows that I would be willing to change for him. I can’t say that I would move now, but I think that we could figure out things to do and times to make plans and do more things together. I recently saw him and wrote him a letter and told him not to contact me for one month and if he found himself missing me or wanting to be with me and thought there could be something between us again to wish me a Happy Valentine’s Day (which gave him one month) to think about us. He says he still wanted to remain friends but I just think I needed him to realize if he did want this. Did I do the right thing? What should I have done instead? I’m so scared that I may have ruined it completely and he just be okay with not talking to me and ruined the chance of us ever getting back together. Please help!
Dear College Sweetheart,
Thank you for reaching out for advice. I know it’s easy to second guess yourself, but you shouldn’t. You took the extra hours of work on Sunday because you needed a bigger paycheck. You didn’t move to Connecticut because living near family is what you want in life. You started the conversation because you could no longer live in the murky gray zone. I know you feel like you have ruined the relationship, but truth is it was pretty much in shambles and you have taken steps to create a better life for yourself. I think you are idealizing the way your relationship was in college rather than thinking about it as it became at the end. This may be the end of your relationship, but I wouldn’t say you ruined it. You just finally had the strength to admit that it wasn’t what it used to be. I know it’s hard, but in time you will appreciate the relationship for what it was.
I know you and your college boyfriend were used to having a lot of time together in college, but now that you are both in the “real world” you can’t expect to have as much time together as you did when you were students. I think it’s great that you are both very close to your families. It seems you both want to have your cake and eat it, too. You both want the other person, but don’t want to sacrifice being near family. As long distance relationships go, Connecticut and New Jersey aren’t really that far apart, but working on weekends makes it much worse. I think that if he really wanted to be with you, he wouldn’t mind moving away from his family in Connecticut and would move to New Jersey to be with you. That said, if YOU really wanted to be with him you wouldn’t mind moving to Connecticut. If one of you didn’t have this preference for living in the same city as family, your relationship might work out, but it seems neither of you wants to compromise. I suggest you think about what you really want. If you really want to live in New Jersey near family, then you need to make peace with the fact that you chose this life over you ex and own it.
Everyone knows that there are “deal breakers” in relationships. I can’t decide whether it’s that love is only a piece of what we need from a relationship and if the other preferences don’t line up it’s a no-go, or if it’s that real love would make us want to choose the love and stand by it no matter what “deal breaker” presents itself. You are both very young, and have a lot of time to meet new people who may be a better fit for what you want out of life. That said, remember that we can’t plan out our lives. When you do find love, grab it and hold on to it, and try to appreciate it because life is short. Remember that happiness isn’t finding the perfect person — it’s finding the strength and will to love and accept an imperfect person.
I think you are right to not have contact with him for a month. In my personal opinion, you should take a good six month break with no contact with him, and please don’t jump into another relationship. Another relationship will just numb you. You need to feel what you’re feeling and work through it. You should reconnect with who you are and what you want in life. Join a gym, focus on your career, volunteer in your community, spend time with your family, plan some travel, and achieve some of your personal goals.
Good luck and let me know how it goes!
– Miss A