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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » How to Break Up/Take a Break... Long Distance?

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Author Topic: How to Break Up/Take a Break... Long Distance?
Spanglish
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Hiya Scarleteen,

It's not been easy to think about, but I've been feeling very unhappy in my long distance relationship and things have now come to a head.

I feel like there's been some really unhealthy or maybe even emotionally abusive things going on, but I'm still in two minds and experience crazy mood swings (it goes from amazing to horrible and back again in my mind) whenever I think about this relationship. We've talked over some issues, but at this point I doubt the situation will get better.

I'm in a bit of a situation now. My boyfriend lives on the other end of the country and has a new job in a remote location, so our contact while he's rostered on is just e-mail and phone.

Our schedules don't mesh much now and talking on the phone won't be possible for at least another week, if not more.

To boot, we've planned to have a visit, and for him to stay with me at my house just 18 days from now. He's already booked the flights and everything.

I'm having some heavy doubts about this relationship and I feel like I need to take a break from it to figure out what I feel, but I have no idea what action to take, or how to do it right now.

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

[ 11-16-2013, 05:13 AM: Message edited by: janison ]

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Redskies
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Hi, janison. Situations like this tend to be hard.

I appreciate that it can be very tricky to sort out big relationship questions over long-distance, particularly when there are scheduling or practical communication difficulties. I'm hearing you say that you may want to end the relationship, or at the very least take some space to think about it. In that situation, one person staying at the other's house tends to be very tough indeed. Even if both people are as kind as possible to each other, big discussions like that tend to be hard and hurtful, and people often need space from the other. It's tough both ways round, for you in your house not being able to get space, and for the visitor to maybe not have anywhere else to go.

So, I'd suggest two things here. First, think about what you want and what's going to be best for you. Given the difficulties involved, do you still want or need to have these discussions in person? Second, I think it's fair on the other person and more likely to go better for you if they get a heads-up about the general situation before they travel to you. I know you said it wasn't possible to talk on the phone at the moment - does he not have any phone access, or is it just difficult? If it's simply difficult, I'd suggest sending an email and saying that it's very important that you talk, and you both figuring out a way to do that. If he has no phone access, how does email communication usually work between you? Some people would feel ok about communicating some big stuff that way if there was no other option, while others wouldn't.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Spanglish
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Thanks for your reply, Redskies!

I'd much rather not have a discussion like this in person; it would definitely be all kinds of weird! I think getting this out of the way before he flies over is definitely ideal, but I'm concerned that this terrible timing is going to cause all sorts of emotional fallout. Urgh. I seem to feel worse about everything in this relationship when he's just about to visit.

Yes, he does have phone access, it's just hard with time zones for us to get a decent amount of time to talk, but it's do-able.

We're going to work out when we can talk -- but I feel I have to word my e-mail carefully since he tells me he freaks out with anxiety if I mention that "We need to talk" in any of my messages. (sigh)

If we can't do it by phone, I'd be fairly comfortable doing it via e-mail (and he's kind of bad with phones in any case) though the impersonal aspect of it feels a little freaky for me. So it wouldn't be ideal, but it could have its advantages.

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Redskies
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I don't think there's ever a time when a discussion like this won't have emotional fallout. I think that too often, people end up delaying it because they're waiting for a good time, and there's just never a good time for something hard. The best we can do is avoid obvious big awful times, like just before a major exam or in the middle of a severe personal crisis.

Something that you and he probably need to discuss is whether it's a good idea for him to come to see you at all at the moment, and whether that's something that you both actually want. Just because flights are booked doesn't mean it's set in stone. If it's something that would be bad for you, him or the both of you, then going through with the visit would be a worse use of the flights than wasting them, even.

If you feel worse about the relationship when he's about to visit, does that tell you anything about how you feel about him and the relationship and if you're happy with him?

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Spanglish
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This relationship has been very confusing. There is a fair amount of fear of closeness that I experience before he visits. Our visits are also so far apart (5 months since last time). I feel like it's a struggle to keep it going but I have held out for seeing him again. It doesn't feel healthy.

I feel a lot of conflicting emotions: excitement that he may visit, anger/annoyance/resentment, emotional exhaustion, the desire to cuddle with him (my brain is just nuts). Urgh. Then that depression I get when he leaves! I've also been getting it cyclically since a few months into this relationship, mixed in with some turbo-anxiety that I've never experienced before.

I think I even mentioned that to him once a long time ago, and he immediately started blaming himself so I dropped it.

You are definitely right that there's no way to have this talk without it getting heavy, but I'm worried that it's going to end badly because we booked the flights together just a couple of weeks ago. We've even been counting the days... it's just killing me.

Though he has mentioned before that he can afford to waste plane tickets if necessary, so there's that.

We're trying to organise a phone talk via e-mail at the moment, so hopefully we can get around to one soon!

[ 11-18-2013, 05:01 AM: Message edited by: janison ]

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Sam W
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Hi Janison,

When you say "fear of closeness," what do you mean exactly? Is it a fear over the emotions you feel when you're around him, or something else?

It does sounds like you're feeling that this relationship is not good for you emotionally.

I want to second Redskies recommendation to discuss either ending or taking time off from the relationship before he comes to see you. On your comment of being worried that this is going to end badly, I'd posit that the situation is already bad (or at least not great) if you're feeling the way you've described. Having this discussion may result in more or different kinds of bad emotions. But the difference is that the bad feelings resulting from the heavy talk will eventually give way to a positive situation.

I'm glad you'll be able to do a phone call via email, as that sounds like the option you were most comfortable with.

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Spanglish
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The 'fear of closeness' I mentioned was more like a sense of mistrust and fear of the unpredictability of how our visit will go. I basically just fear getting hurt emotionally. I generally feel highly uncomfortable in this relationship.

Months ago, I even felt a sense of dread that the previous visit would be our last, and simultaneously felt annoyed that we had only 5 lousy days to actually be together for real. As well, to be totally honest, he was getting on my nerves and a part of me wanted him to go.

Since my first post I experienced a bit of a change of outlook on the relationship (from negative to positive, as is normal for me), but I'm still committing to telling him as soon as possible.

It's looking like it could be in a few days. In the meantime, we are still chatting small-talk via SMS/e-mail but I haven't really been able to hint at what I want to talk to him about (also, it's likely I will need to do more than just 'hint', since he needs things stated more explicitly due to his disability).

It's just not a good time for me to freak him out, though, as I have some important commitments I'm taking care of for the next few days. I really don't want to spring this on him in the call, but right now I couldn't handle it if he started panicking about what I want to discuss with him if I were to warn him now.

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Redskies
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Usually, feeling highly uncomfortable in a relationship is a strong sign that something is not right for us in that relationship.

How can we best support you?

--------------------
The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Spanglish
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Thank you so much for your responses so far! They have been really invaluable in helping me to navigate this situation. [Smile] I was feeling very confused, but your advice has helped me so much.

We're going to talk tonight. I am feeling nervous, but I think it will feel good to be honest about how I have been feeling.

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huddlearomatic
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Just wait for him to come and spend some days with you then you decide...
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Sam W
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Janison, I definitely agree that being honest and straight forward will be the best for both of you, and that doing it before he visits is a good plan.

I wish you luck, and I;m glad you've been finding our advice helpful.

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