Should I break her heart?
I have been with this girl for four years now. We started dating just one month prior to me leaving for university so our entire relationship has been long distance with us only seeing each other for a few months out of the year. I am now in grad school in another country so we're even further apart and will be seeing each other for just a few weeks out of the year until she graduates and moves here to live with me. I'm sure I love her but I just don't know if I love her enough to marry her. Which would be ok if we were just dating casually but we've already invested our college years in this relationship and she plans on moving away from her family to a new country just to live with me.
I really can't complain about her because she is head over heels for me and would do anything to make me happy but I just can't shake the feeling that there is someone out there who would be a better fit for me. I just feel like the relationship is a little one-sided in that I help her deal with her hardships (she suffers anxieties and depression) and I help encourage and motivate her to do the best she can in everything but I don't get the same inspiration from her and she may even be holding me back with her lack of ambition and confidence. I'm afraid to end it with her because given her emotional instabilities, I know she won't handle it well and I couldn't stand to hurt her like that. I've felt this way for some time now, a couple years I guess, but I always just thought, "well she is a better match for me than anyone else I've met so it must be right."
Now though, I have met a girl who seems just as confident and driven as I am, we share many interests and her presence alone make me happier than I've been in a long time. I really want to have a shot with this new girl but I can't bring myself to end it with the first girl unless I know it's the right thing. But I wonder if just my uncertainty in our relationship is reason enough for me to end it regardless of the new girl.
My current thinking is to say nothing, see how things go with the new girl (I don't even know if she is single, let alone if she has any interest in being anything more than friends) and re-evaluate things when I know more to avoid unnecessary heartache for my current girlfriend. However, maybe it is best to talk to her about my feelings and concerns anyway in an effort to be open and honest. If so, should I even mention the new girl or just leave it at my uncertainties?
I should also add that my current girlfriend and I dated briefly in high school and I ended it early on telling her, "I just see you more like a sister than a girlfriend." She has since told me many times how painful that was for her now. That was just after a few weeks of casual dating. Now we've been together 4 years and have talked about a future together as a married couple with kids so I can't imagine how hard it will be on her. When we started dating again I was able to resolve the whole "sister" issue by telling her that initially there was no "spark" for me but when we became friends again one slowly developed and I was finally able to see her as a girlfriend. But the truth is, sometimes she does still feel like more like a best friend or a sister than the love of my life. But with this new girl there is undoubtedly a spark. I feel an unmistakable connection with her. But I worry that is just me over-reacting to a new friendship after 3 months of living broke and alone in a new country with no friends or family to comfort me.
Clearly I am confused by my feelings and don't know how to handle the situation. Any advice is appreciated.
Thank-you for sharing your situation. As being in this situation before I broke up with my ex fiancé because I believed there was a better connection for me out there and didn't want to string him along while I was making up my mind. That would be my advice to you. As you don't want her to find out another way and be hurt even more so. If its meant to be with either women sit back and see what happens. Life will give you answers to the questions sooner or later. But in the meantime make sure you are able to enjoy your freedom and new encounters with a guilt-free conscience. Your in a relationship right now and that limits the new encounters with getting to fully know someone so if you don't see her as really anything other than a sister or friend as I did with my ex fiance it will hurt them now but it would be more devastating if you string them along for years not being fully honest with them or yourself and you both end up misable. She will not get the whole you as your heart is not with her and you will overtime resent and become cold. And don't add marriage to an already complicated situation. That just makes matters worse. When you marry make sure she is your best friend yes but that the physical and emotional chemistry is there as well because that is what will make your marriage substain itself for years to come.
Thank you for the reply MIMI191989. As much as it pains me, I think you're right. I worry though that my feelings are being affected by the long distance and that if we were together more I might have stronger feelings for her. If I never find another who makes me as happy as she does, wouldn't it seem selfish of me to ask for a third try after breaking her heart twice? If I do end it with her, should I wait the 3 months until I see her in person again or do it over phone/video chat?
I agree with MIMI191- Be honest and true with yourself physical/emotional chemistry is very important in a relationship. I too was in this same situation, unlike MIMI11 I was married with two children, knowing that I had married"my friend" out of a feeling of obligation and not wanting to hurt hurt him. I buried my true feelings thinking that it would all work out. Divorcing my EX was me being selfish to get ME back to live my life. When I made this decision I knew it was for life. Be mindful that woman are motivated by their feelings, knowing this will be hurtful and difficult for her the break up should be for good,don't use her as a back up plan.
As MIMI191 said enjoy your freedom with no guilty conscience.
If/when you break off the relationship do it in person is always the mature/adult way. However this is the age of Video/skype where you at least see each other but absolutely no phone/text/e-mails.
Honestly, I think that if you guys have been apart most of your relationship, and you still managed to have these strong feelings for her, that you should give it a shot. If you can still say that you do care for her and love her after being apart for so long, that definitely says something! And I do think you're right, I think the fact that you guys have been apart for so long is the reason that you feel the way you do, if you guys spend more time together I think you will definitely get that "closeness" and "spark" that you think is lacking in your relationship. I would at least spend some time together and see where it goes before ending it. For all you know she is the love of your life and losing her would be terrible, but you're not going to know until you try. Like I said though, if you had these feelings and you guys saw each other every day it would be different, but the fact that you can still manage to have these feelings after four years even though you guys hardly see each other, I honestly say that means you both truly love each other.
Thank you all for the replies. You've all made excellent points and I'm glad I received support for both sides. I'm quite sure now that there is nothing for me with this new girl as she is moving in a month. Although my current relationship did start only one month before I moved away to school... but I don't think it will happen that way with her. That just leaves me to decide what to do about my current girlfriend and I've decided that I'm just going to have an open and honest talk with her over video chat as soon as I get the chance. I'll explain my feelings and see how she feels about it all. JEN8446 has a good point in that if we've made it work over 4 years already, it's probably worth it to wait out the remaining 8 months and see where things stand when we can see each other daily. Maybe she'll move here and my feelings will grow stronger. Or maybe it will become clear that it's not meant to be. Either way, I am not confident enough in my feelings one way or the other to make that decision without first talking to her.
"and I've decided that I'm just going to have an open and honest talk with her over video chat as soon as I get the chance."
Do NOT put negativity into your interactional loop by framing your current situation with talk about doubt in the relationship itself or you could send it down, round, down, SPLAT! needlessly! You tell her there is or has been another woman on the scene and all you'll be doing is shooting the relationship through the heart with a slow-mo bullet!
You cannot judge what a future 24/7 MARRIAGE will or won't be like from a long-distance set-up - which this was right from the off because no WAY is a month enough time to establish all facets of a relationship.
For all you know, she talks about "problems" simply because you seem to get into it and because otherwise it's hard to keep finding things to endlessly chat about (and when the phone seems to prohibit just sitting together in silence, meaning the space has to be filled somehow).
So of COURSE you don't know whether you're ready to marry her. No you're not. You haven't done any practise run, have you. All you've had is a voice and video relationship. A few collective months in-the-flesh doesn't give you any means to properly judge, either, despite it's enough to give you fuel enough to wait (feelings). And at four years' innings, clearly there's a LOT of chemistry, whether or NOT it built up/dared reveal itself only cautiously and slowly.
"and her presence alone make me happier than I've been in a long time" + "But I worry that is just me over-reacting to a new friendship after 3 months of living broke and alone in a new country with no friends or family to comfort me."
THERE YOU GO - CASE CLOSED. That is NOT a fair 'competition' ergo you cannot judge your gf to have lost. And nor can you blame your reasons for feeling lonely onto your relationship. So what you're basically trying to do (or 'were') is get "two for the price of one" - a PHYSICAL 'bit of a girlfriend' to make up for what you're currently having to miss out on *and* a friend to socialise with, and then trying to justify that half-baked, UNGENTLEMANLY decision by identifying faults in your current relationship, in order to feel less guilty. Bit too easy to provide someone with a spark if you're supplying TWO sparks in one, isn't it? Wouldn't it be interesting to see what and how much you felt for this new woman were friendship NOT in the off-ing. Maybe then you'd feel far less for her than gf?
There's clearly only ONE fault: The lack of proper, physical interaction, including sex.
Don't EVER place short-term gain over long-term. It always ends in tears. Yours.
Eight months is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but wouldn't gf make a special visit if she knew you were suffering this much but couldn't manage the travel cost yourself?
What I'm saying, therefore, is, DON'T mention what is just a Red herring. Just discuss the fact that you're struggling and need an unscheduled top-up visit.
SOULMATE, You're absolutely right. I agree with everything you said. I guess I wasn't very clear in my last post but that was I was trying to get at. When I found out that the new girl is moving, I realized it couldn't happen. Having the possibility off the table made me re-evaluate my actual feelings and it was pretty clear I just got too excited about meeting a new friend during a lonely time. And when I said I was going to have an open and honest talk with my girlfriend I meant a talk about how I am not sure if I'm ready to discuss marriage and that we should wait until we are actually together in person before making long term plans. I wouldn't bring up something that I can now see was never anything real when it would only cause unnecessary pain. A visit isn't really an option though. As we are both students and working hard just to pay for tuition and housing, neither of us can afford the 3000 mile trip to another country.
NOPE! Again, do not make this about the calibre of the relationship, present or future, in terms of your faith in it or lack of. Look, NOBODY is thinking positively or excitedly about some special sit-down meal whilst they're busy puking into the toilet. And that's all you're doing right now - puking. Because you're lonely/bored and that makes pining WORSE.
You can make as many damn plans as you like, either of you. In fact, for a relationship TO thrive DEPENDS on it. But vocalised plans are not a contract. A contract doesn't exist in a romantic relationship. That's WHY man invented legal marriage. In the meantime, you each place your bets and take your risks and can dare say anything you like as long as you're meanwhile showing willing.
Just say what I said to say. 'I'm not coping, I miss you TOO much, in fact I'm in actual agony right now. Any chance you could shout me the travel cost or come here for a long weekend yourself any time soon, pretty please with bells on?'
She's a woman. A woman, when coming across a poor wickle, injured, vulnerable, baby fluffy bunny wabbit is programmed to have the incredible urge- nay, COMPULSION to scoop it up, love it, nurse it, FIX IT/IT'S SITUATION.
Make like a bunny wabbit, i.e. show your vulnerability, and she'll move mountains and 'this barrier/that barrier be damned!'. Maybe even ask her parents/rellies for an early Xmas present? Or yours? You won't know until you try, right?
Soulmate, I get that you're trying to help, but honestly telling him what to say isn't going to work, not in 1 million years! I'm pretty sure he can handle it, as long as he's honest and speaks from his heart I don't think there will be an issue. Good luck, I hope everything works out for you too! You obviously love each other so hopefully a good talk and some time together will fix everything :)
Let me just nip this in the bud right now, to save you any future aggravation, which well-deserved lecture brooks no further discussion, note:
You come newly onto a forum to open a thread specifically to complain angrily about how your in-laws-to-be are daring to disrespect *you* (with your fiance happy to let them if left un-harangued), which upset mind and resultant processing-power deficit would undoubtedly weaken your own, all-round fitness to judge, yet still have the temerity to arrogantly, condescendingly and pointlessly criticise its senior-advisory moderator's advice - a person without issues whom you don't even know nor have ever introduced yourself to and whose VERY lengthily successful advisory track-record you know nothing about? And this, despite additionally having zero basis or right for speaking for the OP as if you're his mother, let alone to - *again* showing disrespect - insinuate that he who has above already demonstrated he *can* keep a hold of his faculties under-fire, wouldn't have the intelligence to know neither fact of there being no gun held to his head over whether or not he decides to buy into the suggested harmless action nor needn't quote the statement verbatim rather than merely take on-board the sentiment conveyed therein?
I don't know where you think you are or what types of forums you're used to, but be advised that this is an exceptionally mature and well-behaved community (normally). As such, uninvited, non-constructive, downright pointless criticism of other respondents' input, *when* well-intentioned and patently incapable of causing harm to anyone, is not tolerated. Especially when those in the know can work out said uninvited criticism comes from a place of underhanded over-competitiveness towards self-bolstering ones own deflated ego. Furthermore, other than the owner or moderators, only the OP concerned has the right to respectfully say so if s/he disagrees or dislikes any suggestion and yet, in this case - where is it?
Nowhere, is the answer to that one. Quite the opposite if you'd care to bother to read his responses properly.
Please endeavour to be more gentlewomanly and I'll treat you likewise. If not, if I see you aiming your frustrations at other problem-holders and advisers, you'll find me going far less easy on you.
I know nothing of your advisory track-record but in terms of this specific thread, I have to side with JEN8446. I didn't think she seemed arrogant or condescending at all. Your most recent post however could be described in exactly those words. I'm sure you know what you're talking about but JEN has a point. My purpose of posting on this site in the first place was to share my situation and hear other people's thoughts, not get specific directions on how to handle it. No matter how much I describe my situation on here, no one reading it will know how I think and feel as well as I do. So while I respect the advice and opinion of everyone who has been caring enough to share, JEN is right. Telling me what to do is not your job and quite frankly, I find it to be rather rude and disrespectful. I will carefully consider everyone's comments (yours, JEN's, MIMI's and SKINNYGIRL's) but remember, this is my life and I am the one who will be dealing with the consequences so ultimately it is up to me to decide what I say and do. I felt this way after reading your second to last post but didn't want to disrespect a moderator so I chose to not reply. But after seeing your response to JEN's post, I felt I must say something.
And thank you JEN for defending my right to make my own decisions.
That's utterly beside the main point I was making, which is that it's incredibly jumped-up as a newbie or mere poster to, VIA THEIR ACT, REGARDLESS OF SEMANTICS, disrespectfully challenge a moderator/senior forum veteran. My position places me beyond criticism and direction, save from the owner himself.
"I am the one who will be dealing with the consequences so ultimately it is up to me to decide what I say and do"
Really? That's a shame because I was fully intending to send a henchman round to your house with a cut-throat to make sure you followed my advice to the letter!
See how silly you sound, now, the pair(?) of you?
You didn't get direction, you got enthusiastic suggestion. If you can't tell the difference between those two, despite the very nature of the ether AUTOMATICALLY makes any so-called enforcing of advice an impossibility, then that's your intellectual problem to look at. If as its intended recipient you don't want to follow any suggestion, you need only decide in your own head not to. Not rocket science. So as us forum vets always say: Take what you need out of what is posited and ignore the rest. At least too much is a darn sight better than not enough, at least it gives you CHOICES to consider. So there was nothing disrespectful *whatsoever* about saying 'try this or maybe even this', particularly as you'd encouraged me to continue, ergo any such suggestion is risible as well as nonsensical.
As for me, I find it very interesting that 'she' comes on to arrogantly defend you when defence is entirely unnecessary and then, the minute I pick her up over it, you come on to defend her. Don't think I haven't seen that a thousand times before. So either you two are one and the same or you should think about marrying.
Whatever. I'm in charge of conduct and etiquette so what I say goes, and those that don't like that fact nor abiding by community rules, overt or tacit, can opt to take the very simple solution of finding a place that does suit them. If, however, they lower themselves to that brand of sense of over-entitlement and superiority then they have zero plaintive leg to stand on if they get back what they dished out or double. In other words, if you don't like me finishing it, DON'T START IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Conversation closed. Any more nonsense from either of you and I'll freeze this thread.
Wow. Ok then. Next time I have a concern I'll use another site for anonymous advice. As for this issue, I believe I have figured it out and I feel much better about things. Thank you JEN, MIMI, and SKINNYGIRL for your thoughts.