… and she tried to call my long-distance boyfriend’s parents! Now he’s ghosted me. I miss him so much.
Sure you do, says our elder. But maybe it’s time to meet someone closer to home.
In January my debate group from school traveled to the state competition to compete. I was very excited and proud of myself for qualifying and couldn’t wait to debate. While I was there, I met a boy. As soon as I saw him I could tell there was something special about him, something that drew him to me. We hit it off immediately and started texting every day. Texting turned into talking on the phone and talking on the phone turned into spending hours getting to know each other and laughing. This went on for seven months. I have to mention that throughout our relationship it was exclusively long distance. We’re about three hours apart from each other, and us both being in high school, we didn’t see each other often at all. He’s about two years older than me grade-wise. Obviously, as with any high school relationship, there was sexual chemistry and tension between us and that quickly turned into sexting and sending nude pictures to each other.
After a couple of months of this, my parents found out. Obviously they were very upset with me, and they threatened to contact his parents, but never-ending up following through. My boyfriend and I picked up the pieces and moved on with our relationship, moving forward without sending nudes. Two months go by and we’re closer than we’ve ever been when I get a phone call. He tells me that my mom has contacted his dad and asked to speak with him. He’s freaked out, and doesn’t want his parents to know and asks us to take a break. I understand where he’s coming from, but this absolutely crushed me. The next day we talked for a while, and we both came to the conclusion that we care about each other so so much and we want to be together, but we feel like it’s not great timing right now. Honestly, I’m willing to risk the bad timing if it means getting to be with him, but he’s always been the more realistic one. It’s been three days since everything happened, and we’ve had no contact. I miss him like crazy. Things happen throughout that day and I want to tell him about them so badly. He moved into college today. I texted him just wishing him all the best, and he didn’t respond. I’m really hurt. I miss his company. I really want him back and I genuinely can see a future that involves him. I miss him and I just want to talk to him, even as just a friend. I just don’t know what to do.
Hi there. To start at the beginning, congratulations on your success with the debate team. You should be proud of yourself. Thanks for writing. Your letter was well written and you expressed your situation so that I could feel your pain and frustration through your words. I’m empathetic and I hope my thoughts in response help you to move forward.
Long-distance relationships are problematic to say the least. I believe that is especially true when there hasn’t been a good chunk of time being physically together in which to really, really get to know the person before the separation. LDRs have always been around but I do think that it’s become more common with people ‘meeting’ through social media and the multiple ways one can communicate online. Needless to say, ‘sexting’ wasn’t a word when I was your age, nor ‘Facetime’, nor ‘DM’, etc. But I don’t think any of those tools really substitute for a real, in-person relationship. It is all too easy (and human nature) to fill in all the blanks in an LDR with visions of perfection. In other words, when we’re crushing on someone we imagine that all the missing pieces fit our fantasy of the perfect mate. And I think we amplify this scenario by presenting a ‘filtered’, only the good stuff, version of ourselves. If you think I’m suggesting that you don’t really know this boy well, nor he you, despite many months of LDR, you are correct.
I think the couple years of age difference is playing a critical role in what’s going on now and I’m making a guess here, but I think he’s heading to college while you are a junior in high school is a very big deal. I admit I’m projecting some of my own experience into my opinion. When I went off to an out of state college I was ready for all the new experiences and people that that entailed and my high school girlfriend, who was not going to college, got left behind, physically and emotionally. If there’s anything to this, you would have probably picked up on it through subtle changes in his behavior had you been physically together, whereas with the LDR you were clueless and what probably has been going on with him for some time came out of the blue to you and hit you like a ton of bricks.
I get that this is just conjecture on my part, but something has happened. Another possibility, probably even less appealing, is that he has met a girl who, to put it crassly, is real and in the flesh, not a nude selfie on his computer screen. I’m sorry that I’m not painting any happily ever after pictures for you, but, again, in my opinion, what you’ve described is a guy who is moving on. I’d be happy to be wrong.
So what to do? The idea that you could somehow switch your feelings that you have for him from mad crush to just friends is not so easy. My many experiences along these lines tell me that you need months and sometimes years, depending on the seriousness of the relationship, to get to a point where you can relate to the other person clearly and simply as a friend — and sometimes that will never happen. So, my suggestion is to do nothing, no matter how hard that is right now. If he’s pulling away and creating distance from you then I think any poking at him is going to accelerate that. When you add guilt to the equation it usually speeds up the separation, not the opposite. He knows you want to hear from him. If you lay low, he may come to find that he does miss you and will reach out, but I think you need to give him time and space if there are to be any odds of that happening.
If I could plant one idea in your head with this letter, it would be to not invest any more than you already have in this LDR, to look around you for an appealing, available guy who you can hold hands with, kiss, go to the movies, talk for hours at Starbucks, i.e., have a relationship that doesn’t involve your phone or computer. I think you have a lot to offer. I’m rooting for you.
Letter #: 445335