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Q: I have been dating my boyfriend "Kurt" for about five months now. He's charming, clever, and very kindhearted. Having been dumped by a somewhat (emotionally) abusive boyfriend half a year before, he is a breath of fresh air. The only problem is, I don't know where this relationship is going.
Kurt and I met through his sister, who is also my best friend. There was definitely a strong connection initially, but the need to rush things forced itself upon us on account he was leaving to study a semester abroad for the next three months. While there, he informed me that two days before he left, he cheated on me with his ex-girlfriend. I forgave him, keeping in mind that we made the mistake of "falling" too fast due to the time constraint. We got back together a month before he came back to the US.
He's back home now and everything seems to be going extremely smoothly. He hasn't been speaking with his ex-girlfriend and when he does it's only to check in on her (she has an illness, which complicates this even more). He's three years older than me and attends a different college than I intend to. He goes back to school in less than a month and that scares me. A few nights ago, he said something on the lines of, "I don't take this relationship as seriously as previous ones [such as the one when he was engaged to a girl, but not the girl he cheated on me with] because it hasn't matured to its potential. It'd be five years until we actually had a stable relationship and could live together. But I want to do whatever I can to make this work."
Can we make this work? Should I push through this and see what happens? What if I can't trust him while he's at school? Is this a waste of my time?
Please Help Me, Meredith!
– Flustered in Framingham
A: Five years, FIF? I'm sad to say that Kurt is probably right. You can't get serious now because of distance. Even if you could, he just doesn't seem ready.
My advice is to keep dating him -- because you want to -- but take three big steps back in your head. Tell him that based on trust, distance, and school, you'll both just have to take this day-by-day. It'll be difficult to ease up on the commitment, for sure, but he's going away and so are you. You're having your boundaries set for you.
You asked whether this is a waste of time. It isn't. But that doesn't mean you'll be together forever. Love is a worthy experience, even when it doesn't last. So is dating. All you can do is make daily decisions about whether you're getting something out of your relationship with him, or whether staying with him is making you feel worse about life.
I think I said this last week, but sometimes you just have to let a relationship play out. You can't jump ahead and get answers until you're sure you know what you want. A resolution will come in time. Enjoy him while he's around.
Readers? Am I right to say that they should keep dating until the answers become clear? What do you think of Kurt telling her they can't be serious and that he has cared about other people more? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.