Q: Hello Meredith,
I am in desperate need of your advice. I traveled to Europe last winter to deal with a death in my family. While there, I fell for a caring, smart, funny man who was able to show me that it was possible for me to be in the kind of healthy relationship that had previously (and disastrously) eluded me for much of my life. I wound up staying on in this country until April, allowing the relationship to flourish and more importantly, for me to heal, work on myself, and plan for my future.
When I left we decided to continue the relationship long distance. It would be difficult, but I knew in my heart that this man was worth it, and that he would finish up with some work (he is self-employed) and come visit here and scope out the situation. It was difficult, but phone calls, text, and Skype kept us in daily conversation and all was well. Flash forward to last Tuesday, after not having much contact during the week due to the time difference and both of our work schedules. I finally talk to him and he says that "he wants to be friends, still cares about me, that we are living two separate lives, etc." Needless to say, I am devastated. I haven't had contact with him since then. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around someone going from being in love with me to "just friends" in a matter of a few weeks.
I am working in a field that I am not happy in, and my sense of misery has just amplified since my return. I need to finish my degree in order to move forward in my life. I was thinking of going back to that country, where my family has a house, to take some online course, pull myself together, and figure out what I need to do with my life. Before you state the obvious, yes, he is a factor in this decision. I feel as if I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn't at least try to either make it work or gain some closure. So ... what do you think I should do? Do I take this time that I may never have again to explore this? I'll be 30 in a few weeks and I feel like this is the time to totally shake myself out of the ennui, challenge myself to make it solo in another country, and feel capable and strong while either finding a way to make it work with him or accepting the relationship’s demise in a healthy, adult way. Any guidance would be helpful.
– Back to Europe, Tewksbury
A: If this were a romantic comedy, you'd quit your job and move to Europe only to find out that this guy already has a new girlfriend. Then you'd meet some amazing new guy while trying to get the old guy back. There would be a few love scenes, quirky European friends, and you'd wind up coupled and satisfied in just a few months -- or weeks. And maybe you'd get a really cool haircut.
Sadly, you're not living in a movie, and this guy seems to be done with the relationship. You need to accept that it's over -- for real -- before making any decisions about what to do with the rest of your life. Do you really want to take an online course in your family's European home if this guy has moved on? Do you really want to have to get over the breakup with this guy right down the street?
I have to admit that the move could be a very cool life experience. I'm not opposed to you making a change you're really doing it for yourself. I just don't want you to get stuck in a different country for the wrong reasons. If you'd really be doing this to save the relationship, I recommend telling him that you're considering a move. You can ask him -- as a friend -- to tell you what he thinks about that decision.
If you decide you want to go no matter what he says, that's fine. But please get a reality check before you make any plans. They never do that in the movies, but you need to know what's waiting for you when you get there.
Readers? Should she move? Should she ask him first? What's the worst thing that could happen here? Discuss.
Recent blog posts
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.