Ask A Woman: The jerk store called and they’re running out of you!
If you’ve got a question that needs the female treatment, chances are you’re not the only one who wants to ask it. Beth is our source for the answers. From opinions on men’s style to decoding the sometimes mysterious ways of women, she’ll take on a different question every Thursday. She also might provide an answer without waiting to be asked. That happens from time to time too. Click here to get to know Beth, then get in touch with her by sending your question to: firstname.lastname@example.org .
My girlfriend and I go to the same college, but she’s from the Midwest and I’m from California. So, when we headed home for the summer, it’s turned into a long distance relationship–the first of those I’ve ever had.
Here’s the thing. I’ve realized that I don’t really miss her as much as I expected to, and I’m considering breaking up with her. I honestly think this isn’t because of the distance or because I’m not physically with her, but rather because I’ve had time to reflect and I feel that our relationship has pretty much run its course.
My question is, how should I handle this? I don’t want to be the dick who breaks off a long-distance relationship via a phone call or FaceTime, but I feel it’s also not right to stay with her through the rest of the summer only to immediately give her the bad news once we both get back on campus. It’s a bit of a conundrum, and I’d appreciate your opinion.
I’ve answered a question similar to this before, and my advice isn’t going to change much, but maybe I can give you a new perspective that will help you get through this conundrum, as you accurately describe it.
In your situation, I think the difference between breaking up via phone or breaking up in person is negligible. That is, there’s good and bad to both approaches, and neither is “right.” Here are a few things to consider.
If you break up with your girlfriend over the phone, you lose some of the intimacy of being there in person. So that’s a drawback for sure. But you provide her with the opportunity to deal with the initial pain and shock while she’s surrounded by her family. If she draws comfort from being with her family–not everyone does–then that could be a good way for her to cope. She can also begin processing this change without having to deal with homework, attending class, moving, and all the other changes that come from starting a new semester. If you wait until you’re back at school, she may feel like you’re giving her more respect by doing it in person. She may feel better by seeing your body language, by being able to hug you good-bye. But then she’s starting the new school year on a shitty note.
Phone, in-person, as long as it’s not by Post It note.
Maybe it’s helpful to consider what your goals are here. You want to end this relationship. You want to do it in a respectful manner. You don’t want to make it any more painful than it has to be. What do you think will help you accomplish these aims? There’s your answer. Beth, just tell me what to do for the love of God. Fine, fine, ya tyrant. If it were me? Phone. I’d want to spend those first few days curled up on my parents’ couch, having them feed me and telling me I’m going to be okay.
Here’s one more nugget to munch on: when you break up with someone, you are perceived as the bad guy. You are. You can’t avoid it. And you shouldn’t, when you know that it’s not right to be with someone any more. It’s very uncomfortable to know that you’ve caused someone pain, and to know that people might be thinking badly of you. Hard decisions often come with these types of consequences. It doesn’t make it the wrong decision, it just means you’re in a difficult position. Know that it will pass, everyone will heal, and in time someone else will be the bad guy.
Got something brewing in your life? Send me an email–style, etiquette, relationships–I answer it all:email@example.com