‘Was it unrealistic to expect more commitment?’

Dear Meredith,

I had been dating a man long-distance for the past few months. We are the same age (mid 30s) and met years ago at an event. We lived in different countries and our careers took us in different directions at the time. We kept in touch and met up a few times over the years as friends. Now we live in the same country, but on opposite coasts. We recently reconnected through social media. We found that we were very similar in terms of our life experiences, culture, and future family expectations, and we started to exchange messages every day – for about four months. He indicated that he was single and was looking for a long-term relationship. So was I.

We met in person a few months ago, and there was mutual chemistry. After that, he was in contact via texts daily (good morning until good night). We started calling each other regularly, and sometimes we would talk for hours. (He usually initiated the contact.) We talked about one or both of us potentially relocating in the future. Then we scheduled to meet up for a long weekend. We spent a lot of time together, laughed a lot, and everything seemed to go very well. He talked about buying a house and we even went to look at open houses together. He used the word "we" when buying a house. (I thought that was a little surprising.)

I needed and was expecting more commitment, given how things were going. I was not willing to continue dating long-distance without commitment. I asked him before parting what our relationship status was, and if we were exclusive. He said he needed more time to think about it. I was very upset given all the signs and attention he displayed over the past months. I held back my disappointment and flew home. I wrote him an email after I got back saying I was unable to go further without commitment. He wrote back saying that while he admires many of my qualities and enjoyed our interactions, he feels we are incompatible and wanted to remain friends. I replied and said I was disappointed (an understatement), but thanks for the good time.

I am, however, quite heartbroken. This hit me harder than I expected. Although it was not a long time, we had close, frequent contact (more than 20,000 texts, hours of phone calls, and about a week together). I felt I got to know him fairly well, more than if I dated someone locally and saw them a few times. I was not asking him to consider marrying me, just to date exclusively. Was there anything I could have done differently? Was it unrealistic to expect more commitment by now? Shall I just cut him off completely and move on? Was it just a fling on his part and I read too much into it? I'm seriously questioning my ability to read people, especially in a relationship. I need some more objective opinions.

– Confused-and-broken-hearted-woman


It's hard to make a big commitment when you've only seen someone once or twice in person. You asked for exclusivity – not marriage – but that's still a big promise. Sometimes people want to get through a bunch of successful long-distance visits before they agree to make that kind of travel a part of their routine.

But that doesn't mean you ruined your relationship by asking for more. Had his concerns been about pace, he would have said, "Hey, I think it's a bit early to take that kind of leap. Can we see how things go for a few more visits?" Something tells me you would have agreed to that compromise – because it make sense.

Instead, though, your guy told you he was ending the relationship because you're "incompatible." That has nothing to do with logistics. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with your questions. He just didn't see it going anywhere, despite all of his messages and hints about the future. Now you know.

For the moment, it's best to cut him off so you can remember what life was like before those daily messages. Try to replace that contact with texts and calls to friends. Remind yourself that there are other people – great people – who care about your day.

– Meredith

Readers? Did her questions scare him away? What about his talk about the future?