I feel bad for breaking her heart

I feel like the worst person in the world right now. I told my girlfriend the other night that it might be best to just be friends.

I met her online two years ago. It turned out she was only in this country for the month and would go back home to Europe. We spent as much time together as we could, and then continued to keep in touch for two years after she left. We dated other people but kept talking.

Last fall, I was lonely and started giving her all of my attention. I texted and told her I wanted to see her and to give us a chance at a relationship. She came to visit for an extended trip, staying with family, with the intention of us becoming a couple. I was happy for the first two weeks she was here, but then began to realize we are two completely different people and that we fight a lot, despite having a lot of fun together.

I had to break the news to her two days after she went back to her country. She was so upset and hurt. I never wanted to make her feel so terrible. I just feel like my loneliness last year made all of this happen. I should have never pursued a long-distance relationship like that.

I offered to be close friends with her. She is still so upset. I don't know how to deal with this situation or if I even made the right decision.

– Feeling bad

You're not the worst person in the world. You broke someone's heart, but it wasn't intentional.

Sure, you made a few mistakes, but so did this woman. She shouldn't have come to town assuming that you would become her serious partner. It was a research trip – an exploratory journey – and you both did the best you could.

You seem self-aware about what started all of this; you got lonely, sent a text, and started making big promises. My advice is to stay self-aware by maintaining some necessary boundaries. Don't be wishy-washy about this breakup; instead of saying it "might be best," call the thing off. Do not offer to be her friend so that you feel better about dumping her (she should be leaning on real friends right now). Do not attempt to keep her in your life because you want to feel like a good guy (forcing that kind of relationship would make you a bad one).

Find something else to do when you feel that loneliness. Watch television. See friends. Date, but keep the texting to a minimum. Focus on seeing people in person.

– Meredith

Readers? What do you think?