And a reminder: For the second season of the Love Letters podcast, we're looking to hear from people about what it's like to date in the world. We're taking short voice memos; they'll be anonymous.
Record a short voice memo (today!) on your phone and email it to email@example.com. You can talk about any favorite (or least favorite) dating experiences. You can talk about dating fatigue. You can explain how you decide how to swipe. You can tell us how you met someone. If it were me I might say, "I am in an intimate and ever-changing relationship with my television and three streaming services." Please include your age, but again, you do not have to include your name.
Remember to hold the phone like you normally would, as if on a phone call (don't do speaker).
I broke up with my boyfriend of about a year one month ago. He is my first love and I am completely shattered. I still cry every day, and I really want him back. I broke up with him because he has always been emotionally unavailable. Although he tried his best, I was always hurt by the hot and cold, the distance, his lack of communication, and the fact that there was very little romantic affection or initiation. We did love each other and there were amazing times. I just did not get all of my needs met, which I expressed very clearly. When we'd talk about this, he would always agree with me, say that I was right, and feel guilty. Sometimes things would change, but it always went back to baseline emotional distance.
Something that's preventing me from moving forward is the fact that we go to a tiny college and I see him every single day. I am graduating in seven months and it has been a living hell. I walk certain routes in hope that I'll see him, and when I do I am completely crushed because I want him back so badly. He is my best friend and feels like home. I've never had a connection like this; Meredith, it is beautiful and it is rare. Last week, after two weeks of no contact, we wound up having a really intense and intimate night together. We both want each other, obviously, but he wistfully said that there's no guarantee that he won't hurt me again. I am scared that he might be too deep in his feelings of failure to associate our relationship with anything but his messing up. I am tempted to ask for him back, to maybe change my expectations and the commitment/seriousness of our relationship so that it may work for the last months of my time at school. What if we don't see each other ever again after I graduate?
Meredith, I've never ever loved someone like this. I know the same is true for him. I want him back so much because I love him with all of my heart. I know that in many ways I hurt myself in the relationship because I wanted him to change. But if I can really address my issues that I projected onto him, what I made his emotional state mean to me, maybe we can engage in a different relationship for the rest of the year. Cherish the time we have together. What do you think?
– In Love and In Distance
"I've never had a connection like this."
I believe you. I'll also tell you that you'll have better connections. It's possible to fall in love with someone who meets more of your needs. This is not the best relationship you'll ever have.
That said, you're at a tiny school and about to commence seven months of wondering whether you're missing out. Perhaps you can use this time to figure out whether you can enjoy this person without expecting something he can't deliver. Maybe you can play it by ear and be around him when it feels right. You can see him again if it feels good. You can give yourself a break if it feels bad.
Really, every decision is up in the air right now because you're about to graduate. Can you accept that at the moment, all things are in flux?
I wish I could give you some guidance on how to be more open and casual, and how to enjoy a person without wanting all of them. It's hard to be good at that, and you might not be cut out for it. But there's only one way to find out. If you're going to spend the next seven months walking in wrong directions to try to see him, just see him. Stay honest about how you feel and make decisions accordingly. You can always change your mind again.
Readers? How can they enjoy each other without the pressure?