We probably have to break up at graduation

We will chat next week.

Dear Meredith,

I'm currently a college senior, and it's been an intense and exciting few months moving toward graduation. I have a boyfriend I've been with for almost two years, but we're unsure about where our relationship should go. He is going home, across the country, and then a few months later to the other side of the world for a fellowship. I'm SO proud and happy for him, but totally devastated for us as a couple. It feels like the only option is for us to break up, as I have no idea when we could be together next.

We could possibly visit each other while he's in the country, but then he's gone for a year, and with little internet service. Also, and understandably, he doesn't yet have a plan for after his fellowship, so I have no idea if we'll be near each other. How do I deal with this impending breakup? I want to enjoy the time we have left together, but lately I feel so sad every time I'm around him. Also, it's so hard for me to stop thinking that maybe we'll get back together one day. I know I'm young and have plenty of time to meet people and explore myself, but it's so hard to have a positive outlook right now. I love him so much and can't imagine being without him, physically or emotionally.

– Graduation

I was feeling kind of sad the other day about something that was, well, legitimately sad, and I was like, “Ugh, I'm feeling sad. This makes me very uncomfortable.” The sadness did not feel productive, so I worked very hard to try to get rid of it. I thought about things that make me happy. I found lovely distractions (there is a new TV show about witches!). After some time, things felt a little better. Sort of.

But then a very wise friend reminded me that sometimes we're supposed to be sad. It's wasn't a groundbreaking idea, but I needed to hear it. Sometimes we just have to sit with uncomfortable feelings. It can be the best way to understand them.

It makes perfect sense that as you approach graduation and the end of your relationship, you're experiencing sadness, grief, hope, and more. I know it's a lot to deal with at once, and that you want a remedy for all of this confusion, but going with the ups and downs is part of the process. You should enjoy the good stuff. Experience the longing. Allow yourself some fantasies about the future. Try to get at least a little bit of sleep as you go along.

Something tells me that if you accept that the next few weeks are going to be a roller coaster, you'll have a better time living in the moment. All you can do is pay attention and get through it. Good luck – and congrats on graduation.

– Meredith

Readers? How do you have nice moments when you know the end of a relationship is coming?