I met a cosplayer on Instagram – but he’s far away

A month ago, I met this guy on Instagram (we have the same interest in cosplaying). Within two weeks, we confessed our feelings for each other, even though it's really out of character for me to fall for someone in such a short time. He lives all the way in England while I'm in the US. We still manage to find good times to talk. We talk about how much we care for each other and get excited whenever we discuss my going to his city to study abroad for a semester next year. He's really funny but can also be serious and a good listener. He's comforted me about my worries and confided in me. We're able to get on along well and can talk without feeling pressure (given the circumstances, we are behind screens).

One thing that kind of bothered me was when I accidentally saw a comment on his account from another woman, and I wound up doing some snooping and found out she was his ex (broke up last fall). So I'm wondering: Am I a rebound or someone to get his mind off of her? He did mention that he wants nothing to do with her, but all of his accounts (he did not tell me about two of them) still follow her. And if it pains him so much, why doesn't he delete his account that has some memories of her on it? The thing is, we haven't really established what our relationship is. There aren't really any labels, and I suppose I'm OK with that because maybe labels add more pressure? Should I even ask him what we are this early on? I don't want to make assumptions. I've never been in a relationship before, and with the long-distance issue ... well, it makes me scared to ask. I don't want to frighten him away.

– Long-Distance Complications


You need to think about how much time you want to spend with someone who isn't actually around. This man is in your life, but only behind screens. You've learned that you enjoy connecting with someone – that you're interested in trying some kind of partnership. Can you get what you want from someone who's so far away? What commitment do you want to make to someone you've never met in person?

I do think it might help to ask him what he wants from this. It sounds like he's devoting a lot of time to getting to know you, and it might help to know why. It's too early for a "what are we" talk, but this discussion would be about what's even possible.

There's no need to bring the ex into the conversation. Some people make big changes on social media after a breakup, but it's not required. This other woman is not the real problem right now.

There might be some potential here, but my advice is to avoid devoting all of your romantic energy to this one person. Maybe you'll travel to England next year and fall madly in love. But that trip is does not sound imminent. It would be great if you could continue getting to know him without cutting yourself off from other opportunities. There might be some wonderful people (who like cosplay!) who are right around the corner.

– Meredith

Readers? How much energy should the LW devote to this person? Is it too early for a conversation?