‘Social distancing out of a relationship’

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Dear Meredith,

I started dating this guy early December. Things started to move too fast and I broke things off that same month. At least I tried to – because he didn't want to end things and sort of pushed himself back into my life. Because of my loneliness and confusion, I just accepted it. January passed and I thought I was developing feelings for him until he started to pull away and asked to take things slow. That was around Valentine’s Day.

Then he explained that he was insecure that I might think of him differently because of his personality (dark sense of humor?) and the fact that he vapes (not a huge fan, but I don’t know why he thought he had to hide it from me). So we made up, but I’ve felt off after all that. We haven’t seen each other since March because of social distancing, and honestly I have not missed him a bit.

We’ve kept communicating, but I’ve refrained from showing any type of affection over text. I feel really guilty about it. We FaceTimed for the first time yesterday, and he kept saying how happy he was to see my face and how much he misses me, but I couldn’t say the same. I planned to break things off in person once social distancing lifts, but I don’t know how long this pandemic might last anymore. I honestly don't know what to say to him except that I can't really see a future together. He's a sweet guy and the sex is great, but something just seems to be missing. And yes, I probably need therapy, too.

– Social distancing out of a relationship


"He’s a sweet guy and the sex is great, but something just seems to be missing."

At the moment, the sex is missing. That means your one big reason for staying with this man is gone.

I've seen social media posts and received letters about how horrible it can be to experience a breakup over Zoom. At first I felt extra terrible for these people because it seemed like such a cold way to deliver/hear bad news about a relationship. But Zoom and FaceTime counts as in-person right now, at least for communication. I might not have said that six weeks ago, but things have changed. We have to be able to make life choices from home. If you can see someone's eyes (and, yes, maybe their tears), you're doing it right.

Get this guy on FaceTime and tell him you don't want to be together anymore. Explain that it's not about the pandemic; you had these thoughts in March. Then tell him you don't want to wait weeks or months to move on with your lives. There's no good reason to hold up that process.

A tip: Please put your phone/laptop on something sturdy so it's not all wobbly. You want to be able to sit and focus on delivering this information without having to balance something in your hands. No one wants to be dumped with a shaky camera. That's a real "Blair Witch Project"/horror film kind of breakup.

After it's over, please don't be too hard on yourself. You tried to give a relationship a chance, but it didn't work. That's OK. Deep breaths.

– Meredith

Readers? Tips for FaceTime breakups? Thoughts about how to deliver this news?