Should I hold on to this long-distance relationship?

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Letters to [email protected]

Dear Meredith,

I love my best friend, but I am unsure if pursuing a relationship is the right move for us. My best friend is also my ex. We dated for almost two years in college and tried to do long-distance while we attended different universities. In all honesty, we were both really inexperienced and didn’t know how to be in a relationship while prioritizing our own self-discovery. I felt that I put more effort into the relationship than he did, but in hindsight, I also know that I unfairly expected him to be a mind reader.

We became so passive and did not know how to handle the stress of being in a long-distance relationship. He doesn't like talking or planning for the future, and we aren't sure if we'll even be together after college. We still want to do Peace Corps after we graduate, and we both have plans to attend grad school.

I love him, but I am unsure of how serious I should be about him. For now we have decided we're technically in an "open relationship" because we still love each other, but have other commitments. We want to learn to communicate our expectations and boundaries with each other in a way that is conducive for dating. But I want him to decide by the end of next year if he wants a relationship with me. I love him, but is it foolish to wait for a better time? Should I let us try to find a balance and reconcile what we could do better? Or cut him off completely, despite knowing how painful it will be again?

– Healing From The Past

"I want him to decide by the end of next year if he wants a relationship with me."

If I'm understanding this correctly, you're agreeing to stay in this vague open relationship until the end of 2021. That's no good.

If things were really open – if you were enjoying him from afar while living your life and meeting other people – I'd give you a stamp of approval, but the current state of your relationship is stressing you out. You want more commitment and to be better at it, but it's too much work and a lot of disappointment. Instead of turning this into some long-term project with homework and deadlines, please consider letting go.

Your Peace Corps and grad school plans mean you'll probably be far away from each other for a really long time. If the best-case scenario is that you're both better at doing long-distance, you'll be missing out on a lot of what's in front of you.

I know there are good things here. I believe you're hanging on because you love each other. But you both have other priorities, and it would be nice to embrace them. That's another version of love – knowing when to let someone focus on something else.

– Meredith

Readers? Time to let go? Stay in an "open" relationship?