Is there hope for this long-distance connection?

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About nine months ago I was sitting in my hotel room after having an interview for what would soon become my first staff job as a photojournalist. I had gone across the street to buy a bottle of tequila to celebrate. I got pretty hammered.

Deep in an Instagram hole, I stumbled on a profile that belonged to another photographer. I messaged him in my drunken boldness, complimenting him on his work. He lives in another country, mostly covering conflict there. We messaged back and forth for hours, and that turned to days, weeks, and now months. We have talked about nearly everything despite our language barrier. We would video chat nearly every day – until we didn’t. His city erupted in violent protest. We still spoke, but the conversations dwindled. He was consumed in covering what was happening in his country, and I understood. We would still check in with each other.

We had talked about meeting in person, but then the coronavirus hit. Again, no room to try to plan a visit because neither of us know what will happen to the world, to the US, or to his country. Is it useless to hold onto a connection that feels less than accidental, even from across the world, with a man I’ve never met and may never meet?

– Picture It


It's not useless, but it doesn't have to be everything.

You probably won't meet this man for a long time, if ever. You're both busy capturing the world with your cameras, and there's no easy or safe way to have a low-stakes trip together.

But you can stay in touch, for sure. Maybe your messages are less monumental than they used to be, but they're something. It sounds like he's a wonderful piece of your life, and I see no reason to end the connection.

Please understand, though, that he is a small part of your life. He's not a partner, he's a pen pal. It's not easy or safe to date others right now, but maybe you can make some connections on dating apps. Some of those people will be able to take socially distant walks with you. Maybe when it feels right, they can join your bubble. You can't wait around for this photographer to be in your life. Even without COVID-19, there are many things keeping you apart.

I do love the romantic story here. I adore the idea of you having this incredible love with someone who shares your passion. Really, I'd watch a movie about two photographers who met through Instagram. For now, though, that’s not the narrative. Keep him around, but also keep him in perspective.

– Meredith

Readers? Should the LW cut off the connection so it's less confusing? Is there hope for more here?