My girlfriend is moving to a new city – can we hit pause on the relationship and start again later?

I have something to confess. Me and my girlfriend (both 18) currently live in Singapore and are finishing up studying at an international school. 

So far, I’ve kept lying to my girlfriend and saying that I’m 100% invested in being with her long distance when we both go to different universities in autumn, but my heart isn’t really in it.

She’s great –  cute, bubbly, sporty, fun, really family orientated – but the idea of seeing her once every few months, having to live on facetime when we’re both so far apart, and not being able to really enjoy the start of a new school and new place is making me uneasy already.

Obviously, I think I really love her, but part of me is worried that if I was completely in love with her, I wouldn’t even be considering breaking up (or taking a break?) to study separately.

Do I tell her how I’m feeling? I feel guilty having doubts as it is. Or maybe I just stick it out for a few months and see how I feel doing long distance?

Hey there, thank you for reaching out.

Firstly, the fact that you’re reflecting on your feelings regarding your relationship is definitely a good thing. In many cases, I would advise people to worry less about what the future holds, but in your case, I’m going to be honest – you’re still young, and this transitional period of leaving home and going off into the world is a big step of becoming an adult.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I don’t often share much of my own history with readers (perhaps an agony aunt faux pas), but I was in a very similar position to you at 18. Due to commence long distance with my highschool sweetheart, I tried to fend off all trepidation I had about many of the same factors you do; living an online relationship whilst juggling a new city and new friends seemed all too daunting.

Yet, I didn’t have the courage to tell him nor break it off, so I gradually became more distant and colder until we both accepted it wasn’t working.

Now, I have few regrets, but I do wish I would’ve acted on my gut instinct and called it off before we both left for our separate universities. Instead, I soured the ending of what was a very good relationship, when I do believe we could’ve parted ways in a painful yet far healthier manner…

And perhaps have picked things up again at some point in our futures.

Whilst your situation is no doubt different to mine, perhaps you can take something from the lesson I learned. Equally, I think we need to sometimes make these mistakes for ourselves to learn from them.

In terms of the can-I-pick-it-up-again-when-it-suits-me, I wouldn’t advise on trying to put your girlfriend on hiatus until you decide you’re interested in pursuing things with her in the future. This is quite a challenging mentality as you’re then both stuck in a sort of limbo, questioning how much you speak in the present, getting upset at the other person moving on (if that happens), and preventing true, independent growth.

Long-distance relationships are tremendously difficult. For some, they work. But considering you’re already experiencing concerns, I would highly advise sitting down and having an honest conversation with your girlfriend. Be kind but be honest, let her know that you’ve valued your time together immensely but be transparent about your uncertainties. This will give you both ample opportunity to step in and make an informed decision (hopefully on the same page) about what the future holds.

And who knows – maybe your paths will at some point coincide in the future.

But don’t cling to that possibility; commit to your present, and see what happens.

If the two of you are meant to be, you’ll either find a way to navigate these challenges together. And if not, it’s essential that you give each other the space to commit to your own individual paths.

Sending love!

Evie

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Ask Evie

Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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