Hurt and Confused in long distance relationship

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Dear Guys,

To make a long story short, I met a guy from a city 5 hours away through mutual friends.  We hit it off and started talking from then on.  He initiated everything, and texted or called me every single day.

I went to visit him 4 times over a 5 month period, and towards the end of the 4th month we decided to have sex.  We weren’t “official” but acted in every way like a long-distance couple.  We talked every single day, supported one another as I worked through my senior year of college and applied to graduate school, and he started a new job.  He still initiated 80% or more of our conversations, and remembered all the small things in my life, as I did in his life.

Once he started his new job he started to get depressed and stressed.  He was living alone in a new city and having a hard time adjusting.  I knew this, and tried to support him in every way I knew how to.  I never pushed a relationship status, because I felt comfortable with where we were at and confident of where we were going.

On the day I texted him to tell him I got into my top graduate school (5th month), he was happy for me, but we soon ended up talking about us as a couple.  He then said to me that he just couldn’t commit himself to anybody at this time, and that he liked me, but the time was too hard for him.  I was hurt, but knew that he was having a very hard time dealing his new job, and told him that he should do what he needs to do to be happy.

We talked twice within the next couple weeks, and exactly a month after we had our talk I found out that he was in a relationship with a girl he had met in his current city.

I’m not mad or jealous of this, but extremely extremely hurt.  I feel like I was used.  It hurts me to think that I wasn’t good enough for him to make me a part of his life.  I let all my guards down for this guy, and had no doubt in my mind that he did care for me.  I’ve never felt this way about a guy, and he expressed the same to me.

We haven’t talked at all since all this has happened, which makes me feel like he never even cared about me.  I’m just really really confused and hurt over this at a time in my life when I should be happy.  How could he start a relationship so fast when he told me he couldn’t commit to anybody at this time?

What happened?  Help!

Anonymous

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Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for your note. We’re sorry you’re hurting so much. And we can understand why.

But first let’s focus on the positive. Congratulations on getting into your top school. You should feel very proud of that accomplishment; and you’re right, this is a very exciting time in your life and you should be happy. We’re confident that once you start school, and get into the groove there, you will see that maybe this will work out after all.

We’re not going to pooh pooh how you feel, or tell you this all happened for a reason, but we will say if we were in your shoes, we would be excited to arrive at our new destination with a fresh outlook and a clear mind. Having a boyfriend in some other city, especially a guy that gets depressed and stressed, would likely distract you from your primarily goal, which is to focus most of your efforts on yourself and your chosen academic field.

But having said that, we can see why you would be hurt and confused, and probably pretty soon, very angry. It’s hard to let your guard down and give yourself over to someone. Yes, it sounds like he was into you, but when things got more complicated he bailed. That should give you an indication of what kind of guy you were truly dealing with.

Long distance relationships are ripe for these types of problems. Without the day to day connections that build the foundation for a long term relationship, things can go south pretty quickly, often with one person-you-not even being aware of it. It’s less about the people and more about the situation. Some people can handle this type of separation because they have clear convictions, loyalties, and a strong sense of self. You would fall into this category. Your “guy friend” would not.

The reason this is such a surprise to you is because you didn’t know him the way you thought you did. And once again this is where the long distance piece can skew the entire picture. He may have been charming, fun to be with, interesting, and exciting; but most people can keep that up for a weekend, or even a week. However, day in and day out, the realness of people is exposed. We think this realness is a good thing in the long run, because long term relationships are much more satisfying, albeit not necessarily more exciting all the time, than flings, or casual dating. You never got to see the real him, until now. So you, along with countless other men and woman in long distance relationships, were blinded by the excitement of the situation, and the limited access to the actual person.

We hope you understand that he wasn’t the guy you thought he was. And this means that once you get over the hurt, it will become clearer and clearer to you that you are exactly in the place you need to be. Don’t let your ego fill you up with anger. Move on and throw yourself into your studies. You’re about to embark on an adventure, and what better way than to arrive at school with a mind and heart completely open to possibilities. That’s a wonderful place to be in life.

And who knows what or whom is waiting around the corner.

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