Is It Really Over With My Long Distance Student Boyfriend?

Question:

I dated my ex, whom I met when I was visiting family in Europe, for about 2 years. My family live in America however, so that meant flying back and forth every 3 months or so to meet my boyfriend. While I was visiting him we’d manage to spend an entire month together, and during that time I’d even met his whole family. Things seemed to be going pretty well.

He’s been under a lot of pressure lately with university, his final exams, as well as some health issues. We wound up in an argument during this stressful time, and at the height of the argument he told me that he wanted a break. This just killed me, and I really didn’t understand what it meant either. I was going through some emotional stuff myself around the same time, which obviously didn’t help matters.

So I kept calling and texting him, basically doing all the things you’re not meant to do. This upset him to the point where he said he can see that I’ll never stop pressuring him to just do things my way. I finally realized there’s nothing I can do or say to fix things, so I stopped contacting him. That was 3 days ago now and I haven’t made any attempts to contact him since.

I don’t know what to do, or even think, at this stage. Should I wait for him? Should I move on? Will he ever call me again? It is totally over?

Mandy

Answer:

Hi Mandy,

Firstly I’d like to congratulate you on taking the chance to pursue not only a long distance relationship, but an international one too – that’s not something most people would ever take the risk on! Unfortunately long distance relationships do take far more work to maintain than when you’re dating somebody living around the block from you, as you’ve come to learn from your experiences with your European boyfriend.

There seems to be a theme with boyfriends and exam stress in the types of questions people are asking this week, so I’ll be saying the same thing I always do when people use stress as an excuse: Being stressed does not give you the right to treat your girlfriend like crap.

I can totally appreciate that your boyfriend was dealing with a lot of stress during his exams, but that doesn’t give him the right to take it out on you. Ever. It’s that simple.

Now the flip side of this is that you obviously went WAY overboard in terms of contacting him repeatedly at a time when your relationship was already on thin ice. People will react in two ways to being put under pressure – they’ll either cave in to your demands, or run in the opposite direction. I’m afraid it sounds like your boyfriend is trying to put some distance between you to get some breathing space.

Three days isn’t a huge amount of time to follow the “no contact” rule – most people avoid contact for 2 – 3 weeks instead. In your case give him at least a week before you attempt to contact him again. When you do contact him be honest and say that you know you overdid the whole contact thing, but that you’re also having trouble dealing with being “apart” from him and not being able to speak to him. You could say that you know he’s under pressure with his exams, but that you don’t want to fight with him because of that.

You can’t be 100% sure the relationship is over until you speak to him again, and after that conversation you’ll have a much better idea of where he sees your relationship going.

My take on this is that he was stressed out of his mind, you both argued, and because he has no personal emotional boundaries he simply walked away from the relationship instead of trying to sort things out with you. Right now he’s probably not thinking about much else except getting his final exams finished. But I don’t think your relationship is 100% over just yet. That being said you’ll have to be very careful about the next steps you take with him.

Give him a week and get in touch – you’ll know more then.

Marlon

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