Dear Wayne and Wanda:
After a string of dating misadventures during COVID (some dramatically awful, some OK but non-starters), I finally met a guy on one of the dating apps who’s really sweet and kind to me and amazing, and it really has been a magical courtship — like the movies. We even agreed to get off the apps and just see each other.
He’s from another country where arranged marriage is common, and hasn’t ever dated a Western girl before, or really anyone. He told me from the beginning that the relationship couldn’t go anywhere because his company is pulling him back to work in a different state this summer. And now it looks like it might be even sooner — back in his home country.
I would totally do long distance or probably even move with him, and he gets that, but he keeps saying it’s going to end when he leaves town.
Here’s the question: Even if it’s temporary, I feel like it’s worth it to enjoy the last magical weeks we might have together. And who knows what might happen? I suspect he’s in this deeper than he realizes.
Everyone else I talk to about it (my friends, my therapist — even the guy himself) is worried I’m setting myself up to get hurt. I’ve always wanted marriage and kids. But I keep ending up in relationships with guys who don’t want that with me. It has resulted in a lot of heartbreak.
But if I end it with this guy — what then? There’s being alone or dating, and in case you haven’t heard, dating in the pandemic is the ultimate worst.
Whether you end it now or hang out every available moment until he steps up to the TSA counter, it’s going to end. He’s made that clear. His culture and belief system made it clear. Even the universe is making it clear. Sorry, but you aren’t getting your happy ending. So why not end things on a bittersweet but high note? Then you can look back on this relationship knowing that you had a very good run with a very good guy.
Taking more positives away from this situation, you certainly have an even clearer vision of exactly what you want in your love life and future, right? Maybe you learned that you shouldn’t get involved anymore with guys who don’t share that vision? And while you may want to avert your eyes, you can see that definitive finish line ahead and start turning the emotional page whenever you want, and even start visualizing or writing your next chapter.
So, what else is ending someday soon? Oh yeah, this damn pandemic! Or at least the worst of it, I hope. And when it does, your dating options will expand again. You can take some optimism from that, too.
Yes, this whole situation is now lame and sad, and I truly feel for you. But as far as breakups go, I hope you realize how fortunate you are to have this type of ending, which is a whole heck of a lot more peaceful and loving than the way most relationships end.
The thing about guys, is they tend to tell us exactly what they’re thinking. And the thing about us ladies, is we tend to hear exactly what we want to. It sounds like this man has been above and beyond clear with you: he established from the get-go that the relationship couldn’t be serious, was open about his inexperience, and at every turn, reminded you of your pairing’s looming and nonnegotiable finality. Your response, in turn, is suggesting you move in together and/or ride this romantic ride until the very end — because you don’t want to be alone, you don’t want to give up the euphoric rush of connection and intimacy, and most telling of all, in your own words, “who knows what might happen.”
Those words say a lot about your mindset and wishes. Frankly, you can frame this like you’re a realist accepting of his disappointing parameters, but your own words reveal your underlying optimism. Those words are full of hope, and those words betray the fact that despite his complete transparency, honesty, and consistency, you have decided maybe just maybe things might work out a different way, and you are clinging to that hope with tenacity that is blinding you to the sensible path forward.
I’m with Wayne. The smart thing is to end it now, with grace, and to immediately start giving yourself space and time to come down from this honeymoon high that has you ignoring this guy’s truths while favoring your own fantasies. The longer you stay at this party, the harder the hangover will be. End things, with gratitude and best wishes, and make space in your life to get over your improbable but ill-fated COVID romance so you can keep your eyes open for a realistic romantic partner.