My story is a bit complicated. I met my boyfriend online on a social media site, never expecting or looking for a relationship. But it happened and within a few months of chatting every single night for hours, weekend telephone calls, a gazillion messages and emails, he bought me a ticket and I went over to see him. I ended up spending almost a month there and came back totally crazily in love.
6 months later he came over to my side of the world (he lives in Europe, I live in Africa) met my family and won everyone over. I’d never been happier! fast fwd another year, and another visit from me to him and him to me…and him proposing to me last year June! I was over the moon but there was a taste of reality as after 2 years we still hadn’t managed to be in the same country.
And now after being together and trying so hard for over 3 years, I’ve decided to end it. I feel like we’ve lost the determination that we initially had and that his avoidance to deal with these issues has made me feel disconnected.
Sure he made expensive calls and called me everyday but is that enough? I’m scared that if I end it now it will be final and i’ll have made the biggest mistake of my life. On the other hand I’m wondering if I’m living in a dream world. He’s in Italy, I’m in South Africa, different races, different religions… ARRRGGHHH! It all gets overwhelming.
First of all, I’m sorry you’re dealing with all these complicated issues! I’m sure it seems like everything would be easier to sort out if the two of you could just sit down in the same room and have a conversation.
I guess my first thought is actually a question—do you feel like your relationship is ending solely because of the logistics of being long-distance, or are there other factors at play? One thing that jumps out from your comment is “his avoidance to deal with these issues.” It’s worth considering whether there are inherent differences in your communication styles or even your personalities. Sometimes these things are slower to come to light in a long-distance relationship, but cause problems when people eventually move in together. If that seems like it might apply to you, then in a way it’s good that you learned this about your relationship before taking such a big leap and moving to Europe, or having him move there.
On the other hand, if you feel like your issues center around the logistics of your relationship, and that everything is fine when you’re able to physically be together, there are a few other things for you to consider.
As you pointed out, I think it does actually bode well that your boyfriend was so committed to calling and visiting over three years. And even though your visits were rare, it’s a good sign that a month-long visit was such a positive experience. It sounds like you were both equally invested in the relationship for a long time, which says a lot about the connection you two have.
Being apart for so long is wearing, though, especially if you don’t have an end date in sight and there are lots of factors complicating whether you can actually be together. Consider what might be causing his avoidance, too. For example, maybe the two of you have always talked as if he’ll be the one to move, and now he’s not so sure he can do that. Look for parts of your plan he might be uncomfortable with, and see whether there are any alternatives.
If you want to try to make it work, tell your boyfriend that the two of you need to start planning an end date and working toward being together. Aim for real progress—slow but steady. Write down a list of the steps you’d need to take to be together: living arrangements, visas, jobs. And every week, each of you can be responsible for gathering information about one of the items on the list (it’s important that you *both* be working on this).
If you can (and I know this might not be feasible, depending on your obligations and/or the cost of plane tickets), maybe plan a short visit so you can talk through this in person, and see if you both feel that same spark; that same drive to find a way to be together. If so, you can talk about the next steps.
But if this relationship has run its course, that’s OK too. I know it feels like you’ve invested a lot of energy and time, but don’t look at it as wasted time—after all, you’ve had some great experiences, and I’m sure the relationship has taught you a lot about yourself. You can’t change what brought you here; you can only decide the best path for you going forward. At this point, though, I think you have nothing to lose by laying all your concerns out on the table—and asking him to do the same—and seeing where that takes you. If you can get to the root of his problem, maybe you can work it out and find that determination that was lost.