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I am 25 years old and my girlfriend is 24. We’ve been dating for exactly one year, though we had been friends for two years before that. She is my first serious girlfriend. Before her I had only flings. I love her very much and I’m sure she feels the same way. We see each other almost every day; we’re best friend and have complete physical intimacy. In this year we’ve been through some fights. Two of them were pretty serious and we almost broke up. The reasons for these fights were always very silly (for me) and I managed to convince her of that and avoid breaking up. We agreed that the reasons for all of our fights were lame compared to the love we feel for each other and made a pact for being more tolerant and reasonable. Since then we didn’t fight anymore and the relashionship is at its best.
I’m an engineering graduate and currently have an excelent job that pays me well. But the firm I work for is going to be sold in a couple of months and I will have to keep working for them for one more year. After that I will leave the company. I thought this was a good opportunity to accomplish one of my goals in life that is to get a good MBA degree. To do so I will have to go abroad for one year. I would love if she could come with me but she still has two years to complete college.
She overheard my conversation with a friend about my MBA plans and asked me if I intended to go abroad. I told her the truth: yes, I want to go but only in September 2013. That’s a year and a half from now, more than twice the duration of our relationship. I proposed to her that we keep dating during this period and break up only when I leave. From then on we live our lives separately and that includes meeting other people. My intention is to get back together when I come back from the MBA.
She, on the other hand, thinks differently. She said she prefers to break up right now even even though she would suffer a lot since she loves me very much. But when she overcomes the suffering she would be free to find another man and not “waste her time investing in a relationship destined to end.” She doesn’t think we will get back together when I come back nor that she could bear thinking of me dating other girls while I’m away.
I don’t want to break up right now mainly for three reasons:
– Living in the same city we would bump with each other all the time and know about each other’s lives, making it much harder to forget. If we wait until I go, the distance will make being apart easier.
– During the period that I’m still here we can have a great time together. We’re talking about one and a half years. Almost twice the time we’ve been together. The bond created in this period will be strong enough to survive the year apart. (I think)
– I think in my heart that we will get back together when I come back. (I know one year is a long time and I will gain lots of experience and may change my mind. And that’s what she’s afraid of.)
Well, I would be glad if you guys could help me out. Am I missing something? How can I convince her of staying together until I go?
Thanks for your question.
How do we say this nicely? Yes, you are missing something. Actually you’re missing everything on this one. And this is a classic example of the different ways men and women think.
You’re giving her facts and she wants emotions. She wants you to tell her that you love her so much that you’ll do anything to make it work, even if you have to go away for a year. She wants you to reassure her that nothing will come between the two of you, even if you’re far away. She wants you to be strong and tell her it’s all going to work out. (Sure, ultimately she doesn’t want you to go, but she might come around if you sang a different tune with her.)
But you’re not doing any of that. You’re treating the relationship like it’s a business. This is what she’s hearing from you: “In a year and a half, we’ll dissolve the company and split the earnings 50/50, and then maybe we’ll put the company back together when I get back.” So why would she want to stick around, knowing that in the near future the two of you will be breaking up? Women don’t work that way.
From your point of view, you see only benefits from having this sort of arrangement. And we understand. Having a wonderful woman to hang out with, go on dates with, and have sex with is a great thing. And when you combine that with a fulfilling career it’s a great combination. But once again, she doesn’t give a (blank) about any of that.
But having said all of this Thomas we do understand where you’re coming from. It seems like you might really love this woman but you just want to be 100% sure. And you don’t want to give up your career aspirations quite yet in order to have her. And guess what? We totally get it. You’re young, and it’s okay to put your needs first, and frankly you probably should, because if you’re feeling this strongly about pursuing school and furthering your career, you’ll probably be quite resentful later in life if your plans were to be derailed by this relationship. And the fact that she’s your first serious girlfriend makes us think you’d like to explore more in that department as well.
But it all comes down to timing doesn’t it? When people say “love conquers all” they are forgetting to factor in the all important “timing” variable. And this is what we’re seeing here. The timing is a bit off. But unfortunately Thomas you can’t have it both ways. She’s probably isn’t going to want to wait around while you figure this all out. (Although see below for the one caveat.) So you either need to stay with her, and see if you can give a long distance relationship a chance, or break up. (And please don’t make promises to do a long distance relationship but then break up with her just as you’re leaving. That would only perpetuate some women’s perceptions that guys are not to be trusted, which is not true.)
So Thomas, please stop treating this like a business decision and really start having some heartfelt conversations with the woman you love. And we’ll let you in on a little secret. (Our caveat) If you’re honest, and treat her with respect and love, even if you do break up now, and you go away for awhile, it’s likely if she’s still single, her heart will still be open to you. However, if you continue treating her like she’s a business partner you won’t ever have another chance with her.
We wish you the best in figuring all of this out. Please feel free to ask us a follow up question. And we’d love to hear what you think about all of this. And what you ultimately end up doing. Keep us posted. We’ll respond in the comments section as well.
(And readers: Please comment as well. We love a great discussion!)
ps. Let your friends know about us.
Some other questions for THE GUYS: