Sometimes, you have to let go of a relationship that isn’t working in order to make a life that does.
Every Sunday, Danielle Paradis and Alyssa Royse will answer one question from the Reddit Relationship Advice Board.
This week, we have a 28 year-old guy who is moving away and wondering what to do about his “clingy” 22 year-old girlfriend.
I’m moving across the country to pursue bigger things, and she’s staying put to finish her degree up for the next couple years. To me, yeah it sucks and is far from ideal but it’s not the end of the world. Military families have it much worse. She broke down sobbing today because I told her I probably won’t be able to visit every month. This made me question if I really am as into the relationship as she is. Don’t get me wrong I love her, but I just don’t know if i’m head over heels like she is.
There seems to be an imbalance. She has issues due to a lack of being shown love by her parents growing up so it makes sense why she’s a bit smothering…but I just want to make sure I can give her as much as I take.
I’m in a really tough situation right now. I’m not good with long distance relationships and part of me would love to put the relationship on hold for a couple years until she gets her degree (and matures a bit) but she would not be open to that idea. I’d love some input…I can’t decide what to do.
Oh boy where to start. Honey, we all got baggage, and for most of us our parents screwed us up one way or another. So I sympathize with the neediness and the disappointment she is feeling that you aren’t going to be able to come around once a week, but that’s also not very realistic from the other side of the country.
The way I see it, you may as well break up before you leave because you’re giving little hints that you’re looking for a way out. That’s what wondering if you’re as into a relationship as someone else means. You can’t put a relationship on hold for a few years, but you can try to split as amicably as possible so that in a few years, dating again could be a possibility. This relationship is on its way out, and the sooner you two level with each other about that the better chance you have of being able to remain friends. It’s time to rip off the band-aid.
Yuck. I see a few things at play here, but totally agree with Dani, this relationship is over.
In terms of her, yes, she has baggage left from parents who didn’t give her what she needed, and that sucks for her. As a mother, I kind of ache for her and wish I could have been her mother, but I can’t. So, as her (imaginary) friend, I’d say that the cure for clinginess and insecurity isn’t clinging and settling for someone else who doesn’t love her as much as she needs to be loved. It’s learning to be alone and love herself and NOT settle for half a relationship. Even though your heart seems to be in the right place, keeping this going is just giving her another sort of half-love, which will just cement her habit of excepting less than she needs, and feed the insecurity. So, honestly, for her sake, she deserves more than you can give her right now, and you need to end it so that she can go find it. If she’s holding that space for you, she won’t be able to find something else. She deserves that.
And so do you. You deserve to be with someone who won’t, in any way, hold you back. Not geographically, not emotionally. When it’s the “right” one, you will know, and you will be consumed with it, and the thought of being away from her will be torture. You deserve no less than that.
22 is also, really, a lot younger than 28. It may not seem like it, but at that particular stage in life, you have simply had more time to figure out who you are, independently, than she has. Sure, there are exceptions, but, in general, at this age, that’s a big difference. You rightly suggested that you are more mature than her, and would probably be happier with someone who has figured themselves out as much as you have.
Could it be her, in a few years? Totally. Or it could be someone else. There’s no way to know. But even if you do get back together in a few years, it will be a different relationship. As it is now, this one is over. Go pursue your opportunities, and let her do the same.
Your heart is obviously in the right place, and that’s sweet. But cut the ties. Even if it makes her sad or angry now, it’s the right thing, for both of you.