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Dating Maze #220 - Long Distance Break-Up
Dating Advice 220

Dating Maze #220 - Long Distance Break-Up

After a few months of distance dating, she's hesitant to end things on the phone.


Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I have been dating a man for a few months now. We live in different states, so our manner of dating hasn't been very conducive to building a courtship. I do enjoy his company when we are together, but because we don't see each other often, every time we do it feels like we are starting again. And I hate the constant doubts in my mind while we are apart.

He is a great person, with a lot of the qualities I am looking for in a spouse, but I don't feel like I have an 'emotional connection' with him, even though it has been a while since we started going out. I gave it a lot of time because I believed there was potential, but at this point I just can't see myself marrying him.

I feel awful that it took me so long to finally realize that I don't want to continue seeing him. I know it is really wrong of me not to tell him how I feel, but I am hesitant to do so over the phone. Do you have any suggestions or advice as to how you think I should proceed?


Dear Sarah,

Ending a courtship is never easy, because we want to cause as little hurt as possible to another person. However, when it is inevitable, as your upcoming break-up seems to be, it is best for both people to do it sooner rather than later.

It's understandable that you would prefer to break the news in person, because you think it is more personal. However, given the fact that you would have to travel some distance in order to see each other, it may be fairer to tell him over the telephone. Why should he anticipate your time together and travel to see you, only to be severely disappointed and have to face a lonely and depressing trip home? Or why should you have to travel to see him, dreading what you are going to say to him, and then enduring a guilt-ridden trip back?

Now let's talk about what is the best way to break the news. It should be done in a considerate, concise and clear way. You must convey clearly that your courtship is over and you do not wish to resurrect it. We're concerned that because you feel guilty about the time it has taken you to come to this decision, you might vacillate about what you have to say and not convey a clear message.

What should you say? Try this: "Over the past several weeks, I've done a lot of thinking. I think that you are a very special guy, but I realize that our courtship isn't moving in the direction I would like it to. I feel bad saying this, but we should stop seeing each other." Considerate, concise, and clear.

Don't try to soften the blow with a lengthy explanation of how hard you tried to make it work, what a wonderful person he is, or that if it weren't for the distance between you perhaps things would have been different. In addition, if you start to rationalize things, you may end up giving him false hope that if he made some changes, your relationship has a chance. Both of you should understand that this courtship simply didn't work out, and it is over.

There is no need to "feel awful." You saw potential in your courtship and did your best to pursue the possibilities. The fact that you ultimately decided that notwithstanding all of his positive qualities, the two of you aren't right for each other, is something that happens to many people. Many of us date someone who is "almost the one," and it takes time to realize that he or she isn't Mr. or Ms. Right. You didn't spend an unreasonable amount of time coming to that realization. A few months isn't too long, especially since you didn't see each other often because of your long-distance courtship.

Often, when someone sees that there is no true "marriage potential," even though she likes and values the person she is dating, she tends to try harder to make things work. In our experience, if after a few more weeks she continues to be bothered by the same issues, and can't find a way to accept it or work it through, additional time isn't going to make a difference.

Some people "spin their wheels" for months (or years!), vainly trying to make things work. It seems to us that you realized what was happening at a relatively early point, and will spare everyone a lot of frustration if you break up now.

We'd also like you to give some thought to the fact that the "long-distance factor" is not the only reason this courtship hasn't worked out. It's true that it is hard to maintain momentum if you have to wait weeks between seeing each other. Even with that difficulty, however, if the two of you were right for each other, you would have at least gotten a sense that you were connecting, and may have tried to engineer opportunities to spend more time together, or shorter periods apart, to allow momentum to develop. Further, your e-mails and phone calls to each other would have helped the connection develop further. (Many long distance relationships succeed in this manner.)

Break-ups often come with the territory of dating, and your decision to break up now is a reasonable and timely one. So, give yourself a pep talk and muster up the courage to end your courtship. The reality is that he'll be hurt and you'll be sad, no matter what you say. But before you know it, each of you will be able to move forward and find the person who is really right for you.

Rosie & Sherry

December 2, 2006

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Visitor Comments: 13

(13) Anonymous, November 13, 2012 8:42 AM

questioning my decision to end LDR

I wass in a 7 month relationship with someone in a different state. We went back and forth and I ended it 4 months ago because I didnt want to move to texas where he lived. Ive been crying all the time and feel lonely and questioning everything. I even went to a therapist to get help in making my decision. I just want some feedback. Also he is very close to his family and works with them. He told me from the beginning that he could never leave his home. I kept trying to be ok with moving there feeling pressured in having to make up my mind. Now im just confused and very depressed. please help

(12) To above me, September 25, 2012 7:47 PM

There are some of us ladies that are trying to be sensitive. And for some we have no choice but to do so over the phone. So sorry you were hurt and thats why you are raging, but it hurts just as much for me to have to do it this way. And if the phone isnt accepptable for you, would ya like a text?? Maybe an email?? Of course not. Thus the phone being the verry next best thing.

(11) hannah, February 19, 2009 4:41 AM

Long Distacne Avoidance...

I believe this article is very good. I have a "spin off" problem actually.. I was dating someone here in europe and we were studying together we started off being very good friends who then started dating after awhile.. they moved to the u.s. and i went there for the summer (in different states) he was calling me and i was calling back every day.. he had even brought up (not me) about moving, if we were to get married we'd probably have to have 2 weddings (one over here one over there), etc.. Anyhow so i visited him where he was because he couldn't take off due to job interviews, etc. We visited had a good time, he was offish and he said it was due to feeling bad about his unstable situation.. anyhow i came back here to finish my univeristy, etc we were in contact on frequent basis and then due to the joy of photos posted on facebook found out he was dating someone else... i e-mailed him (not very nicely) about what a jerk he was for leading me on, why couldn't he be honest, its not big deal, etc, etc. Then he replied we need to talk on the phone.. Then when we talked he just said just because i'm dating her doesn't mean i can't be interested in someone else.. etc, etc. i told him i didn't want to see him again, he was joking oh we'll see each other, etc. I told him we could only be plutonic friends from now on and then he said that can't happend because we always had "tension" from when we met and that we could never be plutonic friends. After that I had sent in a email describing how i felt,how i had felt, and how i would appreciate it if he could just state the obvious that obviously he isn't interested anymore,he's there i'm here and nothing is going to happen ( also that i do not keep contact with exes of any kind ) and in order to move on better i would really appreciate the closer... He has never replied.. I tried calling a few times and he won't answer. or course i have lost all interest in him but i can't understand why is he avoiding me instead of just giving the closure? why avoid getting call or message, or e-mails u don't want when u can give the closure and never worry about hearing from the person again? Could someone offer a good explanation please? I can't understand this avoidance mentality.

(10) Bessy, November 25, 2008 4:49 PM

LDR Break - Up

Yes, please tell him up front. Tell him exactly how you feel. The words will flow right out of your mouth when you do so. There isn't any way to break up with anyone without hurting them. But it's meanier to string them along than to be sincere and let them go. You may be leaving a door open for him to find his real happiness. In the end it's the best decision you will have ever made. Don't live a lie, you are only making yourself and him unhappy. Take it from me, if I only knew the truth I'd be able to move on myself.:-) Hope everything works out for you. Best of Luck!

(9) Jimi, March 4, 2008 5:34 AM

unconventional relationship

i would say never break up over the phone...unless your in a long distance relationship. isn't that what we're talking about? sounds like clint was hurt pretty bad. i feel ya. but i'm on the verge of break up with my girlfriend who lives in a far away state. its just not working anymore. and i will do it over the phone because the idea of traveling that far to break up is worse for anyone involved. but i figure, we started the relationship on the phone, so it can surely end the same way.

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