fb-pixel Skip to main content
LOVE LETTERS

Feeling guilty after ending a long-distance relationship

Love Letters

Love Letters

Q. I recently ended my long-distance relationship with my boyfriend. We started off in a close group of friends, and then started dating three months before we graduated from college. Both of us moved back to our hometowns after graduation, so it seemed like a doomed relationship from the start.

But he was the person I trusted, and I love hanging out with him, so I took the risk. Then, one month into long-distance, I couldn’t handle it anymore. I felt like we didn’t have the same connection online that we did in person. We didn’t know when we would see each other again. Both of us were trying to figure out jobs and life. I couldn’t handle the thoughts in my head telling me that long-distance wasn’t for me.

Advertisement



I still love him and I wish it could work. I get mad at myself for doing this to both of us. I hurt him and hurt myself. Should I go back and tell him I’m sorry and still want to be with him? This is a question that keeps running through my mind — and I want it to stop. Financially and logistically, it didn’t seem to work. But long-distance has worked for some of my friends, but with their high school sweethearts or long-term significant others.

I miss talking to him but I know that is something we shouldn’t do. Being with friends and family has helped. I just feel so guilty and angry for hurting him.

I’m confused, angry, sad, and guilty for ending something that was good. I don’t know what I’m asking, but I need some advice.

DISTANCED

A. I think you’re asking for an endorsement of this breakup. I can give that to you.

You were feeling bad one month into the long-distance relationship. Also, you had no light at that end of the tunnel — no plans to be in the same place. Breaking up was the best, most logical option, even though it hurts.

Advertisement



The more selfish decision, based on what you said in this letter, would have been to drag it out and make him think you were invested. A lot of relationships last months (sometimes years) longer than they should because one person doesn’t have the courage to say it’s not working.

If he were local, or if it had been easier to be together in person, you would have tried harder. But he was far away. You knew it wasn’t good for you, so you dealt with it. Now you’ve set healthy boundaries. Well done.

Guilt is part of this, and it makes sense that you feel bad for hurting him. Of course you miss him — he was your friend and more. You also probably miss the ease of college and community. But please know that the sadness doesn’t mean it was the wrong decision. Give yourself time to adjust to this new phase of life, and maybe, at some point, the two of you can resume some kind of connection.

MEREDITH


READERS RESPOND:

You did the humane thing by breaking off this relationship. From what you said, you lost the connection you had in person and had no plans to see one another again. You don’t mention how your boyfriend felt about being long-distance, but it’s possible that he also felt it wasn’t working. It’s going to hurt for a while, but you did the right thing.

Advertisement



SURFERROSA


If you are considering trying to apologize and get back together, know what your motives are (e.g., is it because you are lonely or you are serious about him as your partner?).

JIVEDIVA


You are right not to be in touch. Making hard decisions that are right, but hurt, is part of life.

HOLLY IVY


You had barely unpacked when you made your decision to leave the relationship. This is not a criticism, just a notice that you weren’t fully committed to the relationship or you would have hung in longer. You dated for 12 weeks, and broke up four weeks after being apart. Don’t sweat this one or take on unnecessary guilt. Forgive yourself and move on — he probably has already.

HIKERGALNH128

Send your own relationship and dating questions to loveletters@globe.com or fill out this form. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.


Open the tab and fill out the form and hit submit. That's it! Keep a look out for your question in the next Love Letters.