Q. A few months ago I met a man who I think might be the one. I’m in law school and he’s a young professional. We met right before I moved to Boston to start my program. He’s still in another city — about eight hours drive or a short flight away — and we’re both committed to our long-distance relationship. We’re very much in love and we both see ourselves spending our lives together. I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life for him and that he’s the man for me.
The problem is that he’s applying to PhD programs and has no idea where he’ll be come next fall. Being in a long-distance relationship is much more difficult than I expected, and I find I struggle with it a lot. I can see myself doing it for the next year, but beyond that I’m not sure I’d be able to (or want to). I want to live in the same city as my partner. My biggest fear is that I’ll be deeply in love with him by next year and that he won’t be in school in Boston. Thinking about having to be long-distance for a few more years upsets me. Thinking about having to end the relationship then crushes me. I’m scared of this big decision.
I feel like it’s looming over our relationship and that will continue over the next year. What should I do in the meantime?
A. See how you feel in a few months.
This relationship is very new, as is the distance. You’re already hitting a wall — which is telling — but it sounds like it’s too soon to make any big decisions. That’s OK. Sometimes it’s best to let things play out and make choices when the best path is clear.
Also, his application process will play a big part in this, right? He might find out he’s coming to Boston or ... Connecticut? New Hampshire? If so, that’s a lot easier.
You can spend the fall focusing on your own work, seeing how it feels to stay in touch, and figuring out if you even want to be in a relationship right now. Law school is a big deal, and it’s new to you, too.
I understand you think this man is the one, but all you really know is that you’re hoping you can be together. Table all final decisions until you’ve had more Boston experiences — and until he can give you answers about his future.
If he winds up choosing a school in Idaho or California or something, yeah, this might not be the best relationship for you. That would be sad, but it wouldn’t necessarily mean you’re missing out on the love of your life. Again, it’s been months. You’re still discovering what you mean to each other.
There are plenty of PhD programs right here in Boston, or within a shorter-than-eight-hour drive. If he’s as invested in this relationship as you are, he’ll apply to closer schools. If he *only* applies to schools that are much longer distance, you’ll have your answers. You are in school, in a high-pressure environment. Concentrate on that for now.
^Maybe there isn’t a good one in his field, or maybe he doesn’t get accepted to one here. Or maybe one somewhere else presents a better opportunity for him. Just applying in Boston doesn’t do anything but show a gesture of good faith for the relationship.
I’m not much of a worrier, but why not just chill out and cross those bridges when you come to them? Seems draining and counterproductive to worry about these things now.
There are no guarantees. If you’re more concerned with protecting your future feelings instead of having the flexibility to feel things out as they progress, I wonder if you are ready to be in a relationship in general.
You met A FEW MONTHS AGO.
I knew right away and we did long-distance for a while. Married almost 31 years. Sometimes you just know.
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