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Parallax - Advice            August 28, 2000



   He's postponing a long-distance breakup

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How do you break-up with someone long distance? I've met someone here at home and my long-distance relationship wasn't going so well, and I want to move on. But it's so easy to pretend everything's all right and not tell her, though I want to.

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Her view:

Dear Reluctant,

There's a lack of impetus to mention something, isn't there? I mean really, it's not like she can tell you moved on, established a new life with a new girl, and have it all together. She is nice to talk to every now and then, and she understands you the way no new person can. Really she's delightful - and so far away - so no real constraints.

Not very fair to her, it seems. Take the high road - tell her the truth. An in-person visit would be better, but if it would delay things too long, then tell her over the phone and tell her soon. You need to care about her enough to be honest rather than selfish.

It's also hard because you know she'll be dating someone new in no time. A hard thing to imagine despite the fact that you're with someone else now. You probably don't want to see that, to lose your devoted little puppy. But set her free - it's not right. You'll hate yourself later if you don't. Or at least she'll hate you.

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His view:

Dear Reluctant,

You do it the same way you do everything else in a long-distance relationship. You lift the receiver and pray to Ma Bell it won't be so, so bad.

Many breakups happen over the phone. Usually they're rather short calls of a very civilized nature. It's only until after hanging-up that the full impact starts to build up, like a timed-release pain capsule.

The fact that you are in a long-distance relationship means she hasn't had the opportunity to notice all those symptoms that usually make the phone call less of a surprise. And if you haven't been sounding bored or disinterested when speaking with her, she probably has no clue what's going on. That will make the call more painful - and it's your fault for pretending things were fine.

I know you wish there were some easy exit to break-ups - so do I. But I only give out opinions, and let others do the magic.

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