He lives in Texas; your roots are in Chicago. Summer is coming up quick, and you’re stressing about the future of your relationship. Should you break up, or try to tough it out long distance? One thing you know for sure — it’s time to have “the talk.” Here’s how to approach it.
Decide what you want
Evaluate your feelings about the relationship. Are you serious about it? Is he serious about it? Do you feel that a summer apart from each other is doable, or is your gut telling you that it won’t work?
“First and foremost, it's important to know how you feel and what you want,” says Suzanne Oshima, matchmaker and dating coach at Dream Bachelor & Bachelorette. “Do you want to date other people over the summer, or do you want to remain monogamous?”
It helps to write out your feelings in a notebook or journal. As corny as it sounds, listing the pros and cons of staying together or breaking up will help you sort out your thoughts (trust us!). It’s important that you figure out where you stand before having this discussion.
Find a quiet place to have the talk
It’s definitely not a good idea to have a talk this serious over text message or Facebook chat. Intimacy expert and author Allana Pratt says, “You can do this face-to-face. Strength is found in vulnerability. People you've dated and cared for deserve more than an email or text.”
So find a quiet place where the two of you can go, like a low-key restaurant (not the school cafeteria, where you’re totally interruption-prone!) or a bench on campus during evening hours. It’s important that you’re both comfortable, so find a spot that works well for the two of you to talk for any length of time.
Spill your guts
Don’t hold back any of your feelings — now’s the time to spill everything. You’d regret bottling any of your thoughts or emotions inside later on.
“Don't be afraid to put it right on the table,” says matchmaker and author Marla Martenson. “You will feel so much better once the topic is on the table and you know what's going on.”
So get a head start by discussing your feelings from the get-go. No need for mind games; he wants to know what you’re thinking!
Pratt says, “If you'd love staying together, be courageous and tell [him] it would make you super happy to stay together over the summer. He may or may not agree, yet at least you were bold, authentic and open.”
On the other hand, if you’re ready to cut ties, break the news gently. “If you'd love to be single, then tell the truth,” Pratt says. “[Say],‘I have completely enjoyed our time together. I've taken time to really think about this, and right now, my heart wants to be free, to be single. I don't want to be in the way of you finding a perfect match because I want you to be happy. You're so amazing, so the kindest thing for me to do to step aside. Thank you for everything we've shared.’”
Listen to what he has to say
It can be incredibly difficult for guys to discuss their feelings, but it’s important that he opens up to you.
“When he shares his feelings with you, it's important to not be judgmental, otherwise he will shut down,” Oshima says. “Remember, it's just important to listen to what he's saying and then ask more in-depth questions without making him feel like you're interrogating him. Just remember it's a conversation between you two. It's not about what you want; it's about what you both want and coming to a solution based on your conversation.”
It’s important to make him feel comfortable. Think about your body language — are you relaxed, or sitting with your arms crossed? Are you sitting far apart in a standoffish way, or are you sitting close to him? Look him in the eyes and let him know that it’s okay and important for him to tell you exactly how he’s feeling. You value his opinions (especially on a topic like this!), so allowing him to tell you everything is essential. And when he does tell you what he’s thinking, make sure to listen carefully to every word.
Leave on good terms
Whether you decide to break up or give a temporary LDR a shot, you’ll want to leave on good terms with him. After all, you may see him on campus again next year, or maybe he’s friends with your friends. Either way, there’s no point in making it messy.
If you do decide to stick together over the summer months, awesome! Make sure he knows you’re totally ready to put in the effort required of a long-distance partnership. Start planning when you’ll have Skype or FaceTime dates, or plan a good time for either of you to take a trip to the other’s hometown.
But if you decide to let each other go, make sure you part on decent terms. No name-calling; no hurtful bashing. Be mature, and as Pratt said, thank him for everything. You’ll feel proud of your grown-up behavior.
Whatever the fate of your relationship, you’ll be glad you handled the situation in an adult-like manner. Having a discussion in person is vital for good communication in a romantic relationship. And remember to have a blast this summer, with or without your guy!