Jack and Jill: End of semester blues: what do we have to lose?
It’s the end of the semester and we’re going our separate ways. You’re headed back to Maryland; and I’m going home to Ohio. Or you’re going to Riverhead and I’m going to Oswego. Or Texas and North Carolina. Or Rhode Island and Connecticut. Or even Queens and Brooklyn.
The actual locations don’t matter — what matters is that we won’t be around each other as we’re used to being, and certainly not as much as we would like to be.
But that’s life as a college student and that’s how relationships go. It’s not ideal but we can make it work — assuming, of course, that we’re on the same page. And the only way to determine whether we are is to have a Talk. It doesn’t have to be as serious as The Talk, but some confirmation is necessary. Are we dating each other exclusively? Are we going to see each other over the summer? How much texting is too much? Sexting – why not, eh? Can we hang out with an ex who we’ve remained friends with (strictly platonically)?
To one of us, all of these answers seem straightforward. But to the other, they may be equally as straightforward in the other direction. Obviously, the longer the relationship has gone the easier these questions are to answer but they still need to be asked.
But it’s one thing to set guidelines, it’s another to follow them and the distance will cloud my judgment. I’m as easygoing as they come; I’m not a crazy, overprotective boyfriend when I know I’m the one you’ll be with at the end of the night. But when you’re potentially hundreds of miles away, I’ll get insecure.
At school, we’re around each other all the time, with little more than the occasional class to separate us. We go to (or host) the same parties and share the same group of friends. I know everybody you’re friends with — specifically every guy you’re friends with — which means I know the context of every interaction you have, every questionable text message and every eyebrow-raising Facebook picture.
But I don’t know most of the people you hang out with at home. I don’t know what, if anything, I should stress about. So I’ll stress about everything, even if I don’t say anything to you about it. I’m pretty sure you’ll feel the same way about me.
That’s why trust is so important in maintaining a long-distance relationship, even if it’s only for a few months. I need to trust that I don’t have to worry about you hanging out with your best friend, her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s football player friends. I need to know that you trust me when I go out with my friends back home.
If we don’t trust each other, we don’t stand a chance. We’ll constantly fight; we’ll passive-aggressively push the envelope on Facebook and Twitter and we won’t make it past the 4th of July.
But if we do, this time apart can make us appreciate each other even more, and our relationship will be better for it.
Finals start next week and things around here are getting crazy. In just two weeks, we’ll be moving out of our places and heading back home. I know I haven’t been the easiest person to deal with. Finals generally tend to get the best of me and it doesn’t help that I don’t know how things stand between us. I don’t
even know what I want to do, much less what you want out of this. I’m also just a little scared.
Relationships are hard. Long-distance relationships are even harder. What’s to say that we will be able to make it work? Sure, we’re great right now but I see you every single day. We eat lunch or dinner together. We study together. We work out together. Our friends are surprised when they see one without the other. We’re finally in a groove that only a year of fine tuning can make so smooth.
In two weeks, that will all change. Instead, I’ll see you once every couple weeks. Maybe. Unless your hours get rescheduled at work or my car breaks down or something else crazy happens; then we won’t see each other for even longer. I don’t know if I’m okay with that. We’ll go from coffee dates to Skype dates and from swapping notes in the library to texting on breaks. Everything becomes so much less personal. What if we lose our spark?
But I don’t want to break up either. There is absolutely nothing wrong with us. Dare I say it – we’re perfect for each other. I am happier than I have ever been in a relationship and the thought of losing you for the summer is making me crazy. More than just our relationship, what about our friendship? Would I lose that too? Can I make that adjustment to just being friends while we’re away?
My heart hurts to think about you being single this summer. I can imagine all the girls hanging off of you and to know that would be happening because I couldn’t handle the distance is enough to make my stomach turn. I’m normally not jealous – you know that – but if we break up, I will be that ex. I will turn insanely jealous of any and all girls looking to woo you, and I really don’t want to be like that.
And what does any of this mean about next year? Is this summer a pause in our relationship? Or the end? Or is it just another stage? This decision answers all
of those questions and more.
I don’t say this often, but I really don’t know what we’re supposed to do. I wish we were both staying here for the summer. I wish we didn’t live so far away. There seems to be no good answer on how to solve this and no good way to talk about it. I don’t want to trap you into something you don’t want. All I can hope is that you’ll talk to me about it first.