I moved to a different country (Country A) for my first job out of university. I’d visited before and loved everything about it, and was feeling pretty sick of my home country (Country B) at that point. However, I was also always confident that I would eventually move back to my home country to be near my family and friends from childhood/university.
While still living in Country A, I started dating an amazing man. We started the relationship very casually: I was up front about my long-term desire to move back to Country B, and he was equally up front about never wanting to leave Country A. However, we fell very much in love and stayed together for two years. I could write 1,000 words about how amazing this man is. The short version is that, you know how a lot of people say they knew their partner was “the one” because their partner felt like home? That’s how I felt (feel?) about him.
While I was falling in love with Country A and this man, some family problems made me realize how hard it was to be away from my family and closest friends. Last November, I was offered an amazing job back in Country B. It was the hardest decision I have made in my life; in the end, I took the job and moved back to Country B because I couldn’t shake the feeling that I want to be there in the long term, and staying in Country A was just prolonging the inevitable. My then-boyfriend and I broke up. In a series of very painful conversations, he made it clear that he supported my decision but would never follow me to my home country.
I’ve been in Country B for five months now. I like being close to my family and friends (my social calendar hasn’t been this packed in years!). A lot of relationships important to me have been strengthened. But I miss Country B, and I miss my ex SO MUCH. Every part of my daily life feels like he should be there, and I can’t imagine a future without him. We still text every day (trying to do the “friends” thing, though we’ve both been pulling back a bit). We’ve had a few “feelingsbomb” conversations where we talked about how much we care for and miss each other, but he reiterated that he is not moving for me.
Captain, how do you get over someone who could have been the love of your life if not for geography? I feel like I had one inner voice screaming at me to go home to my family when I was living in Country A, and now I have an inner voice screaming at me to go to my “home” with this man. I feel like I’m being torn in half.
I Don’t Believe In The One But What If He Was It? (she/her)
Hi I Don’t Believe In The One,
There’s no easy answer here, but if you truly want to move on from this person and commit to your life in Country B, here’s the hard necessary stuff that will help:
End contact or take a long break from being in contact with your ex. You’re not friends and you won’t be friends as long as this big wave of longing flows between you. This “texting every day” routine is keeping your hopes and your feelings alive, the phone is the umbilical cord feeding the relationship.
Remind yourself: He had the opportunity to move to be with you, and he chose not to. He could end this separation any time he wants to, but he isn’t choosing to do that. I think you still hope that he will change his mind and come be with you. Every day he doesn’t do that he is re-affirming his choice.
Remind yourself: You had the opportunity to stay and be with him, but you chose not to. You could end this separation any time you want to, but so far you’ve chosen not to do that. If this were really the right long-term relationship for both of you, wouldn’t one of you have made the decision to stay or move so that you could be together? Is moving back and being with him what you really want to do? If so, do that! If not, throw yourself into life where you are and let go of him.
It’s one of the saddest truths that you can love someone and still not be able to build a happy life with them. You’ve both made the hard choices and had the hard conversations. Now it’s time to grieve what might have been and let distance and time do their work. This will heal if you let it.
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