Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,
I’ve had a thing with a senior for a while. It’s not really going anywhere and I’m not sure it should. He’s a nice guy, but he’ll be gone in a couple months and I’ve still got a few years left at Reed. Being with him makes me happy, but we’ve started this relationship so late in the year I’m not sure we should continue it. What if I develop real feelings for this guy? Is this worth pursuing or should I let it die before it becomes anything too real?
With spring break fast approaching and Renn Fayre just around the corner, it seems like seniors will be gone in a blink of the eye. But that may not be the case. After all, a lot of alums end up staying in Portland after graduation. Do you know your guy’s plans? Is it certain that he’ll be moving across the country, never to see you again? These are the easy logistic questions that you should have your guy answer before you consider breaking it off.
Now we get to the harder stuff. Let’s forget that your relationship is relatively new and that this guy will be graduating in May. How much do you like him? Is he simply a fun way for you to pass the time? Or do you fear developing real feelings for him because you know that you two could be something more? If the answer to the last question is yes, then I wouldn’t dismiss him automatically or let the relationship die before it has a chance. He might stay in Portland, or he might even have the same feelings and be willing to try long distance. Long distance relationships are, of course, tricky. With that in mind, you have two questions to consider: Are you open to long distance if it’s with the right person? Or do you want to keep your options open during your next few years at Reed? If you are willing to try long distance, then you should definitely pursue your current relationship. If you don’t want to be tied down for the next few years, you can either keep things casual with this guy or break it off now.
It’s entirely understandable that you’re afraid of having your heart broken, but isn’t that the risk we have to take? Do you really want your life to be defined by a graduation date? If you think your relationship has potential to survive past May, don’t shy away from that potential. See where it takes you and enjoy how happy you feel with this guy. Even if you don’t see much of a future together, you still have the option of sticking together for the rest of his time at Reed. Sure, you run the risk of being upset when he leaves, but you’ll have a great time these next two months and, more importantly, you’ll have another few years at Reed to have similar and maybe even better experiences. If your fling is just something fun, don’t worry too much about developing feelings and being heartbroken—just let it be fun. You shouldn’t dump somebody just because you’re scared; you should dump them because your relationship isn’t working. But it sounds like your relationship is working.
If your relationship lasts until May, then you have two options: staying together and likely having a long distance relationship, or calling it a day and being thankful for the time you had together. Both are good choices, and if you’re concerned about developing feelings and being heartbroken, I think the second option is best. The key here is communication: if you tell your guy that you’re happy and want to keep seeing him until he graduates but not afterwards, you can both enjoy what you have while you have it. If you develop deeper feelings over these next two months, then the question is whether he has the same feelings and whether you want to pursue a long distance relationship. Maybe he won’t feel the same way, and I’m guessing that’s what you’re most afraid of. With that in mind, test the waters now. Do you just hook up and occasionally hang out? Does he say that he cares about you? Do you have meaningful conversations? If he seems less committed to you now, it’s not very likely he’ll change his mind in the next two months, so keep it casual. If you know that you want something more, it might be best to break it off like you suggested. But I urge you to consider your other options and to be optimistic: dating in college is supposed to be fun and carefree, not wrought with anxiety. Look after yourself, but don’t be afraid to take the plunge!
Miss Lonely Hearts