Right Guy, Wrong Time?
Q: I'm 19 and over the summer I worked with a guy who is 21. We had a connection instantaneously and became really good friends. However, we both didn't realize there were strong feelings till two weeks before he was due to move. I've never met someone like him before. He has everything I've ever wanted in a guy. Even though I've known him for only six weeks, we both feel like we've been boyfriend/girlfriend for a long time. He has reiterated to me how amazing I am, and he would only be so lucky to find someone like me in the future. The problem is that now we go to school about four hours apart, and next year he'll be attending law school even further away. I feel like we're both at such different points in our lives, it would be impossible to have a long distance relationship. So what do I do now? Just move on with my life, putting these feelings behind me, wondering if I will ever meet someone like him again? -- Ashley
Dr. Susan: He's everything you've ever wanted in a guy? A few years from now, you may want something different, and he may become someone different. Not that this matters now, since the odds of your keeping this going over time and distance are pretty slim, as you wisely realize. So what do you do with the feelings? A couple possibilities: begin journaling like mad. Focus on what was special about this fellow, what made you such good friends before you even realized you were hot for him. Those are the important qualities to keep an eye out for next time. The bonus of journaling is that you'll be able to look back before very long and see your own feelings fading. It's inevitable.
I sympathize with your fear about never finding anyone so special again. Each time I used to break up with a boyfriend, I'd mourn his unique qualities. And I learned something from each one. When this guy named John Smith broke up with me in my teens (yes, that was his real name), I thought I'd never find someone as funny as he was. It took a long time until I did (including a crummy marriage with someone who wasn't very funny at all). It's all part of the journey, part of finding out who you are, what you value and need, and sometimes we just have to face the fact that the timing is plain wrong. You will find someone just as wonderful someday, and the timing will be right. That makes all the difference. Take my word for it.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.