Ask André: the romantic advice column

Published: November 29, 2012, 3:13 am ET
Mysterious Advice Columnist

Q: I’m dating an international student who was studying abroad here last semester. We met when I was an OA and have been together ever since. The problem is that he’s back in Europe now, and I’m only a sophomore, so we’re not going to see each other for a long time.

He just graduated college and spends all day at an office job, so when he gets home he wants to Skype for hours on end. I love him, but I still have my life here (which requires a lot of my time). I’m worried that spending all those hours Skyping and thinking about him are going to take away from my college experience — I’ve even stayed in a few weekends just to talk to him. On the other hand, he treats me better than any frat boy ever has, and I don’t know whether that’s something I should give up. What do I do?

A: This sounds like a really respectable, nice guy. He’s dedicated to everything he puts his mind to and will probably always be there for you. He’s willing to be the rock in your life.

But, I want you to take this tough love to heart: You need to break up with him. Given different circumstances and placed a few thousand miles closer, this relationship could work out. But based on the time commitment, the nature of the relationship, your worries and the time difference, the relationship is not going to be healthy for you, given your place in your career path.

I was in a similar situation with a long-distance relationship heading into college. My freshman year was filled with late night phone calls, stressful emails, drunken voicemails and texts, and yes, even some very romantic Skype dates at D-hall. But what I came to realize was that I was missing out on college!

It was happening all around me while I was texting, calling and Skyping my days away, and I decided that it wasn’t healthy. I understood that I took the risk of losing my one true love, but I knew that if it was meant to be, it was meant to be. When I graduate college, there is still a very good chance that I might get back together with my ex and be happy. But because of the current situation and my goals for my four years at the University of Richmond, I had to say goodbye.

I know this may be difficult for you to agree with, but let’s break down your situation. Sacrificing your social life on campus for a guy in Europe is not healthy for your mental, emotional and, frankly, your academic success. These four years are crucial building blocks for your success later on in life — so important that some even stick around here for a fifth year. Why risk missing the opportunity to find success and happiness on campus by packing your heart up and sending it to Europe?

I am sure that your European lover is indeed nicer and gives you more respect then the fraternity guys on campus, but I think that is a bit irrelevant. Given the age difference between your man and the guys on campus, there would be an innate maturity difference regardless of the guy you chose.

Any one of these young men on campus could turn into the epitome of a gentleman, swooping you off your feet with nothing but his charm and suave demeanor. But because you’re always off Skyping your other man, you’re not giving them the opportunity to prove your stereotypes wrong.

Here is what I think you should do: Take some time away from your European lover and be proactive in your search for a quality guy on campus. Search high and low for a guy who will meet and exceed your expectations of the perfect guy. Find someone right on campus who will be there for you when you are waiting in line at 8:15, protect you against the killer geese, make even the worst Boatwright all-nighter worth it and fully embodies a romantic date in D-Hall.

If, after a real effort to immerse yourself on campus, you can’t find the right guy to share the college experience with you right here, your European man will always be there waiting.

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