Should I Change Schools to Be with My Girlfriend?

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

So I have been dating my girlfriend, whom I met in highshool for almost 2 years now, with a year of on and off dating before hand, so we have been intimate for about 3 years. After highschool I decided not to go away to school and instead go to my county’s community college, partly because I didn’t know what I wanted to do and partly because I wanted to stay with my girlfriend who was attending as well(we had just officially started dating at the time). We spent the whole year there together and we both didn’t like it very much. We saw each other every day she was very attached to me, this may have been due to her depression and anxiety(which she is diagnosed with now). Though I felt overwhelmed sometimes, I still loved her.

We both felt we were missing out on the college experience. So we both decided to transfer out at the end of one year.

We got into schools 4 hours apart from each other so we decided to try an open long distance relationship. At first I think I wanted it a little more than her but we both thought it might be the best decision because we both like to go out on the weekends and we don’t want to make the other worry about cheating and other problems.

I have been at my new school now for about a month now and I am almost at breaking point here. I am have been deeply depressed about the situation, it really bothers me that she might be with other guys, and the distance is just killing me. On top of that, school has been overwhelmingly difficult, and I am very homesick, I plan on changing majors, and overall I don’t really like my school. Though she seems to be enjoying hers.

By the way she started antidepressants that were supposed to kick in right around the time school started, so I have never been with her while she was on them, and I am not sure but the drugs may be the reason why she seems less upset than me, because usually she would be more upset than me. She does express to me that she loves and misses me, and she is sad, but not nearly as much as I expected.

I cannot stop thinking about her, I have a visit planned for the weekend of October 19th but it doesn’t seem like enough. I talked to her about changing the relationship and being exclusive now but she feels an open relationship is the best way to go for things to work between us at this distance.(This was opposite before we left, she was the one that wanted to be exclusive).

She knows Ive been feeling very depressed and she assures me she does want things to work out for us. But I constantly am telling her how upset I am and I feel like I’m probably making things worse by stressing her out too, but I don’t like holding it in. I mentioned the possibility of transferring to a new school, one much closer to home and to her school, but also one that would suit my academic needs,(I already have one in mind.) She said that would make her very happy cause she could see me a lot more and we could be exclusive but she doesn’t want to be an influence on such a big decision like that.

Is thinking about this irrational? I know that if I still feel this way after a year I am going to transfer, but I don’t know if I can make it a year if I actually am feeling like this. Should I transfer sooner?

It seems like the college experience I craved so bad isn’t all its cracked up to be, and definitely wasn’t worth sacrificing our relationship.

Did I make the wrong decision by moving away from her? What should I do? What if I do transfer and things don’t workout? We both expressed that we want a future together but there’s always the possibility that we break up at some point down the line. What if I don’t transfer and our relationship fizzles out cause we are both bad with distance.

I cannot stop thinking about this and it is driving me insane, I have never in my life been this depressed about anything and I do not know how to handle it. I understand that transferring seems a little irrational, but I don’t know what else to do because that’s all I can think about.

A: No, you didn’t make the wrong decision by moving away to college. In fact there is some compelling research that would indicate having a long-term relationship distance is healthy in the very long run. You can read a bit more about that here.

What I am most concerned about is that you seem to be in orbit around her depression. You are wanting her to be happy, trying to make her happy, while all the while worried that she would be cheating on you. She is asking for an open relationship. The bottom line is she isn’t as invested in the relationship as she once was. I think chasing after her as a way to reduce your anxiety is going to leave you on an emotional rollercoaster with her. You don’t want a relationship where your happy only if she is. That can only last for so long.

I would tough it out where you are and seek counseling through the college counseling center. They can help you weather the change.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Oct 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Should I Change Schools to Be with My Girlfriend?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/10/22/should-i-change-schools-to-be-with-my-girlfriend/