Reader doesn’t want to move to join boyfriend in new city

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - DETOURS - CAROLYN HAX ——— Carolyn Hax is a colum­nist with the Washington Post. Write to her in care of Washington Post, Style Plus, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20071, or email her at tellme@wash­post.com.

Dear Carolyn: A year ago, my boyfriend moved across the coun­try for a job and a needed change of scenery. While he made that de­ci­sion uni­lat­er­ally, we agreed that we’d do long-dis­tance for a while un­til I could join him, if things con­tin­ued to work.

Well, the time is now­ish, and I just get so up­set think­ing of leav­ing my fan­tas­tic, sup­port­ive com­mu­nity and the job I love, even if the for­mer is tem­po­rary — the plan is to move back in a cou­ple more years.

So I say, “OK, maybe I shouldn’t.” But then I think of los­ing my re­la­tion­ship with my boyfriend, and I can’t fathom that ei­ther. I’ve been go­ing around in cir­cles like this for months, mak­ing and re­mak­ing the de­ci­sion to move, try­ing to come up with out­side-the-box so­lu­tions, wait­ing for some­thing to change, and I’m just stuck. Any dif­fer­ent an­gles or thoughts you could pro­vide? — Par­a­lyzed By In­de­ci­sion

Dear Par­a­lyzed: Mov­ing is hard. Stay­ing is easy.

And this is true whether you’re do­ing or un­do­ing: It’s a has­sle to move — emp­ty­ing your home, pack­ing your stuff, leav­ing your in­come source and find­ing an­other, leav­ing friends, mak­ing new ones, etc. — and it’s a has­sle to change your mind af­ter a move.

You ei­ther have to redo

the whole move has­sle to get your­self back where you want to be, or you have to force your­self to think smi­ley-face thoughts about a place you don’t want to be.

Now com­pare these has­sles with stay­ing put: no pack­ing, no lift­ing, no sell­ing, no tran­sit, no ap­ply­ing, no in­ter­view­ing, no se­cu­rity de­posits. And if you de­cide that stay­ing was a ter­ri­ble idea, then you just undo it by mov­ing.

So for the per­son who is truly torn, as in, so in­ca­pable of choos­ing one as to be par­a­lyzed by the choice, the only de­ci­sion that makes sense is to stay right where you are. Un­til you don’t want to any­more.

Give your­self a time limit

if that makes you feel bet­ter — say, de­cide that you’re not go­ing to stay put with­out even think­ing about a move for an­other six months, mark the cal­en­dar and ev­ery­thing — then live fully dur­ing that time with­out the bur­den of an un­made de­ci­sion.

Once those six months pass, see if you can think any more clearly about it.

One al­ter­na­tive pos­si­bil­ity — can you ar­range a tem­po­rary move? It’s re­ally job-de­pen­dent, I know, but some em­ploy­ers will al­low sab­bat­i­cals,

tem­po­rary trans­fers to a dif­fer­ent of­fice or branch, a se­mes­ter so you can get ca­reer-re­lated ed­u­ca­tion or train­ing (then you pick a pro­gram where your boyfriend lives), etc.

That way you can keep all your roots in place and just live away from them for a de­fined pe­riod of time, giv­ing you a bet­ter look at the re­al­ity of this po­ten­tial new home than a visit could ever pro­vide. I’d be sur­prised if that re­al­ity didn’t make your de­ci­sion — one way or the other — for you.

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