Couple in long-distance relationship struggle to meet in the middle
Dear Carolyn: My boyfriend and I have been dating for nine months, long distance. We met in college seven years ago, were acquaintances, and just reconnected last year. We’ve started talking about the future, but can’t nail down what to do about where our future will be.
He has a successful career in his city, our college town, and I have a dream job in mine, where I bought a house and established a home. His job is not available here, and I don’t want to be an “addition” to his world in a place I’ve moved on from. I’ve said I will compromise my dream job to move somewhere new, where jobs like his are, to build a home for us, but there seems to be a hangup for him. He’s vague in his responses, says he’s working on it, he likes thinking about our future, etc.
I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do. I’m tired of living separate lives, but how do I get answers?
Long-Distance or Bust? Non-answers are answers, too. He doesn’t want to move, and he also doesn’t want to say that to you.
At least, that’s what you have to go on unless and until his words or actions say something else.
So please take that as your answer and decide: Are you willing to reconsider your I-won’t-be-an-“addition” stance? To reconsider a future with someone who won’t just come out and say what he really wants presumably because he’s avoiding the consequences?
Do your thinking on this. When you’ve come to a conclusion about what you need — yes, need, not want — then call him out on his non-answer answer. “I suggested a third, neutral town, and you haven’t given me a yes or no. So I’m taking that as a no. Is that fair to say?”
Just one disinterested person’s opinion: I’d chafe at the somewhere new suggestion, and here’s why. To build a life with someone I loved, unless I plain hated it, I’d move to his town. If I couldn’t get a job there, however, but he could get work in mine, then the fair thing to my mind would be for him to move to me. Insisting that I uproot on principle vs. necessity seems like a punitive waste of good roots, personal and professional.
In return for his sacrifice on my behalf, I would go out of my way to establish a life in my town that was ours, instead of just superimposing him onto the life I built.
Again, that’s just me, but worth an internal conversation or two . . . after the one on how much you value straight answers. Dear Carolyn: I’ve been dating a lovely man for a year. Prior to that he dated someone else for three years. They still have friends in common so occasionally we all bump into each other. We also have an activity in common that he and she participated in previously that we all participate in now.
Whenever we bump into each other, she ignores me and will talk to him some. I would think after a bad breakup, and the fact he and I have been dating for a year, she wouldn’t want to keep putting herself into a situation to repeatedly run into us.
While I don’t want to force my boyfriend not to do activities he likes to do, I don’t want to keep running into her. It seems like she’s still not over him if she wants to keep bumping into him. What should I do/say?
Ex Won’t Go Away
Wait— what? Since when does her enjoying her preexisting friends and hobbies constitute “want[ing] to keep bumping into him”?
If I were acting all this out in my den with little toy people, sure, I’d have her acknowledge you politely at each encounter.
Otherwise, though, what she’s doing looks to me like getting on with her life after a breakup — or, adapting your words, continuing to do “activities she likes to do.”
And what your boyfriend is doing is the same — keeping his friends and hobbies — but also adding you to the mix.
The one who is arguably not getting on with life after this breakup is you.
No, it’s not fun to keep running into your current’s unfriendly ex-girlfriend. However, some annoying awkwardness is not grounds to “force” anything, especially not something as big as remapping one’s leisure time.
Small irritant, small solution: “Hey — if we’re going to keep running into your ex, would you please help me deal with her ignoring me?” He can either incorporate you into the conversation, or cut the exchanges short when she’s rude to you. (If he refuses, then you of course can take matters into your hands with a pointed, “Hello, [Ex],” but if he refuses such a simple courtesy then you also might decide to be an ex yourself.)
For him to stop enabling her rudeness is simple courtesy, and therefore reasonable of you to ask.