Cou­ple in long-dis­tance re­la­tion­ship strug­gle to meet in the mid­dle

The Washington Post Sunday - - VIDEO GAMES - Carolyn Hax Write to Carolyn Hax, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Wash­ing­ton, D.C. 20071, or tellme@wash­ Get her col­umn de­liv­ered to your in­box each morn­ing at hax­post.

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.

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