I hate my boyfriend’s city. If I don’t move there, is our re­la­tion­ship over?

How much of this is that the city is a bad fit for you, and how much is that the fit with your boyfriend is not mar­vel­lous enough to make it worth it?

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Eq -

Q. I am at a ca­reer cross­roads, think­ing of go­ing back to school. My boyfriend and I have been long-dis­tance for two years, to­gether for four, so nat­u­rally I should be look­ing at schools in his city. I can’t stand his city. I lived with him there be­fore and don’t want to go back, and I have a not-so-good feel­ing about mak­ing this sac­ri­fice for him. But I feel like it would spell the end if I were to choose to go else­where when in re­al­ity this would be an op­por­tu­nity for us to be to­gether again.

A. Well, is it that you don’t want it to be the end of your re­la­tion­ship? Or that you feel like you shouldn’t want that? I’m struck that you don’t ac­tu­ally men­tion how you feel about your boyfriend him­self. To weigh whether the armpit-city sac­ri­fice is worth it, we’ve got to know what this re­la­tion­ship is re­ally like: your

hopes, your goals, your love for him, his love for you. If you post­pone be­ing in the same city to­gether, is there a long-term plan - and a de­sire - to make it hap­pen even­tu­ally? How much of this is that the city is a bad fit for you, and how much is that the fit with your boyfriend is not mar­vel­lous enough to make it

worth it? What are his thoughts, and what is he will­ing to sac­ri­fice him­self? Be hon­est with your­self, and each other - only then will the cost-ben­e­fit anal­y­sis be­come clearer.

Q. I al­ways imag­ined that my re­la­tion­ship with my par­ents would im­prove once I was an adult. They were never abu­sive, but they were dis­tant and for­mal, be­liev­ing that kids should be seen and not heard, and emo­tions shouldn’t be ex­pressed. I grew to re­sent that and ba­si­cally never shared my life with them. Now that I am in my mid-30s and con­tem­plat­ing hav­ing chil­dren with my part­ner, I feel a sad­ness when I think of the lack of warmth there, and how I can’t re­ally imag­ine shar­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence with them. Some of my friends with kids are so close to their par­ents. Is this some­thing to try for? Or am I set­ting my­self up for fail­ure?

A. You re­ally can’t know un­til you try. Some not-so­fab­u­lous par­ents find their groove later as grand­par­ents, de­spite their pre­vi­ous short­com­ings (or per­haps be­cause of them). And some beloved, nurturing par­ents fall sur­pris­ingly short as grand­par­ents be­cause they feel they’ve done their time and would rather be on a cruise than sniff­ing a di­a­per. There’s a spec­trum here, and you won’t know un­til you see for your­self.

If you’re up for it, you can be­gin at­tempt­ing more emo­tional in­ti­macy with them now - let­ting them into your daily life more, be­ing more vul­ner­a­ble with them, find­ing top­ics to con­nect about, even dis­cussing your hopes of chil­dren. See what hap­pens, but if they still fall short, re­mem­ber that there are other ways to build fam­ily beyond blood re­la­tions. — Bo­nior, a Washington, D.C.-area clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist, writes a weekly re­la­tion­ships ad­vice col­umn in The Washington Post’s Ex­press daily tabloid and is au­thor of “The Friend­ship Fix.”

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