Eek, sorry for no new posts yesterday — I wrote the following column early yesterday morning, thought I scheduled it to publish at 9, was away from my computer most of the day tying up some loose ends, and then found this sitting in my draft folder this morning. Oops.
The other thing really messing with my mind is that, I always wanted to be married and having children by the time I turned 26. Now, my current partner can’t make me any promises with this, which has been another cause of our arguments of late. He said he wants to do those things with me, but not as soon as I want them. What if I break off my long-term relationship, and this guy I think I like doesn’t work out. Where am I left with my dreams?
I still very much love my partner, but I’m scared I’ll wake up when I am 40 and resent him for always being so absent in our relationship, and I feel like I will always be thinking but what if. — Thinking What If
You’ll “wake up” at 40? What does that mean? That you’ll be sleeping until then? I know it’s just a phrase you used, but it’s telling, and it speaks to your behavior and attitude. When you hang out in a boring relationship for years because it’s safe and you’re afraid to take any risks because what if they don’t work out, you are living passively. You might as well be sleeping. Come on, you’ve been wondering if there’s something more out there and now’s your time to find out! You’re 23 years old, you’ve been with the same guy for years, you think you want to get married by 26, and this guy doesn’t want to move that fast. This is literally the perfect time and you have the perfect excuse to break things off and go see what else is out there.
Maybe this guy you’re crushing on will be a better match for you. Maybe not! You say it’s such a risk… but is it really? I mean, you’re 23 and there are lots and lots of guys out there. If things don’t work out with old work friend dude, go pursue one of the other millions of guys out there. If you aren’t married and babied up by 26, is it really the end of your dreams? What if there are different dreams for you that you haven’t even imagined yet because you’ve been basically sleeping through a relationship you hoped would lead to marriage and kids in a few years? What if, instead of waking up at 40 and resenting someone else for choices you passively made, you wake up now and take the reins of your life, start taking risks, start making active and thoughtful choices that may not lead you to marriage and kids at 26, but instead marriage and kids at 30 or 33 and down a path with a lot more scenery along the way? Wake up. Life is happening out there while you’ve been snoozing.
We finally started talking about meeting and I am hoping to make that happen within the next couple of months. I did tell him that I have always had a thing for him, but there are some things I would like some help with before I make the trip to see him. My first question is: is it a good idea to propose a long distance relationship when I meet him? Should we visit each other more before having that talk?
Should we both give ourselves more time to be alone after our huge break-ups? If so, is it still a good idea to at least express real interest in the possibility of a future together?
I really care about this person and I want to know the best option to keep him in my life and eventually have a real relationship with him. — Considering a LDR
Don’t plan too far ahead. Focus on your first in-person meetup. Where will it be? Will you sleep in the same place? Get a hotel? How long will you stay together? I’d recommend no more than three nights for a first meetup, and having a hotel room at least for the first night (that can be canceled for remaining nights if things go well enough the first night that you want to spend as much time together as you can). If the long weekend visit goes well, plan another, and at some point after the first meet-up (or at least after you’ve established whether you have chemistry and are open to a relationship at all), you can broach the idea of whether a long distance relationship is on the table. It should ONLY be considered if one or both of you would be willing to move within two years. Here is some more advice before starting a long distance relationship, here’s how to survive a long distance relationship, and here’s some advice for after you’ve established a LDR and are considering a move.
Is it rude if I send a gift but decline to go for this reason? — A Confused Guest
No more rude than texting a couple after getting a Save The Date card and telling them you already have a date picked out when they haven’t even yet sent an invitation and you have a strong suspicion it won’t include a “+1. Look, if the thought of spending money to travel to a wedding where you’ll only have a group of friends to keep you company pisses you off, stay home. Send a gift and your regrets. But since you’ve already made clear that you’re available on the date of the wedding (implying you planned to go and had the perfect date to bring), the couple will know why you’re skipping their big day. I get the impression you’re young and this long distance friendship would probably fizzle out soon anyway. So, save your travel budget and learn from this: don’t ask people if you can bring a date before you’ve even gotten an invitation. It’s tacky and rude.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.