I’m back from vacation (or, as we call it when we travel with young kinds, “a trip”)! Now I get to play catch up on emails and laundry and errands and all that exciting, post-travel fun. Before that, here are a couple quickies as I ease back into the flow of things:
You know who else those ten months were hard for? Your boyfriend. And his mom, too. And, as you said, it’s not as if his grieving is over. It’s not as if everything goes back to normal now. Life changed for him and he has to re-prioritize some things and think about what his path looks like now. It’s not unreasonable that he considers his mother, a new widow, and thinks about how much he is willing, and wants, to support her (through this life change, through her grief, through this stage in her life when her needs may be greater than ever and her closest support person is gone). And it’s not unreasonable for you to prioritize your needs, too, especially since you’re not yet married and haven’t made that total commitment to another person. This is your time and chance to do what is best for you.
But as you do that, don’t go blaming your boyfriend for not jumping on board 100%. Don’t play that game where you say you gave him trn months of support while he father was sick and dying and now it’s his turn to support you. Supporting a loved one through the grieving process is completely different than uprooting your life and moving with a significant other as she follows her dreams. Apples and oranges, my friend. You didn’t “earn” payback in the form of an unplanned move. Frankly, you didn’t even earn a medal. You did what any loving, supportive person would and should do when her significant other is losing a parent. And, yeah, you are being unfair and selfish if you think that support and love you offered now entitles you to calling the shots on where your relationship should move. You have to decide this together, and if your boyfriend isn’t on board with a move — which is his prerogative, regardless of his reasons (and supporting a suddenly widowed mother is a fair one!) — then you have to decide whether the job is worth leaving your boyfriend for. If it is, move on. But don’t resent your boyfriend for that decision.
why we are not officially dating, he said, “timing.” Of course, to me this is a massive red flag. I asked him to elaborate and he said: “Well, I have roommates and I work sixteen-hour days, I can’t even see or reply to texts from friends and family, and dating isn’t my focus at the moment, but I still really care about you. My question is: Is timing a real thing or an excuse? When we are together, he seems to care about me, but it also seems weird that he knows I’m going to start dating other people since I am not one to wait around and he doesn’t seem that upset about it. I feel like if you like someone, timing shouldn’t matter! Or does timing matter for men? Could it be that he knows I like him and we are acting like we are dating, so he doesn’t need to put a label on it since the chase is gone? — Super Confused
Of course timing matters! And it should matter to you, too. Would you fault someone who just got divorced last month for not being ready to start dating seriously? I would hope not! And why? Because, timing. There are just certain times when someone’s focus isn’t or cannot be on starting a new relationship. If this guy is working sixteen hours a day, he’s being honest about not having much time or focus or interest in investing in a committed relationship. And he’s probably being honest that he cares about you. And he probably also enjoys having weekly sleepovers with you without the pressure and responsibility of maintaining a relationship.
Now it’s time for you to be honest, and if that isn’t enough for you, MOA. If what you need is a label and this guy can’t give it to you, honestly YOU are the one who’s fucking yourself over, not him. YOU are the one playing games if you think threatening him with dating other people is going to win him over. Be a grown up and just move on. Or deal with him being a FWB or booty call or whatever it is you are to each other at the moment and quit bellyaching about being played. You’re not being played. He’s told you dating isn’t his focus. Accept that or move on. You say you’re confused, but there’s really nothing confusing about this.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.