Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Should I Marry Before I Move for Love?”

I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost four years, all of them long distance (he’s in the Midwest, I’m east coast). We hit a really rough past last year that forced us to talk about our communication issues. I’ve also had to work through my commitment insecurities as well as dealing with my family and friends constantly dropping their two cents about why we haven’t “figured out where to live.”

From the beginning, I’ve believed that I would be the one to move, because it would be easier for me to find work where he lives than vice-versa. This spring I made a decision to leave my current job in the fall and decided it makes sense to make the move out to my boyfriend’s town at that time. However, my family and many friends have expressed that I should be married before I move. My boyfriend knows this and he has told me he’s not ready to get married though he does see a future with me, including marriage, down the road. As a result, though, he won’t ask me to move to him and never brings up the topic for fear of being blamed for taking me away from my friends and family.

I hesitate to bring up the topic myself for fear of putting too much pressure on him, but the bottom line is: I just want to be with the person I love – him. Yes, I want to be married, but “down the road” is fine with me. I know he’s committed to me and a ring or license won’t make that stronger. (I have flippantly replied to some friends that if we didn’t work out I could then just move back without the mess of a divorce. But honestly, I wouldn’t make the move if I believed it WOULDN’T work).

What’s happening though is all the stress of not talking about my moving out there is creating drama and doubt in our relationship. Does this mean I’m not ready to make the move? I feel ready. I’m scared, for sure, but I know part of my fear is that he’s never asked me to move. I wish he would just start the discussion with me. Is it petty to expect that he will (it feels petty). I mean, I get it, it shouldn’t be this hard to talk about this, but somehow I can’t do it unless it’s in a torrent of over emotion. How can I get him to talk about this? — Long Distance Information

Your “really rough patch” last year may have forced you to talk about your communication issues, but it’s obvious you didn’t resolve them. You’ve decided to quit your job and move to your boyfriend’s town, and after four years together, you can’t figure out a way to tell him that — to talk about what that means for the future of your relationship?! Forget about your family and your friends for a minute and focus on what you want. If you’re OK with waiting to get married “down the road” — and really, why in the world would you want to be married to someone with whom you’ve never even lived in the same town with anyway?? — then freakin’ tell him that already. And while you’re at it, tell him that after four flippin’ years together you’re reading to take things to the next level, so you’ve decided to move to his town and you would like his support and encouragement in making this move happen.

What that support and encouragement will look like will depend on how clearly you express your needs and how well he listens and responds. Think in terms of the basics and work up. You’ll need a place to live, a job, and a means to move your things, right? So tell him that you would like him to help with those things in any way he can. If he’s not ready to have you move in with him, then he can at least start going through the rental ads and check out a few places for you. He can advise you on what neighborhoods to focus on, and he can escort you to open houses when you next visit. As for jobs, he can put out feelers for you, start asking around to his friends and family, and keeping an eye on the classifieds. And in terms of helping you move, maybe he can even fly out to the east coast and help you box things up and drive with you to the Midwest.

These are all important talking points you need to discuss with your boyfriend immediately. Quit waiting for him to broach the topic. You’re the one who has decided to move, so why are you waiting for an invitation? You’ve made your decision already! Woman up and make things happen, lady! Once you cover the basics, you can start talking about some of your hopes and fears of moving out there, including even an exit plan if things don’t pan out. The bottom line here is you have to start communicating with each other or this relationship is doomed. Doomed, doomed, doomed. It doesn’t matter how much love might exist between you or how many years together you have in your back pocket; if you can’t talk about taking the next step after all this time, you’re finished. So quit being a pussy about it and just talk to your boyfriend already.

As for your family, you can tell them to put a sock in it. This is your relationship not theirs. And they’re nuts to be advising you to marry someone you’ve never lived in the same town as. What’s wrong with them? I’m sure they have good intentions, but their advice sucks. Don’t listen to them anymore. Do what feels right for you, and accept that whatever decision(s) you make are ones that are going to be impacting you the most, so listen to your inner voice and try to shut out all the other noise. If you and your boyfriend can learn to actually communicate with each other, there’s no reason a marriage “down the road” can’t happen after you move. Four years ago, I too made a decision to follow my heart and move for love with the hope it would lead me to marriage and a family of my own one day. It did, and can for you, too. But you have to be willing to take some risks.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

43 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Cynthia July 21, 2011, 7:24 am

    Dear LONG DISTANCE INFORMATION,

    I know exactly where you are coming from. Four years ago I made the decision to move from the US to Spain to be with my then boyfriend (now husband)-we weren’t at the stage of discussing marriage (although we both loved each other very much) and in fact, we had only seen each other 4 times in 2 years! However, I decided enough was enough and I made the big move-without an invite although I knew I was more than welcome! My husband appreciates so much what I did but I know he would have done the same if things were easier in the US for a foreigner (even with perfect English). It is a big decision but won’t you regret it if you don`t? I thought about the worst possible thing that could happen to me if things didnt work out and after that, I knew I could conquer anything. Now, four years later-best decision of my life. Although I miss my friends and family so so so much, I’m with the love of my life and besides, when I want that expensive bag I say, “well, I moved here for you1” 😉 Best of luck girl!

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    • avatar

      LTC039 July 21, 2011, 4:00 pm

      That IS very brave! It’s one thing to move to another state, but another country! Wow. It’s awesome though. Spain is a beautiful country, I certainly loved it when I visited.

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray July 21, 2011, 7:44 am

    Woman up! (I loved that.)

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    Spark July 21, 2011, 7:47 am

    I agree with everything Wendy said, but I think LW should proceed with caution. I don’t think this guy is as invested in the relationship as she is. It’s one thing to not demand that she move out there with him, but it’s quite another to never express interest in her moving out there or talk about it. As for marriage, LW should be prepared for that not to happen. Granted, they haven’t lived in the same city, but, after four years, if marriage is something he wanted, I think he would be far less ambiguous about it. I just have a feeling this LW is going to find herself in the same boat as some recent LWs: “I want to get married, and we’ve been together for years and love each other very much, but whenever I bring it up, he brushes me off with ‘one day, but I’m not ready yet.'”

    If you want a ring or a license, don’t pretend that you don’t…

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    • avatar

      Guy Friday July 21, 2011, 9:53 am

      See, I didn’t read the letter the same way you did with regard to the boyfriend. I think you’re being a little too hard on the guy. I don’t know that I saw anything in the letter that showed he hadn’t expressed interest in her moving out there or that he’s ambiguous about wanting to marry her. In fact, it seems like they have had a conversation about it that went (with heavy paraphrasing) like this:

      LW: “I’m thinking of moving out to where you are, but my friends and family are all saying we should be getting married before I uproot my life like that”
      Boyfriend: “Well, I do want to marry you, but I’m not ready to do that at the moment. I get that this is stressing you out, and I don’t want to cause problems between you and your friends/family, so I’m going to back off on this issue for right now, and when you want to bring it up again, let me know.”

      I mean, we’re all giving her the advice that she shouldn’t marry someone she hasn’t even lived in the same city with before — which is solid advice, in my opinion — and I’m assuming we’d give that same advice to him if he had written in with his side of this same story. So it seems a little unfair to then blame the guy for essentially doing what we’d have advised him to do. Yeah, some guys will make excuses for stringing a girl along, but sometimes “I do want to marry you, but I’m not ready to do it just yet” is actually the honest truth, and I’ve respected my guy friends a lot more when they’ve been willing to take that extra time to be certain, to get their ducks in a row, to make sure that when they commit they can do it for the rest of their lives, before they buy the ring and start planning the wedding.

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      • avatar

        honeybeenicki July 21, 2011, 10:57 am

        I agree with you. One of her statements is he is afraid to ask her to move and be blamed for taking her away from her family [without being married]. It sounds to me that he knows it is a bad idea to marry someone you haven’t lived in the same state with and is just worried about maintaining an ok relationship with her family.

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  • avatar

    Maracuya July 21, 2011, 8:41 am

    First off, if you haven’t talked about the move, you’re not ready to make the move. Broach the topic! Something like, “I’m transitioning between jobs right now, and I think it would be a perfect time to take the LD out of our LDR. What do you think about me moving? And don’t worry about what my parents think, I’ll take care of that.”

    Like everyone else said, even if your parents want you to be married before you move, it’s not a good idea. You’d be forcing your boyfriend’s (and your) hand for something which has no guarantee. Based on your letter, I think you understand that an early marriage can lead to a messy divorce. Your parents probably think of it as being more secure.

    Speaking of that, once you iron out things with your boyfriend, talk to your parents. And make sure they know how you’re feeling–that you have a strong relationship, you’ve discussed marriage, but you don’t want to marry before you’ve spent time close together. Make it about your thoughts, worries and fears–that way they can’t blame anything on your boyfriend either!

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  • avatar

    Quakergirl July 21, 2011, 9:09 am

    Holy hell. First off, NO don’t marry someone who you’ve never even lived in the same city with and who quite frankly doesn’t seem all that jazzed about the move. Second, you’re a grown woman and your parents can’t tell you what to do anymore, so stop listening. If they hadn’t suggested you get married immediately, would you really even be considering it? I hope not, because it’s mindbogglingly ill-advised.

    Third, I get that you want your boyfriend to ask you to move, but I can also see why he doesn’t want to ask something so huge of you. So tell him you’re ready to move, but you want to make sure it’s something he wants, too. See how he responds, and how much he’s willing to help you make it happen. If he seems kinda “meh” about it and doesn’t want to help (with finding an apartment, a job, a mover, etc.), then there’s your answer: he’s just not that into you, so stay put and move on. But if he’s all for it, then proceed with the appropriate amount of caution and moderate expectations. And tell anyone with an issue that you appreciate their concern, but you’re really in the best position to judge what’s best for yourself and your relationship and you’re confident in your decision. That, or just tell them to shove it– dealer’s choice.

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    • avatar

      MissDre July 21, 2011, 9:21 am

      This is perfect advice!

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    • avatar

      Anna July 22, 2011, 2:51 pm

      You hit it right on the head! Marriage is a big decision, and it’s something that *should* only be done once in your life if you do it right…which involves a lot of spouse-screening! You can’t properly get to know someone on that level if you’ve never even lived in the same town.

      I completely understand about her family pressuring her to marry. I was raised Baptist and I have actually attended weddings where the bride and groom had never been on a real date that wasn’t at church and didn’t kiss until the wedding. According to my family, the story goes like this: girl meets boy at church, girl and boy attend every church event possible in a group setting and count them as “dates” because it’s immoral to be in a room alone with a person of the opposite sex that you’re not married to, girl and boy get married and immediately start having kids because birth control was created by the devil.

      The bottom line is you don’t have to rush into marrying someone just because your family thinks you should. They may think they have your best interests in mind but they are sadly mistaken.

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  • avatar

    Bethany July 21, 2011, 9:15 am

    I remeber how scary it was to bring up the topic of moving in with my (at the time) boyfriend for the first time. In fact, I’m pretty sure I had to get drunk in order to do it, but we had only been together for a year or 2, and this was the first time we were having one of those “future” talks. But for the love of God- You guys have been together for FOUR years, and you still can’t openly talk to him about what it is that you want out of your relationship?? That makes me scared for you.

    If you can’t talk- really talk to your partner about you moving to his city after 4 years of dating, then how are you guys going to survive the hard times, the really hard times, like the death of a parent, or serious financial struggles, or how to raise a child? If you can’t really talk to him about moving out there, then you’re not ready to move out there. Simple as that.

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary July 21, 2011, 9:31 am

    This letter totally hits home for me!! After college my BF and I planned to live in the same city, but his company put him on a job 3.5 hours away for 2 years. He SHOULD be moving back to my city at the end of this year, but we always have the “what if” discussion. I actually disagree with most people because I would not move for someone I wasn’t engaged to. I don’t want to throw my life off track for someone I’m not 100 percent sure is committed to me. But I do agree with everyone else that if the LW can’t communicate with her boyfriend about t his move then they clearly aren’t ready for it. Plus, if you can’t make a decision about where you want to live without the approval of your family then you clearly aren’t ready to move or get married.

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    • avatar

      honeybeenicki July 21, 2011, 9:52 am

      Engaged to and married are two different things. From what I gathered, her parents want her to actually get married to him before moving there, not just engaged to him. And an engagement (or even marriage in some cases) isn’t ever a guarantee of 100% commitment. She seems pretty sure that he is completely committed to her.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph July 21, 2011, 12:33 pm

      Maybe for you, you wouldn’t move away to be with someone without a ring on it… but it seems like the LW and her bf are on the same page here.

      Personally, in the LW’s position, I wouldn’t want to be engaged for the same reason I wouldn’t want to be married first… without having lived in the same city, I can’t be sure it will work. I can hope, I can think it will work, but I can’t really be sure. I don’t want a divorce and I don’t want a broken engagement if I can help it.

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  • avatar

    David Jay July 21, 2011, 9:42 am

    Why not just show him this letter? It expresses all of your concerns very rationally. I think that would suffice as a “conversation opener”.

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    • katie

      katie July 21, 2011, 8:54 pm

      that could be the answer to so so so many of these letters

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  • avatar

    LTC039 July 21, 2011, 9:15 am

    Tell your family to back off. DO NOT marry someone just to move with him, especially since you’ve never even lived in the same city/state for the entirity of your relationship!!!!
    You respect their opinions, but it is your life & you are aperfectly capable to make your own decisions. If you & your boyfriend are ok with waiting for marriage then that’s all that matters. However, if he has told you he’s doesn’t want you to move there (for whatever reason) I would suggest you very much proceed with caution.
    Tell him what’s on your mind, how you don’t want to get married now either, but you do want to progress & end this very long LDR. Tell him you’re ok with moving to be with him. By his reaction to this conversation, you can determine which direction to take.
    A few years ago I was in an LDR. It was a super unhealthy, dysfunctional relationship, but I was so wrapped up in it, that I truly believe moving to him would be the answer that would take our problems away. (VERY stupid idea!) I was going to apply to a school in his city & once I got the acceptance letter, was going to surprise him with the news, well, by the urging of my mom I told him before I applied & it did NOT go well. (My mom knew it wouldn’t work that’s why she kept urging me to tell him first & not surprise him) He flipped out on me, & basically told me to not even think about moving near him. (Needless to say, the relationship ended quite shortly after that).
    I’m not saying this will happen to you I’m just saying make sure you’re both on the same page about what you want to do next. If your boyfriend really sees a future with you, he would love to have you in his city. LDRs suck!

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  • avatar

    parrt July 21, 2011, 10:20 am

    why is marriage viewed with such importance in the 21st century?

    There is a divorce lawyer in every street corner, … marriage does not mean shit.
    It is not some kind of ironclad contract…why do people think marriage equals love, and commitment ?

    If marriage was so great, stand up comics would starve.

    I can flip this around also.
    Lets say marriage is great, and awesome, and a lifelong commitment.
    You want to make a lifelong commitment to a guy you have been seeing sporadically over the last 4 years?

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    • avatar

      honeybeenicki July 21, 2011, 10:55 am

      Marriage might not mean anything to some people, but to others it does. Whether it be their religion or just their own personal values, some people see marriage as a lifetime commitment. Personally, I see marriage as a lifetime commitment. I waited awhile before even becoming engaged to my husband and then we had a long engagement before getting married. We wanted to be sure.

      After we got married, one of the worst possible things that could happen to a newly married couple happened (I’ve discussed it before on here – he was arrested a month and a half after we got married for something fairly serious due to a prescription drug problem). To be honest, if we weren’t married I would have run in the other direction, grieved the lost of a love and moved on. But, I was married and damnit I meant my vows. We went into our marriage knowing divorce was NOT an option, which made us think a lot more seriously about getting married.

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      • avatar

        LTC039 July 21, 2011, 11:05 am

        I agree. I don’t think she was asking for advice on the real meaning of marriage.

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      • katie

        katie July 21, 2011, 8:50 pm

        i totally agree. i want to have a very long engagment also, just to make sure. i just have to know for sure.

        the problem is, and what parrt meant, i think, is that even a lot of people who say the vows leave when the going gets tough. i totally commend you for staying with your husband through an arrest- i dont know if i would have been able to do it. i think that unfortunately, your the minority. most people, no matter what they say before their marriage, or in their vows or whatever, really dont honestly mean it, i think. divorce now is much easier to get, not as socially stigmatized as it once was, and is usually completely in the favor of the woman. so really, i also think its easy to see why the divorce rate is very high.

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      Nadine July 21, 2011, 11:20 am

      I think marriage does mean something if, as in their case, it is something that they intend to happen, but they are not ready (or he isn’t). This shows that marriage is in their plans, whether with each other or not, so an argument about the validity of the institution is not important here. Its like saying someone knows that one day, they will be a homeowner, but the home they want is not quite up for sale yet. Telling them that owning a home is for suckers is not really the issue.
      (Analogies are always problematic, but I hope you get what I mean!)
      Marriage isn’t necessary for me, but if for some people it is, thats ok, too.

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    • avatar

      David Jay July 21, 2011, 6:01 pm

      Marriage has been (and remains) the cornerstone of civilized human society for thousands of years, and it’s fairly easy to see the flip side of that as well: As we lose marriage, we lose our civility. Regardless, that is no reason to jump into it until BOTH of you are ready and willing to accept the adventure… and yes, it IS an adventure!

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  • avatar

    Jena July 21, 2011, 10:41 am

    I wouldn’t even think of marrying someone who I hadn’t lived in the same town with, regardless of what your parents want you to do. Bad idea.

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  • rubyroo

    Ruby July 21, 2011, 11:09 am

    One thing I’ve learned is that it’s not a good idea to NOT talk about something important, because you fear the outcome of the discussion.
    You’re worried why he hasn’t asked you to move closer to him, and you’re afraid to bring up the subject yourself.
    I think you’re at a critical point in your relationship where you NEED to find out if you’re on the same page about living arrangements and a future together.
    If you feel like you’re ready to move closer to him, tell him this and get the information you need to find out if he wants you there, if he’s willing to help you, and if he really does want a future with you.

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  • avatar

    cmarie July 21, 2011, 11:20 am

    Proceed with caution LW. I moved across the country for a relationship once and it did not end well. Make sure your BF is on the same page as you. That means talking to him. Find out how he feels about you making the move. Make sure you make it concrete and not “someday”. Give a timeline, for yourself and for him. Find out what his expectations are and talk about yours. Talk about how much help he will provide in the move, where you’ll live, find a job there, talk about what happens if everything doesn’t fall into place. It took me nearly a year to find a job in my new home after the recession hit and it took a toll on my relationship. There were other factors too, of course. Make sure you talk to your family and try to get them on your side. It’s so much easier to adjust to a new environment when you have their support and don’t have them asking when you’re coming home every time you talk to them. Most importantly, make sure you have an exit plan. Have an emergency stash of money that will get you out of there if things turn sour. The last thing you want to be stuck in a place you only moved to for a relationship that is crumbling and have no way to get back home. Hopefully it never comes to that but unless you’re sure that relationship or not you want to stay where you’ve ended up, you’re going to want to make sure you have a way out.

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    • avatar

      Quakergirl July 21, 2011, 7:00 pm

      Excellent advice about the timeline. It’s not enough to say they both want to get married someday. Even if you both agree you want to marry each other, if you don’t discuss when “someday” is most likely going to be, one of you may be thinking you’ll get married in the next 2-3 years and the other one may be thinking 8-10 years. Before I agreed to move in with Quakerboy we had a timeline discussion and we were pretty much on the same page, but if we hadn’t been I absolutely wouldn’t have agreed to live together at that point in our relationship.

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    • katie

      katie July 21, 2011, 8:45 pm

      “It’s so much easier to adjust to a new environment when you have their support and don’t have them asking when you’re coming home every time you talk to them.”

      my boyfriends mother did this to the point that he had to stop talking to her. this is so so true.

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  • avatar

    Nadine July 21, 2011, 11:27 am

    I fond it hard to understand that he has NEVER asked you to move for him. I’ve never been in a LDR, but don’t you somtimes just say “Screw this, I’m moving to you, babydoll,”because it gets hard to be away from each other so much?
    I think you should definitely move for him, tell him you are willing and able and happy to, but you need to hear him say “I love you, and I want you living down the road/in my bed/next to my local pub.”
    Oh, and be honest about how important marriage is to you. It sounds like you are listening too much to what other people think, and you are caught in the middle. If being married is what you want, it doesn’t hurt to tell him that you will hold him to his “down the road” future. If it means nothing, tell your parents that you love and trust him very much, and it is their problem if they do not believe you.

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  • avatar

    SGMcG July 21, 2011, 12:06 pm

    When I moved to live with my boyfriend after an LDR of two years, I first discussed it with my boyfriend first, then my employer, and last my family. I left my family last because I KNEW that talking to them about my desires first would raise all sorts of hell from them, and make me less brave in making the committment. Yet the important thing was that I asked my boyfriend if it would be OK to move closer to him – and he said yes.

    I just find it frustrating that she’s talking to all these different people about these plans and gathering different opinions when SHE SHOULD BE TALKING TO HER BOYFRIEND FIRST. I just hope that the LW didn’t already hand her employer a letter of resignation of her intent to quit her job in the fall before talking to her boyfriend about her ideal plan. There’s a failure to communicate on her end for not bringing up the topic and his end for not wanting to be causing drama between her and her family. Yet all this drama would be resolved if both of them would have a serious discussion on what they want in the long run, as well as in the short run.

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  • MELH

    Megan July 21, 2011, 12:26 pm

    Definitely don’t get married before moving! I have a friend who got married after a LDR. The first time he and his wife were in the same city was after their wedding. They are still married, but sometimes it is hard to tell if he’s happy. And I know that it was a big shock to both of them, because they really only saw each other for a few days, maybe a week at a time, and hadn’t actually lived with one another. And as someone who currently lives with her fiance….it can take some time to get used to someone else’s annoying habits!

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    • katie

      katie July 21, 2011, 8:41 pm

      this is all too true. i can definitely respect people’s opinion on co-habitation before marriage, but i just think its dead wrong…

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom July 21, 2011, 1:47 pm

    You’re ready to get engaged when, and only when, you know beyond a doubt that you want to spend your life with him and that you want to be married to him and you know beyond a doubt that he feels that same about you. Also, you can only know that when you have dated each other for enough years to to truly know each other.

    I don’t think you’re at that point. Your family is trying to protect you by making sure he is committed to you but an ultimatum engagement or marriage rarely works and divorce is easy.

    The topic you need to bring up at this time is whether you should move. Just call and tell him you’re thinking of moving to his city this fall and ask what he thinks of that. You don’t need to talk about getting engaged or married just about whether you should move to his city. If he isn’t supportive of you moving then I think you have your answer that this relationship isn’t going to move forward. If he likes the idea you can take it from there. Ask whether he would like you to get a place of your own or whether you should try living together and be willing to tell him your preference. Perhaps weigh the pros and cons of both options and go through them with him and ask if he can think of others. You can discuss this matter of factly and come to a solution. If you both want you to move then go ahead and move. If only one of you wants to live together at this point then try getting your own place. Take it from there and work through things by asking specific questions. You don’t need to settle the entire relationship at this time, just the question of where you will live.

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  • avatar

    Sarah July 21, 2011, 1:54 pm

    I would not keep seeing a man for FOUR years if:

    A.) He had not made permanent plans with me (marriage, living together, what have you.)
    B.) He was content with keeping things long distance.
    C.) He avoided or tried to talk me out of moving closer to him (even if his reason seems noble.)

    A dude who’s left things separate this long when they could’ve changed a long time ago is a guy who likes things the way they are. You might as well confront him about this issue since you’ve both been avoiding it, maybe then you’ll find out what his true intentions are. And no talk of the ring or moving in after 4 years?! Girl…..girl. That whole “down the road…I see a future with you….” crap should have been figured out long ago. He sounds like a dodgy fortune teller.

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  • avatar

    kdog July 21, 2011, 2:26 pm

    “Woman up and make things happen, lady!” LOVE it. haha!

    Anyway, I think sometimes people really don’t understand that marriage isn’t a guarantee. Yes, the vows say til death do you part, but oftentimes life just doesn’t pan out that way. There is never a surefire safety net for the decisions we make. I get that your friends and family are trying to protect you, but if you are looking for something set in stone you’ll spend your whole life waiting.

    My advice is just to keep asking yourself questions and to open the proverbial can of communication worms with your boyfriend already. If possible, I think it would be a good idea to go out and visit him. That way you can actually see each other’s faces and be totally present while you talk about these things that really do need to be talked about.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs July 21, 2011, 3:24 pm

    i don’t think you have to worry about moving or getting married as it sounds like your boyfriend isn’t interested in either of those things.

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  • avatar

    AKchic July 21, 2011, 4:34 pm

    Some families have the attitude of marriage before cohabitation, and that could be part of the basis for pushing marriage before the big move.

    I would suggest that you two continue working on your communications issues. It sounds like you haven’t gotten that all figured out yet. Don’t marry until it’s square. Move, sure… but don’t marry yet. Maybe you’ll live together, maybe you won’t. Figure that out first. Get a job, etc.

    Tell your family to butt out. In fact – quit giving them so much access to the inner workings of your relationship in order to have such detailed opinions in the first place.

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    • avatar

      oldie July 21, 2011, 5:46 pm

      This seems spot on. Other responders have suggested that LW and her LD bf haven’t talked about her moving, but they have. Unfortunately, those discussions apparently terminated when she told him that her family and friends think they should be married before she moves. She says that bf has said he sees marriage to her down the road, but not now, and that this is fine with her. In that case, why did she raise the issue of family/friends pushing for marriage as a pre-condition. It is not at all unreasonable for the bf not to want to marry her now, if they’ve never even lived near each other. It also has to be a tremendous red flag to bf that her family and friends have become such significant participants and arbiters in the move decision. In reading her letter, I also didn’t get the impression that leaving her job in the fall was caused by desire to move, but rather something that precipitated the urge to move now.

      I wouldn’t move for a LDR partner with whom communication was poor. She needs to be clearly happy about the ability to communicate with bf and the current state of their relationship before moving. Just assuming that moving will make everything better is unwise. If she wants to communicate with bf, she needs to make it clear that this is a two-person conversation.

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    Francine July 21, 2011, 7:02 pm

    LW says her bf never brings up the topic and that she’s hesitant to bring it up yet her question to Wendy is “How can I get him to talk about this?”. Why not “How can I get past my fear and discuss this with him?”? The only person you can control is yourself.

    If after four years you’re afraid to talk to him because it’ll be uncomfortable, awkward, embarrassing, whatever, then you’re probably not at the stage in your relationship where you should be uprooting yourself so you can live together.

    My advice would be to either accept that since you aren’t even at the point in your relationship where you’re comfortable broaching the subject of cohabitating you probably aren’t ready to live together. Or, you can accept that difficult conversations are just a part of life, take a deep breath and tell your guy that you want to move this fall so the two of you can live together and that you aren’t interested in becoming engaged at this time.

    If you feel that you can’t initiate a difficult conversation like this without drama then it might help to build your confidence before trying. Maybe you could tackle some lesser fears first. It also might help to script out a nice calm conversation about moving in together, not that your actual conversation can follow the script but so you can focus on your non-dramatic version when you begin.

    All in all I think trying to get someone else to do something, to change, etc is fruitless. I know it can be difficult but if you feel your relationship is worth it then do it yourself, make the change in yourself.

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  • katie

    katie July 21, 2011, 8:33 pm

    ok,

    1. “the talk” about my boyfriend moving to a different state with me happened at like 2 am, both of us very emotional, me crying, and all of the resentment and hurt and all the stuff that we needed to talk about at a better time came out at that moment. please have this talk with him in a rational, calm place, where you both can be logical. it will save you a lot of trouble. you just need to bite the bullet and start the conversation. any way you can. just do it.

    2. it is very understandable that he hasn’t asked you to move with him. i was the one who was all excited about my boyfriend coming back with me, to my homestate, after college, and I didn’t even know how broken up he was about leaving his family. the college we went to was about 5 hours from his family, and across the country for me. i felt like the biggest ass ever to not even think about his feelings in that way. i thought that he was excited like i was, which he was, but there was also all this hurt about leaving his family. your boyfriend doesn’t want to be the bad guy- if your relationship turned sour for whatever reason, it could very well become YOU took me away from my family, YOU made me come here, YOU made me have this horrible life, ect, ect. he wants you to move because you want to, not because he asked you. it doesn’t mean he isn’t excited about it to!

    3. your family are idiots for thinking you should marry someone that you a. haven’t lived with, and b. haven’t even been in a short distance relationship with. that just screams recipe for disaster, to me anyway.

    4. this sentence- “I just want to be with the person I love – him” – answers your question for you.

    good luck!!!!

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  • avatar

    LHE July 23, 2011, 5:18 pm

    Definitely talk to the BF, let him know you are ready to move to advance the relationship to the next level. I know it is scary but that is your insecurity and if you are as confident as you say you are about his feelings then this should not be a problem. I don’t know if you are planning on moving in with him or not, but since you are not engaged probably be best if you don’t. I was planning to move 100 miles for my BF and move into his house. He was 7 years older, divorced 2 years, and he thought better of it, and so asked me to marry him. So we got engaged, I moved in 2 months later (he wanted me parents to feel better about the move), we married 9 months later. We’d only been dating 4 months when we got engaged, so quite a bit longer than your situation. We saw each other most weekends though before I moved in. Yes we are still married…..15 years and have 2 great kids!

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  • avatar

    Starfish13 July 25, 2011, 10:56 am

    From the moment you said “I’ve also had to work through my commitment insecurities…”
    I knew what this letter was going to be about. And typically if you have commitment insecurities, it is a reaction to his behavior, not something that you develop inherently.

    My second thought was that perhaps the reason your family keeps bringing marriage-things up is that they have a funny feeling about the bf, which you shouldn’t entirely ignore. Maybe they don’t really care about the marriage part, they just don’t want to see you get hurt.

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