Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Should I MOA from My Long Distance Relationship?”

I am a 27-year-old East Coast woman in a very long distance relationship with a 34 year-old German. We email back and forth at least twice a day, and talk for a long time on the phone or Skype at least 5 times as week. Prior to him, I had casually dated a handful of guys, and at one point had also my heart broken by a close friend who ultimately decided he didn’t want me the way I wanted him. But other than that, I’ve pretty much always been genuinely happy flying solo.

My boyfriend and I met within the last few months of him living in the US, and dated very briefly and casually (we didn’t even kiss) before he moved home. However, we kept in touch online in just a friend capacity. After about six months, he started emailing me more regularly. Things went well as we progressed to our current schedule of multiple daily emails and regularly Skyping with each other. He has visited me twice over the last seven months and I am going to Europe over Thanksgiving to spend time with him and meet his family.

We have already mutually decided that we are going to have a serious discussion about the future of our relationship when I am there. Despite the fact that I feel our relationship is ready to progress in some way, I just don’t feel like I’m ready for anything like one of us moving. I am also positive that I would never be happy living in Europe. The impending conversation has also made me realize, however, that there’s only so far we can go with the relationship as it stands.

My question is, how should I approach this big discussion we are going to have? How can I even properly evaluate my feelings on the situation? I still am not really in settle-down mode yet. I’m just not in a place to make a commitment that would mean one of us moving across the ocean. He, on the other hand, is definitely in the mind frame that he wants things to progress further, and has even brought up that he could see us getting married. I do love him, and I could see us being very happy together, but I absolutely can’t see (at all) how either of us could move, due to our respective careers, and several other factors.

I don’t want to go back into the dating pool right now, as that’s a huge step backwards from all the truly great stuff I have going with him, but I also don’t want to keep moving forward with this if there is no way it could work in the end. This may sound harsh, but I feel like it could help me to try dating again, now that I can really see the benefits of a serious, committed relationship. I would frankly expect that trying to date again would drive me firmly, straight back home to his arms (if he would still have me, of course). But just having that certainty that he’s the right guy for me could mean everything. — Long Distance Quandary

If you aren’t ready to move forward and you can’t see how things can continue staying the same, then it seems the only direction you really can move in is to move on. Long distance relationships only really work if there’s an end date — at the very least, an end period. But if you’re right about neither one of you ever being open to relocating, then what on earth is the point in continuing this relationship, unless you both truly enjoy exactly where things are and have no expectations beyond emailing every day and visiting each other every couple of months…forever?

But not only does that not seem to be the case, it’s also a terrible way to live. It means closing yourself off to the potential of a truly fulfilling relationship. It means avoiding — yes, actively avoiding — the possibility of sharing your life with someone. But, maybe you’re afraid of that. Maybe you’re afraid of the possibility of sharing your life with someone and getting your heart broken. Maybe keeping someone at arm’s distance — or, more accurately, an ocean away — means sparing yourself the agony or really investing in love.

But, I say invest. Invest in love! Instead of thinking about how there’s no way you could possibly relocate for your boyfriend, start thinking of ways you can. Think of how you can invest in this relationship — heart, mind and spirit. And if you can’t — if your heart or your mind or your spirit is still telling you it isn’t possible — then you need to accept that this isn’t the guy for you or you aren’t ready to risk getting hurt. Because if he were the guy and you were ready to risk getting hurt, you’d turn “I can’t” into “I’ll figure out a way.” When it’s real love and when your heart is open to feeling it, nothing stands in the way of being together.

So, be honest with yourself so you can be honest with your boyfriend. If it’s love, then make the investment. And if it’s not, then move on, so he and you can eventually find someone who makes investments worth their returns.

*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.

69 comments… add one
  • avatar

    KD October 26, 2011, 7:31 am

    Great response Wendy!

    I like that idea, “invest in love”! I’m in an LDR as well, and I can really psych myself out about moving across the country next summer. I’ll try to keep this idea in mind!

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    Zepp October 26, 2011, 7:44 am

    Hey! I was in pretty much the same boat as you LW, only a year younger and the guy I met lived in Austria. We met when he was in the states on vacation visiting our mutual friends, and we only had 10 days together in person. After 8 months of daily emailing and skyping I moved to Austria to be with him. I’ve never been happier and love my life here in Europe. We’ve been living together in Vienna for two years now.

    Small difference- I could imagine being happy living in Europe, I always wanted to live abroad even before I met the guy. I’ve also never been a person who needed things to be planned out/100% certain.

    But in case you are wondering, depending on the city there are plenty of English working opportunities. Almost all the big international companies operate in English. I just got my work permit (yay!) and we didn’t even have to get married (but we will in the next 2 years). Life in the German speaking countries is pretty wonderful. Between the low unemployment and incredibly high quality of life (people are very very social and really put a lot of value on spending time with family and friends) there’s a lot to enjoy here. Don’t even get me started with the maternity leave, health care, and public transportation! Plus, with minimum 5 weeks paid vacation there is a lot of time to go home and visit family and friends. Knowing what life is like here I can’t fathom going back to the US for at least the next 5 years… maybe ever.

    I know some people think I was crazy to leave my good job and full life to come here, but it’s a risk that has paid off in spades for me. I always thought, well if it doesn’t work out I’ll just go home. For me, spending the rest of my life wondering “what if” seemed far worse than having to move back to the US after a few months and find another job.

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      Addie Pray October 26, 2011, 8:50 am

      Now I want to move to Vienna.

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        Zepp October 26, 2011, 10:31 am

        it’s a great city! I <3 wien! But don't get me wrong, it hasn't been all rainbows. There's definitely been "struggling immigrant" moments (I didn't speak german before I came here) and I still get homesick, but the good definitely outweighs the bad!

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      SherBear October 26, 2011, 10:01 am

      I really don’t understand why foreigners want to move here to the US, European life just sounds so much nicer!!! (Or from my 4 week experience of traveling Australia – life Down Under). Even the impoverish villagers that I spent a week with in Central America doing service work with seemed happier than the average American – they were happy with what they had and really valued non-material things such as the environment and personal connections. Vienna sounds like a fabulous place to live 🙂

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        callmehobo October 26, 2011, 10:12 am

        I will say, while other countries have some great stuff, America is truly unique in some aspects.

        I lived in Japan for a while, and it’s a great country, however, there you can be held in jail for 28 days before being formally charged with a crime. That would NEVER happen in the US.

        And while we have our flaws, we pretty much try our best to be fair (or at least one faction of the US will always be fighting for equality) I mean, France banned burqas and hijaabs in April this year. If you are a Muslim woman, you can no longer wear any religious garments.

        I know America has its flaws, but I swear, there are reasons why people still want to come here!

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        Flake October 26, 2011, 10:19 am

        “I lived in Japan for a while, and it’s a great country, however, there you can be held in jail for 28 days before being formally charged with a crime. That would NEVER happen in the US. ”

        Yeah… They have the Guantanamo Bay for that…

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        Britannia October 26, 2011, 2:10 pm

        But the Average Joe does NOT end up in Guantanamo Bay.

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        lets_be_honest October 26, 2011, 2:15 pm

        THANK YOU!!!

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        Flake October 26, 2011, 2:47 pm

        Average Joes in general do not end up in prison. And, actually, now with the American Terrorist act, it will probably be Average Mohammed.

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        Britannia October 26, 2011, 2:52 pm

        In Japan, they do. Certainly not with an astounding frequency, but certainly with an insanely high frequency in comparison to the U.S.’s rate. In reference to the whole “jailed without a crime” thing.

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        Flake October 26, 2011, 2:58 pm

        Out of curiosity and against my better judgement, how do you know that?

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        Britannia October 26, 2011, 3:19 pm

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        Flake October 26, 2011, 3:44 pm

        I wonder what an American equivalent would show..

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        Tanya October 26, 2011, 10:26 am

        “I lived in Japan for a while, and it’s a great country, however, there you can be held in jail for 28 days before being formally charged with a crime. That would NEVER happen in the US.”

        Unless you are planning to commit a crime, I don’t think that should bother you.

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        lets_be_honest October 26, 2011, 11:09 am

        I think you missed the point about NOT being charged with a crime. You don’t find it scary that you can be placed in a foriegn jail for a month legally without having done anything wrong? I do.

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        Jess October 26, 2011, 11:29 am

        that does happen in the US though too. It’s not just actual terrorists who got sent to Guantanamo. One of my good friends spent the summer between her 2L and 3L years doing pro-bono for a guy that got sent there that was a totally normal man/not a terrorist at all. It was in the wrong place/wrong time had a common name situation and he was in there for years, with no solid evidence. I actually don’t know what happened to him, she was only on it for that summer.

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        lets_be_honest October 26, 2011, 12:08 pm

        Was this person you heard of through a friend who helped him for a summer charged with a crime though? You leave that part out. Its nice you give this stranger who you admit you don’t even know the benefit of the doubt with an explanation of simple wrong place/time, common name, no evidence, etc. but there are no facts here and there is no mention of him not being charged with a crime.

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        PFG-SCR October 26, 2011, 12:15 pm

        Totally. It’s not like we haven’t heard of violations of civil liberties at all since the Patriot Act was signed into law.

        [/sarcasm]

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        PFG-SCR October 26, 2011, 12:18 pm

        Darn, I got my wording screwed up as I was deciding between my sarcasms! Can’t edit, but it should say:

        “It’s not like we have heard of violations of civil liberties at all since the Patriot Act was signed into law.”

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        lets_be_honest October 26, 2011, 12:22 pm

        Of course. I’m not making a blanket statement about violations of civil liberties here like you are implying. I’m saying in Jess’ specific story, there wasn’t much behind it other than ‘I know of a person through a friend…” and no real facts or statement that he’d not been charged. I’d like to add though, that its far less common in the US than in other countries. I know I would be much, much more scared to be outside of the US and be charged or held for a crime (whether I was in fact guilty or not). I think Americans take for granted a lot of their rights they are given here that they would not have elsewhere.

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        Flake October 26, 2011, 12:36 pm

        The problem with US, in my opinion, that although the justice system is better than, let’s say, the Saudi Arabian system, it is still a matter of convenience and money. For example, in the DSK case (and I am not saying if he was guilty or not) money definitely won. Or the guy that was recently put to death – not exactly shining example of the American Justice system.

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        lets_be_honest October 26, 2011, 12:42 pm

        I won’t comment on the guy recently put to death because I didn’t follow it enough to make an educated statement at all. DSK on the other hand, money didn’t win. Facts did. There weren’t any. Does it suck he got off if he did do it, of course. Does it suck for him that he lost his position, any chance at French presidency and the world’s opinion of him if he didn’t do it, of course. Do I think based on several people’s accounts that he’s a perv, yes. That doesn’t prove someone is a rapist. There was no proof of rape. All too often there can’t be and its a he said/she said game. That sucks. But it would suck just as much for someone innocent to go to jail for a rape they didn’t commit. And a little added bit for whatever its worth, this woman paraded herself all over the news and made a lot of money off it and in her past, illegally. So if money won, she got it. I don’t mean to sound so harsh, but you really have to look at both sides to this.

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        Flake October 26, 2011, 12:48 pm

        The fact is that the DSK case should have gone to trial. No to try the guy because his accuser has lied about something in the past does not serve justice. It is blaming the victim. He should have been tried by the jury of his peers. The charges should not have been dismissed. For that matter, he should have been given a chance to defend his name and reputation.

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        lets_be_honest October 26, 2011, 12:55 pm

        I agree. I actually tried to play out a devil’s advocate scenario in my head, but you are right. Its a shame that because prosecutors felt they had no case since she was such a habitual liar in the past and no jury would believe her now, neither side was given their day in court.

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      Flake October 26, 2011, 10:09 am

      I also have a story about that. 6 years ago, I, my best friend (G) and another girl (N) went on vacation to Cuba for a week. My best friend just broke off an engagement, the other girl just ended a relationship too, and I just tagged along because the deal was amazing :). Anyhow, on the second day there we met three Germans: a couple, and the girl’s brother (A) . So G and A got together, and apparently had a pretty good time. So we came back to Canada, they went back to Germany, and G and A kept in touch. After about four months of MSN video chatting, the guy came here to visit her. Long story short, she has been living in Germany for the past five years, has two little boys and a house and a job. And she loves it too! I mean, come on, they are only about 4-5 hours drive from Italy. And don’t even get me started on the social advantages there that make even Canada look pale by comparison. Of course, she misses her friends here, but I went to visit her for 2 months once, and she came here too.
      And Europe is not that far either. Germany is a 6-hour flight, and though it is not cheap, you can find affordable tickets if you are flexible. My flight cost me around $500. By comparison, I have to drive for 6-7 hours to see my family in US and it costs at least $200 in fuel.
      I guess the moral of the story would be, where there is a will, there definitely is a way. And I also agree that it is better to try and find out for sure that the relationship is not working than to never really give it a shot.

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      mcminnem October 26, 2011, 1:58 pm

      #1: I also adore Vienna. Even though it was miserable spring weather almost the entire time I was there, there was just a sense of people simply enjoying life that I have felt in very few places (Venice is another.)

      #2: “If it doesn’t work out I’ll just go home.” THIS!! The world is not as big as it used to be. At most any of us are about 24-30 hours away from the furthest possible place we could go. It takes a little extra planning (make sure you can afford the ticket home as well as the ticket there *before* you go!) but once you’ve done that, why the hell not try? It’s not actually all that life-shattering. We don’t have to lose touch with our families or our home countries. No major city is really “foreign” anymore. (For real, you realize this when you’re visiting a town in Italy somewhere and turn the corner to see all the local college students lining up at the local McDonald’s for a Big Mac.) Unless it would be a major (MAJOR!) financial burden, i.e. if it didn’t work out you would be left penniless) go, and try. If it doesn’t work, just fly home.

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  • FireStar

    FireStar October 26, 2011, 8:07 am

    I agree with Wendy. There are no guarantees in life. If you want certainty in relationships you aren’t going to get it – ever. Is he the right guy for you? I don’t know. How much are you willing to give up to be with him? If the answer is not much – then no, he is not the right guy. He is the safe guy you can distract yourself with to avoid a real relationship and the possibilty of real heart break. Is your German worth heart break? Is he worth upheaving your life for? You tell us. There is always an element of risk in love. If you don’t risk anything you won’t reap anything worth having either.

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    Anthrocuse October 26, 2011, 8:19 am

    My roommate had a similar situation where she spent all day talking to her LD boyfriend, but in the end realized that they could never (or at least not for many many years) move to the same location. He was unable to get a visa and she’s in the middle of an educational program that she couldn’t end. He couldn’t afford to come visit, and she couldn’t really afford to visit although she planned to. She basically told him she didn’t think they’d be able to go and then he said they’d have “the talk”—about their future— when she went there to visit. She ended up really worrying about the trip/the talk and cancelled her trip costing her a lot of money she didn’t have. I say go, and be happy. Postpone the talk until the very end of the trip– you don’t want to break up and then be stranded in Germany! Good luck!

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    wendyblueeyes October 26, 2011, 8:45 am

    She doesn’t see how she can move to Germany due to her career and other factors. I wonder what those other factors are. No matter, she is going to Germany next month and it will be eye-opening for her to find out that there are Germans who speak fluent English, that there are openings in her field, whatever it is. I can’t think of a single profession that is unique only to the US. Go, have a good time, look around and then make up your mind. Btw, my boyfriend was stationed in Germany for 3 years, and I traveled back and forth every other month. I loved the place (Wurzburg), traveled all over western Europe on my visits, and would have settled there in a heartbeat if he decided to stay. We are married 37 years now.

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    bethany October 26, 2011, 9:08 am

    LW, I think you should MOA. I agree with Wendy, that you’re using this situation as a crutch to feel safe and comfortable. In the long run it’s not going to work out for you because you’re going to end up alone one way or another, and it’s better to just end it now.

    When you go there, tell him what you told us in your letter. You really enjoy your relationship, but with no real “end” in sight, it just doesn’t make sense for you to live your life “on hold”.

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    PFG-SCR October 26, 2011, 9:51 am

    “It means avoiding — yes, actively avoiding — the possibility of sharing your life with someone.”

    I agree with this – she enjoys having “a boyfriend”, but she doesn’t want to really have a complete relationship. So, she has “a boyfriend” who lives across the ocean, and she can use that fact to stop the prying questions of family and friends, avoid having to actually develop a complete relationship with someone locally and/or make her feel better about herself that someone likes her.

    Her hesitation at moving forward and her uncertainty about a future – yet her inability to decide she wants to break up – are just her way of maintaining “a boyfriend” and avoiding putting herself out there.

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    • avatar

      LW October 26, 2011, 12:00 pm

      Hi- Please see my comment below for a little more explanation as to why I have uncertainty about being able to move to Europe (and hence forward with the relationship). My issue really is about fear of committing fully, and not about “maintaining” a boyfriend for appearances, as you’re saying. The relationship is obviously more meaningful to me than that.

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    Kerrycontrary October 26, 2011, 9:51 am

    I totally agree with Wendy. If you aren’t in this LDR to be with this person long-term or marry him, then what is the point? I’m in an LDR, and I can’t imagine being in it without the goal of living in the same city and (eventual) marriage. I really think that the LW is almost scared of falling deeply passionately in love which is why she put herself in this position where she “has a boyfriend” but doesn’t really need to commit. Why would you get into a relationship with someone so far away that requires a good amount of time, money, and commitment if you can’t see yourself falling deeply madly in love with him and eventually spending your lives together. Wendy is right. It’s not fair to keep your relationship stagnant. MOA if you really aren’t ready to invest in this relationship.

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      callmehobo October 26, 2011, 10:14 am

      I agree. Especially since she started out her letter about how she was so heartbroken about her friend. I mean, this letter isn’t even about that, but she felt the need to bring it up. LW is definitely trying to have a relationship while protecting herself from potential heartbreak

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl October 26, 2011, 10:13 am

    Wendy, you’re spot on as usual. There are no garentee’s in any relationship, marraige, ect ect. You have to take risks in order to find happiness.

    I just finally closed the long distance chapter of my relationship, after almost 3 years of 900 miles between us. I moved from Pennsylvania, away from my family, my job, my friends…to north central FL just for him. I never wanted or thought I would live here…but I scarificed to be with him. And I do not regret it at all.

    LW, if this is the man for you, take the plunge and re-locate. It is scary and exciting and wonderful all wrapped together. If he isn’t the man for you…MOA and find someone located on your continent.

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    Tanya October 26, 2011, 10:15 am

    LW, you say that you don’t see yourself moving to and living in Europe but have you thought about him moving to the U.S.? Maybe he IS willing to take that chance. You will only know for sure when you ask him. Try to imagine having him in your life on your “territory” and see if that’s a picture you see yourself in.

    Also, do consider what Wendy said – invest in love. Jobs, friends and social life are something you can find and build somewhere else as well, but a partner who loves you, makes you happy and is a good match to you, is not something you find every day. Some people never do.

    I was in a similar situation – I lived in DC (which I loved), had a fantastic job and a circle of good supportive friends. My partner lived in London and after 1.5 years of skyping, calls, emails and text messages I finally made the decision to move there and live with him. Like you, I initially could not imagine ever liking Europe and especially England, I was afraid to quit my job and leave behind the life that I had built for myself. But I also could not imagine moving on without him and not giving this relationship a chance. I would have regretted it for the rest of my life. I am so happy I made this changed despite my concerns and absolute fear of the unknown. Now I have a an even better job here, a have a social life that is much better than what I had had in DC and most of all – I have never been happier in my life. I am now married to the love of my life and we spend our 5 weeks of paid vacation traveling around the world and enjoying our life TOGETHER.

    I know it’s a difficult decision to make, but don’t give up only because of fear. If you feel in your heart that this is the guy for you, then you owe it to yourself to at least try and make it work.

    All the best!

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  • avatar

    LW October 26, 2011, 10:54 am

    Hi all! First of all, thank you all so much for your advice (especially you, Wendy!). Just thought I would clarify a few things that people have been bringing up.

    1) The reason that I can’t see myself moving to Europe is not dislike for Europe, language issues, or career related (I could most likely stay with the same company, at that). The issue is that I have a horse that I’ve raised from a baby, and owned for 10 years, and I would not be willing to put him through the stress of a moving to Europe. This particular issue really comes down to the fact that having my horse and caring for him is actually a huge part of my identity. My relatively tight budget largely revolves around him, as does a lot of my time, as I handle a lot of his care myself to cut costs. Being able to take care of my horse myself (my parents are very fortunately also horse people, who helped me out with him when I was younger) is a major accomplishment for me, personally, and being able to do it is extremely fulfilling for me. (I will also note that my boyfriend is fully supportive of me in this, and acknowledges the amount of strain that would be caused by trying to import the horse to Europe/why that is my major issue.) Were I to move to Europe, I would send my horse back to my parents’ farm, rather than go through that. I would feel like I was giving up a real part of myself.

    2) My boyfriend’s career is more European-centric than mine is US-centric. He also owns a house, while I do not. However, part of the reason I wrote Wendy, is because he and I had a small discussion wherein it became clear that both “alternatives” (me moving there, him moving here) were possibly viable in his opinion. I had previously always assumed that he would never be willing to move back here for me. Yes, many of you and Wendy are right, this is what scared me, as very serious commitment became a lot more realistic at that point.

    3) Finally, I am not sure what to say to those of you who are saying that I am only in the relationship only in order to be able to say that I have a boyfriend, or for show in some way. In my case, this is simply not true. I can very truthfully say that if I did not have very strong feelings for him I would not be with him and would break it off. I’ve always been (too?) independent previously. He definitely changed that about me. I’m just uncertain if I’ve changed enough.

    AND I will send an update once I’m back from my trip! Thank you all again!!

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      PFG-SCR October 26, 2011, 11:49 am

      “I can very truthfully say that if I did not have very strong feelings for him I would not be with him and would break it off.”

      Well, I was one of those commenters, but I think you misunderstood my point. I’m not saying that I doubt you have genuine feelings for him – everything from your letter seems to indicate that you weren’t interested in having something that you’re more invested in than you currently are with him.

      I think that’s great about your horse, but…a horse? If you felt that strongly for the guy and truly wanted a future with him, and you have options for your horse (as you do – your parents could take the horse if you decided not to take the horse with you), I just don’t think that’d keep you from making the leap to something more permanent with this guy. You also said he’d move here for you, so that’s not even necessarily an issue.

      My advice would be to really be introspective about him and what you want before you visit him. Good luck, LW!

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        Jess October 26, 2011, 11:59 am

        Yea, I mean… maybe after visiting his family you will feel differently. I’m sure you’ve looked into it thoroughly, but I’ve definitely heard of people moving horses internationally before. It’s not an impossible/rare thing by any means. You even have a great set up where you could leave it with your parents for a year or so while you lived in Germany and tried it out so it is sort of perfect. And if I’m reading this correctly the horse is only 10? Still young for a horse. If you and this guy work out your could move it over, it would be stressful for the horse but plenty of people move their horses over seas. I mean, all the horses in the Olympics do it and they are not so traumatized, after all they are performing to the height of their abilities weeks/months later, right?

        That you are so dead set against it sort of comes across as an excuse. Maybe you don’t realize it, but automatically ruling out moving the horse seems kinda strange/looking for a reason to not try things with this guy.

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    LW October 26, 2011, 1:20 pm

    Yes, a horse. I was worried about making that comment because I thought the reaction would be “it’s just a horse.” I think that most horse people would understand where I’m coming from.
    Suffice it to say that I personally know that it’s not just “an excuse” for me not to move, but a very serious concern about something else that I care very deeply about, and again, something that I feel is a very fundamental part of my life. Also suffice it to say that I have done a lot research on moving horses internationally, considered that option seriously, and couldn’t in good conscience move the horse (in addition, the horse is more middle aged than young, and is really in his prime right now).

    I truly feel like I would be lessening myself, and making myself very unhappy, by giving my horse up. I get something from that part of my life that is obviously very different from what you can get from a relationship. I know that not being able to have my horse would cause very deep resentment towards my boyfriend, and am not sure how I/we would deal with that. (It was good to finally type that sentence out.) I hate that the conversation is very likely going to come down to my horse versus his house.

    All of that being said, yes, again, as is the theme of all of this. It’s a question of what I would be willing to give up for the relationship, versus what my boyfriend would be willing to give up for the relationship, and frankly how that would affect the things in the end.

    I do agree with you guys, and thank you again. What I should be focusing on first are my feelings for my boyfriend and what they are worth to me, rather than just thinking about what the relationship could cost me. Perhaps that just over complicates my entire perspective of the situation, when I need to get the basics down first.

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      MissDre October 26, 2011, 1:47 pm

      Maybe I am just a crazy cat lady, but I would never move anywhere that I couldn’t take my cats with me, no matter how much I loved a guy. My cats came first… I don’t have children but I love my cats as though they are my children. I couldn’t even date a guy if he didn’t love my cats or if I thought being with him would take me away from them in some way. And yes, I do love my boyfriend very much and I hope to marry him, but if he decided to move elsewhere I wouldn’t go.

      So, I understand about your horse.Your horse has loved you and you have loved him/her for 10 years. That’s a long ass time! If giving up your horse would make you that sad, I totally would not do it.

      This is just my opinion, though. Maybe I will end up an old lady with 10 cats and no man. Who knows.

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        honeybeenicki October 26, 2011, 2:14 pm

        That’s ok, I’m the same way.

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        bethany October 26, 2011, 2:59 pm

        Totaly agree. I would never have dated my husband if he wasn’t cool with my cat. He wouldn’t have made it to a second date. The LW has raised this horse since it was a baby, and has a deep sense of love and committment to it. Not only that, but it’s a HUGE part of who she is- giving that up shouldn’t even be an option.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom October 27, 2011, 10:47 pm

        A friend had to give her cat away to marry her husband because he was allergic to cats. Allergic enough he would be unable to breathe around them. He is also a cat lover and as allergy medications have gotten more powerful in recent years they are now able to have two cats. Those cats can’t live in the house but they live in the second garage and get to wander the woods that surround the house and love their life. The husband can pet them with gloves on and he washes his hands instantly afterwards but they finally get to have their cats.

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      MissDre October 26, 2011, 1:51 pm

      Ps, a house is a physical, inanimate object. People buy and sell houses all the time once the house doesn’t suit their needs anymore. I’m sure he could find another house that he’d like just as much. And at least if he sold his house he’d be getting a return on his investment.

      A horse is a living, breathing being that you have a deep emotional connection to. In my opinion, this horse that you love is more valuable than a house.

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        Britannia October 26, 2011, 2:17 pm

        I agree. A horse, especially when it is more a pet than a competition animal, is a huge responsibility and not one that should be taken lightly. I actually got kind of pissed off when someone said, “It’s just a horse.” Horses are not very easily sold, like dogs or cats are, and they have just as much an emotional range as dogs (I’m speaking from personal, not really professional, experience, however). A horse becomes your baby, especially after 10+ years of ownership. You can’t just up and leave a horse! Also, international travel can be extremely stressful to a horse when they were never acclimated to travel at an early age. Show horses are trained how to deal with travel from the time they are babies so that the stress doesn’t damage them… A full-grown horse who has never travelled would probably experience A LOT of undue stress. Also, it is incredibly expensive to ship a horse to another country, and to board them somewhere if you don’t have a stable of your own. I don’t blame LW for a second for prioritizing her horse above a man — the horse is 100% dependent on her.

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        SpyGlassez October 26, 2011, 4:23 pm

        Thank you for the point about having the emotional range. Horses do have emotions and a lot of intelligence. My mom had a horse years ago before I was born, and my friend’s dad has horses that they have owned for years. They are more than “just” dumb animals.

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      6napkinburger October 26, 2011, 1:59 pm

      “I hate that the conversation is very likely going to come down to my horse versus his house.”

      Ha! The only deciding factor in that debate is U!

      Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

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      kf October 26, 2011, 2:10 pm

      I really don’t understand why people write in to advice columnists and intentionally omit key information out of fear that they’ll get the “wrong” answer.

      It may be true that horse people would understand. So the main question is, is the boyfriend a horse person? Does he understand the extent to which your life revolves around the horse? Is he willing to be a horse husband? If not, then it sounds like he’s probably not the right guy.

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        MissDre October 26, 2011, 2:18 pm

        And if he’s not the right guy (not saying he is or isn’t since I don’t know him… maybe he’s perfectly willing to move to the US!) it’s ok. LW, if this doesn’t work out, you will find love again. Perhaps with a horse enthusiast like yourself, who will understand your feelings.

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        MissDre October 26, 2011, 2:32 pm

        Also, in defense of the LW, she didn’t ask whether or not she should move for this guy. She already knows that she doesn’t want to and she specifically said that in her letter. Her question was how to approach the conversation with him about the future and, since she knows she doesn’t want to move there, whether or not this relationship is worth pursuing.

        I don’t think the reason she wants to stay here (the horse) really matters all that much.

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        kf October 26, 2011, 3:20 pm

        I think the reason matters tremendously. If I were in a long-distance relationship with someone who said “I absolutely can’t see (at all) how either of us could move” I sure as heck would want to know why.

        Anyway, it sounds like the conversation about the future is going to heavily involve the horse. I don’t see how it could be otherwise.

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        MissDre October 26, 2011, 3:25 pm

        I meant that the reason should matter to us, the readers, when it comes to giving her advice. Obviously it will matter to them and their relationship.

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        kf October 26, 2011, 3:35 pm

        How can we advise her on how to approach a conversation if we don’t know what the conversation is going to be about? You, Britaania and others have brought up good points that would have been impossible to come up with if LW hadn’t followed up with the additional information.

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        LW October 26, 2011, 2:41 pm

        Well, I really didn’t intentionally omit that information. I actually initially wrote it in, but my letter was already way long, and I didn’t really consider that people would be so interested in the outside reason that I would be opposed to moving.

        And yes, he actually is very good about the horse. 🙂 When he’s visited he’s dutifully shucked shit and hauled hay bales with me. Also, daily conversations with me obviously always include what’s going on with the horse. He does take a lot of interest, and has taken it upon himself to learn more about the sport itself as well.

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        Britannia October 26, 2011, 2:57 pm

        That’s very good! Have you spoken to each other about what you’d do with the horse if you did end up moving for him? Would he help you pay to have the horse shipped out there? Would he be willing to go around and find you a place to board the horse, or build a stable on his property? Those are things you should definitely discuss during that “big talk”.

        I’m quite sure you know plenty about horses, but from my experience it’s easiest for a horse to travel if you put them on a boat where they specifically have areas for exercise, etc. However, my experience with such things is easily 10 years old, so maybe they have better moving options now. Looking into such expenses and options is something that you should do BEFORE meeting up with your guy for a discussion, so that you come prepared with information about how to move if you end up seriously considering it.

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        LW October 26, 2011, 3:06 pm

        Nope, we haven’t gotten into specifics of that yet. That’s part of what the conversation will be about–more detail about what one of us moving would actually entail, if we were to decide to go there. What has been brought up is that the biggest factor from my perspective would be moving my horse, and that the biggest factor from his perspective is selling his house and his career.

        Thanks for the advice about boats! I admit that I was looking into cargo plane travel, and the thought of it just entirely overwhelmed me. I did think of sea travel instead, but was finding a lot less information out there. I’ll keep looking!

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        Britannia October 26, 2011, 3:25 pm

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        kf October 26, 2011, 3:21 pm

        “I didn’t really consider that people would be so interested in the outside reason that I would be opposed to moving”

        Not much experience with comment sections of advice columns, huh? 😉

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    6napkinburger October 26, 2011, 2:27 pm

    Reading the letter again, especially the last paragraph, the LW is asking for permission to take a step back from an amazing guy who she is happy with to make sure she knows its right. I am now granting you that permission, because if you have to ask, you need it.

    You love your boyfriend and he loves you. There are difficulties that are legitimate and difficult, preventing you from being totally happy with him. Sure, they are surmountable, but you aren’t sure if they are worth surmounting.

    You’ve never had a “normal relationship” with him. Everything has been long distance, or vacation, so you aren’t sure what “real life” with him is like. And you aren’t crazy and you’re prudent, so you reasonably are asking: is what we have experienced and feeel towards each other enough of a base to justify taking the risk and make a much bigger commitment than feels “normal”, reasonable, sane and prudent at this point in our relationship, simply because of circumstances?

    You are heavily leaning towards no. You actually say that you don’t want this commitment, but you don’t know what to do, because you don’t want to move backwards and don’t like where it is. You say explicitly that you think dating will give you the chance to evaluate the current value of your situation.

    I think your reticence is, and there is no more apt an analogy for today, is that you feel like you’re looking a gift horse in the mouth. He is wonderful, you guys are wonderful, so what kind of girl leaves a wonderful man and relationship because she’s unsure and because circumstances dictated that you never got to know what real life is like? That isn’t his fault and it’s not your fault. How can you justify doing this when you love him so much and when so many things are right? Aren’t you crazy to sacrifice that? What if you lose this guy who is so right and are doomed to date people who will never stack up, while he moved on, simply because you were too unsure of your footing.

    The answer is: Because you are the only one who has to live your life. And you cannot jump in whole-heartedly with this man until you have more “proof” that your feelings are real and true, and not some sort of romance you’ve built up in your head based on lack of real time together. But the commitment that goes with being together just isn’t something you can agree to until you get the chance to convince yourself that he’s worth it. Because right now you don’t know that. And it is something that you need to know before you can jump in with both feet

    I think you have to go for it and take a step back. You want to date; therefore you should date. Will he defintely be there? No. Are you taking a risk? Yes. But its your life and you can’t go the rest of your life wishing that when you were 27, you took a break to make sure you knew that this was what you wanted.

    So I am giving you the permission you requested. Go, and figure out what you want and what this relationship is worth to you.

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      LW October 26, 2011, 2:56 pm

      Thank you, this was really well written! Definitely expressed a lot of what I’ve been feeling.

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  • katie

    katie October 26, 2011, 8:10 pm

    i guess my question is- why does the next step HAVE to be moving?

    i think you may be looking at this more seriously then it is…. not that moving wouldn’t or shouldn’t be a step that you take, but if your not ready for that step yet, if you do not yet know if that is worth the risks involved, why not slow it down a little a do some more relationship pre-moving?

    think of if this was just a guy who lived in the same city as you. he was ready to talk about moving in together, but you were not yet ready for that for whatever reason. you dont have to make the decision at that moment. its not a yes or no forever kind of thing- maybe when you guys have your serious talk over thanksgiving, tell him that moving is not something you want to be looking at right now. look into other ways to solidify your relationship so that when the time comes for one of you to move, it wont be such a risk, it will be more of a “FINALLY!” kind of feeling.

    now, because this is a long distance relationship, I think it will be a lot harder to work on that connection… but i definitely think its possible!

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      LW October 27, 2011, 10:49 am

      Thank you! I definitely wish there was some kind of easier, intermediate step, like one of us living in the same city as the other (or even together) for a few months. 🙂

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  • Lyra

    L October 26, 2011, 9:53 pm

    You stated that you don’t want to move to Europe. Think to yourself: is it fair to ask that he moves here when you aren’t willing to move there? Is it fair to him to ask him to pack up his life and move to the US? Is it fair to ask him to give up everything, leave his family and job and the life he knows to move here?

    In a long distance relationship, no matter how far the distance, each party has to make sacrifices. It’s not fair to him to ask him to make all the compromises to move here with you and if neither is willing to move, that leaves you at an impasse. There would be little room for the relationship to grow with no future.

    Now, I get the stress and frustration of long distance love because I’m in an LDR myself. LDRs require much much MUCH more work than a “typical” relationship. You don’t get the luxury of see each other every day. You need to make time to talk to each other. and keep communication constant. It gets lonely. You count down the weeks and days until you can see your significant other again…then as soon as you got to their place, you have to go home again. Then you’re stuck counting down the days again. That part sucks so much. If you are dedicated and committed to making it work, however, it is worth it.

    My suggestion: MOA. At this point I don’t think you two are on the same page in terms of committing to a relationship, especially when you live so far away from each other. I can guarantee you don’t JUST want to have a relationship through your computer screen while seeing each other every 6 months or whatever it would be.

    Best of luck as you think things through, LW. I know you have a tough decision ahead of you.

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      LW October 27, 2011, 10:33 am

      Thanks, I appreciate your advice. I have obviously thought about what you said at the beginning a lot, too. The thing is that previously it was the reverse. For a long time he was assuming that he was going to “convince me” to move to Europe. Only recently did he realize that it’s just not that simple and did he admit that we have to have a discussion about who would move and both alternatives (and that’s when I wrote in). Also, as many people have pointed out, before I worry about making any decisions about if we’re going to break up right this second/MOA, I just need to prepare for having this discussion about the future with him.

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      • Lyra

        L October 27, 2011, 9:59 pm

        Oh yes, the “what does the future hold?” conversation. My guy and I have been having a LOT of those conversations recently. It is oh-so-stressful and sometimes makes me want to throw something. If ONLY it were easy…like “OK, I’ll move over there next week!”.

        When you’re talking things out, make sure that you put YOURSELF first. There are too many relationships where one person drops everything for the other and regrets it later. It’s something I’ve been working on in my relationship too is putting my needs first. It’s harder for me than I realized!

        If I were in your shoes, I highly doubt I would move to Europe just to be with a guy. I’m too rooted to my life here in the States and I would really being around my family and friends all the time. But obviously, you’re a different person and just might enjoy living in Europe and it might be a great move for you. Who knows? Good luck with thinking through everything! 🙂

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark October 27, 2011, 4:47 am

    How would you NOT be happy living in Europe? Damn, I sure wish I had some hot German lad wanting to whisk me away… Seriously. Nobody ever appreciates what they have. It’s maddening…

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      LW October 27, 2011, 10:34 am

      Oh, never mind, you’re right! Problem solved! *eye roll*

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