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New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), do a search in the search bar, or submit a question for advice at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.
After finding this out, I told him I needed some time to figure out if I wanted to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t see himself with me in the long run. We are both in our early 20s, but I’m not sure if I want to spend years of my life with someone who doesn’t see me as “the one.” However, he is such an amazing guy and we have a really good relationship and are both happy together. Should I stay with him and enjoy it while it lasts, or should I move on already? — A Moving Conundrum
In your first paragraph you say that to make sure you both want the same thing and are ready for a step as big as moving in together, you asked your boyfriend whether he saw a longterm future with you. One would presume that, since you were doing the asking, you do see a longterm future — possibly leading to marriage — with this man, and that any answer from him to the contrary would mean you don’t “want the same things,” right? Well, your boyfriend truly does seem to be the “amazing guy” you say he is because he gave you a huge gift — the gift of honesty. He told you that he can’t see himself ever marrying you or having a life with you. It must have been a real blow to hear those words, but you are very, very lucky to have heard them now versus one, two, three years down the road after moving in with him and investing more time and energy in a relationship that doesn’t have a future. I know so many women who would have killed to hear those words before spending a big chunk of their 20s — and 30s — with men who would never commit to them.
So, knowing what you know now, you have to make a decision — one I really, really hope does NOT include moving in with the guy; you have to decide whether you’re going to stay with your boyfriend and enjoy the “here and now” or whether you’ll spare yourself further hurt feelings down the line and move on already. That’s a decision only you can make, but I can pose a few questions for you that may help you arrive at that decision a bit more clearly. First, can you truly enjoy the relationship anymore knowing that your boyfriend likely doesn’t feel for you the way you feel for him? Can you remain happy with someone you may very well have started considering “the one,” knowing he’s sure you aren’t his one? Would you just stay with him as long as he didn’t dump you for someone he has stronger feelings for, or do you anticipate some end date in the future you both agree on? If knowing your boyfriend doesn’t see a future with you now, what would be your reason for ending the relationship eventually? Obviously, it would have to end eventually. Relationships that don’t have a longterm future always do. So, would you rather be the one to control when things end, or do you want to give him all the power? By staying with him indefinitely, you do know you’re opting for the latter, right? If that’s something you’re OK with, and if you’re OK knowing you aren’t your boyfriend’s choice in a life partner and that you’re simply someone to enjoy companionship and intimacy with until he finds someone he likes better, then by all means, stay with him. But if you aren’t OK with all of that, I think you know what your decision needs to be. And really, the sooner the better.
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