Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Am Agonizing About Whether to Move”

I have been a single mom raising my daughter for the past 14 years. Her dad moved out of the house when she was three years old. He has been supportive financially. My ex-husband was very close with his parents and never considered moving down south to be near my family. We spent holidays and other celebrations with his parents and his sister’s family. This always bothered me as I was very close with my family and it was one of the reasons we split up.

When my parents retired and moved down to Florida a year after my daughter was born, I missed not having them around on holidays and their being around for my daughter growing up. They were there for my brother’s kids and this has always been difficult for me to accept, but I know they worked hard and needed to downsize and enjoy retirement. We flew down for Christmas, and they would come up north to their summer house four hours away every spring until the fall. I worked full-time for several years while raising my daughter and this was very challenging. After eight years at a hectic pace, I eventually burnt out. I decided to make things easier for us and work part-time. I moved an hour away and bought another house when my daughter started middle school. Then I met my current boyfriend, Jim. We’ve been together four years and I love him very much. I think he feels the same way, but he has not asked me to marry him or to live together with his, and I am always the one initiating the conversation about the future. Jim is divorced and has a son still in college who is graduating and now wants to go to law school, so he has had a lot of financial burden.

I have always wanted to be closer to family, get out of the northeast, and live in a warmer climate. My father passed away suddenly a few months ago from cancer and now I really regret not moving down there there sooner. My mother is in her 90s now, and I still want very much to go down there, but I am torn. My boyfriend has a legal practice and told me he would consider moving down south in the near future. It is very expensive to keep both our homes, and although I love my home, I am at a point where I do not want to live by myself any longer. My daughter is going off to college in Florida this fall. Should I still pursue my dream of moving down there? Or move in with my boyfriend and wait until he is ready? I don’t want to break up with him. I want to finally have some peace and happiness in my life. I would very much regret not spending quality time with my mother as she may not be around much longer. I am agonizing about this decision. Any advice would be so helpful—thank you. — Fly South?

You know, it sounds like you think you have more solid options than you really do. You act like moving in with your boyfriend is an option, but you’ve apparently not even discussed this and you aren’t certain how he feels about you even after four years together, so I’m not sure what makes you think that living with him is a choice you get to consider with confidence, let alone agonize about. I repeat: You’ve been together four years and you aren’t certain how he feels about you, he’s never asked you to move in with him, and he has never once initiated a conversation about your future. He talks about considering a move “down south,” but you have not discussed any details at all, it sounds like. Does “down south” mean Florida? Does it mean close to your mother and/or where your daughter is going to go to college? Does it mean with you? Does it mean living together? Does it mean moving his legal practice, and if so, is that something he is able to do without too much financial risk?

On the other hand, you have a choice that seems like a no-brainer: move to Florida where it’s warmer and you can live closer to your 90-something-year-old recently widowed mother and your daughter who’s about to start college. You say you regret not moving sooner, you would regret not spending quality time with your mother while you still can, and you want to live somewhere warmer. Moving seems like a great choice vs. a choice you have not been offered. I’m not sure why you’re agonizing?

If you want your boyfriend to move with you, ask him. Tell him you’ve decided to move to Florida for all the reasons you’ve outlined here and that you would love nothing more than for him to come with you and for you to move in together and to start building a new life together. And then *he* has a choice: either go or stay. There’s nothing for you to agonize about because you’re going. I mean, I guess you can agonize about what his decision will be, but if it’s to not move with you, won’t you be glad to know where you stand, finally? Won’t you be relieved not to pass up moving closer to your elderly mother and your college-aged daughter for a guy who isn’t interested in committing to you?

You already have regret about not moving to Florida sooner. Why would you put off doing something you say you really want to do for a different option that you don’t want (staying in the northeast and moving in with your boyfriend) and that hasn’t even been offered to you? This isn’t an agonizing decision at all. It’s a total no-brainer.

I work 13-hour shifts and have no time for a life so it’s not surprising that it was at work where I met a guy. I was bartending a woman’s birthday party and there was this tall man rocking it on the dance floor with his friend; he was so handsome, funny, and carefree. I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight, but, nevertheless, we both fell hard. He fell a bit faster than I did, and I had to keep putting brakes on things like getting keys to his house and moving in together. Within a few months, we had jokingly discussed kids, our futures, and how we’ll fit into one another’s lives. But, unfortunately, I don’t fit into his.

He goes travelling a lot for long periods of time and it’s painful for me. He’s a student whereas I have a full-time job, and I can’t just up and leave. He’s away right now, with shaky wifi, so we don’t talk a lot and we’ve always been very honest, so when he told me he loves me, I said I don’t love him anymore. Saying goodbye for seven weeks is really hard. The first time I couldn’t stand to see him so happy so I did a social media detox. This time I hurt so much I shoved it down and let it turn to anger.

I wanted to go volunteer at a conservation site for a week at the end of October. I asked him if he would like to go as it’s for families and groups of friends, and he said he might be traveling in Japan then. How could I be in a relationship but feel so alone? He said we needed to talk, and we arranged a time at night after I finished work—but no call and no reply to my messages. I started work at 6 am the next day so had to get to sleep even though I was so hurt and angry! I realized I was in a relationship with myself, so I took pictures of us off from my featured photos and erased our relationship from FB, and once again it stated single. I woke up at 5 am to messages at midnight asking if I could talk. I was so hurt and trying badly to suppress my tears at work.

I don’t understand why he was searching for a relationship when there’s no time in his life for one. He called me and I openly, cold-heartedly said I wanted to be friends. I don’t fit into his life and it’s too painful. He said he wants to stay together. He’s also planning on moving out of the country in a year, so there’s that. I really don’t think I fit, but I annoyingly, stupidly fell and I still do care for him. Should I just be friends with him? Am I just being an overdramatic idiot? — Deeply Pained

 
Yes.

And here’s my advice: take a break from dating, get off social media completely, and practice (with friends, family, and people who care about you) using your words to communicate your feelings and not use juvenile, passive-aggressive techniques like vague-posting on Facebook and changing profile pictures. If you are older than 14, you are too old to behave this way. And, look, “jokingly” discussing kids with some dude you’ve known for a few months and barely have had time to get to know due to your busy work schedule and his extensive travels doesn’t entitle you to shit. It doesn’t mean you’re committed; it doesn’t mean you’re actually going to have kids. And telling someone you don’t love him anymore instead of expressing why you are upset with him is never, ever going to get you the results you want.

You really need to grow up a bit before you try another relationship again. Social media isn’t a replacement for genuine conversations, and shaky wifi isn’t an excuse for avoiding communication.

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy​(AT)​dearwendy.com.

4 comments… add one
  • avatar

    JD August 27, 2018, 10:21 am

    LW1: You say your boyfriend has not asked you to move in with him then later say “should I move in with him”. By all means have a conversation if you want to but I am wondering how you are just moving in with him when he doesn’t seem inclined to have you do so. 4 years is a lot of time, especially if it is financially difficult for you two to maintain two households. If he wanted you to live with him you would by now. Move to Florida and tell him he can come if/when he is willing to commit to your relationship for real.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros August 27, 2018, 10:26 am

    LW1: You should move. You’re trying to put your boyfriend at the center of your decision even though he is showing by his actions that he isn’t as serious as you are about the relationship. You also spent most of your adult life putting a guy’s wants ahead of your own. I hope that, at this point, you can see that it didn’t turn out as well as you’d hoped and that it’s not necessarily the best path. Tell him you plan to move. He can either come with you now, come with you later, or you might find that your futures do not intersect. Don’t go into this being unwilling to break up because that makes it too easy to be a doormat.

    LW2: I’m glad you noticed that he was moving too fast. However, instead of just putting the brakes on, you should have taken that as a red flag about him. You’re assuming that if he can’t suitably be in a relationship right now that he should automatically not try for one. In an ideal world, people would do that. But in the world we actually live in, people aren’t that self-aware or they are selfish and try to have it all even if they can’t give anything in return. Oftentimes, a person who says they “can’t” give more actually CAN, but they don’t want to — they may not like you enough or just don’t care that much about whether the relationship works out. Don’t be friends with him. Next time you meet a guy who talks about moving in that early, take that as a warning and move on THEN, not after you find out, inevitably, that his tendency to rush things is a sign that he’s not emotionally available.

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  • avatar

    Leon August 27, 2018, 10:35 am

    LW2: I assume you are 18, right? Because that kind of passive agresive dramashit is inmature as fuck, and I am unable to picture someone older doing it.
    Grow up! You are unable to preserve the relationship with this guy, so much drama-luggage behind, and you are walking non-compatible paths. Also, speed down the train-wrecked intensity! Relax a little bit and learn how to have healthy relationships reading good references (like this web page, for example). Relationships leech-alike (like the one you are describing) are exhausting in the long run, and you could save yourself from so much frustration if you learn to flow it down.

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  • avatar

    sarahbelle August 27, 2018, 11:31 am

    #1 He is your boyfriend not your husband, you have been together for 4 years your where you are going to be with him his son is in college not elementary school . Your not living together because he doesn’t want to and he may never want to actions speak louder than words and his actions are loud and clear. You have to make these choices a fairy godmother isn’t coming, you aren’t going to click your heels 3 times and be transported, or catch a ride back in time. If you want to be close to your mother and daughter move now before you get back in your head. Most likely your daughter will not be coming back from florida most people end up living less than an hour from where they graduate college. Your mother is 90, if you want to live near her you can’t wait another 14 years.

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