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.
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
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.