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.
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