DEAR CAROLYN: My boyfriend and I, both 30, have been dating for five years. We are from different countries, and currently live in a country foreign to both of us. He recently told me he cannot imagine living anywhere else other than his home country. This surprised me, as he had sung a different tune in the past.
While it would be extremely difficult and time/cost intensive for me to have my work credits and educational background accredited in his country, it is technically possible, but there’s a chance it won’t go through. I will need to uproot my life and possibly change my highly specialized profession, which I love. He is hoping I will come with him, but realizes there’s a possibility that I won’t/can’t. I feel betrayed.
This has made me incredibly sad, confused and upset for months. I am thinking of ending things, even though this is the man I thought I would marry. I am afraid of not finding anyone else if I leave this otherwise great relationship.
I do not know where to go from here. It feels like I have to choose between love and career.
Drifting Between Continents
DEAR DRIFTING: I’m sorry. It’s hard when someone changes the terms so abruptly.
What it isn’t, though, is complicated. Most of the issues you raise are ancillary:
▪ That he led you to believe otherwise? Upsetting, but a side issue. He may well have sung his tune sincerely, then watched his loyalty to his heritage deepen over time.
▪ That your career is tough to transfer to his country? Logistically significant, but emotionally off to the side.
▪ That you thought you would marry this man? It makes things sadder, and lengthens the time you’ll need to adjust to this new normal. But, it doesn’t change the basic fact of your wanting X, and his offering only Y.
▪ That you fear never meeting anyone else? No. Panic is not a competent strategist.
This is the issue, the only issue: Do you want to make him and his country your permanent home?
So – do you? It’s OK to take time to decide. But if there’s a little “no” in your answer, then it’s all “no,” tough as that will be.
DEAR CAROLYN: During a separation, my wife reconnected with an old high school friend. She recently revealed that, during that time frame, the two of them were texting and would sometimes spend hours on the phone. She’s denying anything physical occurred (I sort of believe it). But I told her she needs to tell me “everything” about the conversations. She says it was just two friends reconnecting after 30 years. Am I crazy, jealous, or what – does it sound like an affair?
DEAR ANONYMOUS: It sounds like you were separated.
Contacting old friends can be a way to figure out complicated feelings – about herself, you, her past, her future, this man in particular and other men in general.
It sounds also like you’ve reconciled. Has her attention returned fully to you, and do you trust her enough to take her word on that? Yes/No. If no, discuss that, because that’s what matters – not the old friend. If yes, then please stop digging, and treat what both of you did while separated as what you needed to find your way back.