Living Columns & Blogs

Carolyn Hax: Couple can’t seem to commit to a place of residence

DEAR CAROLYN: My boyfriend and I have been dating for nine months, long-distance.

We met in college seven years ago, were acquaintances, and just recently reconnected last year.

We’ve started talking about the future, but can’t nail down what to do about where our future will be.

He has a successful career in his city, our college town, and I have a dream job in mine, where I’ve bought a house and established a home.

His job is not available here, and I don’t want to be an “addition” to his world in a place I’ve moved on from.

I’ve said I will compromise my dream job to move somewhere new, where jobs like his are, to build a home for us, but there seems to be a hang-up for him. He’s very vague in his responses, says he’s working on it, he likes thinking about our future, etc.

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do.

I’m tired of living separate lives, but how do I get answers?

Long-Distance Or Bust?

DEAR DISTANCE: Non-answers are answers, too. He doesn’t want to move, and he also doesn’t want to say that to you.

At least, that’s what you have to go on unless and until his words or actions say something else.

So please take that as your answer and decide: Are you willing to reconsider your I-won’t-be-an-“addition” stance? To reconsider a future with someone who won’t just come out and say what he really wants, presumably because he’s avoiding the consequences?

Do your thinking on this. When you’ve come to a conclusion about what you need – yes, need, not want – then call him out on his non-answer answer.

“I suggested a third, neutral town, and you haven’t given me a yes or no. So I’m taking that as a no. Is that fair to say?”

Just one disinterested person’s opinion: I’d chafe at the somewhere-new suggestion, and here’s why:

To build a life with someone I loved, unless I plain hated it, I’d move to his town. If I couldn’t get a job there, however, but he could get work in mine, then the fair thing to my mind would be for him to move to me.

Insisting that I uproot on principle vs. necessity seems like a punitive waste of good roots, personal and professional.

In return for his sacrifice on my behalf, I would go out of my way to establish a life in my town that was ours, instead of just superimposing him onto the life I already built.

Again, that’s just me, but worth an internal conversation or two … after the one on how much you value straight answers.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com or follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax.

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