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He won't do distance

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  January 20, 2010 09:29 AM

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We're working on releasing a few more tickets for the Feb. 12 Mortified event. I'll keep you posted. Either way, the pre-party will be fantastic (7:30ish to 10ish in Harvard Square). Please plan to come.

Today is chat day at 1.

Q: Dear Meredith,

I have been seeing my boyfriend for about 8 months now and everything is going really well. He's family-orientated, respectful, caring, and sweet. I have never been happier and I'm falling for him. However, we do, like any couple, have bumps in the road and part of me keeps wondering if it's me or if he’s just not that into me.

About 3 months into our relationship, he told me that he is divorced. It hit me like a ton of bricks because I always thought I would marry a guy that has never been married (like me) and it'd be our first and last together. But then I realized, it just like having another ex and everyone has exes and it by no means changes how I feel about him. He waited because he likes me and didn’t want to scare me off. I completely understand. Since then, we have been really strong -- always having fun and enjoying each other's company.

The big problem right now is that I’m up for a job in Rhode Island and he says if I move there, we stop dating because he doesn't do distance. I should tell you now that we met online and he says he wouldn't have even clicked on my profile if I was in Rhode Island. I have done the distance thing (I dated a guy in Texas for 3 years in college) as did he (he dated his ex while she was in college in NH). I know distance, but I feel Rhode Island isn't distance! It’s 2 hours, if that! Part of me thinks this is a clear sign that he's just not that into me and I should say good-bye. When I asked him why he won't do distance, he said it's because he did it with his ex-wife and got too clingy and didn't want to do that again.

Part of me is waiting for the three words or a clear sign that he wants to be with me, because if that’s the case I'm not taking the job. The job would totally help my career but the thought of potential love is more important. He is also very, very guarded about his emotions. The romance is all on me. I will say I am a hopeless romantic: cards, candles, care packages, etc. His idea of the perfect gift is a card with money so I can go get what I want. I feel that there is no effort with that. If he took me to a store I like and told me to pick out something and I’d pay for it, that’d be one thing, but what he’s doing shows he doesn’t even care. Apparently, the ex returned everything he bought her so he doesn't want to have to go and make yet another return.

He was really hurt by his ex and has a wall built up. He told me he used to be really romantic and affectionate, but he won’t do the same things as he did with her because he's afraid of being hurt. I know this and I understand it, but I feel as though I'm paying for the ex's mistakes.

With the job offer approaching, I don't know how I can figure out what I'm going to do. When I asked him if the shoe was on the other foot, would he take the job, he responded "of course" -- no thought of me at all. I left his place and he followed saying that he didn't want to lose me but he didn't want to stand in the way of my career.

I’ve been hurt but I'm still willing to sit at the table and get dealt the next hand. He's at the table, but he’s ready to leave when the bet is too much to gamble. We are both playing … why is it that I am the only one to bet it all?

– Gambling With Her Mistakes, Saugus


A: GWHM, you're dealing with some serious mixed signals. He loves spending time with you, but he's giving you cash in an envelope. He's telling you'd he'd ditch you for a job without a second thought, but when you run out of his house angry, he’s following you to back-pedal.

Yes, he has built some walls. He has been hurt. But that doesn't excuse all of the wishy-washy behavior. At eight months, you have every right to know what he wants. At eight months, he should be ready to be accountable for something.

You have to ask the question clearly. And the question goes something like this:

“I am totally into this relationship. I dig you, despite your walls. If you think we might have a future together, I’m going to turn down the Rhode Island job because it’s not as big of a deal to me as human companionship. If you don’t see a future with me and you know that our time together is temporary, I'm going to drive down 95, buy myself some Del's lemonade, and live happily in Cranston. I understand that you don't want to be accountable for my decisions, but at eight months, you have to be open to taking some emotional risks for me -- because I'm willing to take them for you.”

I'm tempted to tell you to e-mail him as opposed to talking in person. It might give him some time to think about it -- and to respond less defensively.

I get the distance thing. Rhode Island is close, but really, make that drive six times in a row and see how you feel. It certainly won't bring the two of you any closer. It's fine if he doesn't want to be more than an hour apart. He just needs to say that.

Good luck. And if it doesn't work out with him, so be it. You deserve to be with someone who isn't shutting you out and making you work so hard. Providence is very cool. It has that romantic WaterFire thing. Better to enjoy it with the right guy.

Readers? Is Rhode Island too far? What gives? Share.

-- Meredith

– Meredith



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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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