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Do we have to close the distance gap?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  March 18, 2011 08:30 AM

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Q:Hi Meredith and loyal readers,

I have a problem that is breaking my heart. First some background. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 4 years. We met in college, where we dated for a year and a half. Our relationship has been long distance since we graduated.

He is currently coaching lacrosse at a school that's more than six hours away. We have talked often about him moving here, and he had promised that this past year would be our last apart, and he would be in Boston by September. Now here we are in the present, and he still doesn't have a job in Boston, although he has been trying. He said at one time that he would consider just dropping everything and moving here regardless, but now that reality has set in he is not sure he wants to give up a job he loves. While before he thought he could move here and do any job, he has since realized he wants to continue coaching college lacrosse. He would ultimately love to get a coaching job in New England, but that might not be a possibility. I would reconsider relocating to somewhere else in New England in a year or so, but where he lives now is too far away and too far into the boonies for me to even consider going to.

We love each other very much, and overall our relationship has been great. We have discussed marriage, and do hope to get married some day. Although we've hit rough patches (like everyone does), we have always worked through them with open communication. The thing is, this long distance is starting to wear on us, and I don't know how much longer we can do it. I had thought that I couldn't do it past this year, but now that it looks like he can't get a job here, I can't imagine actually breaking up. Am I holding on to something when there is no real end in sight to this long-distance relationship? Is three years too long to be apart? Is our hope to one day to be together in the same area not enough?

– Long Distance Lax Lover


A: The trick with long-distance relationships is to get to the same place before the whole thing starts wearing on you -- before you ruin what you have. You're teetering on the edge, LDLL, which means it's time for one of you to move.

I see two options: 1. You wait a year and then he moves, with or without a job. 2. You move. You resent him for living in the boonies. You deal with it because you want to marry this person. You take lots of trips to Boston to visit friends.

No matter what, if breaking up isn't an option, you must set an end date for the distance. Because I really don't think that the hope of a future in the same city is enough. If it's wearing on you now, think about how it will feel six months from now, especially without a reunion in sight.

And if you really want me to take a side regarding who should move, my gut tells me it's you (sorry). Coaching jobs are few and far between, and if he's really going to devote himself to college lacrosse as a career, you might find yourself moving to weird college towns every few years. You should see if that's something you're willing to do.

Readers? Am I wrong to say the LW should move? Am I wrong to say that an end date for distance is necessary? How long can they do this? Do they know their relationship well enough to make the sacrifice? Should the LW move because his career is more complicated? What does this say about their potential for a happy marriage? Discuss.

– 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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