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He has me up in the air

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  March 7, 2011 07:56 AM

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I'll be e-mailing about self-help/love books today. The sorting process took longer than I thought. You should hear from me today or tomorrow if you're getting one.

And now a letter that comes with an obvious song of the day ...


Q: Hi Meredith,

When I met my boyfriend of two years, there was instant attraction. Our first date started off as dinner and turned into three hours of walking and talking, cut off only by the T schedule. Since then we have fallen head over heels for each other. When we both found ourselves in housing turmoil several months ago, we decided to move in together -- a great decision, as it turns out. We balance each other out wonderfully. I could go on and on, so I'll cut myself off with this: I never thought a relationship could be this good.

We're both in our early 20s. He's about to get his graduate degree, and I'm struggling to get my career going. My problem is about what happens after he graduates. When we first started talking about the future, he said he wanted to either move to another city, or go abroad for a while. Being with him is more important to me than my location, so I said I'd go wherever he goes next. I just need to know where we're going with enough time to set myself up with a job. Times are pretty tough in my chosen field, so this is a process I need to start as early as possible

After that discussion, it seemed that his preference about where to go changed literally every week and has settled on a murky "I don’t know." I completely understand that he's under a lot of pressure at school and doesn't want to feel he’s signing his life away with one decision, and I've been very patient. We're approaching a deadline -- his graduation, the end of my current job, and the end of our current lease are all going to happen in May. He knows I need a plan soon, but if anything, he's gone backward in the planning process. Now he's talking about taking a break after school before moving on, meaning either continuing at current job for a few months, or even going to his parents' place for a while for a few months.

Meredith, I can't take a break. I have daunting student loans to pay and need a reliable income. I need to start looking for my next job yesterday or sooner, but I can't do that if I don't know where I'm going to be or how long I’ll be there. All I need to know right now is what city and country we will be in for the next year or so -- hardly a permanent life plan! I know he loves me and is resisting adulthood, not being with me, but the two will soon be linked. I guess the crux of the problem is, I made my boyfriend a priority in my life, a factor in my major decisions, and I'm not seeing him do the same.

Is it fair for me to say I'll go along with whatever he decides as long as it fits my timeline? Is it fair for me to ask that he make me as much of a priority as I’ve made him? Do I need to be more patient, or is it time for a dreaded ultimatum?

Oy. I need some chocolate.

– Patience, Boston


A: Oy, indeed.

It's totally fair for you to ask him to consider your timeline and financial needs as he's making this decision. If he's going to move in with his parents, you need to know by April. I mean, your lease is up in May.

I understand that you want to give him the freedom to make a choice, but that freedom has incapacitated his brain. It's difficult to know exactly what to do after grad school. The decision is even more overwhelming when you're making it for two. Perhaps if you tell him what you'd like to do come May, he'll feel less pressure to make the "right" decision for both of you. You're half of the equation, not just someone who's along for the ride.

If he's really opposed to making decisions as a twosome, you have to start prioritizing yourself. But really, I think speaking up about what you want will take some of the pressure off your boyfriend. At the very least, it'll lead to some honest discussion.

Readers? Is she giving him too much power? Has that power stalled his decision? Should the decision be his? Is he avoiding adulthood? 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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