Thanks to those who entered the "Next Fall" contest. I just posted some ticket info on Twitter.
Q: Dear Meredith,
I'm a long-time lurker who hasn't been in many relationships because of my career. A few months ago, I unexpectedly fell for someone I absolutely adore. He is good to me and makes me laugh. I feel safe and worry-free with him.
All this sounds great, right? Well, not quite. You see, this guy is one of the millions of 20-something, college-educated males who are underemployed. He has to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. He is still on the hunt for a better job but because of his schedule, he just can't hunt aggressively. And when he does apply, he gets interviews and final callbacks but ultimately gets passed over for another candidate. Understandably, he gets upset and depressed by every rejection. But it's tough to see someone you care about go through this over and over again and I feel like I am getting taken for an emotional roller-coaster ride I didn't really sign up for. And short of giving him a better job, I can't help him with this problem.
I really like him but I don't know if I can deal with his employment situation because it's making me depressed, too. Should I continue this and hope that eventually -- and maybe sooner than later -- his job problem will be solved? Should I build an emotional barrier to stop myself from feeling depressed with him? Are my feelings of ambivalence toward this relationship really about his job situation, or do you think there are underlying personality or life-goal differences in play?
– Brazen Careerist?, Cambridge
A: I don't think that you're ambivalent about this relationship, BC. You like him a lot. You're just bummed out on his behalf and drowning in his stress.
Your guy is ambitious, just like you. He's desperate to get a job. He's not sitting on the couch. He's trying to get through it. It's just bad timing.
My advice is to keep at it because the job thing is temporary, and if you like him this much now, imagine how awesome it will be when he gets a better gig.
There are periods of blah in every relationship. Inevitably, someone will lose a job or a friend/relative and will be bummed out for a long time. That's how it goes. Most couples don't have to start their relationships during one of sad/stressed phases, but for the folks who do, it only gets easier (most of the time).
Give this more time and try to find cheap, creative ways to have fun. Continue to remind him that this is temporary, and do all you can to remind yourself that he makes you feel "safe and worry-free."
Readers? Should she stick it out or is this too much to deal with in the beginning of a relationship? How can she stop herself from getting depressed on his behalf? Help.
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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.