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How long can we take the distance?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  November 14, 2011 08:29 AM

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I saw "Like Crazy" over the weekend. I was sitting in the theater thinking, "I see this love letter -- at least once a month."

Here's another one about distance ... when to move...


Q: Dear Meredith,

I've been in a wonderful relationship for the past year with the most caring, sweet, funny man I know. I've never been in a relationship that is so fun or ever felt so safe and at home with someone. But, (there's always a "but" ...) our relationship is conducted from a distance of 300 miles -- from Boston to Philadelphia. We've never gone more than three weeks without seeing each other. He typically drives up here and I take the bus to see him.

We've discussed plans to be closer together, mostly he has been looking for jobs up here because he has friends from college in the area (he went to school in MA). It makes more sense for him to come here in that respect, instead of me moving down and knowing only his family and friends (who I do love, by the way).

This potential move of his has been in the works since before our relationship began but he's found no promising job in his field and is unwilling to move without it (this I completely understand) and more recently he confessed to me that he was hesitant to leave his family and pursue such a big life change.

But how long can a relationship stand this kind of strain and distance with no white light at the end of the tunnel? We are both 24 and not even thinking about marriage but this is someone I'm definitely committed to long term. Is it crazy to want to move there and be closer to him? (Especially because this isn't necessarily leading to a proposal anytime soon?) Is it unreasonable to try and quell his fear of leaving his family behind to start a life in Boston? I am so happy with him but saying goodbye becomes more difficult every time. We both want to be closer together and even discussed living together but we've been stuck in our separate cities and I don't know what to do or say next.

– How Long Does Long-Distance Last?, Boston


A: It's possible to do long distance for a very long time -- but why should you try? In your case, there's no reason to wait this out.

I think that you should move. By the summer. He can continue to look for jobs up here. If it happens by then, great. If it doesn't, you'll move down there, which is sort of what he wants at this point anyway.

You don't need an engagement to move. It's not irresponsible to pick up and leave to have an experience with someone you love. And you're right -- this works for now, but it will only get more frustrating. Don't wait until the distance starts to kill what you have.

Focus on figuring out the details of the relocation. If you move, will you live together or will you get your own place? Are there any clubs you can join to make friends? Should you start looking for jobs down there right now? Commence planning.

So many couples are in long-distance relationships because they really have to be. You have the power to give yourself that light at the end of the tunnel. Go for it.

Readers? Is it wrong to move for someone you aren't necessarily going to marry? How long should she wait for him to look for jobs before she moves? 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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